Alexandra Holzer: An Interview with The Paranormal Daughter

Alexandra Holzer: continuing her father's legacy.
Alexandra Holzer: continuing her father's legacy. Photo courtesy Alexandra Holzer

The daughter of the original Ghost Hunter talks about her father and how she is carrying on his legacy

With all of the formula, phenomena-in-every-episode ghost hunting shows on TV, it’s unfortunate that many viewers and even investigators are not familiar with the real pioneers in the field of paranormal research. Hans Holzer was one of those pioneers. He was the original Ghost Hunter and conducted many hundreds of ground-breaking investigations using the “Holzer Method” and wrote dozens of books detailing his cases.

Today, his daughter Alexandra carries on his brilliant legacy (Hans Holzer died in April, 2009) with passion, intelligence, a sense of humor, and little tolerance for the kind of nonsense that sometimes crops up when paranormal research deviates into entertainment rather than a serious pursuit.

I spoke with Alexandra about her father’s work and methods, growing up as a Holzer, her own take on ghost hunting, the current and future state of paranormal research, and some of her most significant experiences.

Q: Your father, Hans Holzer, the original Ghost Hunter, believed that ghosts don’t know they are dead. Do you share this point of view?

Alexandra: Yes, I do. The term “ghost” means to be either “stuck” or in a state of confusion at times. Of course, this is all dependent on the poor soul’s demise, but case in point, they do not realize they have left their bodies. In many cases, this perpetuates a Grade A haunting in which the person that is no longer lingers about – and again here, dependent on why.

For example, if one dies suddenly and tragically in a car accident, he very well could be wandering aimlessly around the crash site for a long period of time, confused and unaware that he is deceased. Other times – now I say this because, again, it is subjective based on a belief system – some believe angel guides come to help try and cross the ghost over.

In other instances, the newly deceased person can separate themselves from the accident scene and visit someone close to say goodbye and then cross. That case would make them a spirit, hence the term “free spirit,” and has gone to the next level in their new life through the veil. Some folks are confused while others are stubborn and refuse to leave the premises. Like art, a ghost’s position can be subjective as in life, and how they choose to live at times. Stubborn in life can also be stubborn in death. I should know, my father still nags me from beyond!

Q: Psychics or trance mediums were an important part of your father’s investigations. Do you agree that they should play a necessary role?

Alexandra: I do. Trance mediumship is an old-school form of connecting with the other side to communicate, like a phone conversation. Prior to the many gadgets [now commonly used], this form was widely used and yielded fantastic results, showcasing that there is indeed another side to life.

My father combined the use of mediumship with science and is known as “The Holzer Method.” What was around at that time to record data and conclude each case were Kodak products and Sony products to film, photograph, and record the dead speaking and moving about.

I am going to take you back a bit in my paranormal time-machine, but it is necessary to explain that back then with cassette tapes we have EVP (electronic voice phenomena) and fluid conversations recorded. It is nothing new, nor is a medium being able to decipher unknown information to the living.

It's really down to whether or not one is willing to be open enough to believe, try and witness this, or simply be close-minded and walk away from its infinite realms of possibilities. Based on that alone, yes, I feel it is necessary and an integral part of a proper investigation if one is truly looking to yield a balanced conclusion and/or fuller data on the haunting.

Q: Did your father talk to you about the paranormal and ghosts, or did he try to shield you from them?

Alexandra: It wasn't so much about talking about it as it was around all the time.

In Vienna, Austria, we bought an old farm house that we converted. Correction: that my mother converted, as my father never met a hammer or nail he liked! My father would write many books at this house as we traveled around a lot. Within several days, we found out we were not alone in this picturesque, Sound of Music home up on the mountains. We were indeed being watched by the lady of the house!

