The Haunting Story of Alexandra Holzer ...by Bill Knell
Alexandra Holzer had anything but a normal childhood. One of two sisters, she is the youngest born to Ghost Hunter Hans Holzer and Countess Catherine Buxhoeveden. She explained some of the funny, offbeat and frightening moments of her youth in Growing Up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2008). To understand Alexandra, you really have to know a bit about her parents, so we'll begin there.
Hans Holzer is generally considered to be the father of modern spirit investigation. The author of over one hundred and forty-five books and novels, Hans wrote Ghost Hunter in 1963 and established the methodology that many within the field of paranormal investigation use today. He received his Ph.D from the London College of Applied Science and has made appearances on popular television programs such as In Search Of and Murder in Amityville.
Countess Catherine Buxhoeveden, also known as The Haunted Countess, is a direct descendent of Catherine The Great of Russia. Born at Castle Rovina in Merano, Italy, she grew up and eventually married Hans Holzer. Catherine helped research many of the topics for his books and added her own intuitive, imaginative and inspired artwork to those projects. The Countess lives on Long Island and often shows her art work in The Hamptons.
After reading almost all of her father's books, I was thrilled to speak with Alexandra over the phone. She instantly communicates a sincere interest in spirit investigation. However, it would be wrong to believe that she is just some chip off the old block. Alexandra makes it clear that she and her father do not see eye to eye on a number of issues. One of them happens to be the subject of demons.
"My father doesn't believe in demons…he says spirits are beings of light" she told me matter-of-factly. Hans is not alone in his assessment of evil spirits, however, it does cut a swath across research by others that do believe in them including Ed and Lorraine Warren, well-known ghost hunters and authors in their own right, and his own daughter. He also seems to find fault with some of her conclusions as evidenced by a recent debate over a photo she showed to him and her mother. Alexandra describes the situation:
"After rediscovering my ability of sight and tapping into my sixth sense, I began taking photo's around my home. The results showed anomalies which I concluded were not manmade from the environment of my home such as dirt, dust or in-door rain. I became excited and had my mother take some of her own photos. I explained to her that the objects were probably the physical manifestations of spirit guides, family members that passed over and so on. She was just as excited and in her low-key mellow way, just as astonished to see what appeared on her bedroom curtains and floors. Shapes taking form, an arm here, a leg there… That began the topic of our orb conversations. Sounds like a bucket of chicken: You get the wing, oh look here's the breast!"
" I took it another step forward by taking some photos during a function at my sisters house in Riverdale, New York. I wasn't just interested in preserving family moments, but was searching for evidence of life after life on film. What I believe to be a face appeared in one of the photos. It was just behind my sister and seemed to come out of her curio. After looking at the photo a couple of times, she agreed that the anomaly was a face. That's when the orb fight began."
"My mother, sister and I went to show the photo to my father. Well, Mr. Ghost Hunter didn't exactly see eye to eye with us. He emphatically stated, `That's not an orb! I can't see what it is, BUT it's not a person!' That's all it took to start a ten minute verbal battle over the photo and its contents. I said, `Look there is the head,' and he'd reply, `That's not a head, it's the light coming from the room!' I'd say, `It's shaping here like a person,' he'd reply, `That's not a person, it's a bug of some sort perhaps, but it's not a person!' We ended the argument by agreeing to disagree, but I was still red-faced angry over the whole thing and the argument was far from over as far as I was concerned."
That's what is so terrific about Alexandra. She has a passion that rivals her father's when it comes to spirit investigation. That passion came through during own phone conversation and in her description of her relationship, agreements, disagreements, admirations and frustrations with her dad. She says, "Life with my father is difficult, confusing and inspiring all rolled into one." Alexandra continued:
"As a child, he was there for me to hold my hand crossing the busy New York City streets. He was there to take me to the pediatrician when I was sick, but always felt uncomfortable sitting in the waiting room. He complained about the germs in those places. Despite that eccentricity, he was entertaining and very considerate of my likes and dislikes. He once made the mistake of bringing me toast with orange marmalade when clearly, strawberry was my favorite. I bellowed at him at the ripe old age of seven and said, `Father, that's NOT the right jam!' Laughing, he just smiled, left the room and returned with a new batch of toast and strawberry jam."
