‘The Holzer Files’: When Talking to Dead People Becomes the Family Business

Spine-chilling audio and visual recordings documented by America’s first ghost hunter, Dr. Hans Holzer, are opened and reexamined by his daughter Alexandra

Hans Holzer Alexandra Holzer Files
Travel Channel

Parapsychologist Dr. Hans Holzer changed the face of paranormal research more than a half-century ago, and in Travel Channel’s latest mystical show, “The Holzer Files,” his daughter Alexandra Holzer proudly carries on his legacy by revisiting his groundbreaking – and frequently creepy — work.

On “The Holzer Files,” true hauntings dating back to the 1950s that were documented in letters, photographs and super-chilling audio and visual recordings by America’s first ghost hunter, Hans Holzer, are being reopened and explored by a dedicated paranormal team led by investigator Dave Schrader, psychic medium Cindy Kaza, equipment tech Shane Pittman and Holzer’s daughter, Alexandra.

“I grew up in that environment, and not just with Dad, but with Mother,” Alexandra Holzer said, adding that her mom was a Russian countess. “They both had that background in different areas. And it’s fascinating. So I really can’t get away from it.”

Dr. Holzer wrote more than 140 books about ghosts, the afterlife, witchcraft, extraterrestrial beings and other phenomena. One of his most notable investigations was the Long Island house that inspired “The Amityville Horror.” Plus, Dan Aykroyd has said that he became so obsessed with Dr. Holzer’s writings that it inspired him to write a ghost hunting story of his own. “That’s when the idea of my film ‘Ghostbusters’ was born.”

After her father died in 2009, Holzer went public with her interest in and intuitive talent for communicating with the dead public but didn’t really know what to do with it. Then fate stepped in — when she says that her recently deceased father spoke to her. It happened when she was contacted by Florida paranormal investigators who asked her to do a ghost box session (a radio with a frequency scan mode that ghost hunters say communicate with spirits). She reluctantly agreed.

While Holzer was on the phone with the investigators, they were filming the session on their end with the ghost box in hand.

“Nobody was looking to call out to my father,” Holzer recalled. “They weren’t even thinking like that, they just wanted to invite me because I had been in the field already, and Dad and I had worked together when he was still alive. So, several minutes into the session, a name came through the box.”

It spoke in a different language and had a Viennese accent. Holzer believed it to be her father.

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Dr. Hans Holzer and daughter Alexandra Holzer

“I’ve learned throughout the past decade, you’ll get voices in different tones and accents and sometimes not speaking English because the box pulls in their energy from all around and we’re made of energy,” she explained. “So, he was announced. Trying not to cry, I said, ‘Daddy, are you OK?’ Which is the first thing that you would want to know if your parent has crossed over and you’re trying to communicate. And knowing who he was in life, knowing everything that I was taught, I became that little girl. He came through and you could hear, ‘Yes,’ and then you heard, ‘love you.’ And that was it, and it changed everything for me.”

Unexplainable activity began to rev up at her home about four years ago that further guided her to follow in her father’s footsteps — like, his books literally flying off the bookcase in her room. That’s when she and her husband said, “OK, he’s got our attention.”

“Since then, for several years now, we have been communicating with him. He’ll come when he’s needed,” she said. “I’ll have vivid dreams and we go into dream analysis. It really is all connected. If you have a poignant dream, when somebody you love has passed and they come back and you’re in a kind of a room that you might recognize and maybe they’re dressed not for the right season or time — that’s really them visiting you. I know he’s here.”

And the words his spirit spoke to her that have had a lasting hold are simple and poignant: “One of the things he said to me when we had a session with him, he said, ‘I’m still alive.’ And that’s something he would stay in life. God bless him.”

“The Holzer Files” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. PT/ET on Travel Channel.