‘Haunted Collector’ John Zaffis Steals Valuables From Vulnerable People


Auction, storage and collectors shows are all the rage right now. You can’t hit channel up or down more than five times without hitting a show like American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Auction Hunters or a hundred different other knockoffs and imitators. Some of them are good, some ridiculous and a few are less reality and more like a cross between Antiques Roadshow and Jersey Shore – and then there’s ‘Haunted Collector’ on Syfy. John Zaffis visits potentially haunted houses, finds the objects that are causing trouble in each house and takes them to his paranormal museum in New England. Problem is, it doesn’t appear that Zaffis actually pays for these items. Is Syfy airing a television show where a man with some knowledge of antiques is taking valuable items from scared dupes?

Here’s how the scam works – John Zaffis visits a potentially ‘haunted’ home and chats with the homeowners about their issues. Some of these people are incredibly vulnerable. In the episode I watched, there was a woman who claimed several of her relatives had died in the six months before his visit. These people then give Jaffis a tour of the home and tell him of the strange occurrences and unexplained events that led to their meeting. Meanwhile, Zaffis is eyeing the most valuable (and possibly haunted!) collectibles in each home. He plays the nice guy and consoles the wounded family, promising to get his ‘team’ on the case. The ‘team’ arrives with a bunch of phony equipment and puts on a show for the cameras. Another team member, operating from home base, does research about the family and any collectibles Jaffis picks out and inevitably returns with some sort of horror story. The ‘Haunted Collector’ seals the deal and finalizes the scam by telling the family that these collectibles are the source of their troubles – antique cane guns, antique toilets, anything with value is deemed ‘dangerous’ – and he offers to relieve them of this paranormal millstone which he will put on display at his occult museum.

And what does he charge for this amazing service?

We do not charge for conducting an investigation. We will ask for travel reimbursement, which can include gas, airline tickets, phone and tolls. We generally travel by car whenever possible to keep the costs to a minimum. Due to the reality that there are always those who can not financially reimburse this amount, the fee will vary on case by case basis.

Wow! What a deal! You fly him and his team to your home, give them some spending cash and give up some of your valuables and he’ll pretend that ghosts and spirits exist and walk around with fake equipment. In one episode, the ‘haunted’ item was an 1870’s european cane gun, which appears to have been worth about $650. But the big money comes from using this paranormal treasure to promote his books, radio show, television show and public appearances. Odds are, John Zaffis is bringing in a pretty decent paycheck when all is said and done.

I can’t think of a more slimy way to make a living. Putting aside the fact that all things paranormal are bullshit, some of these people seem truly afraid of the unknown. They have children and loved ones in a house they believe, for one reason or another, is haunted. They seem clueless as this huckster convinces them that a prize possession is the root of all their problems and relieved as he hugs them and assures them all will be well now. How can people be so foolish?

The difference between ‘Haunted Collector’ and the other shows in this new crop of reality TV winners is obvious. No one gets hurt when the guys from American Pickers rescue a rusty bicycle from the swamps of Louisiana. No one is taken advantage of when the team at Pawn Stars has an expert place a value on an antique item and the seller agrees to let it go for a negotiated price. Even the grimier shows like Tru TV’s Hardcore Pawn offer a service to the community. John Zaffis offers nothing but phony reassurances in exchange for valuable goods. He uses people in precarious situations to further his career and fill his museum up with amazing collectibles. And he does it all on television! Not since John Edward’s Crossing Over has there been a show so ridiculous on television. If the ‘Haunted Collector’ was any kind of decent man, he’d (at the very least) pay a fair price for these items and quit using fear to fill his coffers.

Anyone else feel like the reality TV paranormal thing is out of control?


  1. Annia says:

    I guess you didn’t hear that John Zaffis usually mentions to his clients that if they want the objects back, he will gladly return the objects to them, but I don’t know anyone in his right mind would ask for something that supposes to be a thing that causes all the havoc in their home back. Just silly. If he is a con man, he’s a very convincing one, indeed.

  2. Dana Burkart says:

    I totally agree with everyone that has stated fraud and thievery! What a joke. Seriously people….do you really think they mysteriously find these items under a floor board or under a home? Whatever!! So frustrated with the idiocy. Hmmm, how can I get my paws on these expensive antiques???

  3. dana perry says:

    Erika…that is the only thing “off” you found in xander’s whole commentary??? I’ve never read anything that sounded so….drunk in all my life.

    the show is a total hoax and i sure would like for someone to take a camera to his ‘museum’ and see what all objects are now missing…I mean sold.

  4. Brenda says:

    I have MAJOR concern for the people giving up their antiques. If an item is truly haunted why does it seem to be only antiques? Why not items of present day? I have lived with paranormal activity all my life. From childhood to this day strange occurances have happened. Shadows, sounds, items moved, etc. I cant explain why, but i DO know that it is NOT because of any antique!