So, go figure. We bought a haunted farm house. It was quite the paradox. Understand, this was in the early 1970s and no one was talking about renting or buying haunted property, like it's a great story to tell today. Also, my father was the main go-to guy, if you will, on paranormal topics and happenings. Even though he broadened his horizons to reach the occult, witchcraft, UFOs and such, he was The Ghost Hunter and called that for a reason.

No... no shielding from anything as I grew up in an eccentric, tree-hugging, vegan-styled bohemian setting. I don't even think they put me in clothes until I was a year old. I have a lot of naked baby photos where, I think, at that point could they have dressed me a bit? Yeah, it was definitely an organic lifestyle, and whether it be ghosts we ran into in the middle of the night getting a drink of water, or during the Class A typical mountain thunderstorms, seeing an elderly woman's face flash before your eyes in front of the window panes... I wish I had a shield then!

Q: You have become a known paranormal investigator in your own right. What fascinates you most about the paranormal?

Alexandra: I have? That's certainly news to me, Steve! [laughs] I think it's a mixed bag of feelings over what I am, but being you've asked the question, I shall reply with this: Everything and anything that is not normal fascinates me. From the personalities that some give off creating a funky vibe, I think, Who were they in a past life to make them so weird? to our universe and that how is it possible it's just us?

It is safe to say that when I was born, and the stars aligned for that moment, coming into this world from both of my parents...

I was doomed. My mother's father, Russian Count Alexander Buxhoeveden, held séances way up on a hill in their castle – yes, castle in Mirano, Italy, where my mother Catherine was born. Her mother, Rosine Vidal, who married The Count, was a clairvoyant along with her sister, Paulette. She was Parisian and had a strong faith in Christianity, but also ghosts and what happens when we die. It was not a very orthodox way to be back then, but she, too, Nana, was “out there” in terms of the paranormal and experienced much of her life in it.

As for father, well, we all know his story by now, or at least we should. But his was of a birth of a calling and path to become a pioneer in the field of psychical research. The latest item that fascinates me is the moment of death and leaving our body via the chakra. It's a little woo-woo for me, but I think you get what I'm saying. I cannot turn off what I was inheritably born with and into. I tried to run away from it like a child afraid of the dark, but, alas, it found its way back to me throughout my life and hasn't stopped.

Next page: Ghost hunting TV shows; paranormal experiences

Q: Do you have an opinion about the state of ghost hunting shows on TV? Are they good or bad for the field of investigation?

Alexandra: Oy veh, this question [laughs]. Okay, let me see how I can delicately answer this one because, again, here is where some may presume why I say what I say is out of spite or jealousy, but I cannot worry about that, can I? In my honest opinion, from what I see, hear, and have experienced, anything that is put out there to bring about awareness in a positive light is a good thing.

However, the opposite of that occurs as well. I feel that they are both good and bad for the field, and I definitely feel nothing comes close to the real field on television these days at all. Even a more historical documentary on the field would yield far better information and interest than what's deemed “the field of investigation” being portrayed these days.

Have things changed? Absolutely. They are supposed to. It's called evolution and that includes the study of the paranormal. But how one goes about it or to grab their fifteen minutes of fame is another story. I get crucified for continuing – and have continued for decades – my family’s lineage, ideals, and theories, yet somehow  it's okay for a person to be cast [on a TV show] who was a former actor or model, or just a lucky YouTuber to be on a show that depicts more than “the field.”

It's just not a comparable conversation at the end of the day.

[Paranormal] shows of today have their own category, and reality television has cultivated a different following, garnering what many think is the field. In reality, it’s not. Okay, here comes the hate mail.

Q: Not from me. I agree completely. I have been approached for TV shows as well, but I feel that there would be too much compromise. You’d have to be willing to go along with their staged “discoveries” for the sake of the show’s entertainment value.

You have many years of investigation ahead of you. What do you think (or hope) the future of paranormal investigation will be?

Alexandra: I do? Oh, yes I do! Seriously, it is my hope that with all the new technology we do not forget some of the older techniques that still play an active and important role today. I am part of that movement, and that’s why you don't see me backing down or giving up the soap box rants and raves.

