Monday, August 22, 2016

Driven: Vol 1. Kyle Kubitz - Ghost Blogs

Passion is not an inherently homogenous term. The more people I meet the more passions I discover in other people who give their own definition of Driven. To start of this series, I am happy to welcome Kyle Kubitz to launch Driven.

There are several reasons why I am happy to have been able to interview Kyle. First and foremost, I’m happy he is alive because a few weeks ago, he went through an event that not many people his age go through and had a stroke. While some people may be left understandably distress by their condition, Kyle has shown drive, dedication, and a will to live and recover that is nothing short of admirable. While some people may take weeks or months to begin showing signs of progress, Kyle did it in days and is showing great progress. When I asked his girlfriend if he might want to consider doing an interview, his answer was when? That’s the type of guy he is. Passionate, professional, driven, and focused.

Another reason why I’m happy to interview Kyle is because I’m a fan of the Ghost Adventures series on the Travel Channel and seeing his dedication and all the work he and his crew put into the Ghost Blogs, it offers a very behind the scenes look at all the work that goes into what he loves doing, which is investigating paranormal sites in the pursuit of answers. I had some questions, and he had some answers. Since I know some younger readers may from time to time venture onto my blog, be warned that some strong language is used during the interview, but in the interest of preserving his messages as much as possible, I’ll be doing a direct transcription of the interview, where Katie Utke also speaks and there even a cameo by one of the wonderful nurses that has been offering care, support, and helping him on his path to recovery. So all that’s left is to see just how Driven Kyle is.


1.     How long have you been doing GhostBlogs?

Kyle:  We formed officially and started in 2011.

2.    What was your initial inspiration for Ghost Blogs?

Kyle: Well we had to do a documentary for a class in college and everybody else seemed to be doing really cliché kind of worn out topics and I saw a couple of episodes of Ghost Adventures and it kind of sparked an old love that I had back in the day. Kind of got me back into the paranormal stuff and luckily I found a group of people who were just as interested in it as I was and we kind of went from there.

3.    Can you tell us a bit about your first encounter with the paranormal?

Kyle: I was in Catholic school and I was in gym class and I volunteered to go down into the basement where we kept a lot of our different toys and sporting goods and I was escorted by a sixth grader who was not completely fond of me and he actually locked me in the boiler room in the basement and I tried to find my way out and I felt hands on my back and kind of collapsed and panicked. And then almost as if to say “hey it’s ok” I felt another set of hands on my back and I stood up and eventually found my way to the door after he came back to the door to come look for me. Because he heard me crying on the inside so that’s what really launched it for me.

4.    What can you tell us about the Ghost Blogs team, past and present?

Kyle: Well in the past we were a very tightly knit group of friends. It started with me and my at-the-time-girlfriend and our best friend Ashley Gibson. We kind of formed it and Ashley’s boyfriend was also interested in the paranormal, so we brought him on and from there, we just kind of snowballed into working on more and more projects. Within the recent years everybody kind of dispersed after we graduated and a reunion wasn’t gonna happen so I had to set out to find a new crew and I was very lucky to find the crew that I have now just because we’re very together. The chemistry is there. Everybody’s style and attitude is kinda in the same vein. We mesh together really really well. Even though I appreciate and love my old crew, I definitely feel like this is the iconic crew that Ghost Blogs deserves. It’s got the personality that the fans deserve. And I think this is going to be the crew that’s going to carry us into the next big step for Ghost Blogs.

5.     What are some of your top locations or dream haunts to investigate?

KyleDefinitely Poveglia Island over in Italy. Bobby Mackey's Music World, that’s a huge one. Waverly Hills Sanitarium. Just about any place that has demonic ties or a very very dark past where people suffered. That’s essentially it. Oh, I would love to do Pompeii. I think that would be utterly breathtaking.

6.    You also play music. Describe your relationship to music and how does music influence GB and vice-versa?

Kyle: Music has always been a very big influence to me. I feel like a lot of the times without the right music you have no direction to go. Luckily for Ghost Blogs, I have had the pleasure of working with one of my musical – he’s basically my – he’s Simon and I’m Garfunkel. Luke Thompson. My brother in arms when it comes to music. That guy is absolutely phenomenal. He’s never delivered something to me that wasn’t absolutely perfect. I’m one of these people that when I listen to music, I see things, in my mind. I think a lot of the times when I listen to certain artists, it influences me one way or another. You know? Because maybe if I’m listening to Manson, I want it to be more gritty. Or if I’m listening to Ghost Bath, I tend to be a little more dramatized in the way that I move the camera and things like that.

