Tuesday, November 5, 2013

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE


"Woke up this morning, can't believe what I saw...a hundred billion bottles, washed up on the shore..."

- The Police, Message in a Bottle


This was the way my Halloween began this year; with the words penned by Sting playing out as I wiped the cobwebs from my mind.  I'm no psychic, but I knew something was amiss.  What that was, I had no idea.  Would it be trick or treat?

I found out soon enough as I logged onto Facebook for my daily dose of cat memes and status line therapy posts.  John had posted that Haunted Collector would not be coming back and that elicited hundreds of responses lamenting the news.  Texts and tweets began pouring in about it and I was overwhelmed at first...I needed some confirmation of my own.  It came in the form of an email from our production company.  It was true.  What a way to kick off the biggest day of the year for a paranormal investigator.  So, I wrote a post of my own wishing everyone a Happy Halloween and that I would gather my thoughts about it soon.  These are those thoughts, on what may be my last blog entry for a while.

Where do I begin?  How can I sum up the experience of a lifetime within just a few paragraphs?  We had three seasons of incredible adventures, both on and off camera.  I visited places I never thought I'd ever see.  I experienced things that forced me to expand my mind concerning the paranormal as well as the way we examine it.  The friendships made, the laughs we had, the hard times and the trying times...the way the public responded to us, the people we were able to help, the fans and friends at the events and conventions...all of this and more is woven into the fabric that is Haunted Collector.  For me, it was and is much more than a television show.  Our adventures, our lives, continue even now that the cameras aren't rolling.  We're paranormal investigators, we're a group of friends and above all we're a family unit.  No network can dissolve that bond, ratings be damned.

Season One cast, minus John

In this bittersweet moment of farewell, I exist in the unusual dichotomy of duality...and perhaps I am experiencing the phases of loss simultaneously.  I will miss the show, I'll miss the Wednesday nights live-Tweeting with viewers and the interaction with everyone whose lives we touched through it.  I'm saddened that we got cut-off mid stride because I felt we weren't done yet...there was still more to do.  I'm angry that the politics of those in the power positions in the production companies and networks caused this.  I've tried to bargain in my mind the ways we could avoid this, save it, keep it going and as I see these feelings echoed online, I know it is all for naught.  As a logical being, these feelings are natural, but counter-productive.  So I choose to focus on the positive.  You won't see me pointing fingers nor threatening a tell-all of the shenanigans that often seem to come to light after premature cancellations.  I was given the opportunity of a lifetime and I am grateful for the gift.  Daily, I am contacted by scores of people wanting to be on TV and asking me how they can do it.  I wasn't looking to be on TV and somehow I ended up on it.  I'm aware of the list of people who despise me for it, but even that I am thankful for.  Your ire strengthens me and drives me forward.

Season Two cast

The honor was mine to follow John Zaffis, my friend, my mentor, my brother on adventures that changed my perspective on many things.  In addition to the paranormal aspect of the show, I got to work with some of the hardest working crews in the business.  I can't adequately describe how hard these people worked, from the camera and sound guys, to the producers and the editors and even the production assistants.  Always smiling, always upbeat, always dedicated.  Their work ethic was an inspiration and to all of you cats, I thank you - you made us look like rock stars weekly on TV.



Recently, I was asked how long I'll keep Haunted Collector on my profile.  It struck me as an obnoxious question at first.  I've seen actors in one episode of Star Trek's original run in the 60's show up at conventions signing pictures from back in the day.  I've always been an avid sic fi fan and con goer and I would enjoy seeing them, but I too would ask myself, "How long are they going to milk that appearance for?"  Am I now one of them?  I don't feel that way, no.  The difference here is that those actors were playing a role.  No one on Star Trek has ever been in space.  The extended Zaffis Clan really experienced the things you saw bits of on TV.  We lived it.  We have lessons to pass on.  Everything I live through gets added to my arsenal of wisdom, so the answer to the question must be, "forever".  I coined the internet hashtag #Collectors to identify those fans of our show and I too will always be a #Collector.

Season Three cast

Given this, I am forced to acknowledge another truth about our society - television and entertainment are dominant forces in many of our lives.  Much of our information we get from the internet and TV.  Go ahead and dispute it, resist it, but the fact that you're reading this now lends credibility to the statement.  The paranormal community is getting bigger all the time and it is an unfortunate truth that many of the newcomers get their education of such primarily through the para shows.  I've always said, let the shows be the inspiration for you, but be sure to read, research, get mentored and then do more reading.  Never let the TV be your sole educator.  Being on one of the shows, this message was taken to heart and the things we tried to show about process and concepts was digested by the masses.  At conventions, I would try to further this by giving as much information as I could about the topics, to the point of overwhelming the audience.  The sad reality though, is that without the show, the message will be harder to get out now.  Will the new blood care what I have to say without a TV show at my back?  This remains to be seen and I hope to be proven wrong.



