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Ben Hansen/Devin Marbleby Pattye Grippo    

Ben Hansen and Devin Marble

This is a transcript of an interview with Ben Hansen and Devin Marble on October 22, 2010 about the show Fact Or Faked: Paranormal Files.

Question:
Devin, you walked into an already established show, one that they'd already been working together and everybody knew how everybody worked and you came in and you're the new guy. What was that like?

Devin Marble:
It was very exciting to walk into this show because everybody was so welcoming. Every single person on the show is so incredibly intelligent and talented that it kind of flows very easily and they welcomed me with open arms.

Question:
Of the episodes you've picked for this new season so far, which has been your favorite and why?

Ben Hansen:
I had a couple of favorites. I have to say I think my top though was this first one that you're going to see next Wednesday, the Battle over LA. And it's coupled with the Queen Mary. And I love both of these things. Number 1, the Battle of LA I've been looking into for several years. And I spoke with one of the eye witnesses before he passed away and it really started generating this interest for me into why there's really no resolution. There's no conclusion to what people believe they saw. And then we have the Queen Mary and I've always got great EVPs every time that I've been there. So the other half of the team went out and explored that. So it's a great, great lineup and a lot of fun.

Devin Marble:
For me my favorite cases were definitely more experiment driven. I love the Battle of LA case especially since we got to shoot these really awesome guns. But we got to investigate, right Ben? But we got to investigate all the way in Winnipeg Canada ectoplasm which just brought me back to my Ghostbuster days and those experiments were amazing. And then I think probably the next would be the sea monster that we did in Florida which was very exciting.

Question:
Could you talk a little bit about what each member of the team brings to the investigations?

Ben Hansen:
I guess starting with me, my background primarily was in law enforcement. I also worked for a few different private agencies. So in a nutshell, my degree, my experience is in investigations. I like to focus on the human aspect of interviewing. I've conducted thousands of interviews. I used to work in a special victims taskforce primarily children sex abuse victims and things. And so I interviewed victims, perpetrators. I love getting into talking to witnesses and things of that nature and just overall putting the investigation together.

Bill Murphy is our lead scientist guy. Incredible amount of time invested in the paranormal. I'm guessing here, but I believe he started doing this I think it was about 20, 25 years ago. He's connected to several labs who are tinkering with new the technologies that you'll see used in ghost hunting. He's a documentarian. He's produced several films generally in the ghost hunting realm. But this guy is so well rounded. He's been on Coast to Coast AM a few times and he often tours in conferences and speaks about the technologies and new theories.

Jael a lot of people know Jael Depardo from Destination Truth. She started out as a journalist, investigative journalist. And I forget honestly the name of the program, forgive me, where she had most of her experience. But she is kind of our go to person as far as also doing interviews and with her experience with Destination Truth she's well versed in what it means to get into a new location and culture especially, I mean being from a Spanish background. She helps us out a lot in that.

We have Austin Porter, and he is our stunt specialist that is actually my roommate at the moment. He is very physical and what I mean by that is that actually a lot of people don't know he's an amateur MMA fighter. There's nothing physical that a stunt or something dangerous that he really thinks twice about doing. He'll just go and do it. I think he took gold in the Jujitsu US Open. And he's constantly training. He's actually opened a gym with another guy and he's training now doing - training other people. So.

Chi-Lan Lieu is our photography expert. Her degree and her experience include a lot of work in mostly still photography. But as you can imagine, we have a lot of cases where we're actually getting into the dark room, and we need complete control over the different factors that go into taking and developing the photographs, so she's very helpful in that.

And then we have our newest member, Devin Marble.

Devin Marble:
Thanks Ben. I find that my experience brings to the table for the team sometimes an unorthodox way of making experiment happen because from what we've been investigating, sometimes these paranormal events you can't just think outside the box. You have to just get rid of the box altogether. And, it's about choosing an experiment or a way to test something that is going to get you the solution that's closer to, and I guess that's a vain thing, closer to an answer, but not being afraid to try something that it may not be not being afraid to try something that is unorthodox. So I bring to the table solutions.

