Barry Klinge ’06
Just a pair of normal brothers
Barry Klinge is sitting at the airport waiting to catch a flight to Gettysburg, Penn. He and his younger brother, Brad—co-stars of the Discovery Channel reality show Ghost Lab—are on their way to the Phenomenology 102 convention, where the two will be featured speakers on a slate of paranormal activity enthusiasts that includes cast members from Syfy’s Ghost Hunters and A&E’s Paranormal State.
Seems like as good a time as any for a quick phone interview. For the umpteenth time, the Klinges are asked the question they can’t yet answer: Has Ghost Lab been picked up for a second season?
Barry is coy. “I can’t officially say….” But sure enough, the next day the Klinges announce on Twitter and Facebook that Discovery Channel has ordered 13 episodes for a second season.
That the brothers made the video announcement from Gettysburg is significant. It was on a family vacation there in 1990 that Brad Klinge first became interested in paranormal activity after he says he witnessed and videotaped a ghost regiment of Union soldiers marching across a battlefield.
In 2007, they formed Everyday Paranormal and began conducting investigations in purported haunted spots around San Antonio—the Menger Hotel, Freeman Coliseum and the Boerne Public Library. These they conducted on weekends while continuing their day jobs, Brad as an IT consultant and Barry as a PE teacher in the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District (the same schools the brothers grew up in; the Klinges still live in Schertz, actually in the same neighborhood).
They promoted their venture through webisodes on YouTube, which caught the attention of an independent television producer. The team took their idea for a TV show to several networks; Discovery offered them a deal, and the Klinge brothers quickly quit their jobs to begin a grueling, four-month-long schedule to film the first season’s 13 episodes. Discovery debuted Ghost Lab in October as part of its 2009 fall season lineup.
“When it first came out, we got a lot of critics and naysayers,” said Barry. Those included both people who dismiss the field outright as well as fans devoted to other reality ghost shows. But after airing for 13 straight weeks, Ghost Lab and the Klinge brothers now get “overwhelmingly positive” feedback. A recent party at Pat O’Brien’s on the Riverwalk drew 400 fans.
For their part, the Klinge brothers don’t talk about believing in ghosts. Instead, they share the evidence of paranormal activity that they’ve captured using thermal imaging cameras, infrared thermometers, electromagnetic field detectors and digital recorders. They’ve filmed in locations as infamous as Alcatraz and as obscure as the Catfish Plantation restaurant in Waxahachie (by far the most haunted place they’ve ever investigated, Barry said).
Having a full film crew tag along has changed the way they conduct their investigations a bit. For starters, the Klinges now work out of a fully outfitted 24-foot trailer (the eponymous Ghost Lab). And it has become more than a full-time job. “We’re on the road four, five weeks at a time without going home,” Barry said. “We’re living in airports, living in hotels.”
On the flip side, he said, having a hit TV show is pretty cool. Just on this trip to Gettysburg, the airline ticket agent recognized the Klinges and gushed, “I love your show,” and upgraded their seats to first class.