We chat with Steve DiSchiavi of Travel Channel’s The Dead Files about serving, protecting and keeping clients out of harm’s way.
Steve DiSchiavi is a retired NYPD homicide detective who had more than 21 years on the job. In 2011, he partnered with medium, Amy Allan on Travel Channel’s immensely popular and successful paranormal series, The Dead Files.
Each week, Steve and Amy travel around the U.S. to help families who are besieged by dark entities threatening their lives. The duo are incredible partners and work very well together with DiSchiavi researching items pertinent to the various cases like property rights and significant events that occurred on or around the premises in question. While Allan handles the psychic end of the spectrum doing walk throughs of their client’s homes at the beginning of the show.
Last night’s episode, “Never Human,” saw Holly and Mike, two newlyweds and their children being terrorized by shadow figures, a shapeshifter in the woods and an angry apparition that used to own their property. We had the chance to chat with Steve about that particular experience and his approach to each paranormal assignment.
1428 Elm: Steve, you are a no-nonsense former detective. When you were interviewing Holly in the basement of her home where quite a bit of activity occurred, did you feel “watched” like she did? I know when you entered the room where she felt anxious, you said it was creepy. Your background is to deal with physical evidence, not metaphysical. Did you have any reactions to that particular area?
Steve DiSchiavi: I never have a reaction to a location, that’s me empathizing with the client to make them feel more comfortable and to let them know someone else gets it, despite not feeling anything personally.
1428 Elm: When you visit people who need your help, have you ever been duped by less scrupulous individuals? Do you have certain questions that act as a barometer to tell if clients are being sincere or just want their 15 minutes of fame?
SD: We vet extremely well and are as thorough as we can be before taking on a case. I have methods that I use during my interviews to determine any type of deception. One of which is to ask questions they have no reason to lie to, watch their mannerisms and then ask a question they may lie to and gauge it from there.
1428 Elm: There is a fair amount of research that is done on each file. When you talk with law enforcement, genealogists and historians, do you believe that whatever activities that took place in the vicinity of the property you are investigating has a direct bearing on the case at hand? For this episode, I am thinking of the mental hospital in particular, where the girl Matilda Cray set the building on fire.
SD: I never know going in if something I uncover will be pertinent to Amy’s walk or not, however, in the back of my head when I come across a place like that and the circumstances of what happened, I usually say to myself that she will probably see something about this.
1428 Elm: When Mike was skeptical of the shapeshifter in the woods being a serious threat, you seemed perturbed. Even more so, that he was hesitant to leave if Amy’s team couldn’t take care of the problem. How do you handle those individuals that don’t really listen to Amy’s advice or your findings and just opt to stay in a potentially dangerous situation?
SD: I never get my emotions involved. Look I don’t have to live there, but they do. What bothers me is someone putting other people in harm’s way.
1428 Elm: What was your most memorable case this season?
SD: Hard to say other than we had some serious weather issues throughout the season — we barely dodged a hurricane in two locations and got flooded out from monsoon-type rains in the last episode. Caused us a few extra days on the road. But the Palatka, Florida episode was pretty interesting to me research-wise, as well as what was going on in that family-owned bar.
1428 Elm: Is there a list of criteria for you and Amy to consider before taking on a paranormal case?
SD: Well for me and the production team, it’s all about credibility, urgency and if there are children, elderly or disabled individuals who may be in harm’s way.
Thanks to Steve DiSchiavi for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us.
You can catch Steve DiSchiavi in action on The Dead Files, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel.
Do you have a favorite Steve DiSchiavi moment on The Dead Files? Let us know in the comments.