Ben Hansen:
He's kind of humble and talk about himself but this guy, the first thing in working with him that I've noticed is how just gadgety and creative he is. We have a new piece of equipment. He's already ripped open the instruction manual and had it figured out like in ten minutes whereas I'm thinking we need a whole day to work on this thing.

You know, and so he's really great in that sense with the technology and construction of different things and the ideas he comes up with. He's always drawing little diagrams like the ACME roadrunner the coyote trying to capture something. He's got these little drawings of how to do it.

Devin Marble:
I'm the Wile E. Coyote of the group.

Question:
Do either of you have a dream case that you'd like to investigate sometime?

Devin Marble:
We may have already touched on one of my dream cases because we investigated the chupacabra. And because I'm from Tucson, Arizona is like an hour from the Mexico border in Nogales. I was very aware of the chupacabra and very excited to investigate that. So, that or Big Foot. But yes, I think the chupacabra was pretty big on my list.

Ben Hansen:
I have a lot of dream cases that I want to investigate. But it's a matter of really time. The stuff that I like tackling is so big and I guess in trying to get your arms around it and even getting people up to speed about what is known. There's a lot still with Roswell and the different aspects of that. And later Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. But you could literally take a good solid week of continuous programming and not even touch the surface of it.

Question:
Ben, with the lines of Fact or Faked being blurred every day in our culture, how does this show help you decipher fact from faked with you're watching the news or reading the paper?

Ben Hansen:
Yes. Let me think about that. Well, I guess to state this carefully, I do have a little bit of sense of being jaded. I didn't know there were so many hoaxes out there until we actually got into making this TV program. I really, would like to sit down and watch a video on YouTube and believe there's maybe a 90% possibility this is exactly what somebody filmed or to turn on the TV stay the news and to believe this story is exactly how these witnesses are describing or the slant this news reporter is exactly the facts.

And I guess after seeing so many videos, talking to so many people, I may have slid more to the skeptical side of I need to do my homework before believing something that you see from the news or somebody's story. Lying is easy. Initially lying is easy. Continuing a lie is not so easy. But most people don't do any investigation to see if there's an initial lie or a hoax or a motivation. And so it's made me more careful, a lot more careful in what I believe at face value.

Question:
Devin, as a tech expert what are some of the things you have to watch out for with electronic equipment so you don't get any false positives or anything?

Devin Marble:
First of all, please, tech specialist. I don't know if I'm an expert at anything because I'm always learning. But I think that that's the biggest thing there is learning. When it comes to using a lot of our technology, you got to make sure that there's not any interference.

That's probably the biggest thing that we come across using so much equipment is we really need to be careful that what we're picking up, if it's a reading or a heat signature or something like that that we're not just picking up some other electrical equipment or the electrical equipment that's strapped to me is not interfering with my investigation.

Question:
Ben, you mentioned that you still wanted to go back and look at Roswell. Do you have any plans to go and investigate the Philadelphia Experiment?

Ben Hansen:
That's a good question. I would love to do something like that. I just read a great book on time travel as well that I think would be a great movie. The problem is that our criteria, we have our three criteria. Number 1 is that there's compelling video or photo, number 2 that we have a credible witness to interview, and number 3 that there's no experiment that we can duplicate or try and replicate. And it kind of doesn't fit other than that format. I'd love to have video of it but I wouldn't be opposed to being a part of some other type of research or project into it. It's an amazing story.

Question:
You talk about all the technology and the different things that you do to, prove whether or not something's true. Do you sometimes not know what kind of experiments to do?

