Professor Hans Holzer, Ph.D., was a leading authority in the field of the paranormal. He had earned his Ph.D. from the London College of Applied Science. He was a writer/producer and on camera personality on the popular NBC series “In Search Of…” as well as several other documentaries on the paranormal.
Dr. Holzer was also the author of numerous best-selling books on psychic topics. He had taught parapsychology at the New York Institute of Technology for eight years.
Merlian News: When did you first become interested in the esoteric
Hans : I was about 8 years old and I became interested because I had an uncle named Henry who was very strange. According to family, he was a wonderful man who was interested in what you call the esoteric world; ghosts, faeries, and all sorts of psychic things.
Merlian News: So tell me a little more about your uncle who sparked this interest in you.
Hans: My Uncle Henry, although he worked in his father’s shop, he was deeply interested in strange things, like sleeping in an 18th century bed for instance, having books about ghost and spirits and strange things had happened, and it rubbed off because he and I were very close, and I found it fascinating what he did. He would walk by the river and say, “you see this tree over there? Well there are faeries in that tree and you got to say hello to them”, and things like that. He was very interesting.
Merlian News: So Uncle Henry is your mother’s brother?
Hans: My Uncle Henry has passed over but the relationship seems to have continued, because I have heard from him through a British medium, a number of times. And the last time I had heard from him Philip Solomon said “Your Uncle Henry is here”. I wanted to make sure I was talking to my Uncle Henry, and he said “Just a minute, he says his dog’s name is Rigo”, now who on earth would know a thing like that except the person whose dog it was?
Merlian News: Have you ever personally seen or heard your mother talk to you since she passed over?
Hans: I did see my mother on one occasion. She came to my bedroom where I was sleeping and apparently my head had slipped off the pillow which could cause a migraine, and my mother was there and I felt her hand put my head back onto the pillow.
Merlian News: How old were you then?
Hans: Well, I was in New York of course; I must have been in my 40’s.
Merlian News: How long had she been passed?
Hans: I think she died in ’68.
Merlian News: What was your first professional job?
Hans: I went to college, at Vienna University first, studying ancient history and archeology, in addition to that numismatics. After that I spent three and a half years at Columbia University in the far eastern department at the same time studying Japanese. This is during the war years. Finally I did some more work with theLondon College of Applied Science where I got a Masters in comparative religion and a doctorate in philosophy. A year later I was offered a professorship at the New York Institute of Technology where I taught parapsychology for 8 years.
“I would consider my book Ghosts as my most successful book in the fact that it has sold over 150 thousand so far. It’s an encyclopedia of all the ghost cases that I have been involved in.”
Merlian News: So you started teaching parapsychology at what age?
Hans: I was offered the professorship because Eileen Garrett, a famous medium and psychic investigator, she and I worked together for many years, and she came to me and asked me to do an investigation of haunted houses in the eastern United States. And I got a grant to do this and the grant was renewed and renewed and when it was all done it was around 1960-61. She said I have to write a book, and I said, “Eileen, its time I got a Broadway musical going because I write Broadway musicals” and she said “Yes, but this is important that you do a book, and you can do everything else at the same time but I want you to write this book.” So I said I’d do it.
I wrote my first book Ghost Hunter, it was published in 1963, and it was a great success, eventually 11 printings, probably because I was the first academically trained guy who said there are ghosts and this is what they are. Eileen has passed on, but during her lifetime we had many discussions and investigations together.
Merlian News: How many books have you had published up to date?
Hans: Actually, 138 and counting, and maybe a couple more that haven’t been published yet. I’m looking for a publisher for them.
Merlian News: What books are you about to publish? Anything you can talk about now?
Hans : Well, I have my most recent book, The Supernatural: Explaining the Unexplained. I’m hoping to see another which is just finished called the Spirit Connection:How the Other Side Intervenes In Our Lives, published as soon as we can settle on a publisher.
Merlian News: Hans, are you yourself psychic?
Hans: Being a psychic investigator, and a parapsychologist, sooner or later something rubs off on you. I have been psychic to a certain degree. I’ve had visual experiences. My late mother appeared to me when I was in difficulty at one time, and I’ve heard spirit voices, voices of people who have passed over. Yes I am psychic. I am not a professional medium, but yes I am psychic.
Merlian News: Have any of your children inherited this gift?
Hans: Actually my older daughter, Nadine, has had experiences involving a relative who has passed over who spoke to her.
Merlian News: Do you have a story to tell me about your ex wife who wassomewhat psychic also?
Hans: My ex wife did illustrations on many of my books. She, as a child, lived in a castle in Merano Tirol. She found that her bedspreads were being pulled away from her and then she found out that the house was haunted. She was no longer fearful about the whole thing. She experienced it herself.