I think the way it influences Ghost Blogs is that we don’t sit there and try to portray ourselves necessarily as bad asses. But our music taste and the kind of edge that it brings, creates a little bit more of an intense atmosphere to the style and the persona of the crew.

7.     Tell us a bit about how much work goes into an investigation and documenting it.

Kyle: Well first of all there’s the setup of the investigation which is probably one of the most nerve-wracking things because you’re trying to- you’re basically going in blind to a degree – trying to just get things rolling and you never know what kind of people you’re going to be dealing with and how seriously you’re going to be taken. Then of course we investigate roughly for about 6-8 hours. So #1, that’s extremely draining. It’s very intense.

So continuously recording and making sure that you’re using the different pieces of equipment in unison to try and present evidence. Then the documenting process as far as reviewing is extremely tedious because you already lived the 6-8 hour experience but then in our case we’ve got four people so 4 cameras at all times are running pretty much. So you’re going back over 6-8 hours for each camera. That just becomes very monotonous after a while. But you know, it’s kind of like counting the money after a bank robbery, so to speak.

Katie Utke: And with the different cameras you might catch something on the one camera that you didn’t on the three other cameras.

Kyle: Exactly. Or sometimes you’ll catch audio bits on the camera that you didn’t catch on the digital recorder.

Katie Utke: We also have the EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) going and that again as Kyle said, that’s another 6-8 hours of audio we’re going through.

Kyle: It’s an absolute constant system of checks and balances to a degree. And then having to go through and analyzing – the problem with some evidence is that it’s not crystal clear perfect plain-as-day stuff so it takes a little bit of time analyzing and having to go back and mess with the audio a bit to see if you can get some better frequency pitches to hear things better and, once again, it just becomes very tedious and you never want to overlook anything.  

8.    You recently had a bit of a health scare, how do you think that will make you a better investigator?

Kyle: Well the way I’ve explained it, Death came for me and I told him to fuck off because I had shit to do. So, I think with me having such a close brush to death I think I now understand mortality a little better and I realize how fragile life can be. I’ve always appreciated the opportunity to communicate with spirits but I feel like now it resonates with me a little bit more. In theory, just knowing I was very close to being one of them.

9.    If you had to make a Ghost Blogs themed meal, what would you include in it?

Kyle: Paranormal pasta and red velvet cake with blue frosting.

Katie: How about black velvet cake? You wouldn’t like it black?

Kyle: Who the hell is going to eat that?

Katie: I would. I'd eat anything I think.

Kyle: Yeah I’d probably do that. It would be noodles that are colored black with squid ink. Then it would be a rosé sauce which would be a mixture of three cheese garlic alfredo and a sweet marinara.

10.  I know another member of the GB crew does the music, but would you ever score a full investigation or make an original song for an investigation?

Kyle: We actually have done that for a couple of different pieces. Luke has done the music for our last two feature length documentaries. He did it for The Other Side and now he’s doing it for Skinned again as well. Of course, he and I as a team make up Coma Black and we’ve recycled and used some of our music from the past for Ghost Blogs. But like with The Other Side, we had 2 or 3 different songs that were inspired and influenced by the film. Our theme song at the time is called Haunt Me, which is just kind of a general song about our experiences and stuff at the asylum we investigated. Then we did another one called The Wicked, which was a little bit more of a rock groove sort of thing. Apocalyptic themed song. And then there was a song called Killing You, which basically was written – well of course he made the music and it was phenomenal and we used it in the film. The music inspired me to write lyrics that were very dark and deep at the time to me. That song had a very personal meaning to it and then eventually I kind of adapted it and turned it into a song that’s written from the view point of a psychotic murderer that would have at one point in time been kept in that asylum.

We’re currently working on a song called New Horizon, which is kind of an anthem signifying –

Nurse: Hi.

Kyle: Hey there sorry. I’m recording an interview. I apologize.

(Both Kyle and Katie apologize profusely)

Nurse: No. I’ll come back later.

Kyle and Katie: Sorry about that.

Kyle: That was one of my awesome nurses. We’re recording this right now in my hospital room in the rehab wing of the hospital.

Katie: New Horizon. You were talking about the song.

Kyle: New Horizon, which basically is an anthem that embodies and signifies the formation of the new crew and is basically saying that now this is who we are. Really just solidifying the brotherhood or family aspect. To a degree it is also giving me closure as far as the rest of the crew walking away and everything like that. Still love them all as individuals for the most part. It’s just it’s easy to feel kind of let down when a group of people you once referred to as your family seemed to wash their hands of everything. I was at a point in my life where I felt like I was drowning for a lot of different reasons and then Katie, Rob, and Danielle essentially helped give my life meaning again by showing faith in my passion. Between those three, Luke, and my family, Ghost Blogs has been rebooted and we’re back and better than ever.