Ben Hansen:
It's always an evolving process. Obviously we have some idea before we get out there because sometimes we come out with very elaborate setups and construction. And so by the time we get out there though, I know without giving too much away. We ran into that situation with part of our team in Argentina. And the case they're investigating, by the time they got out there and saw the setup of what this thing really was, they thought this isn't going to work. I think they took another full day to revamp their experiment and cater it to the situation they were facing. So, yes, it's always an evolving process and we throw around ideas on calling up other researchers, other people that have nothing to do with the show. Sometimes and asking them their ideas on what they believe hasn't been tried yet and what we should be doing.

Devin Marble:
Technology's always getting smaller. And I think that as our technology gets better, our experiments evolve when we get results that may vary. So I think the biggest thing that I've learned is making sure that our experiments is evolved as we best be.

Question:
Are either of you like interested in crossing over to another television show or planning on it in the future even if it's a scripted series?

Ben Hansen:
That's a great question. I have some of my favorites. This is all up to the network if they want to do. I talked to a few people over at Warehouse 13. And some of the scripted shows, I think it would be fun just to be a guest appearance as one of the secret service agents working with them. As far as the reality shows, Ghost Hunters, great people to work with. I was very impressed. It was a lot of fun. Jael did a crossover to Destination Truth. We might be seeing some of that in the next run when we get picked up. And I know there's always talk of little crossovers like that. So yes, I like doing that a lot.

Devin Marble:
I agree with Ben. I'm just getting my feet wet. This first season has been extremely exciting and evolving and learning experience for me as well. So I would absolutely entertain and love to work with other shows or other series or what comes our way. I should add that I'm only good at being myself though. So if I went to a scripted show and they didn't like who I was, I'm not an actor and I'm no good at it. So they'd have to deal with me being me.

Question:
Can you talk at all about the chupacabra case?

Devin Marble:
The chupacabra case was one of my favorites. I was just talking about it a second ago because I live so close to Nogales in Mexico because I'm from Tucson, Arizona. So chupacabra has always been prevalent in the stories in my childhood. And it was probably one of the scariest cases I've ever worked on because we literally had to go and investigate a crypted that is injurious. So it's very much going out into the thick of it and going all right, what are we going to do if we actually find this thing. But, it was a lot of fun.

Question:
Ben, you've done a whole season and you filmed a second season now and I know you're very analytical and very skeptical in general. Has any of this affected your belief in ghosts or Big Foot or UFOs? Have any of those belief systems changed or shifted one way or the other?

Ben Hansen:
Let me kind of break that up because there're several different categories. And ghosts, no I don't think it's really made me any more skeptical. I don't think that there's very many really good videos of possible ghost activity that I've seen yet, but even less so with Big Foot cases. Now Big Foot is kind of an easier to fake. You know, if you get a guy in a monkey suit. But I can tell you this, in doing this show and in talking with people, I've heard some very credible stories of Big Foot type creatures like shaking trailer homes and people witnessing looking into the eyes of these things. Question:
Which holds more sway for you, the evidence or talking to people?

Ben Hansen:
I immediately think of Florida. Let's just say in a normal crime situation, I talked to one witness and they have me thoroughly convinced that their story is true. And then I go and talk to another one that says it didn't happen that way. And they're thoroughly convincing as well. This has always baffled me because they can't all be right. And it's the same with belief. You know, like if you believe everything, in reality you believe nothing because there can't be these conflicting statements that all's true.

Witness testimony as humans, I think we kind of tend to gravitate towards believing what people say because you're getting a full picture of their body language. You want to believe them or you don't, that type of thing. And as far as physical evidence goes, you'll see the same trend in court. It should be more heavily weighted on the physical but more likely than not, most people go with the witness testimony. So it's a constant battle.

Question:
In the Battle of Los Angeles episode, how exactly will recreating the battle help you guys determine whether we were fighting extraterrestrials or just maybe another country?

Devin Marble:
The big experiment was to see if the photograph was faked or was real because there's a lot of questions that we have and a lot of people have about that photograph. So from an experiment point of view, we all really wanted to find out if we took a photo like that ourselves, what would it look like and compare the two.

