Jack Hanley wants to believe.
Hanley is not exactly spooky. Friendly and genial with a booming voice made for radio (or in this case, TV), Hanley is a graduate student at CU focusing on folklore and European History.
And in his spare time, he chases ghosts.
His penchant for hunting ghouls started as a part of the Colorado Folklore Project, where Hanley specialized in researching supernatural folklore. At about the same time, various ghost hunting TV shows were becoming popular. That’s what inspired Hanley to create Colorado X, a show that focuses on the haunted locales of the Centennial State.
“I like to say it’s like X-Files meets Mythbusters,” Hanley laughed.
On the Mulder and Scully side, the Colorado X team investigates some of the most persistent—and persistently creepy—ghost and monster stories in the state, from the ghost in the tower at Mackey Auditorium to the creature in Twin Lakes and the perpetually haunted Stanley Hotel.
On the Adam and Jamie myth-busting side, they approach everything with an academic’s eye, looking for proof instead of speculation.
“Our paranormal research team (Rocky Mountain Paranormal Society) goes up against a group of academics and skeptics including a historian, a philosopher, a psychologist and an investigative journalist,” Hanley explained. The paranormal researchers use video and audio recordings, electromagnetic frequency meters and other equipment to try to record evidence of a paranormal event while the academic team searches for the source of the story and any facts surrounding the case. As Hanley explained it, the show broaches the two sides of the debate, which is not shown on any other type of show.
“My paranormal team operates from the idea that something’s being reported and they go in to see if they can record it,” Hanley said. “The academic team operates from the place of demonstrating: if it’s not supernatural, what else is going on? Each side is much more alike than they’d like to admit. The paranormals are very skeptical. The academic side does approach it from an open mind. We’re just as wrong if we go in and say nothing is happening here.”
As for Hanley, he says he really wants to believe.
“To attribute something to a supernatural event would require extraordinary evidence. But the romantic folklorist part of me would be totally thrilled,” he said.
Episodes of Colorado X will be available on the group’s website, coloradoxcasefiles.com.
Above, some of the team: Matthew Baxter, Jessica McMaster, Jack Hanley, Raiza Rangl and Bryan Bonner.