Hans Holzer

1920: An Austrian-Born Ghost Hunter was in the making. Professor Dr. Hans Holzer, best known for his plethora of hundreds of cases worldwide dealing with the paranormal and the occult, deeming him The Father of the Paranormal. In 1935, at the age of fifteen, Hans became an avid collector of antiques and coins and was an ardent bibliophile.

The 1928 book, Occultism in This Modern Age by Dr. T.K. Oesterreich, a professor at the University of Tubingen in Germany, began Hans’ interest in ghosts. His was an idle curiosity, mixed with a show-me kind of skepticism. He took a course in journalism and began selling articles to local papers. In 1949, he returned to Europe as an accredited foreign correspondent, with the intent to write articles on cultural activities, the theater, and human interest stories. He also began to compose music and write scores in New York, which later led the way to Off Broadway success in Manhattan.

One year later, Hans returned to Europe visiting many cities including London, and was invited backstage at The Hippodrome Theater where comedian Michael Bentine, was appearing. After Mr. Bentine offered Hans a home-grown tomato instead of a drink, the two hit off, as Hans was a vegan.

Through mutual friends back in Manhattan, he began work on a television series based on actual hauntings. He met regularly with others at the Edgar Cayce Foundation in New York. The purpose was to enter into a quest for truth in the vast realm of extrasensory perception.

From then on, he devoted more and more time to the field. One of the great mediums, Eileen Garret, president of the Parapsychology Foundation in New York, in 1946, worked with Hans and encouraged him to write about his work.
1963, his first book was born, titled, ‘Ghost Hunter’ and went into an unheard of eleven printings. 145 more books would follow. Hans stated that sometimes an “ordinary” person does manage to see or hear a ghost in an allegedly haunted location, be it a building or even an open space. Such a person could be sensitive or mediumistic, without knowing it and is less unusual then one might think. The Holzer Method was born before the 1950’s, where combining the work of those with sight and that of the academic and science stance to the field, would yield far better results in obtaining data to help us further understand what happens when we die.

Even though Hans was artistic and therefore sensitive person, he did not profess to mediumship and certainly would not be satisfied with the meager impressions he may have garnered himself, physically. He knew that a more advanced psychic talent would be needed for better results. So he took his “sensitive” with him, or what became affectionately known as his medium-in-tow, on cases to try and solve them for all those involved.

His career was a unique whirl wind of books, research, lectures, teaching, hundreds of national and regional talk show appearances, co-hosting/hosting programs such as Ghost Hunter on Boston’s Channel 2, NBC’s In Search Of with Leonard Nemoy (an Alan Landsburg production), Beyond The Five Senses in Louisville, KY, Explorations with Brownville Productions in Ohio. In radio, he had a continuous segment with New York City’s WOR station with famed radio personality Joe Franklin who still remains a family friend. Some books and case work yielded films such as Amityville II: The Possession, the adaptation from his best-selling novel Murder in Amityville, based on his work on the case in Amityville, Long Island and The Amityville Curse, which also became a film in 1989 that went to Sweden, the US in 1990 and then in 1991, was released in Japan.

Holzer became and still is considered a leading authority in the field of the paranormal, having earned his PhD from the London College of Applied Science. He spent over six decades traveling the world to obtain first-hand accounts of paranormal experiences, interviewing expert researchers, and developing para-psychological protocols and terminology such as ‘sensitive’ and ‘beings of light.’ He taught a class in parapsychology at the New York Institute of Technology for nearly a decade.

One of his favorite quotes comes from T.S. Elliot’s Confidential Clerk saying blandly, “I don’t believe in facts.” Hans did. “Facts,”, he said, “come to think of it—are the only things—I really do believe in.”

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