Ben Hansen:
We have a photograph then we have eye witness testimony. There are possibly a million people, I think it was 1.5 million in LA, up to 3 million in the whole metropolitan area in 1942. But a possibility of millions of witnesses. And so you have the witnesses. But the problem is, there were conflicting statements on the number of objects they saw, whether there were planes in the air or not or even if they was an object.

So when you have one surviving photo that's kind of what you have to cling onto to first of all say, well does this match what people were saying? Do we actually have physical evidence of what eye witnesses said they saw? And if we do, well great. Then we have proof there was something in the air to begin with. And that gets us really far down the line because as the Air Force reported in 1983 it was a weather balloon. We're going off that premise of, could this have been an actual object in the air and could it have been a weather balloon. So that's the part that we were tackling, not necessarily whether it was extraterrestrial or not. But was it explainable or does it still need further review?

Question:
About the photo, how do you guys choose which photos or videos to follow up on from all the ones that you receive?

Ben Hansen:And so once we all get together, we, throughout the week at a barrage of videos going back and forth and trying to get us through that first stage of okay is the video compelling? Is it really cool? Is it something new? And then we go to how success far the witnesses and things like that. So we enter it at different stages if that makes sense because we're all throwing around these ideas and then we assign them specifically to each team member. I want you to find out more about this one. You find out more about this one then bring it to us in the situation room.

Please, please, please anyone who has videos send them to us. We're being more proactive about it because I believe the best videos are not necessarily put onto to YouTube for everyone to see because you know how they can be picked apart in the forums and everything. And if I had a really good video I don't know that I would put it on YouTube. So if anyone has a compelling video, paranormal phenomena, send it to us. You know, it's - the Web site is syfy.com/factorfaked, part of the submission. And you can also connect with any one of us online and Facebook or Twitter it and get us a video link.

Question:
Ben, when you were in the FBI, did you come across any sort of paranormal activity that maybe you couldn't follow up on while you were an FBI agent but made you look back and just wonder?

Ben Hansen:
There are different classifications and things that you work with in the FBI. And some of them are actually classified for national security. And then there's the law enforcement side and they're actually not classified but their confidential because of sensitivity of the case that you're dealing with.

So unfortunately that pretty much covers everything I did there. Unless there's a case that actually has gone to court that adjudicated, I can't talk about my work there. Let's say in my previous life before law enforcement, there're a lot of cases that I had questions on that I now have resources to look into if that answers your question.

Question:
Devin, are you into the paranormal and what's your experience with the paranormal?

Devin Marble:
My paranormal background kind of started as a kid. It's no different than anybody else's as far as like my curiosity is what happens except for when I was 10 or 11 and I went out and spent $100 of my allowance on these little two-way radio headsets that I could use to see if I could find any paranormal type sound waves or radio waves. I really wasn't sure what I was looking for but I wanted to hear something different.

And ever since then, it's just exponentially grown. So it's kind of like a curiosity. Absolutely, I'm very interested in the paranormal. And my experiment background and my technology background is very much trial and error. And making a mistake and doing it again and taking new technology and using it in unique ways to test to see if something is possibly there.

Question:
Can you come to a decisive answer if something is fact or faked with just recreating it?

Devin Marble:
It is absolutely possible. That doesn't mean that it happens every single time. And that's definitely the goal. But in some cases when we do an experiment, sometimes we find that it's so easy to recreate something, sometimes even on our first try, that suddenly the possibility of it being this real paranormal event starts to step kick step slide. That doesn't necessarily mean it's not because unless we personally have seen that fly over our head and can prove it, I think that many experiments keep a big question mark with a 90% debunk ratio, you know.

But I do want to say that there are times when I feel like it's almost like an impact when the experiments point in one direction but the eye witness testimony is so compelling and there's no reason not to believe this person when you look at them in the eye and go this person is not lying, it makes you wonder what really is going on.

