The Haunted Collector has grown from previous seasons. I have to admit upfront that I came to this series well after its first season. I knew John Zaffis to be the nephew of famed psychics the Warrens, whose reputation leaned more toward psychic impressions than physical evidence. But I pride myself on being open-minded and gave the show a second look. After having the pleasure of meeting John and his team at Paracon this past October, and attending his presentation on Demonology, I fully understand why he is referred to as The Godfather of the Paranormal. He enters a location as a data-gatherer first, entertaining all logical possibilities, before exploring activity from a paranormal perspective.
I used to think that the dead didn’t have unfinished business. It was my belief that if the dead chose to communicate with the living, it was for the purpose of helping or hurting them, not to solve some lingering problem for themselves. Unfinished business was for the living. The Haunted Collector has chipped away at that belief. For they have uncovered items that appear to tether the spirit to their lives like anchors. Then those anchors shift as the ebb and flow of life’s tide overtakes the person’s previous territory like weeds reclaiming a neglected building. New occupants move in and displace everything from the past. Carelessness and disinterest causes valuable items to go missing. Things found to be worn, outdated, useless junk vanish. Life-saving tools and conveniences from by-gone eras hold energy imprints of those who relied on them. If those items are moved to an inappropriate place or dishonored in some fashion, a spirit might have something left to say about it.
Zaffis’s team not only learned from a master but mastered the research involved in uncovering the life attached to a physical item. In the most recent episode, they employed an old Polaroid Instamatic camera to capture an image of what appeared to be a woman in an empty men’s prison. Digging deeper, they discovered it had housed female prisoners prior to holding men. Something not revealed to them before. The team on this show usually hunts for an object that can be removed from the premises. But in cases they do not find such an item, they seek to honor the deceased, if only to acknowledge that they knew who was communicating and tell a portion of their story. The woman in the photo was honored at their request.
No one wants to be forgotten and we all want to be heard. Few of us get to do big, world-changing things. For many, ripples we make never reach farther than a few miles from home. How would you feel if, decades later, a stranger hammered your casket plate on the wall of his lovely Victorian bed and breakfast? Insulted? Used? Dishonored? The Haunted Collector team is sensitive to this and does what they can to respect the memory whoever might still be lingering. What more could the dead ask for?