I'm not good at goodbyes and I'm not a fan of change...so it's difficult to know how to wrap this up.  What I do know is that we'll all continue to do what we've been doing - you'll just have to look a little harder to find us.  Just know that out there somewhere, the Zaffis Clan, be it together or separately, is doing well.  John Zaffis, Aimee Zaffis, Chris Zaffis, Beth Ezzo, Jason Gates, Jesslyn Brown and myself - veterans still in the service.  All week people have been telling me that, "When one door closes, another one opens".  I don't subscribe to that adage.  When a door closes, you have a closed door, that's all.  It's what you do about it that defines your situation.  But you can bet that we'll all be knocking on, kicking down and creating new doors for the future.  Count on it.

"Seems I'm not alone in being alone - a hundred billion castaways looking for a home..."

Never goodbye, more like, "See you later..."

27 comments:

  1. I will surely miss you guys & the passion on which you took on all of your adventures & investigations. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. I never missed an episode! I will greatly miss the show and seeing your involvement. I look forward to whatever adventure is forthcoming for all of you and would like to sincerely thank you for all that I learned from Haunted Collector. God Bless each and every one of you!

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  3. I find it horribly sad that Haunted Collector has been cancelled and another channel keeps Ghost Adventures on. Haunted Collector is SO MUCH BETTER. I hope the people in charge of what stays and what goes (on TV) get tons of letters, emails, and tweets, and they reconsider their poor decision. I, for one, will miss you guys and loved the show.
    Blessings, Shawnne Mc Kenna

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  4. My best friend an I always loved the show. We've watched allot of paranormal shows, but this one was truly our favorite! The fact that you guys are just normal people, not some pretentious wannebe's made it so interesting! John in his white sneakers and you saying "hello" everytime you walked in a room... It made me feel like you guys could live next door!
    It's been honest and true, no exaduration or misleads... it is what is it.. no more, no less...
    They're airing season 2 here now (Netherlands), but of course we've already seen this online...

    Well, what i want to say is; we're sad that the show is cancelled, but i hope you will kock down those doors and give you guys back to the world!!

    Love,
    Monica Buijtenhek

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  5. Brian--you are well respected in the paranormal (and probably any other community you are part of). I don't know if you had any luck with my husband's tool or not, but I knew you were the right person to contact about it. I'm disappointed the network was so short-sighted and didn't keep on HC. Maybe if enough of us fans get together we can save the show--it's happened before.

    Desiree Kroeger

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  6. My mom and I watched every episode. We loved the show and the cast and you will be missed in our house.

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  7. Brian, I knew you and John before Haunted Collector and I look forward to many more years of our continued friendship. There's no need for a TV show for me to consider you and others like you my mentors.

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  8. So sorry to learn of this. The networks have no clue, they seem to cancel so many good shows like HC. I Pray that this door closed cause of an even bigger and better opportunity for you. Wishing you and the rest of the team all the best.
    Lisa DiGennaro

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  9. I also have never missed a show you and the clan will be missed, so here is a bit of advise from an old women; God is on His throne, that he loves His people, and that He has a plan and purpose for each one of us. To everything there is a season, and whether you’re in the Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter of life; whether you are in a time of plenty or want; or a time of joy or sorrow; things do happen for a reason and you can trust that God will see you through. ^i^ God bless you sweet child ^i^

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  10. I'm saddened by the decision they made to end "Haunted collector". Many of us will truly miss seeing You, John and everyone that was a part of the show. I am thankful to have met you at Parafest and truly learned many interesting things talking to you. I wish you nothing but the best and hope to see more of you in the future. What a great show it was, that was ended way too soon. (as many other of my favorites on SyFy have gone to the way side too). God Bless. Hope to see you at another convention!

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  11. I'm so sorry to hear the show isn't coming back. I will really miss seeing all of you and your adventures. However I know just because the show is over that your friendships and feelings for one another are not - you'll always be a close-knit group because of what you've shared. Thank you for everything. <3 from San Diego.

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  12. I am so disappointed to hear the show is not coming back. My sister and I really enjoyed watching it. We would DVR it because she couldn't watch it in the dark! Best of luck to all of you, and thank you for what you've shared with all of us. ♥

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  13. Now the possibility may arise for you all to do the show how you really wanted! Good luck in your future and no matter where the path leads!

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  14. What a brilliant way to exit that arena, respectfully, as this will only serve to open up so many more doors for you. Your talent, love and desire will ultimately bring you full circle. I want be surprised at all when I see you back on the screen again. xxoo

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  15. Hey Brian, very sad to hear the news, reallyt appreciate your thoughtful insight here and you will ALWAYS be woelcome to spread the word via America's Most Haunted!

