Two years after he spent the night in a haunted California mission for "Paranormal Challenge" on the Travel Channel, Itasca native and Driscoll Catholic High School alum Greg Niecestro will be back on cable TV this week looking for ghosts around the world.
Niecestro, 28, is part of the five-person investigative team on "Killer Contact," a Syfy Network series whose six-episode first season will debut at 9 p.m. Central time Wednesday, Dec. 4.
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"It's a lot like your typical ghost show, but we take on unsolved mysteries like 'Who was Jack the Ripper?'" Niecestro said.
As the show's title implies, each episode's mystery is centered around a person or group of people believed to be responsible for killing others.
But rather than looking for physical evidence of centuries-old slayings, the team of experienced ghost hunters seeks out answers from the dead.
Though Niecestro's full-time job in California is on the technical side of television and film production, his casting in both this series and the episode of "Paranormal Challenge" in 2011 came out of a nearly decade-long passion.
"This is something I do and have done for awhile, and I think I'm good at doing," Niecestro said of his ghost hunting.
For him, it began when he and a friend investigated what they suspected to be a haunted bedroom in Elk Grove Village. There, they believe they successfully communicated with a ghost -- over several weeks they asked the ghost "yes" or "no" questions, and the stereo would turn on for every "yes" answer.
"That was the catalyst that opened the door to what I'm doing now," Niecestro said. "You can't really believe in these things until you have an experience like that, beyond a shadow of a doubt."
The new show took months to film, from the streets and pubs of London's East End to the Romanian castle of Vlad the Impaler -- the inspiration for Dracula -- to an abandoned desert mining town in Chile.
While the Vlad the Impaler episode was Niecestro's personal favorite, the team's experiences in Chile -- the season finale -- defied rational explanation more than anything he's ever seen.
While he can't give away spoilers to the season finale, Niecestro said it's indicative of the problem all paranormal investigators face. Some evidence is too small even for their own satisfaction while the best can easily defy belief among others.
Niecestro, who's also recently self-published two novels ("Infinite Testament" and "Zombie Hearts") said ratings will determine whether there will be a second season of "Killer Contact."