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Interview with Travis Dahlhauser and Chad Glovier, of Mission Terror

Chad Glovier and Travis Dahlhauser are both Rockford, Illinois natives. They met in middle school and have been friends ever since. Both work and live in Rockford and share hobbies including sports and movies. They also share a more unique hobby – ghost hunting. Travis and Chad formed the Greater Rockford Apparition & Ghost Group (GRAGG) in 2011 and have been investigating haunted locations throughout the Midwest ever sense. They started a web series called Mission Terror featuring local haunted sites. The series was picked up in 2014 by the American Horrors 24/7 streaming television network.

Please tell our readers a little about where you grew up and how you became interested in haunted places and the paranormal. What made you decide to start visiting these locations and putting your investigations on camera?

Our appreciation, fascination, and love of haunted places has developed over time. I think there’s a natural curiosity most people feel about haunted locations and ghostly folk lore. Most towns seem to embrace their own version of the “school bus drove off the spooky bridge” story. Chad and I grew up together in Rockford, IL and always shared an interest in spooky things – horror movies, ghost hunting shows, telling creepy stories, etc. When we hit our 20s, we thought it would be fun to go check out our own city’s haunted locations. Growing up in the Rockford region, most people have heard stories of Blood’s Point Road and places like Twin Sisters Woods. We thought it would be fun to spend a few late summer nights exploring our local legends.

The night we visited Blood’s Point Road, we had a very bizarre experience by the cemetery. It was around 2:30 AM on a Tuesday night and when we pulled up to the cemetery, a creepy old truck pulled into our lane and tried to stop us. We took off past the truck and it turned around and started following us. After putting some distance between us and the cemetery, the truck seemed to stop following us. We waited it out for about 20 minutes and decided to head back. However, this was our first time exploring the web of country roads around BLPT Rd. (as the sign says) and it was dark, so the only sure way we knew how to get home was going back past the cemetery. As we approached the cemetery, headlights of the same truck flashed on and it started following us again. This time the truck got within a few feet behind us at high speeds. We were terrified. Once we got some distance from the cemetery the truck just pulled sideways in the road and watched us drive off until we were out of site.

Chad and I had heard all about the phantom ghost truck that is said to protect the cemetery. We’re don’t know that it was a ghost truck or some strange person following us in the middle of the night (and I’m not sure we want to know), but the whole experience gave us an adrenaline rush that really sparked us taking our interest to the next level. We started going out weekly and visiting local haunted sites and even just driving around the country roads looking for creepy places to check out. Then we decided rather than just exploring spooky locations, we should try to run some sort of paranormal investigations. We did our research and had an idea what went into an investigation, so at first if wouldn’t be strange to find us in some old cemetery or abandoned barn walking around with key-chain flashlights and running EVP tests with our cell phones. Now we’re not recommending exploring abandoned places, but it’s how we got our start. We decided to get some better equipment and our hobby continued to develop. Finally we were ready to branch out and start running some real investigations and some great places.

Actually, we did most of our research using your Haunting Illinois book and the Mysterious Heartland Website. We love the book and the site so much, being interviewed to be on the site is like coming full circle for us. We’re fans of the site, so we can’t believe we get to be on it ourselves! Back to the question, we would research the book and site and look for places that fit our complicated criteria: 1. They looked awesome! 2. We could drive to them. Places that initially stuck out to us were Peoria State Hospital and Manteno State Hospital. Our first investigation of a major location was in Manteno. We had a camera rolling the whole time so we could capture our experience. We were still rookies, but we lasted only 47 minutes in the building at night before packing up and running out.

I decided to make a 20 minute video like an episode of some ghost hunting show for us to look back at our experience. I put it on youtube and people started watching it. We couldn’t believe it. We really had no intention of making a web series out of our adventures. But, people seemed to enjoy it, so we decided to film all our investigations and the series was born. Ultimately, we’re the same two guys who ran barn investigations with key chain flashlights and cell phones – only now we’ve done our research and consider ourselves experts. We were looking for a thrill and we have been able to find it. People find it entertaining to watch two buddies exploring scary places and getting freaked out in the dark, so we’ll keep filming the episodes and continue to have fun with it.

With so many different types of haunted places to choose from, what types of places appeal to you the most? Do you find it difficult to gain access to these locations?

