As part of publicity efforts for the television show Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, Ben has given hundreds of radio, television, Internet, and print interviews. He also makes an effort to respond to every email message sent to him, but as can be expected, many of the questions asked of him relate to the same topics. It sometimes becomes very difficult to respond to each and every person in a timely manner. Dozens of Ben's past interviews are located online, but this section will more efficiently consolidate some of the most common questions so the reader doesn't have to search multiple websites. Be sure to check out the biography page as well for more details to common questions. The following are FAQs with answers directly quoted from Ben to questions posed in press and fan inquiries.
I'm between 6'3" and 6"7" depending on which convenience store I'm leaving. Joking aside, I'm exactly 6'5 and 3/4" tall and yes, I did play basketball. The extend of my basketball career was playing for a college in Australia, but it's really not a big deal there. College sports in Australia are more like extracurricular clubs so it doesn't say much about my playing ability.
There are two places to check for the most recent updates on where I'll be: 1) The events page at BenHansen.com and 2) The events page at www.factorfakedfan.com. Either one should have a fairly accurate board posting of upcoming events. If you organize events and would like to have me as a guest or think there's an event I should attend, please have the event organizer contact my manager Mike Roberts. His contact info can be found on the events page.
I had heard that a production company was looking to create a paranormal show.
When I was introduced to the production, I had a group of friends I'd known for quite a while who had investigated with me as part of a rather informal paranormal group. We all sat down and started discussing ideas of what types of paranormal shows were currently on TV and what types of things we felt were missing from those shows. From those brainstorming sessions, we narrowed our focus on looking at alleged paranormal videos and photos. Our goal was to bring new and cross-over technology to the field in an effort to sift through the merits of a case, utilizing a more methodical process than had been done previously on TV. After about a year from our first meeting, the show was green lit by SyFy and we were filming!
I've been interested in paranormal mysteries since I was about 5 years old and saw the movie E.T. I especially took an interest in the subject of UFOs and space travel, although I was afraid the topics were rather nerdy and I was embarrassed that my friends would find out I studied them. My dad brought me books and newspaper clippings, but I would hide the UFO material when my friends came to visit. I started my first ghost hunting excursions while I was in college and about that time I also became really interested in cryptozoology. In being open-minded about various theories and phenomena, I always tell people, "Don't believe everything you hear, but don't disbelieve something just because you haven't heard it before."
I have lots of different investigations that are my favorites for different reasons. The most perplexing case I'd probably have to say is the "UK Disappearing Woman" which was a video of a woman who seemingly disappears from her bed for 13 minutes, almost dissolving into her mattress. I also get lots of questions and comments about the "Fresno Nightcrawler" case where the video depicts strange creatures walking across a family's front lawn. Although I was not with the team on that case, I feel that if it were hoaxed, the home owner had to be in on it. He didn't seem to fit a typical hoaxer profile. If it wasn't CGI, then the man recorded some extremely bizarre phenomena.
I also have favorite investigations because they were my first time witnessing a strange event. For example, the "Indiana Graveyard Caretaker" case was the first time I witnessed what was a truly convincing event of object manipulation. I'm still searching for a plausible alternative explanation, but I saw right in front of me a pile of leaves depress in the shape of a footprint.
I actually have worked for several investigative agencies, both public and private. The FBI was one of the last and perhaps the most well-known of my former employers and therefore the one most cited when referring to my background. Although I'm no longer employed by them, I've left the door open to go back to the FBI or another law enforcement agency. I've always had a passion for serving in the public sector and using my skills to put away criminals, but I've also always wanted to be able to earn an income while being able to explore the mysteries that held my attention since I was a child. Not many people are lucky enough to be able to work in the paranormal field and get paid to do it. Although I had no real TV or film experience, the opportunity to host a TV show on the paranormal subject was presented to me and I went for it to try it out!
The FBI is a great agency to work for and if becoming a Special Agent or working in one of their many support positions interests you, I highly suggest you check out the Bureau's career section by following the link HERE.
For those asking about CG hoaxes, we do see a LOT of them. Some are good ones; some not so good. Still, cases that ultimately result in CG findings also give us unique opportunities to test and practice our creative skills in devising other ways to create the same image without computers AND by doing the case, they provide us with insight as to the background, deception techniques, and motives of viral video hoaxers.
