Ghosts of New England Research Society G.O.N.E.R.S.

The Team

Our team is made up of people with various experiences and from many walks of life. All are interested in the paranormal and all take a great deal of interest in the truth. Our investigations are run by a team with experience and with open minds.


Kurt Knapp, our lead investigator

Our founder is Kurt Knapp, who has a number of years in doing paranormal investigations. Kurt Jonathan Knapp was born August 2, 1953 in Bridgeport, CT. He is a Vietnam era Veteran of the U.S.M.C. Military Police. He attended Los Angeles City College, U.S. Army Military Police School in Augusta, GA, Ryukyu Armed Forces Police School in Okinawa, Japan. He is a former civilian Police Officer. He resides in Middletown, CT. He has been a paranormal Investigator since 1985.

Lead Psychic Medium - Investigator

Karen Hollis, renowned Psychic and Medium, Lead Psychic investigator

Karen Hollis is the Lead Psychic/Medium on the G.O.N.E.R.S paranormal team. She is a professional Psychic/Medium who makes her living by connecting the living with their loved ones in Spirit. Karen offers up evidence of life beyond death on a daily basis. Her clients will attest that there are things, which she could not have known, were it not for her ability to speak with the other side. She has lectured extensively on the subject of the Paranormal and the continuity of life after death across the United States. Her client base spans the globe from Milan Italy, to Osaka Japan.

Karen was born a natural medium and is considered a professional in the paranormal investigative field with over thirty years of experience. As a team member of G.O.N.E.R.S., Karen uses her skills and abilities to interact with the phenomena and/or Spirit on investigations. She helps to advise clients in how best to deal with the paranormal activity that they are experiencing.

Over the years, Ms. Hollis has been asked to work with law enforcement to find missing persons, and to solve cases that have gone cold. Her ability to find the truth in any situation is what makes Karen the "Bridge between Evidence and Explanation!" More information about Karen is on her website.

Investigator, Melanie Knapp


Melanie Knapp brings a lifelong interest in both science and the paranormal to the G.O.N.E.R.S. team. Melanie approaches each investigation with a foundation of skepticism. She also believes strongly in utilizing the process of Critical Thinking to analyze each piece of evidence presented, as well as the methods used to collect it.

As a native New Englander, Melanie also puts her passion for regional history to work, researching background and historical information of the venue for each investigation.

Investigator - Master Plumber Mark Smith


Mark Smith has been interested in the paranormal since he was six years of age. It was at that time that he would awaken to a large hand print in the mirror in his bedroom that did not fit the hand of anyone living in his home at the time. Every home Mark has lived in has had paranormal activity, some heard, some seen and some just felt. Mark is a licensed Master Plumber, in the trade for 21 years. While on the job, he has experienced many paranormal events in the homes he has worked in. He currently works for the Town of Manchester, Connecticut.

Investigator - Psychic Medium, Donna Rak

Psychic Medium - Investigator

Donna Rak is a clairaudient intuitive psychic/medium born on March 14th in Providence Rhode Island. At a young age her family moved to Middletown CT where she was raised. She is married to John and has one child Stephen.

Donna has been interested in paranormal activity for many years. Donna has always had paranormal experiences since a young child ; but recently Donna explored it in depth and accepted it as " her normal". After a recent awakening experience with a family member, Donna began to seek out more knowledge to learn about one's life's path and what's on the otherside. Donna began looking for a teacher with a highest vibration, with highest frequency energies which would bring Donna clarity, focus, heart opening with more love, joy, passion, prosperity and enthusiasm to live your life to its full potential. In searching for this knowledge she was drawn to study with Karen Hollis.

Donna worked in the travel industry for many years and owned and operated a travel agency and yacht charter company in the Hartford Civic Center until 2004. She enjoys boating, travel and spending time with family and friends. She currently employed in the Anthropology Department at Wesleyan University. . Donna is compelled to do spirit investigations for the good of others, to comfort them and to help them understand more about their paranormal experiences and share hers.

Investigator, Erich Bennar


Erich Bennar possesses a lifelong fascination with paranormal phenomena, metaphysics and energy work. No single incident sparked this interest, but many difficult-to-explain experiences since childhood have fueled this fascination. Although he enjoys discussing the spiritual and scientific theories behind these types of experiences, he maintains a level of skepticism amidst the curiosity. Erich is sensitive to energy given off by people and places. He relies on intuition and feeling to seek out evidence that will help the investigation.

Investigator, Joe Novelli


Joe Novelli never really believed in ghosts until he had his own personal experience at the age of 18. He came face to face with an apparition. While this was a shocking experience at the time, it planted a seed for his deep interest and passion for all things paranormal. Joe states: "I wanted to find answers behind the mystery of what I had experienced. I have been researching, and trying to investigate and document proof of the paranormal ever since."

Mark Hollis, Web Designer

Web Designer

Mark Hollis was born in Kansas on November 26th, but brings the "show me" attitude from the neighboring state, Missouri to the team. Having 30 years of experience in television production and post-production, he can spot a fake or "sexed-up" video shot very easily. Having had experience with both "normal" and "paranormal" phenomenon, Mark brings a sense of humor as well as a reality check to the team.

Mark worked for 10 years at NBC News, has worked at ABC and also worked for two news magazines. He currently runs Hollis Internet Marketing, LLC and helps to manage Readings by Karen.