Screen still from Mission Terror

Screen still from Mission Terror

There really are many different types of haunted locations. We really try to give ourselves some variety – both for ourselves and for any viewers. We’ve done landmark theatres, a piano factory turned antique mall, cemeteries, asylums, mansions, museums, roads, schoolhouses, even a junkyard. You name it, we’ll investigate it. Chad always says we’d investigate a porta-potty if we had to and we’d probably capture great evidence. So, we’re always looking for new types of locations to investigate so we’re continually experience new things and giving our viewers something new to watch. However, some of our favorite types of places to investigate tend to be the asylums.

Manteno and Bartonville are standout locations for us. Places of that nature never disappoint. I think it’s because of all the history attached to the location. These buildings were such a big part of their communities. So many people worked there. So many people lived there. So many people died there. The history of these buildings has left an impression on the location and there is a certain atmosphere and feeling when you’re in them. It’s hard explain if you’re not there with us, but the intensity of just the two of us being alone in an asylum and hearing a noise is unlike anything we have ever felt before. Our first major investigation was of an asylum, so they have a special place in our hearts. We also tend to favor places with great historical significance.

We like to profile these places and share the history of the location and its significance to the community. These tend to be some of our favorite segments and some of the segments we get the best feedback on. When we first started out and had no reputation, getting into locations was half the challenge. A lot of the places offer ghost tours or the opportunity for groups to investigate for a fee. Some places are a hard “no.” We’ve been working on this for a few years now and have developed a reputation of running high quality investigations, professionalism, and just being good guys – which has helped us book locations. In many ways the series has helped us so much. We’ve been able to get into locations that don’t allow paranormal teams in because we profile and promote the history of the location.

Once the series gained some popularity and especially since we signed the network deal with the American Horrors 24/7 online streaming television network, we have been able to book some locations that originally denied us access. Many of these locations are trying to capitalize on the revenue they can make with paranormal tours and team investigations and they feel our series can promote that aspect of their business. We’ve even had locations contact us to come investigate because they’d like to start promoting their haunted history. We started off begging to get into locations and now some places we never thought we’d get into are contacting us. It’s mind blowing and so awesome!

Of all the places you have been, is there one you can definitely say is haunted? What is the most compelling evidence you have captured to date?

There are a few places we’d say are definitely haunted. First, we would say a location in rural Missouri called Prairie View Rest Home. It was one of our more intense investigations and we just captured endless evidence. Another location we’d tell you is definitely haunted is Morgan Cottage of Manteno Insane Asylum. It’s the only location we’ve investigated twice and it’s an intense building. The first time we investigated, it was in the middle of the night on a weekday. We were running an EVP test and I said, “can you make a noise?” Within seconds a door in the hallway opened and closed twice. We didn’t capture it on film, but you can hear it clear as day.

We love that location. We’re still skeptical about the paranormal, but we’ve had experiences in those locations that we truly cannot explain. Some of our most compelling evidence happened in two different locations. Our greatest moment caught on film happened in an episode called “Junkyard Games” where we investigated a Rockford business owner’s garage and equipment yard on Rockford’s west side. At one point the door of the garage (which was closed) opened. We turned and looked and immediately got chills. Moments later the door flew open the rest of the way as if someone pulled it open. We replayed and enhanced the sound and we couldn’t hear any wind (it was a calm night). It was an amazing shot and really freaked us out. Another piece of our most compelling evidence happened at a historic Rockford Location called Briggs Mansion. The building was gorgeous and it’s one of our best episodes for both the history profiled, as well as the investigation segments. We left a camera rolling in the Briggs’ master bedroom with a microphone to record any sounds while we investigated the rest of the mansion.

Before the  investigation we put brand new batteries in our microphones. They have a battery life of 5 + hours. An hour into the investigation we went to the master bedroom to check our equipment. We noticed the microphone we left had a dead battery. We couldn’t believe this. There was no reason it should be dead. Then things got more bizarre. Seeing that our mic battery had died, I said out loud, “did you drain our microphone battery? Can you do it again – can you drain the battery on our other microphone?” Within 30 seconds, the second microphone battery died! Usually the low-battery light will give us at least a 20 minute warning, but within 30 seconds the battery went from full, to low, to dead – and it did it on command! Now, this is obviously not 100% factual evidence and people can argue it. But, it was so explainable and such a major coincidence we have to look at it as compelling evidence. We wish you could feel what we felt in the moment. It was crazy!

