Hans Holzer

Holzer, Hans (1920–2009 ) Parapsychologist and author of 138 books on Ghosts, Hauntings, DREAMS, UFOs, astrology, Reincarnation, healing, paganism, witchcraft, and other topics. Hans Holzer coined the term “ghost hunter.” He is especially known for his role in the AMITYVILLE case. He believes in using both Scientific and psychic means to probe the paranormal.


Holzer was born January 29, 1920, in Vienna, Austria. His interest in the paranormal began in early childhood with a fascination for ghost stories and tales of Fairies related by an uncle. By age nine, he was writing poems and dramas.

At the University of Vienna, Holzer studied ancient history and archaeology and graduated from the Academy of Journalism.

In 1938, at age 18, Holzer and his brother left Austria and emigrated to the United States. Holzer settled in New York City, where he remained the rest of his life. He enrolled in Columbia University, studying Far Eastern culture. At the London College of Applied Science, he earned a master’s in comparative religion, followed by a Ph.D. with a specialty in parapsychology.

Holzer married once and had two daughters. He divorced after the birth of his second daughter.

He has taught parapsychology at the New York Institute of Technology and lectures extensively. Holzer also writes and produces television and feature films and is a regular guest on television and radio talk shows. He has written numerous magazine articles.

Views on the Paranormal

Holzer has had some paranormal experiences, but does not emphasize their importance and says experiences are not necessary to investigation. His first visual experience was in New York City with his father in a penthouse apartment on Riverside Drive. Holzer was asleep in bed and woke up to see his dead mother dressed in white, pushing his head back onto the pillow. At the time, he was suffering from migraine headaches, and his head had slipped off the pillow during sleep. The action taken by his mother prevented a bad attack. Holzer greeted his mother, and she disappeared.

Besides the term “ghost hunter,” Holzer coined other terms, among them “stay behinds,” for people who like to linger after death and thus become haunting ghosts; “ufonauts,” for ET visitors; and “the other side” for the afterlife realm. Of stay behinds, he says they frequently are people who lived in one place for a very long time. They are unaccustomed to any other place and discover after death that they are still where they were in life.

Unlike many paranormal investigators, Holzer—who calls himself a scientist—does not shy away from Mediums and psychics, but believes them to be the most critical assets to investigations because the dead can speak through them and deliver clear messages. He criticizes investigators who think that the only way to tackle the paranormal is with equipment. The only equipment he likes is a camera in the hands of a “psychic photographer,” a person who has a gift for capturing images of phenomena.

Holzer says that 75 to 80 percent of haunting phenomena are imprints or recordings and not the presence of stuck souls. He has never been frightened during an investigation. He disbelieves in nonhuman entities, including Demons. In fact, Holzer says he doesn’t believe in anything, even the existence of ghosts. The supernatural does not exist, but rather is part of the natural order. He has particular objections to organized religion, which he says aims to distort truth and oppress people and make them obey rules. He does not believe in religious concepts of heaven and hell.

Holzer believes the afterlife to be a world like a better version of the physical world. There are seven levels of consciousness concentric with this world, which cannot be perceived by the living because they vibrate at a faster rate. Contact with the living is made only with the permission of SPIRIT GUIDES. Souls can choose to reincarnate.

Holzer’s books are often reissued under new titles. Among his works are Hans Holzer’s the Supernatural: Explaining the Unexplained (2003); Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (1998), a compilation of earlier work; and Hans Holzer’s Travel Guide to Haunted Houses: A Practical Guide to Places Haunted by Ghosts, Poltergeists and Spirits (1998), also a compilation.

His wish is to be remembered as “a man who told the truth.”


  • Belanger, Jeff. “Dr. Hans Holzer—A Lifetime of Explaining the Unexplained.” Available online. URL: https://www. ghostvillage.com/legends/2005/legends35_02072005. shtml. Downloaded August 12, 2006.
  • Brockway, Rev. Laurie Sue. “An Interview with Famous ‘Ghost Hunter’ Hans Holzer.” Available online. URL: https://www.ofspirit.com/lauriesuebrockway2.htm. Downloaded August 12, 2006.
  • Casteel, Sean. “Interview with Dr. Hans Holzer.” Available online. URL: https://seancasteel.phantombookshop.com/ holzer.htm. Downloaded August 12, 2006.
  • Holzer, Hans. Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond. Chicago: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 1998.


The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007