Work B**ch celebrates successful women with badass jobs. For our inaugural installment, we talked to the fearless Samantha Hawes (she once invited a ghost to tickle her bare feet), one of the stars of pop-culture phenom Ghost Hunters.
What’s your job title?
I’m a paranormal investigator with The Atlantic Paranormal Society, or TAPS, as it is more commonly called. We are well known for our hit series Ghost Hunters on Syfy.
What made you get into paranormal investigating? Did you always want to do this?
My interest in this field may be a bit different from others. Many people grow up and decide they want to go into the paranormal field; I, however, was born into it. My father [Jason Hawes, founder of TAPS] has been a paranormal investigator my entire life, and while he never pushed us into the field or made us be a part of it, I have had a strong passion for the field since I was very little. It was a hobby that I was lucky enough to turn into a career.
What does an average work day look like for you?
Oh my goodness! Long! We begin by arriving to location in the early afternoon, which is when we meet with the client and discuss the claims of activity. Depending on the size of the location, we have investigated everything from small residential homes to three battleships at once. Our set up of our equipment will take anywhere from two to five hours after that. We then turn off all the lights and investigate for two to three nights. Of course, we take breaks during the daytime (usually around 4 am) to catch up on sleep for a bit. Then it is three days of reviewing all of our footage and recorders and back the following week to reveal to our client what we found.
What do you like most about your job?
I majored in history and education in college, and many of the locations I get to visit have such an amazing history behind them. I am lucky enough that when I get to see these locations, I am usually allowed complete access right away, and I can explore locations and historical spots many people may never get to see.
Do you have a lot of women coworkers?
I do! While the paranormal field was once very much dominated by men, I have seen it grow so much in the last few years. I work with some amazing women, not only on the show but privately, when I investigate off the show.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to break into paranormal investigating?
Be open minded, but be a skeptic. Not every case will be paranormal, and when you are looking at each individual claim, go over every reason it may not be [real]. However, never debunk a case before you even walk in. I have seen amazing things come from paranormal investigation I did not believe would yield any evidence.
Is it difficult to maintain a separation between your private and professional life?
It can be. By day I am a mother, and during our time away from filming, I am a school teacher, so it is a bit of a different lifestyle from my constant traveling and paranormal investigating.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself expanding all around. I will forever be investigating the paranormal. I did before I was on television, and I will after, so if the show ends, I will not stop. I will still be a mother and am sure I will still be teaching, but as people we grow, so I am always excited to see what the future brings.
In June, Samantha’s dad announced that the current season of Ghost Hunters, its eleventh, would be Syfy’s last. But fear not: he also teased “some huge things in the works with TAPS, Ghost Hunters, Pilgrim Films and so much more.” In the meantime, we’ll be watching Samantha this Wednesday, in the (potential) series finale. With all the lights on.