Ben Hansen:
This kind of creates a lively debate because I think we have different definitions first of all of what - when people say debunk or they say skeptical or they say believer. What our show aims to do is simply apply the scientific method. You know, this goes back to junior high or even elementary school science class. It's fairly simple that the scientific method starts out with you should main try to maintain a neutrality as to what you believe the outcomes going to be until you develop a hypothesis, you develop a theory and then you develop experiments to test that theory. We try our best I should say to not go into a case saying I'm going to set out to prove that this guy is hoaxing this.

That wouldn't be adhering to true scientific principle. So I don't like the word debunk. That's not what we're set to do. All we're doing is we're saying let's start with the simplest explanation. If that tends to be the most correct, like Occam's Razor let's start with that. If it's not that, let's try something more complex, something more complex. If it comes out, passes all the tests and replication, then that leaves the possibility, a strong possibility of it being paranormal. So in a way we're validating a paranormal, you know. We're just trying to screen out what isn't and doing kind of the footwork for the audience.

Question:
Devin, what do you look forward to or what have you looked forward to and how's your experience been being the newest member of Fact or Faked?

Devin Marble:
I look forward to another season. That's what I look forward to. This first season has been a blast, literally. Battle LA, the first episode of Fact or Faked will be a literal blast. I look forward to more instances of really, really compelling stories and experiments that point to a question mark. And I know a lot of people would say oh I look forward to experiments that prove it wrong or prove it right, but I'm excited to get those experiments that I did everything I could, we've done everything we can and for some reason we're not getting the answer that we need. That's exciting.

Question:
Who would you like most to follow you on Twitter, living or dead?

Ben Hansen:
Well I know who would give you the most followers would probably be Charlie Sheen at the moment. I'm already following him.

Devin Marble:
I would like to be followed by Bill Nye the Science Guy. That's true. He's a pretty harsh critic. You know I actually ran into him at Trader Joe's.

Ben Hansen:
That's funny.

Devin Marble:
Yes. I did. Yes.

Ben Hansen:
I know that MythBusters was invited by the President to do a joint show and with his kids to test something. So I think if the President or someone contacted us, I'd be up for that.

Question:
You spend a lot of time on the show so my question is what do you do when you're not filming the show?

Ben Hansen:
I just got back from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, went with a friend. I really need to unwind. I had a great time there. I don't do a whole lot of traveling when I'm not filming just because I'm pretty much travelled out and it gets expensive. But I live just a couple houses from the beach down here in Orange County, California. So I'm trying to get better at surfing. And then when I'm not doing that, I'm working on new technologies for the next run. You may see a very cool new addition in our technology, some equipment that I've been working on. You may see it in this next six or it might be in the next after that. But I love tinkering. I love going to conventions and trying to unwind.

Devin Marble:
I love to build and fix things. I actually just moved into a house and I completely renovated the garage into an office so I can do my own hobbies and experiments in there. I like to do videography and I like to edit video. I like to work with computers. I'm constantly goofing around with that kind of technology.

I would be lying if I said I didn't like to play video games. My gamer tag on Xbox is Tech Special, come on board if you want to have some fun. So I like to have a good time. I think my friends always give me a hard time because I'm a naturally energetic person. I have a lot of energy and so I don't like to stand around and do nothing. So sometimes if I find a little walk in and I'm installing a ceiling fan in the garage. That happened yesterday.

Question:
Do you guys each have a favorite case that you have worked on in the past?

Ben Hansen:
I know that I've in previous interviews talked a lot about the Indiana case we had in the cemetery. And I wanted to throw something new into the mix. And again, it's probably got to be the Battle of LA is my favorite of this season. It's great to be able to get into there with something that's so historic and add something new to it. Just when the experts, the researchers who've been doing this for a while think they've tried everything, just sometimes step back and look at the simplest explanations.

When you look on the forums, people are still debating sometimes the simplest things. You know, and so to take that and put some of those to the test and then try the more complex ones as well, and get the story out to a wider audience, I bet you that if you ask the common person on the street what happened in the Battle of 1942, they'd have no idea what you're talking about. It's the same thing with the UFO flap over the Capitol building in 1952. People have no idea, no idea that these mass sitings over populated areas took place. And the government you know, has an explanation or something or other people do that just doesn't seem to add up.

