Charyl Says

“What’s Next” by Dustin Pari, a Review

I recently had the pleasure of reading Dustin Pari’s book What’s Next: an Inspiring Autobiographical Tale of Insanity and Awesomeness (2015).  I first learned of Dustin through his addition to SyFy Channel’s Ghosthunters series several years ago. I enjoyed his presence on the show but I never really took notice of him until I saw an episode of Ghosthunters International (a spin-off of the original series).  In this particular episode—in some dark and stormy castle overseas—Dustin and a fellow investigator sat together talking in the middle of the night while waiting to attempt to document any paranormal phenomena that would present itself.  In hushed tones, Dustin began talking about why people were so interested in ghosts and the paranormal in the first place; why people sat in darkened buildings in the middle of the night—camera-ready—just to capture some glimpse of The Great Beyond.  I cannot recall the exact words that were used–but to summarize, he reasoned that ultimately the purpose behind the pursuit was to prove that something beyond the physical world exists… something that would point to the existence of a Higher Power and a reality besides our own.  I have had a life-long interest in the paranormal.  For many generic paranormal seekers or thrill-hunters, the deeper realization of what the spiritual world means to us does not occur to them.  That’s not the case for me.  When I heard this conversation between Dustin and his colleague, my ears immediately perked up and I began to be intrigued by the man behind the words.  I eventually came across him on social media and began to follow his posts.  I quickly found out he was much more than a superficial para-celeb.  He was (and is) a deeply spiritual human being with an excellent sense of humor and whimsy—and a passion for lifting up others.

What’s Next (edited and forwarded by Dustin’s friend, Jessica Jewett) begins in 2011.  Told from one airplane seat to the next over the years, each chapter contains Dustin’s unique brand of wordplay and delightful eccentricity.  It is his self-proclaimed “literary misadventure.”  Dustin gives a glimpse of his childhood and the single paranormal experience which piqued his curiosity in the paranormal many years ago.  He explains the random, spliced nature of his thought processes, how the love of music propels him, and how he acquired the moniker of “Paranormal Rockstar.” With boundless energy, he “hustles” through life normally working at least two (if not three or four) jobs at any given time—never losing his sense of wonder or gratitude.

Attending school and going into the television production, reporting, and videography fields as a younger man, he rose in the ranks at his local television station—and was living what felt to be a good life as a bachelor with ample pay in a successful position.  But as the world changed with the events of 9/11, so did Dustin’s outlook on life.   Wanting to get out of the ratings-driven field of television, he trained to become an EMT and firefighter; immensely enjoying the feeling of making a difference and of helping others.  He describes the struggle of forcing himself (or being forced) to make risky changes and the sometimes disappointing (but always serendipitous) results.  He writes, “Sometimes we think we know our destiny.  We think our dreams belong to us when in fact we are a small part of a much bigger picture…”

Dustin describes his disillusion with church dogma and his struggle to find faith and Christ.  He takes us to the time he first met his wife, the birth of his daughter, and the love and joy he has found in family.  His appreciation of donuts (D-O-N-U-T-S), pie, and other delightful treats is made loud and clear.  The reader is made privy to how Dustin initially became a cast member of Ghosthunters (and later Ghosthunters International) and his joys and struggles of being a part of that franchise—particularly the experiences overseas and away from his family and new daughter—and ultimately the reason he chose to be with his family over the fame and money of being on a traveling television show.

Ever the “hustler,” Dustin juggled his family responsibilities with his job in the medical field during the day and being a camera-man for Pawsox baseball games at night—adding in the occasional lecture or appearance. Spending days on the road, much of the time his slept in his beloved 99 B3000 Mazda, Angelina.  He tells the reader about the creation of his online ministry “The Patch Ministry” (in which he spends a great deal of time offering encouragement, love, and the teachings of Christ to his friends and fans) and the struggles and hatemongers he had to overcome because of it. He describes how he experienced the ups and downs of working for years to create his own paranormal television show with a spiritual bent in order to get more exposure for his ministry and help more people—and while doing so met quite the cast of characters.  But ultimately fate stepped in, turning the tides and leading him to the opportunities (including a limited return to filming with Ghosthunters), work, and family time in Rhode Island that he currently enjoys. He explains why he lives his life the way he does, “I always treat others as I want to be treated… I try to be inspirational in all that I say and do, not because I think I’m a big deal or that I should be a role model, but because I believe that is simply how we should all conduct ourselves, living lives of light, love, mercy, encouragement, truth, and peace” and, “I’m all about doing what’s right over doing what’s easy or what’s only right for me.”

While life may not have gone exactly as planned for Dustin, it worked how it was supposed to—and being a firm believer in fate over happenstance, Dustin makes it clear that he’s grateful and that life is good.  As most happy people do, he enjoys the little pleasure life has to offer. Fans even got to see a glimpse of Dustin in a Dunkin Donuts commercial last year (—another calling card of providence in his life.

“What’s Next” is an entertaining read filled with musings and silliness on just about every page–but more importantly, it’s a chronicle of a life being lived well, regardless of the proverbial roadblocks thrown in the way.  It is brimming with life lessons, inspiration, encouragement, the love of God, and a “Never Give Up” attitude.

While the book is more about this side rather than The Other Side, Dustin writes, “The unseen spiritual realm is around us at all times.  It is alive, more so than we are now.  It is boundless and glorious.  It is everything and then some.  I’ll see you there someday.  Look me up. We can grab a slice of pie at the malt shoppe with Frank Sinatra.”

When my times comes, make it Elvis and I might just take you up on that offer, Mr. D. Pari.

-Charyl Miller

To get your copy of What’s Next:

Dustin on Facebook and Twitter

The Patch Ministry on Facebook and Twitter   whatsnext