Alexandra Holzer on growing up in a famous ghost hunting family

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Ghosts are Alexandra Holzer’s family business.

That’s because the reality show star is the daughter of Hans Holzer, who’s often referred to “America’s first ghost hunter.” He even inspired Dan Aykroyd for the 1984 hit “Ghostbusters.”


Hans, who did the bulk of his work in the 1960’s and ’70s, has been deceased since 2009 but wrote over 120 books on the supernatural and was involved in investigating famous cases such as The Amityville Horror. His daughter Alexandra continues the legacy on Travel Channel’s “The Holzer Files.”

Season 2, premiering Oct. 29 at 11 p.m., follows Holzer and her paranormal team as they revisit her father’s famous cases. New York native Holzer, 49, talked to The Post about what it was like growing up as the daughter of a famous ghost hunter, “The Holzer Files,” and more.

What’s it been like for you to revisit your father’s work for the show?

It forced me to get to know Dad more intimately and see how he was working. I grew up in the environment of a healthy diet of the supernatural. So that [aspect] was nothing new for me, but to actually go through all of his archives and start digging through the letters and handwritten notes and photography and audio recordings…it’s been a long time, he’s been gone eleven years. It was very emotional to hear his voice.

Growing up, were you aware that your father’s line of work was unusual?

Oy vey, when I was in grade school, it was in the ‘70s and we always gave presents to the teachers. And my mom said, “Let’s wrap up some of your father’s books.” So [the teacher] sits there and opens the presents, and he gets to mine and I start scooting back my chair as if I want to become indivisible. Because nobody at that time thought that [the supernatural] was cool, and I wasn’t very popular to begin with. The teacher opens up books with “ghosts” and “witches” in the title, and everyone started to look at me. I was like, ‘I am so dead, I am not coming back to school tomorrow!’

My friend’s fathers went to work with suits and ties and briefcases. My father’s quasi-briefcase was filled with equipment and ghost photography.

You initially did not pursue the family business. What made you change?

It was because [ghost hunting] was constantly in my face. When I got a bit older, my mother also went to FIT, so I said, “I’ll go down that route,” because I felt embarrassed. So I kind of did go away from the family business, and I went to FIT for advertising design and graphics. Then, in my late 20s, I had [a supernatural experience] with my late aunt. That really opened up the conversation with my father, and that’s how I accepted my role in the family business. It’s evolved.

Are there any of your dad’s cases that you most enjoyed revisiting on the show?

Merchant House, because as a New Yorker, it’s there. These are amazing cases because they’re so layered in history of different timelines and people who have died and how they died. Merchant House is a beautiful curated mansion and museum. And that’s my stomping ground. As a native New Yorker who has also created her family here like my parents before me, I’m very proud that I’m able to continue the work in that next generation.



By Lauren Sarner

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