Jason Conrad Hawes (born December 27, 1971) is an American plumber and the founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), which is based in Warwick, Rhode Island. He is also one of the stars and co-producers of Syfy’s Ghost Hunters, which is in its ninth season.
Hawes was born in Canandaigua, New York and moved to Warwick, Rhode Island in 1979. According to his own account, Hawes began to see apparitions at the age of twenty after a girlfriend who practiced Reiki manipulated his life force energy. Paranormal researcher John Zaffis told Hawes that he was becoming sensitive to paranormal phenomena. Hawes founded the Rhode Island Paranormal Society (RIPS) in 1990 as a support group for people who had paranormal experiences. When Hawes was twenty-two, he first met Grant Wilson after Wilson offered to redesign the RIPS website. Wilson subsequently admitted that the real reason he wanted to meet Hawes was that he had undergone an intense, recurring paranormal experience between the ages of fifteen and seventeen. Hawes and Wilson went on to found TAPS together.
Interests and hobbies
Hawes has varied interests outside of TAPS, including the fine arts, deep-sea fishing, competing in martial arts, camping and hiking, and cooking. He has written two books on the paranormal and four sci-fi/thriller screenplays. He and fellow TAPS founder Grant Wilson are longtime co-workers at their day job as plumbers for Roto-Rooter. It was Hawes who brought Wilson into the plumbing business. The two are former co-owners of the Spalding Inn, based in Whitefield, New Hampshire.They finally sold the Inn in the summer of 2014.
Hawes and Wilson have used their public ghost hunting events and personal appearances to raise money for various charities, such as the Shriners Hospitals for Children and Cure Kids Cancer.
In March 2005, Barry Clinton Eckstrom, 51, of Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, began to send threatening e-mails to Jason Hawes, founder of TAPS. Hawes alerted the FBI in Providence. When the e-mails began to include threats against then President George W. Bush, the Secret Service became involved. Eckstrom also used Hawes’s name to send e-mails to some female members of TAPS, in which he threatened to rape and murder them. While under surveillance by federal agents, Eckstrom used a Bethel Park, Pennsylvania library computer to send an e-mail in Hawes’ name to Roto Rooter’s Cincinnati headquarters, threatening to shoot employees there. Next, Eckstrom typed a message threatening to kill President Bush, again in Hawes’ name, using the Department of Homeland Security’s website. Before he could send the message, he was arrested. Because of these activities, Eckstrom was sentenced to two years in federal prison in January 2006.
Investigator and author Benjamin Radford reviewing Hawes’s book “Ghost Hunting” writes “Hawes allots a grand total of four paragraphs (within 273 pages) to a chapter titled ‘The Scientific Approach’. He doesn’t have much to say about science or scientific methods, and in fact it’s the shortest chapter in the book.”