11.   What is the scariest trigger object you’ve ever held?

[Trigger object: (n.) an object whose past is tied to a specific location or entity and is thought to trigger paranormal activity.]

KyleI don’t know if I can really say it was a trigger object necessarily. I actually haven’t had the pleasure of working with many trigger objects.

Katie: What about laying down in the, that’s not an object per se or a trigger thing per se but I think that kind of pertains to this. Laying down in the slab… where did you lay, in the morgue?

Kyle: Yeah.

Katie: Anything else you’d think along those lines or anything that would relate to that question? It doesn’t have to be object-wise.

Kyle: We stood in the alleged area where a man had hung himself, in the Annie Russel Theater. Which was kind of a cool sensation, just based on the fact that the stuff of what the rumor or, I don’t want to say legend, but it was definitely something that had been confirmed apparently. Just knowing that we were standing in an area where a man was kicking and taking his last gasp of air was very chilling to me.

Katie: I’m going to go ahead and add a question here: what are some of the darkest encounters that you have had?

Kyle: Definitely one of the darkest ones that really sticks out in my mind would be at Roust Cemetery. Not only were we told to leave by a spirit, we felt like we had something chasing us as we ran to the vehicle. So that was a very chilling, terrifying experience for all three of the people that were involved in that.

12.  What are your plans for the next couple of years?

KyleGhost Blogs. Ghost Blogs. Ghost Blogs. Oh, first of all I’m going to recover from this stroke and get back to 100% and we’re going to continue working on our existing projects which are both musically and visually for Ghost Blogs. We’re gonna finish Skinned. Hopefully release that and give it some legs. Shortly after that, we’re going to be working on a new episodic series, which is the first episodic series we’ve done since the Roust trilogy. And we’re going to call it Northern Darkness and we’re going to focus on the northern part of the country and try to go to various locations. See what we can kick up.

13.  Where can people find more things Ghost Blog related or Kubitz authored?

KyleWe do have a website coming up very soon. Otherwise, I would say your best bet is to go to Youtube and look up Kubitz Vetrone Media. Which not only has a playlist of all Ghost Blogs videos but also has other workings that I’ve done, including stuff from a Florida based metal band, Murderfly. It has some client work there. And we’ll also have some new music videos from my music projects as well, including Coma Black, which is the official band of Ghost Blogs. If you would like to hear more Coma Black or Ghost Blogs Music, go to Soundcloud and look up Coma Black. We will be posting links on our Facebook page very soon as well.


Katie: That’s all we have. Is there anything else that you want to add that you want to say?  

Kyle: I want to thank you Mr. JD Estrada for taking the time to shine a light on something we hold very near and dear to our hearts and something that we’re very passionate about and for showing interest in it. Greatly appreciate it. Wishing you the best as well as all of your fans and followers.


I also want to thank Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions and sharing all of his experiences. I look forwards to a speedy recovery, most investigating, more music, and to someday enjoy a bowl of paranormal past :D 

As part of this series, I did want to make special requests related to the passions of the people who are kind enough to show us just how driven they are. 

Special Request: In the case of Ghost Blogs, I'm actually going to share two requests I'd posted to Ghost Adventures but received no reply. First would be for the crew to play music at a location, maybe record the performance? And secondly, I'd love for the crew to use incense. I think some interesting things could come forth from both exercises. 

For now, thanks to Kyle and Katie for their time and their willingness to spend some time with us. 

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New blog series

Every time I do a Writer Wednesday interview, I can’t help but marvel at how fascinating some people are. I always love interviewing writers because I think it’s interesting to ask things outside of the norm and see how their minds think. They’re passionate, committed, and very driven. But guess what, writers are not the only driven people I’ve come to know.

Through my adventures as an indie writer and interacting with fascinating people of all aspects in life, the fact is clear I’ve met some amazing humans. People with passions, not hobbies, passions, who go for broke, give it their all and inspire others through a variety of ways.

It could be makeup, vlogging, blogging, reading, painting, crafts, knitting, cooking, designing clothes, yoga, bodyboarding, doing podcasts, doing standup, reviewing products, trying coffee, hunting ghosts, exercising, you name it. If you give yourself the chance to interact, you’ll meet great people and indeed I have.

So seeing that I’ve met so many people with drive and passion, I’m starting up a new blog series called Driven. The first entry should be in the coming days so you can meet them AND their passions so stay tuned. For now though....

Peace, love, and maki rolls