I also hope more like-minded people will embrace the theory of life after death and see that we are only a small part of a larger picture. As a whole, we are a puzzle that has no beginning and no end. I see ourselves floating about the center of greatness. I also see that we destroy this greatness, and my fear is that as a result of that action will do ourselves in.

Respect for our dead and respect for those who came before must be understood as we learn about our presidents and forefathers throughout history. It is my hope that the younger generation will look to digest this. Go forward with the clear and kind intent to long for knowledge of what is larger than us all. To comprehend in this field, we are all truly one, no matter how many television shows you've appeared on or pictures taken with “celebs.” You put your sock on one leg at a time, just like everyone else – unless, of course, you're a humanoid, in which case I have no clue what they wear!

Probably naked, like me as a kid!

Q: Can you tell us something about your most frightening or significant paranormal experience?

Alexandra: It's not so much that I have one in particular that would be so frightening. It’s more that it is significant because it showed me that life does exist from beyond. Believe it or not, with all my haunted happenings as a child, all my premonitions and experiences of ghosts sitting on me, walking past my living room, stories told, cases abound in my face, my late aunt's death began that significance.

She opened up my ears, literally, as I heard her speaking to me after she passed. I had a hard time with her loss as we really didn't lose many as I was getting older. That died down. Sorry, bad pun. I couldn't wrap my brain around her being gone. I wanted, no, I needed to know where she had gone.

After that experience, which went on for over a year, she told me it was time for her to go in deeper and she would no longer be visiting me.

I was crushed. I would chat with her as the kids were in school, baby at home, and a couple of dogs hanging about. It became normal for me to meditate and then hear her as she spoke of what she was doing and so forth. She told me that there is someone in charge, and that if she felt to be a dew drop one time, she could. She also mimicked eating breakfast. One day, I said jokingly, "Do you want me to make you something and leave it out?" I know, I know... but even having my own children, I am still very much youthful in mind and heart. I just wanted it to be real for her to come down here and sit for a while.

Teleportation for spirits is a needed device and product, I feel. In any event, my aunt said that was okay and that she just had enjoyed her cup of tea and toast with orange marmalade, a meal she'd enjoy often in life with her husband. I didn't know this. I told her husband about this conversation and he was silent. After what seemed like an hour, he answered me, telling me how she ate this with him before going to work. She was a graphics designer for Newsweek and an avid runner, doing the New York Marathon and such. She continued this until she lost her battle to a rare form of lymphoma, where the tumor began to grow on the outside of her leg. This was a huge blow to the family, and began a series where we began to lose family members. Father, then Nana, and on it went.

I have dreams and they’re sitting in a room that I sort of recognize, but it's not quite the room one would be in for a sit-down conversation. After father passed, he came to me three days later as this death... well, let's just say I have yet to grieve or let out his ashes. I cannot bring myself to do it. And with this field blowing up due to cookie-cutter formatted shows, it’s even harder for me because he was the real deal. His life meant something grand and stood for so much.

He was a rare bird, not to be imitated in any form, as I believe that was the design of the higher-ups.

In death, my father shows me life. That's where I am up to right now. I have no idea what the next chapter will be, but I am following my intuition, gut, and passions, regardless of the nay-sayers or believers. I wear horse blinders to navigate through that sort of muck and listen to father and my guides on a daily basis. And it ain’t easy! But it is a necessary evil for me to survive this crazy life path for which I know many just cannot comprehend. I am on an island and looking out for my rescue vessel. Until then, "onward and forward," as father would say, as well as, "Don't take any sh** from someone who doesn't know their sh**!"

Alexandra Holzer is the author of Growing Up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir and Lady Ambrosia: Secret Past Revealed. You can learn more about Alexandra, her investigations and projects at: http://www.alexandraholzer.com/