Update: Janice Gunter: Ghost Hunter is a webseries by the actress Elizabeth McDonough. The following article is a profile on the character.
New York City native Janice Gunter has been ghost hunting from a young age. As a child, she noticed she had certain abilities that other children didn’t.
In the first grade, Gunter — who grew up in Bay Ridge — said she would see a woman who she thought was an assistant teacher standing in the classroom. However, she realized it was a ghost after asking her teacher about the woman.
“I asked about this lady who kept standing in the corner of the room, and my teacher had no idea what I was talking about,” Gunter said. “I was tuned into that kind of stuff at a very young age.”
Now, as an adult, Gunter takes full advantage of her gift. She ghost hunts for people who need help getting spirits out of their homes. She has a call service, and she also puts flyers up in her local area to try getting the word out.
“I do just a sort of relentless flyering campaign because I want people to know there is help out there,” Gunter said. “Sometimes people have these problems, and they literally don’t know who to call.”
While she works a day job at CVS, she hunts ghosts at night.
“My passion happens when the sun goes down,” Gunter said.
However, Gunter has not always been so openly passionate about ghost hunting. She said that though ghost hunting has become more acceptable in recent years, it was very frowned upon when she was a child.
Gunter used to be embarrassed to talk about her abilities, but she now embraces them.
“I just decided I had to come into my own,” Gunter said. “I have this gift, and I have to use it.”
Bay Ridge was a great place to start ghost hunting, Gunter said. She said there is no shortage of supernatural activity going on for her to investigate. She also ghost hunts in Brooklyn. She does not enjoy doing her work in Manhattan, saying the place is quite corporate.
Gunter’s favorite part about ghost hunting is being able to connect with each spirit. She likes to think of all ghosts as friendly.
“They get a bad rap, but the truth is, you have to know how to talk to them,” Gunter said. “I think of it as a dance. They say it takes two to dance. With ghost hunting, it’s a two-way street — it’s really more of a conversation.”
She said that the main reason for a ghostly presence in a home would be because the ghosts have unfinished business from when they were alive.
“They get caught in a loop,” Gunter said. “They’re just like us.”
Gunter once met a ghost, Charlie, whose unfinished business was making coffee, and she needed to communicate to him that he no longer needed coffee since he was dead. Another ghost she really connected with, Deb, died by choking on a cheese ball right before hosting a cocktail party, so Gunter lured her in with different cheeses and threw her a cocktail party so Deb could feel that she could move onto the afterworld.
Gunter thinks it is cool to be able to connect with people from another dimension. She said sometimes she has trouble talking to real people.
“[With ghosts] there’s no ego involved — they’re not worried about how they look or if they have lipstick on their teeth,” Gunter said. “You get to talk about the real, important stuff.”
Email Natasha Roy at [email protected]