Zak Bagans calls the period in his life where he sold cell phones for AT&T as a dark time.
"I knew I had something to do in this life other than work for a corporation like my father wanted," he said during a recent phone interview. "I just couldn't figure out what this special part of me was."
He found his calling as a ghost hunter in a quite peculiar and scary way.
Bagans was living in an apartment at Trenton, Mich., at the time. It was there that, for seven straight nights, he was woken by a woman screaming his full name even though he lived alone. On the last night, Bagans was sleeping on his stomach when again he heard his name. This time it felt like something was on his back pinning him down.
When he felt he could move again, Bagans flipped over and immediately came face to face with a shadow figure of a woman. It's still something he has trouble describing.
"It's like having contact with an alien," Bagans said. "I don't think this was just some random experience with a ghost. I think that whatever prayers I was saying (at the time) were answered. This was my purpose."
That was confirmed to him two years later, when Bagans returned to Michigan for a visit after having moved to Las Vegas. He went back to his old apartment with a video camera. A maintenance man let him in, and Bagans showed him what he had written on the back of a cabinet door there: "This place is haunted" along with his name and the date.
Bagans told the man his experience. That's when he learned that a woman who lived in the apartment before him had committed suicide there.