May 30, 2010
By KATHI SCRIZZI DRISCOLL
Cape Cod Times
Adam Berry had what seemed like a ghostly encounter, with noises and visions, at his childhood home. Four years ago, the 26-year-old had another paranormal experience, at the Civil War site of Gettysburg â€“ with sounds and sights of a battle â€“ that others witnessed with him.
Berry has been eager to find out more about what could be behind these sightings, and now he has professional help: training in paranormal investigations with Syfy network's â€œGhost Huntersâ€ crew.
ON THE TUBE
What: season premiere of â€œGhost Hunters Academy,â€ featuring Adam Berry of Provincetown
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday
Airing on: Syfy
Berry will host a viewing party starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Provincetown Art House Theatre, 214 Commercial St.
Berry, a Provincetown-based actor-singer, was chosen from more than 60,000 applicants to be one of eight would-be researchers starring in the new season of the franchise's reality competition, â€œGhost Hunters Academy.â€ The six-episode contest begins at 9 p.m. Wednesday and takes Berry and the other recruits around the country to test their knowledge and skills at â€œhauntedâ€ sites.
â€œPeople are going to be hooked from the very beginning,â€ he predicted in a phone interview last week from Provincetown. â€œThe show is CRAZY.â€
Syfy touts international hit â€œGhost Huntersâ€ as the top paranormal franchise in cable. The Season 6 premiere of the original show in March had more than 2.4 million viewers and won its time slot among adults 18-54, according to a Syfy press release. Repeats are also a big draw.
Berry has been a fan of the show and its offshoots (and similar TV series) for years, and helped to start Provincetown Paranormal Research Society a couple of years ago to investigate some Outer Cape mysteries (with â€œmediocreâ€ success so far, he said).
â€œI grew up Southern Baptist, with a heaven and a hell, and I believe in something in between and in guardian angels,â€ he said, calling paranormal activity â€œa passionâ€ he â€œtakes very seriously.â€
â€œFor me, investigating the paranormal helps me to try to find what the answers are and what's out there.â€
Berry sent an application in August 2008 as â€œGhost Hunters Academyâ€ was being launched. Ten months later, a casting agent called to get a video audition, in which Berry mentioned his desire to disprove people who think â€œghost-hunting is BS.â€
Agents liked him, but not for the first round, which aired in November. In January, Berry got a call asking if he was still interested. He said yes, got a congratulatory e-mail within hours, and â€œimmediately dropped everythingâ€ here (including two theater shows) to go on the road in February in the special RV for TAPS, The Atlantic Paranormal Society featured on the show.
â€œI got giddy â€“ I couldn't believe I was actually doing a show with people I've been watching since 2004,â€ Berry said. He described the experience as â€œlike a hard-working vacation. I got to see a lot of places I've never seen.â€
Berry will host a public premiere party Wednesday night at Provincetown Art House Theatre. He can't talk about where the show went, what happened during filming or, of course, who won an invitation to join the â€œGhost Huntersâ€ team.
He actually doesn't know how he'll be portrayed once the many hours of footage are edited. â€œHonesty is important to me, and everything I (said) was how I was feeling at the time,â€ he said, while rivals sometimes played games. â€œI hope I'm not like an idiot, but I'm sure there will be times I think (something) didn't really go down like that but it makes good TV.â€
Preparation and filming were grueling, he said, with recruits trained on TAPS equipment (such as thermal-imaging cameras and digital recorders), then taken to â€œhauntedâ€ sites to try to find scientific explanations for odd phenomena. That meant many nighttime hours trying to contact ghosts or record paranormal activity, plus hours during the day sifting through evidence.
The filming took place only on the job â€“ without what Berry called â€œexternal dramaâ€ â€“ and contestants were judged on professionalism, skepticism, composure, honesty and technical know-how. The elimination segments, Berry said, were nerve-racking, taking hours for various camera angles versus a live show like â€œAmerican Idol.â€
Berry, an Equity actor, thinks his training at Boston Conservatory and his wide-ranging experience with area companies â€“ including Provincetown Counter Productions, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Shakespeare on the Cape, New Provincetown Players, Provincetown Theater Company, CTEK Arts and Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival â€“ helped him to rise to the top of the applicants and served him well on the show.
â€œI can talk, I'm a people person and I have a lot of energy,â€ he said. â€œSchool gave me a lot of confidence in what I do.â€
He's personable and engaging in his audition video, part of which can be viewed at syfy.com and all of which is on YouTube. He talks about past experiences, describes his investigative style, and jokes about how good he looks on night-vision camera.
Berry can't talk about future work with â€œGhost Hunters,â€ but he will amp up local investigations. The TV show â€œmade me a little more of a skeptic, and that's the best way to be,â€ he said.
With his new experience and equipment, his local team will seek out supposedly haunted Provincetown spots this summer â€“ and Berry said stories show there are many.
Anyone interested in a confidential investigation can contact Berry's team at 256-335-6543, PtownParanormal@gmail.com or P.O. Box 326, Provincetown. The society is also on Facebook, where its motto is â€œGhosts were once people, too.â€