Many of the elaborate experiments we conduct come directly from theories posited by online readers. As improbable as some experiments may seem, it's actually only through demonstrating the weaknesses of the theory that certain viewers will accept the CG scenario. I've been pleasantly surprised with how similar many of our experiments have come close to replicating CG videos. Not to mention, CGI videos are some of the most entertaining not only to watch, but to watch the hoaxer's reactions and nervous comments when they try to defend them. As we see more and more of these types of videos, it becomes increasingly important to learn more about the types of people who create them and why they do it. Interviewing hoaxers first-hand is a tremendous source of primary evidence supporting this knowledge base. Every time we identify a hoaxer, it makes the remaining cases that much more valuable and probable as legitimately unexplained. For those desiring to know more, I'm developing hoaxer profiles which I plan to present in either a book or future lectures.
The best place to send videos or photos is on the show's official website. There's a link to upload media and our team can review it there. We have a team of about half a dozen full-time researchers who assist us in vetting videos alongside the 6 team members you see on camera. The Fact or Faked team emails each other and the additional researchers back and forth throughout the week to share videos and ideas.
Because the team is often out in the field traveling and filming, the sheer number of submissions and news breaking stories would be very difficult to keep up with if we didn't have the submission link and additional assistance. Many of the investigations we open also start from direct contact to me or one of the other team members at conventions or online, but please understand there may be significant delays before we're able to review them depending on our schedules. The show's website with the submission link is www.syfy.com/factorfaked
I'm also constantly looking for new technology or "cross-over" technology (common tech intended for another field but with potential to be used in a new or unconventional way). If you have experimental technology you have developed or think could be used successfully in an investigation, please contact me. We'd love to check it out and see what we can do to put it to good use and highlight your product!
One of the biggest challenges in making a TV show like Fact or Faked is finding enough time to cover everything we'd like to in a one hour program. After accounting for commercial breaks, there's approximately 17 minutes of air time dedicated to each investigation. Within that amount of time, the team deliberates on which cases to investigate, background is provided on the case, witnesses are interviewed, experiments conducted, and the team then reunites to discuss the findings. Many cases include a day or night paranormal field investigation and some do not.
It's not unusual for actual filming to span 3-5 days for each 17 minute segment. There may be as many as 80 or more hours of camera tape to be edited down to just those few minutes. Consequently, the great majority of what we film in the field will never make it to air. On occasion, we have full night investigations that resulted in little or no findings or experiments that seemed less significant after conducting them and they don't make the cut. It's simply impossible to squeeze all the content of every possible theory, experiment, or team member opinion into such a short amount of time despite the amazing editors who have to review all the tapes. To remedy this challenge, I try and avail myself of online postings and radio interviews to answer questions after an episode airs. In order to justify going back to a case we've already done, we'd need new, significant evidence. To date, we haven't gone back to a field investigation we've already done, but I have kept in contact with the witnesses of many previous cases.
On occasion, opinions of the team are quite different as to the conclusion or merits of a case and not all of those opinions are able to be voiced in the final cut. I always tell people to try and follow up with team members online because their insight can help clarify what may not have been shown in the show. SyFy has also placed extended scenes to certain episodes on the show's online website for the benefit of the curious.
The best way to have an opportunity to appear on Fact or Faked is to bring the team a video or photo that gets chosen for an investigation. The current format of the show has not had viewers as guest investigators, but that doesn't mean that's not a possibility in the future. As far as joining the team, if there are any vacancies to be filled, casting notices will be posted online. I may make announcements if and when that occurs, but there is currently no designated website to check for openings.
Due in large part to the success of Fact or Faked, I've branched out from TV hosting and have also started executive producing several new shows in development. If you think you have a really good idea for a new show (it doesn't have to be paranormally themed) I'd love to listen to your pitch. There's a release form that needs to be signed first, but if my partners and I think there's potential for your idea, we can discuss how we can get you involved to see the idea come to fruition. Go to the TV Productions Page for more info HERE.
Unfortunately, the network doesn't have an official system or budget set up for mailing out complimentary photographs. I would love to sign any photo you would like signed for free, but at this moment I don't have an address or P.O. Box set up to where I can be assured that I'll receive it. The address to the Fact or Faked production studio is:
Ben Hansen- Fact or Faked
4540 W. Valerio Street
Burbank, CA 91505
Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope so I can return the photo that you provide. When we're in-between filming, it can be weeks or months before I go to the production studio so unfortunately there could be a long delay and there's no guarantee it won't be lost in the interim. The other alternative is to purchase one of the professional headshots and photos that are for sale at www.fofgear.com. Shipping is generally quite fast. I would love to give complimentary photos to everyone, but the demand creates a need to cover the costs of printing, photographers, and to pay those who process the requests.