"I long for those days and wish for more, but my father never allowed me into the paranormal side of his life with the exception of telling me stories from the past. As old age set in, it was too late to get involved with that. The man I once knew had become more difficult and less forthcoming of his business. Today, all I can do is develop my own path and try to carry on what little he'll let me until he passes. When he does, I will be able to continue without walking on eggshells or being fearful of insulting his ego. He'll be in a better place, smiling again, and devising a plan to haunt me I am sure!"
I was nine years old when I became aware that my father's military career and the friends he knew from those days provided proof positive that Extraterrestrials were visiting our planet. That awareness became the catalyst which launched my interest in the paranormal. It caused me to read books on the subject (including Ghost Hunter) and watch people like her dad on television. I wondered when Alexandra first became aware that her father was a famous Ghost Hunter? She provided the following answer:
"I was around the age of nine or ten years old. It was Christmas Time and my mother began wrapping up some of my father's books as gifts for the school teachers. I attended prep school in Manhattan, so the environment was quiet, proper and subtle. One day before Christmas break, my class sat watching our History teacher as he opened up his gifts. I hadn't a clue what we got him, but was excited to watch him open the present. I picked out the silver, shiny paper that apparently left glitter all over any hands that touched it. As he looked at his hands, I felt very bad and sunk into my chair. He laughed it off and with a smirk continued to open the package."
"When the paper fell to the floor, a bunch of books appeared and the look on his face went from a smirk to a serious grin. `What could it be?' I wondered. `What the heck did mother buy this poor man?' As the other kids and I crowded around him to find out, the teacher showed us the covers of the books that emerged from the wrapping. They were titles like `The Ghost Hunter`, `ESP and You, `Witches' and `The Lively Ghosts of Ireland' by Dr. Hans Holzer! Oh no...that is MY father! I couldn't believe it. He wrote those? What the heck does he do for a living? I sank to the lowest point in my chair at that moment. As if to add insult to injury, I fell off that chair to the ground with a thunderous thud! It was at that moment that I wondered if I should switch schools right away or maybe just leave the planet!"
As a Paranormal Researcher with more years of experience than I care to admit and children of my own, I can understand how strange it must have been for Alexandra to face her father's unusual claim to fame. My own kids always enjoy listening to my radio and television interviews, but it can confuse them at times. After all, I am not exactly dealing with conventional topics. With that in mind, I wondered what Alexandra's earliest memory of her father's ghost hunting might be? She told me:
"I was around the age of eleven when my father came bursting into my room announcing he would be on television that evening. He gave me the time, channel and show's name. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Yeah, okay whatever." But when the time came for the show to air, I was not going to get off that easily. He stormed back into my room and announced it was on. My mother, sister and I (and the cat) went into the living room to watch my father on television. He sat there smiling, commenting and folding his arms. Although it seemed really funny at the time, I can now understand his sense of accomplishment as I am now trying to accomplish the same thing. I might have been bored when I watched those shows, but I was also impressed and sensed his fame."
My paranormal `awakening' occurred at the age of nine. I wondered how and when Alexandra became interested in spirit investigation. Now thirty seven years of age, she says that a ghostly experience of her own at the age of thirty two was what propelled her into the world her father had dominated for so long:
"I was folding laundry and I heard my late aunt's whisper of a voice in my ear. She passed from a rare form of Lymphoma two years before. I had experiences as a child and never felt alone, but this was something foreign to me that suddenly became familiar. As I began to open up and allow her in, the dreams came, then the messages and soon, I was able to read people naturally. I didn't ask for this second sight or to be a medium to help others. My aunt allowed me to get back to my roots and chose the right time for me. I could have picked a better moment, like before I had four children, but that is not how it works."
Alexandra Holzer has partnered with Carly-Rose Singer and Shira Etzionis to form a kind of Charlie's Angels threesome of east coast ghost researchers called New York's Pretty Paranormals. Each one of them brings something to the table of spirit investigations including Alexandra's vision of what Ghost Hunting should be. "I want to help people," she tells me. I can understand her vision and admire the fact that she and her partners want to do more than just show up at someone's house with a bunch of gadgets and an emotional detachment that is unhealthy for all involved.
There is an honesty and sincerity that comes across when you speak with the youngest daughter of Hans Holzer. She is motivated, enthusiastic and with as many goals as she has talents, she is so much more than just the daughter of a famous Ghost Hunter. You'll be seeing a lot more of Alexandra Holzer. She hopes to create and host a television show about the paranormal and I cannot think of anyone better suited to do that. She's also a prolific author with several books currently available and more on the way.
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