  5. chuck says:

    I definitely think J.Z. is a big time CON ARTIST/FRAUD!!! I think thats why after interviewing the MARK/VICTIM they do a Baseline readings! I think after the interview & baseline part they leave & come back on different knight to do there supposed invvestigation! He has meeting with team to let them know what to go after!

  6. CS says:

    If these items were truly haunted then his little museum must be chockful of ghosts and hauntings! But of course he doesn’t show THAT on his fake TV show…

  7. Lewis says:

    BROAD DAYLIGHT ROBBERY!! In the same music box episode we see Zaffis’s eyes’s light up when discovering an old tool kit, and we even see him peaking at the base of the angel figurine!! Also I thought EVP is only meant to work when recording on analogue tape and then having to boost the volume considerably? Being able to hear “ghost voices” as loud as their voices asking questions on a digital dictaphone is laughable. …as is EVP and this show’s use suggestion to manipulate desperate people.

  8. ben says:

    for one is this guy who wrote this article an “expert” in equipment? i doubt it. Secondly ive seen many shows where the haunted items were of no value at all or very little. ” a stick figure indian looking dream catcher” was one and oh an ice pick from the early days. Ya ok John and his “team” are gonna waste time to go to houses for ONE ITEM that tops could be worth a few hundred bucks. Show some EVIDENCE yourself pal of any scam…all you have shown me is nonsense and your 15 minutes of fame lol

  9. drew says:

    I think he is legit. He mentions that he will give back any item at anytime if the person wants it back

  10. Don’t be dissin my man he’s so sexy and takes matters into his own hands

  11. ilys says:

    i do believe that objects hold some feelings from the person who owned them. my mum used to have wonderful jewelry and she gave me a wedding ring that was from a previous marriage, i could never wear it, she gave me another and i could wear it, it was beautiful, but so was the first, so whatever she felt in the first was definately in that ring, the second well it was good. i do believe in an attachment with articles. perhaps the spirit element is fake, one does nt know, but wathcing long island medium i begin to believe once you are dead you go to the other side, wherever that side is.

  12. Luke R says:

    Its not that the equipment is fake, it is really scientific equipment, but it is not being used scientifically.
    Ex: a strange spike on an EMF detector in the middle of a room after a baseline reading for wiring and power lines was taken.
    The ghost hunter says there is no other explanation for such spike therefore it must be paranormal.
    But a ghost hunter without knowledge of the way electricity works will not understand that even after a baseline reading natural power surges run through power cables and electrical wiring that cause such spikes.

    Ex: an answer to a question asked on an EVP.
    The ghost hunter asks questions to make the EVP seem more relevant.
    If one leaves an EVP recorder running long enough it will pick up all sorts of strange noises whether its in a haunted house or not. Nobody knows why yet but it just happens.. if you ask enough questions one of these noises might seem like an answer.
    And why not have 3 or 4 digital recorders around the room? To pinpoint where the sound came from? An EVP recorded across several different devices would be much more impressive as proof of the paranormal.

    There is no single accepted theory of what a ghost is or how it would communicate its presence. Anything other than hanging around with a camera waiting for something strange to happen doesn’t make much sense.

    Why do you think they find “evidence” of the paranormal in every house they go to?
    If I walked around my house with 8 different types of equipment sensitive to its environment I’m sure one of them would do something weird. In fact I could provide “evidence of the paranormal” in anybody’s house regardless of the history using “ghost hunting equipment”.

    But this guy is a con artist for sure, I wonder if he even believes.

  13. tim says:

    This show is silly ghost hunters is a lot better

  14. Matt says:

    I completely agree. I was just watching 2 episodes today and when he takes the “haunted” object he now tells the people that they can have it back any time they want.
    Yes you can pick which item he is after.
    His equipment like the recorders are of seemingly poor quality. unlike that of the Ghost Hunters. On the haunted collector the EVP sessions that record a voice are poor quality and could be anything.
    The networks must be hard up to put a guy like this on TV.

    Also I too would like to know if his museum is open to the public, my guess is no….

    Nice little business he has going on, wonder if any of his “clients” have asked for their supposedly haunted items back….

  15. Ashley says:

    Im glad I’m not the only one to think this guy is a fraud

  16. Yikes says:

    So… let me get this straight. He takes allegedly haunted item from people and puts them in his “haunted museum”, which is in the basement of his house, yet his house isn’t affected by the items? Lemme guess… he has “protective measures” in place?

  17. Mary says:

    It’s true, J.Z. does offer to return the collected item, but if these people truly think the item is haunted, it’s doubtful they would ask for its return. And especially if the person feels their home is better without the item. I have always thought this “collector” was a phony, as are his investigations. I feel the same way about “Ghost Adventures” and their ridiculous “spirit box”. If there really was such a thing, “Ghost Hunters” and other shows of the same nature would be using them. The team from G.A. are loud and some of them run like scared rabbits. The main guy, Zak is a major irritation to me because he is so obnoxious and full of himself. It’s a lot like like watching that ridiculous show “Most Haunted” [talk about phonies]. The only shows I give any credence to is “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Hunter International”. All the other shows are so over the top it’s ridiculous.

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