How have viewers responded to your series, Mission Terror? How did you hook up with Hart Fisher’s online channel American Horrors, and where do you see the series going from there?

Travis Dahlhauser and Chad Glovier, of Mission Terror

Travis Dahlhauser and Chad Glovier, of Mission Terror

We’ve received such amazing feedback about Mission Terror! It is mind blowing to us. We’ve learned that some viewers tune in because of the history of the locations in our episodes. Some viewers tune in because we often find ourselves in some truly terrifying situations. Some viewers tune in simply because they think we’re funny. We’re just a couple of normal guys, who investigate amazing locations! The fact that people we don’t know would watch it and even enjoy it is such an amazing feeling. We try to be consistent and include all the elements that our viewers seem to enjoy. We actually got hooked up with Hart Fisher’s online channel American Horrors through Mysterious Heartland!

He has ties to Illinois and saw one of our episodes on the site. He contacted us and let us know he was interested in showing it as the network’s official paranormal investigation series. We worked out a 3 year, 24 episode contract and our first season is running on Thursday nights right now! We never imagined it would go this far. We’ve been featured in articles on the Bloody-Disgusting website and now we’re doing an interview with our favorite site, Mysterious Heartland! It really is mind blowing. Not bad for a couple of local Northern Illinois guys who like to have a good time and we’re always looking for a thrill. We’ll keep doing it as long as we can and as long as it’s fun! American Horrors has been a huge opportunity for us to reach a new audience and we’re having a blast producing new episodes!

If a genie dropped in and said you could only visit one more haunted location, which would it be and why?

We’ve found that our goal is to profile and investigate places that may be new to wide audiences, so we’re often looking for some of those lesser known locations. Our viewers enjoy it and so do we. However, there are some famous places that would be so amazing to investigate. We’ve actually talked with Alcatraz Island and we hope to one day reach an agreement with them. They’re into it and even said it would be the first time only 2 people have investigated the famous prison. There are so many famous haunted locations that would be fun to do – the Winchester Mystery House, the Queen Mary, Eastern State Penitentiary, some of the famous plantations in the south. I know it can never happen, but if a genie dropped in and we could investigate anywhere, I might pick the White House. How cool would that be? All the history! It’s fun to dream.

What does Mission Terror have in store for us in 2015? Can you give us a preview of some of the locations you will be visiting?

Mission Terror has some good stuff coming in 2015! We finally got into Bartonville State Hospital. That’s going to be an amazing episode. We’ve actually got quite a few investigations filmed and edited that are just waiting for their chance to show in 2015. We filmed our return investigation at Manteno. We did an awesome old school house from the 1800s that gave us some insane EMF evidence. We also have some very interesting locations featured including the Wade Childress Tow Boat, a big ship in Wisconsin that was left abandoned and land locked on the shores of the Mississippi River. That is going to be an interesting episode. We filmed an episode where we explored stretches of Archer Avenue and profile locations featured on the road (Resurrection Cemetery, St. James SAG, etc.). We’ve booked a summer investigation of famous Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. We’ve also been working on the final details to book a few awesome locations including Al Capone’s Steakhouse in St. Charles. So, 2015 is going to be our biggest year yet and we’re excited! I’m sure there will be some surprises and fascinating experiences. We’re also going to continue to film at cool local places. We’ll be doing what we always do and getting ideas from your top 10 lists and using Haunting Illinois to find awesome locations!

Where can our readers go to watch episodes of Mission Terror? How can they find out more information about you and the show in general?

Season 1 is wrapping up on the American Horrors network, but you can watch nights by streaming the American Horrors Channel. For air times and info on the series you can “like” us on facebook and you can visit our website www.gragg.weebly.com. Visiting our facebook page and website is a great way to get information on us, see video and photos, keep posted on series news and upcoming GRAGG events, and to even contact us directly.

Sorry guys, this page is copyright MysteriousHeartland.com, 2015. You do not have permission to copy this for any reason. Please learn how to cite your work. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are courtesy of Travis Dahlhauser and Chad Glovier.

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  1. […] sought out the building as the last remnant of the old hospital they could safely explore. Chad Glovier and Travis Dahlhauser of the Greater Rockford Apparition & Ghost Group (GRAGG) recently posted photos sent to them by […]

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