Merlian News: Didn’t Catherine the Great appear in one of your photographs?
Hans: Actually, this was during a session with a medical doctor Andrew von Salzawho happened to have the gift of psychic photography. He was given some Polaroid film that was carefully watched, there was no one fooling around with it. He took some pictures when he came to my house for the first time and photographed my ex-wifeCountess Catherine Buxhoeveden. There appeared right next to her in white, a figure that was easily recognizable as the late empress, Catherine the Great of Russia. She was six generations removed from my Catherine.
Merlian News: Are you still investigating ghosts?
Hans: Well, no. I call ghost hunting ‘investigations of alleged haunted houses’. I have done so many of them, and published quite a large amount, many cases haven’t even been followed up. I only follow up places that involve some danger in the house or where it is necessary to free the entity from the house; to free the house from the ghost and the ghost from the house.
Merlian News: Are you afraid of ghosts?
Hans: “Fear is the absence of information.”
I am not afraid.If you know how to handle this, you would never have any problems or danger. But there are amateur investigators who don’t really know what they are doing, they sometimes get in trouble.
Merlian News: Can you give the amateurs a few hints on how not to get in trouble?
Hans: There are many well meaning young people who like to do ghost hunting, my advice is simple. Find yourself a good, proven, deep trance medium and work with them. Because all the apparatus that you bring to find cold spots and all this nonsense about electronic this and electronic that is a waste of time and lack of academic knowledge.
Merlian News: Do you believe in reincarnation?
Hans: I had better believe in reincarnation! First of all I don’t believe in believing. Because belief is the critical acceptance of something you can’t prove. I believe in facts. The evidence of reincarnation is there, in a book I had written some years ago called Life Beyond.
Merlian News: How about you? Is there any particular lifetime you remember?
Hans: Yes I do, I remember very vividly a lifetime in Scotland, in connection with Glencoe. This was a terrible battle during the war between the Scottish Lairds and the German King George I.
Merlian News: What do you do when you’re not working?
Hans: I sleep some of the time. I am not married, and I like dancing very much. I go dancing whenever the opportunity presents itself. I used to write a column about theatre and films, and I’m still very much interested in theatre and films.
Merlian News: How would films feature in this? How to get the message across?
Hans: I don’t have any use for horror pictures. They are purenonsensical fiction. I think that theatre and film are very useful to teach facts about ghosts and hauntings and parapsychology investigations, but it should be done based on fact, even when it is dramatized because it is not only the way people are entertained but they learn something.
Merlian News: What advice would you give a young person starting out in this field?
Hans: Some of the generally interested should go to school and work in philosophy; acquire a PhD in philosophy with a specialty in parapsychology. There are several universities teaching both in this country and abroad and they should also take some journalism. You need the attitude of a good journalist, ‘you got to show me, I want evidence, I want witnesses’. In other words, not skepticism but cautious investigation.
Merlian News: I believe you’re interested in U.F.O.’s. Have you written any or many books on them?
Hans: Some years ago I wrote a book called The UFONAUTS: New Facts on Extraterrestrial Landings. I am currently involved with bringing it up to date. We did another book that is going to be called Our Space Visitors: We Are Not Alone; all of it fully documented, based on facts of life in other galaxies and on other planets of course.
Merlian News:Do you lecture at any of these U.F.O. conventions or give talks?
Hans: I’ve given lectures yes, I give lectures professionally about all of these subjects. I don’t go to conferences unless I know everybody who’s going to be there. Because unfortunately, conferences have people in them who are opposed to some of the proven things, and I don’t want to get into arguments.
Merlian News: Are you still involved with the neo-pagan community?
Hans: Having written in the past three books, dealing with the pagan community, with witchcraft and other forms of paganism, because that’s what it is, yes. The religion is 2,000 years old or more and its still very much in evidence today. I have a book called Witches, Warlocks, and Wizards and it is a book that encompasses all the currently active covens or groups in the pagan movement. I myself have been initiated into the Wiccan/pagan religion three times. I am a High Priest. I am usually considered an elder statesman at the meetings. Nevertheless, I know this is a religion, and like any other religion it is a matter of the other person’s opinion and acceptance.
Merlian News: Hans, how long have you been a vegetarian?
Hans: Actually, I was a vegetarian at age 11. I was ticked off by fellow Americans at an institute, a summer school in Switzerland, falling over each other for meat, tearing it apart at lunch. After that I swore I would never touch meat again. Many years later, 45 years ago, I turned to vegan food. Veganism means you do not touch any animal products, including eggs, cheese, and milk. It is my firm conviction through hard evidence and research that it is animal products that cause most of our illnesses.