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  16. not sure why I was identified by a bewildering series of letters and numbers, but it's me, Eric Olsen

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  17. I am so sad, cause your show was the best out there! I am depressed now, I can imagine how all of you feel. I hope that they show your shows in reruns!

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  18. Beautifully written words, I am saddened to see the show cancelled. Good luck to you all in the future, Hope the chance for another wonderful adventure comes your way.

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  19. I am so sorry to hear that, really. I'm a paranormal investigator in France, i have that crazy quest about searches and paranormal. In my country there is such a tabou that it is difficult to find a paranormal show on TV, very difficult, so we (I) look aboard, and i also have to travel a lot to express my passion and do my searches. Haunted Collector was an amazing show to me, really, everything was smart and the team very complementary. And i feel sad to know that the show is cancelled, that other paranormal show will continue to be aired whatever the stupidity it is ... Well ... I wish you the best, the way you were investigated with genious is awesome, please don't change anything. I really hope to see you all in another show, because right now your "fans" are all so disappointed and as a paranormal colleague, i feel sorry that quest is ending because it was a good one. Take care! Vanessa // Paranormalife http://paranormalife.info

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  20. They always cancel the shows I like. I learned a lot about the paranormal from the show. Thanks!! I'm a loyal fan for life.

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  21. I've given a lot of thought as to how to respond to your blog entry. I hope that I am not doing you, your thoughts or any part of your situation an injustice by posting this.

    I've sifted through a lot of the comments on various posts and most of them seem to carry the theme that the show HC defined you. Personally, I think it was the other way around. You and all the others are what made HC a good program. You weren't in it for recognition or wealth and, even though it seemed to be the demise of the series, none of you gave in to the pomp and hype that instant stardom often causes. I have no doubt that from the ashes of this show you and the others will rise and be bigger, better and stronger for it.

    In response to your comment about the feelings that there was much more to do, I have to agree. Perhaps, though, the things that still need to be done would best be dealt with off camera. I don't begin to try to say that I understand how things work, but somehow when we feel that something is/was a great injustice the end result (even if it takes a couple years to see) was for the best.

    I will miss the Wednesday nights shushing everyone so I can watch and enjoy the show. I will miss the family intently watching everything in the background to see if they can find something y'all may have missed, but I won't miss you. I know you will not fade away. The only thing that has changed is the venue.

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  22. Haunted Collector investigators are professional. Scientific. And get excellent results unlike the yahoos on TAPS which don't seem to do much but ask "did you hear that?"

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  23. In the past couple of years, my family and I had the pleasure of meeting John & Chris at the MIPARACON, but never had the honor of meeting you. As a "Matter-of-Fact" no- nonsense investigator, you were a breath of fresh air to watch in action. We will all miss seeing all of you on our TV's, coming into our homes, and becoming a part of OUR family as well. In a way, you have become like a family friend, but one whom we have never met. And just like when a dear friend of the family moves on from our lives, we are saddened by the loss of fellowship, happy for the times spent together, and hopeful that the future will allow paths to cross again someday

    Best of luck on all you adventures yet to come. Please keep us all informed on where these adventures take you!


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  24. Brian
    You read well on camera and are very articulate. Paul Bradford stopped by our booth at a convention here in AZ and he has pokers in many fires. There will be many opportunities for you and you can continue to educate the public.

    I've been investigating for over 20 years and back in the day I was contacted by people with a situation because they were out of alternatives and needed answers. As TV and the entertainment industry embraced the paranormal awareness increased which was a positive but also many negatives as well.

    Arrive at an investigation to see 10 people outside armed with their ghost meter or app ready to "Ghost Hunt". Meeting with the owner of a location being and asked "How much will you pay me to investigate here?"

    There are over 6000 "ghost hunting teams" now in existence who have no idea what they are doing and how much damage they can cause. It is more than being a weekend ghost hunter emulating your favorite TV star hoping to have your EM meter peg or get some noise on your digital recorder. Yes there needs to be a message sent

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  25. Hope to see Haunted Collector on another network.. There are other networks out there. Don't give up.. syfy isn't the only one.

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  26. My friend and I loved your show, it was the only paranormal show that felt 'grounded' (might sound like a contradiction when speaking about the community, but I guess that depends what people believe). You did not sensationalize anything, you always debunked if you could and rationalized when there was reasonable doubt. I love the whole cast, you really projected the 'family unit' you mentioned above, seem really genuine and humble. I hope you are all keeping at what you love to do, because you guys have affected lives in very positive ways - and that can't be said for a lot of people, never mind TV shows. All the best x

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  27. My husband and I loved Haunted Collector because of the way everything was explained and how the clients were actually helped and not left to their own devices after being told their residence is haunted. It has inspired me with my own team on techniques and research. Thanks for that.

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