They’re the first black paranormal investigation team on television. We know a lot of people with side hustles. But how many of us can say that we do a little ghost hunting on the side? Meet Dalen Spratt and Juwan Mass. The two fashion designers are the co-owners of the luxury menswear company Loren Spratt. But when they’re not designing suits and tuxedos, they’re investigating haunted locations with their friend Marcus Harvey.
On April 15th Destination America debuted the first episode of a six-part TV series called Ghost Brothersthat follows Dalen, Juwan and Marcus on their drama-filled and often comical ghost hunting escapades. We talked to Dalen and Juwan about their experience traveling around the country talking to spirits.
Black Faves: The two of you own a luxury menswear company and Marcus has Barberstar, how did you get involved in a show about hunting ghost?
Dalen Spratt: I feel like you have to have that thing that you’re interested in. That hobby that takes you outside of your everyday realm of work. That’s what keeps you sane. Our hobby is a little bit different than everybody else’s. It just stems from our curiosity.
We were all raised in the church. As black folks you’re always taught not to play with spirits. You don’t poke that beehive. But if you talk to most people, most people have had some type of experience [with spirits] that they can’t explain. Everybody has that one story, that one questionable story. We were just three friends who decided to take it a step further and just ask that question.
BF: We watched the first episode of your show Ghost Brothers where you visit the haunted Magnolia plantation in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Describe what it was like being on a cotton farm where slaves practiced Vodou for protection from slave masters.
Dalen: That was probably one of the most touching experiences I’ve ever had. I’m from the South. I’m from Dallas, Texas. I’ve experienced racism a thousand times over growing up in Texas and going to school in Georgia. You experience all that type of stuff growing up. But I had never set foot on an actual plantation like that. And to be on a plantation where you know potentially your ancestors were slaves and worked and were beaten and killed, it was very emotional.
I remember taking a moment talking to the guys and saying the messed up part about it, the very most messed up part about the whole situation, was that those plantations and those lands are gorgeous.
These are sprawling fields of open land, lined by trees. At night you can see every star. You can smell the breeze, the wind. All these great things and just to imagine that our ancestors couldn’t even take that moment to take that stuff in. Them taking that one moment would have resulted in them being beat or even killed. They missed taking advantage of all this roaring beauty that we take for granted every day. That was what was really emotional for me, just knowing the history of that land we were standing on.
BF: Did you pick that location intentionally?
Dalen: We all work together and try to find different locations. We want to be able to touch on things that were relatable to us and situations that we’re interested in. I feel like with us being African-American, we’re able to touch on certain topics and look at them from a different approach than our [ghost hunting] counterparts. So we can go to a slave plantation and it’s not looked at like Who’s these white folks coming to try to talk to slaves?
We look at it from an ancestral line. Maybe our ancestors were on this plantation or on a plantation similar to this. What are their stories? It makes us a little more empathetic to the situation.
BF: Now that you’ve gone across the country investigating ghost at different locations, what have been some of your favorite places?
Dalen: Louisiana was definitely fun because they have a lot of spiritual history. And then it has a lot of great food too. We were able to work and play in Louisiana.
BF: Where did you go for good food?
Dalen: We drove up to New Orleans. We kicked it on Bourbon Street, had a couple Hand Grenade [drinks]. What’s the name of the beignet place?
Juwan Mass: Café Du Monde. They also had this thing in Natchitoches. They had meat pies. The area is known for meat pies. It’s almost like Jamaican patties.
BF: Speaking of recommendations, what are some of your favorite black-owned businesses that you would recommend?
Dalen: Don’t forget the Barberstar with Marcus. It’s a network of high-end barbers. Another black-owned business that we really support is Southern Culture Foods by one of our friends Erica Barrett. She went to school with us at Clark Atlanta University. She has her own line of pancake mixes and she’s featured in a lot of different stores.
Ghost Brothers airs on Fridays at 9/8c on Destination America channel.