On Haunted Collector, Brian is the Tech Specialist, responsible for the implementation and use of all the gadgets and gear. Best known for mixing old and new techniques of investigating, he often finds himself doing the physical tasks, such as crawling under houses and up into attics. He also serves as second in command of the team and helps manage the deployment of the crew itself. Ultimately, his goal as an investigator is to measure, quantify and get empirical evidence to support the claims of paranormal activity reported while maintaining his skeptical edge.
Within SCARED! his role is that of a parapsychologist; the Scientist. His belief is that the universe, in all its diversity and complexity, is a system that operates within a set of laws and rules, even if we don't understand them yet. This mindset allows him to accept the unknown more readily and attempt to bridge the gap between Science and Faith.
He first recognized his desire to explore the unknown at a young age. Growing up in Staten Island, New York, Brian often took note of abandoned buildings recessed within the woods near his home during Sunday drives with his parents. They called to him, sparking his imagination and his curiosity. Alone or with friends, Brian began exploring the old and abandoned buildings, despite the countless rumors of what may have happened within their walls. Tall tales of Satanic activity, missing children or ghostly sightings were often told, but instead of deterring Brian from his new found hobby, this element of fear and danger only served to add to the allure for him. Since then, he's been looking into the darkness and exploring the dangers that come with the decay of civilization's footprint. Expanding his experiences in urban exploration to include paranormal investigation, there are few places he will not go.
His journey into the paranormal has taken him many places, both physically and conceptually. It is a little-known fact that when SCARED! was formed in 2002, Brian titled himself The Skeptic, a position he can no longer embrace. As he often says, "It's not the phenomena I am skeptical about, it's those who report it".
In addition to Haunted Collector and SCARED!, Brian can be found touring the country appearing at paranormal events as well as lecturing on the college circuit during the Fall. As an attempt to bring fans behind-the-scenes of Haunted Collector, he started a blog revealing the bits that got cut as well as all the humorous moments and minutia. Brian's work has been praised in several publications, including TAPS Paramagazine and Haunted Times Magazine. Various episodes of SCARED! have won awards at several film festivals, most recently, "Haunted Snug Harbor" which won Best Cinematography at the 2013 Macabre Faire Film Festival.
His latest focus has been on spreading, "#Paralosophy", a term he coined as a mash-up of paranormal and philosophy. "There are a lot of people out there doing the Work now and I'd like them to think more and do less. Really consider the whys before addressing the hows."
It has been said that every good piece of fiction holds a grain of truth. As not only a fan, but also a writer of supernatural fiction, Chris’s initial interest in the paranormal began not from an experience, but from films and pages of fiction. As a kid watching films like The Exorcist, Poltergeist and Ghostbusters was the catalyst, as an adolescent reading novels, his interest in the paranormal continued to grow. As an adult writing his own supernatural stories and screenplays, he wondered if there was a nugget of truth to be found.
Chris kept an open mind, ready to believe in the existence of the paranormal, but admittedly, he would need a lot of convincing. While Brian served as the scientist of the team utilizing meters and gadgets, attempting to collect, measure and analyze data, Chris’s role had been less tech-centric in the beginning. EMF spikes and EVPs, while interesting, would leave him nonplussed; he would need something personal. Aside from his video camera, the only other tool he truly relied upon was himself, his own five senses. He was searching for a paranormal experience of his very own, something to serve as undeniable proof for him. It seemed like a simple enough expectation considering how many eyewitness accounts the team had collected during interviews and even casual conversations. Yet after four years of investigations there was not a single incident for him to recall. By 2006 Chris had shifted to become the Skeptic of the team, convinced that claims of paranormal activity were the results of wishful thinking or over active imaginations.
Not only was Chris skeptical in regards to the paranormal, he equally distrusted psychics that were often employed on investigations. Their assertions left him unimpressed, regardless of their accuracy, which he attributed to nothing more than vague comments, obvious observations or astute attention to their surroundings, and lucky guesses. Despite his utter disbelief, Chris remained in the field if only to aid in keeping the investigations as honest as possible. Besides, on the off chance that something ever did happen, he’d want to be there.
In 2009 on an investigation at The Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, PA, Chris found what he had been searching for. Not only did he get his paranormal experience, but the group collected some of their most impressive evidence, and Lisa Ann, the team’s lead psychic had finally earned his trust after three years. In an unusual instance that found Chris, Brian and Lisa together in the presence of a nonhuman malevolence, the Psychic, the Scientist and the Skeptic all walked away in agreement, satisfied with their findings and quite disturbed by them as well.
Since his experience at the Grand Midway Chris openly acknowledges the existence of paranormal activity, yet he considers himself to be a Skeptical Believer. He still approaches each investigation with a healthy dose of skepticism, subscribing to the process that paranormal should not be the first conclusion one comes to, but the last. Because of his experience Chris was also compelled to reevaluate his atheism. While still not a follower of any organized religion, he has since formed his own relationship with God and currently wears a crucifix in order to help protect him on investigations.
“"Never stop searching...”
– Brian J. Cano
– Christopher Mancuso
The SCARED! Crew has had many members in its ranks over the years. While the current incarnation has only it's founders as active members, the team has not disbanded and the rest of the crew is On Reserve Status. Modeled after our Psi Corps Initiative of 2007, team members are activated when needed but are always considered a part of the group. During their down time from SCARED! duties, the rest of the crew remain busy and relevant within the paranormal community.
Pictured from l. to r. - Greg Cusick, Jason Porcino, Wael "Shawn" Sharaydeh, Lisa Ann, Brooke Haramija, Karrie Ann Versace, Edwin Martinez.