Devin Marble:
You know, I've been asked this question a couple of times already and it feels like it keeps changing. Every time I remember one of our cases I go oh I liked this one better. So one of my favorite cases that we worked on, if you're not a fan, nobody is not a fan of Ghostbusters. And when we did ectoplasms, when we went all the way to Canada to do ectoplasms that was epic for the geek inside me.

Question:
Devin, what are your favorite video games?

Devin Marble:
My favorite video games? Well I just had a Kinect. I like Halo. Halo 4, I like or the Halo retread and the Call of Duties are great. I like all those games. My dermatag's Tech Special. I will have to say though that I do have a guilty pleasure and that would be Dragon Ball Z. I do enjoy some anime. So I like those Dragon Ball Z games too. Hey, what are you going to do? I am what I am.

Question:
Now that you're more popular, do you get more and more people sending something so I have to go fake something in order to find something. Do you get a lot more people just sending in hoaxes?

Ben Hansen:
It seems to me that there's a higher proportion of faked videos when they're submitting them as opposed to when we're finding them. We've had some funny ones, definitely some funny ones that have been sent to us. But really I think once you get the video and then you get to the point of talking to them, setting things up, if it were a hoax, a lot of those tend to fall apart right away because they're - they suddenly realize oh they're really going to come out and do this maybe, and do I have to keep this up? And if this is a lie how far is it going to continue? So, I'm not too worried about it. We really just want to see what's out there. We want those hidden treasures that people have been holding on to and want to take a look at them.

Question:
Have you ever gotten like a hoax that you really honestly believed up until the very end and then the person admitted that they faked it?

Devin Marble:
That does happen on occasion in the situation room where someone will bring something to the table and another one of us had actually kind of looked into that and went actually that's this. And we're all like aw, that looked like so much fun. So it has happened. It has happened.

Ben Hansen:
Because we are looking a lot at the same videos, some of us like I said, we're always passing them back and forth. But sometimes if someone presents something and the other person knows more about it then you sort of feel like an idiot. But that's what we're there for is to help each other and to help research. We all have different connections and an insight that the others don't. So it can be disappointing when you find that one of your videos is hoaxed, but I'll tell you what, some of the classic cases, for example, that have been deemed as hoaxes, the debate still continues online.

And I'm thinking of like the Patterson film for Big Foot. Many people would believe that the man who filmed it, some people say he admitted it, others say that he had the costume receipt that he rented or the check canceled check that someone has that. The debate still continues. So it's hard to even have a good hoax video to have the hoax stick to it if that makes sense if, yes.

Question:
What's something that you'velearned about yourself through the experiences?

Ben Hansen:
I've learned that as much as I have experience in interviewing people, hmm. I'd like to say that I'm very open and very believing to what people tell me, but I'm perhaps more of a, I don't like to use the word skeptic, but I'm more of a kind of a show it to me before I believe it type of person than I thought that I was, but I'm okay with that.

I really am because it only takes a couple times of being burned really badly for something that you realize you've got to be cautious in what information you accept. And if you can do something about it, simple research, simple background, simple questions that makes you feel like you have more and more control over it and that's what I love to do.

Devin Marble:
I know. I'm pondering this while you're talking. You know, kind of word it the best way because when it comes to any science experiments that I've ever done, I've always known that you have to ask all the questions and try pretty much anything. But even more so when it comes to paranormal experimenting or investigation into something that really nobody knows anything about.

But anyway, even more so with paranormal, you have to really try everything, you know. You really have to try the unorthodox. Even if it seems like this experiment isn't going to work, we know it's not this, you know what, we got to do it anyway because that experiment sometimes brings up something else that will affect the next experiment. And so I guess that's what I've learned is even more so, you have to be open to unorthodox experimentation with paranormal activity.

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