You paranormal-activity junkies know Amy Bruni as the auburn-haired, steely-nerved investigator on Ghost Hunters. She joined the TAPS team on camera back in 2008 and has been with the team for over 100 episodes. Tonight’s season nine midseason premiere marks Amy’s official return after her pregnancy and maternity leave–a journey that redefined the way she sees ghost-hunting andapparently made her more attractive to child spirits. I caught up with Amy on the phone the other day about being pregnant on the job, her impossibly adorable eight-month-old daughter Charlotte (who cooed away in the background the whole time), and more.
Fans were all over the news of your pregnancy when it came out–it seems like everyone wanted to know how long you’d keep investigating. Privately, though, how did you want to approach the whole work thing?
AMY: Basically, I always knew I would investigate until I couldn’t anymore. I thought, “If we’re local, I’ll investigate until I go into labor–as long as I’m close to the hospital, it’s fine.” I wasn’t concerned about the ghosts. What ultimately put me into maternity leave was the travel–the point where I couldn’t fly anymore. That, and [the thought of] a pregnant woman investigating in the dark and climbing up and down the stairs in some of these places we go to, which are kind of decrepit. Once, we were on this ship and I saw huge asbestos signs–it was just like “OK, not going here!”
How did the team react when you first told them the news?
It was hard because you have to wait a certain amount of time, but I was really sick, which was tough to hide. I also didn’t want to overshadow Grant leaving. I told them all separately. Tango was immediately like, “Can I be an uncle?” Jay, because he has five kids, knew what my limitations were. Sometimes when it got late he would take one look at me and be like, “Go to bed.”
What about the work itself–did being pregnant change your perception or your approach when it came to ghost hunting?
I could never tell if it was my hormones or if I was legitimately more in tune with things, but I felt more empathy, and I do now, especially after having Charlotte [Editor’s note: Charlotte babbles preciously, right on cue].Becoming a mother does something. We were at this jail once, during my pregnancy, and I felt what felt like something hugging my legs, low to the ground, like a little kid. It was a really strange feeling–it really got to me, like, “Do they know that I’m gonna be a mommy?”
And how has it been jumping back in and juggling the work with motherhood?
The first time I was away I was worried the whole time. But by the second or third trip, I realized it was like a little vacation–I got to sleep in and go to dinner! I love my job, so I’d missed it like crazy. And it’s great to be back with the team, because they’re like family.
So what can’t you wait for everyone to see this season?
The first episode is the Shreveport Auditorium [in Shreveport, Louisiana] and I can’t say too much, but some really cool things happen. Another one of my favorites was a winery in Missouri–I’m a little bit of a wino. And we went to Vegas to investigate at the Hoover Dam Hospital.
I’ve always wondered something: is there any consistent difference between the way female and male ghosts behave?
They’re all pretty unique–I mean, they’re people. But I feel like female entities are a little more comfortable with approaching me. They won’t interact with the guys sometimes, and vice versa–the men sometimes don’t have the same respect for me as when the guys come in. Something we have to take into account is that these are people [who lived] a long time ago, when people were treated differently.
And speaking of how ghosts treat people–what’s your advice to people who believe they have a paranormal visitor in their homes?
The first thing I always ask them is: “Why are you scared?” I first and foremost always try to remind them that they’re people. If you want to investigate, use a recording device on your phone to try to capture what you’re hearing. Start there. You don’t have to put up with ghosts–you can let them know they’re making you uncomfortable. But if you react to them instead of just freaking out, it’s not so scary. They might not be roommates you asked for, but you’re already living with them.
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