Just a matter of months ago, Ashley Troub was pulling espresso shots and steaming milk at a Ventura Starbucks, but life took a spooky turn for the 23-year-old barista when she became the newest member of the TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) team from Syfy’s popular Ghost Hunters program.
While Troub is still adjusting to television and its attendant celebrity — albeit minor, so far — she is absolutely in her element chasing ghosts. A member of the East Ventura Paranormal Society, she’s done a fair share of ghost hunting in the Ventura County region, and it looks as though the East Coast, where TAPS conducts most of its investigations, is providing just as many thrills.
“With TAPS, we have scary stuff happen all the time,” says Troub, who in a recent episode, heard ghostly voices. Bumps in the night and EVP (electronic voice phenomena) are pretty routine for Troub and other experienced paranormal investigators, but disembodied voices — voices that are heard by the human ear without aid of equipment — are rarer.
Once, while investigating a church in Santa Paula with her hometown team, Troub experienced something truly disturbing. “There were claims of molestation from someone who had worked there years ago. One of the claims [about paranormal experiences] was feeling like you were being inappropriately touched, and that actually happened to me. I had never had anything like that happen to me . . . it felt like someone literally came up and grabbed me, so I just panicked.”
Troub became interested in the spirit world as a young girl, traveling the country with her family. “I would see things that I thought were normal, but when I’d bring them up to other kids they would think I was insane,” she says. Her interest grew and eventually led her to like-minded people. Her BFF, also an investigator with East Ventura Paranormal Society, heard that TAPS founder Jason Hawes was looking for a new team member. “I knew a lot of ghost hunters and I was able to get a hold of him,” says Troub who was a big fan of the show. She flew out to meet the team and a star was born — sort of.
“I can’t act,” she says. “It’s us doing what we would normally be doing, but they are just filming us doing it.” That is to say, Ghost Hunters is a reality show about real investigators who are called to various locations to investigate reports of paranormal activity. Scientific methods and state-of-the-art equipment are used and an attitude of skepticism prevails.
Reaction to Troub from fans has been “amazing,” she says, with a big increase in her Twitter followers and minor chatter on Syfy discussion boards about her physical appearance. She’s been referred to as “hot” or “eye candy,” and some have expressed suspicion about the producers’ intentions in bringing a young, attractive female on the show, still feeling the sting from TAPS cofounder Grant Wilson leaving after eight years. None of it fazes the likable, easygoing Troub who also works as a professional make-up artist.
“At least they think I’m eye candy,” she laughs. “At first I was reading [discussion boards] and fully expected a lot of hate from people because I know how people are about somebody new. I tried to prepare myself mentally, but I didn’t feel upset. A lot of the hateful comments are funny. I saw one that said I look like Ru Paul,” she laughs again. “They are really silly to where they are more comical than offensive.” She also has a few excited fanboys, one who even gave her fan art, but all the attention pales in the face of what’s really happening.
“Being with TAPS is a dream come true. I was ghost hunting back home and it was great, but to be able to travel with a reputable team is amazing. I love being on the road and I love being with TAPS — can’t imagine better!”
Ghosthunters airs Wednesday nights on the Syfy network. Follow Ashley Troub @AshleyTroub.