Interview with a Paranormal Investigator
I'd like to introduce you to my good friend Heather...
My friend is an incredibly interesting, formidably witty, stunning woman that continually blows my mind with her outlook, attitude, abilities, kindness and interests. A single, working mother of 4 (though she does have a lovely boyfriend named Tony, not to neglect anyone) need I say anything else? I have three and regularly offer to rent them out cheap...even two for one on weekends....so I couldn't imagine an extra one. My hat off to those who can do it at all and with class at that. She inspires me.
One of her interests happens to be mutual between us since we met, which was way back when Vanilla Ice was a rapper and not a flavor of Smirnoff Vodka just to give you a hint....Go Class of '89!
I digress. As I was saying, our mutual interest was in the paranormal. Not so unheard of amongst teens, especially seeing as we come from a time of blockbuster movies like Witchboard and owning a Ouija Board was like having Pictionary hanging around in the closet. Now, Heather and a mutual friend were either much braver or more curious than I because they did stuff that I considered lunacy and way to high on the creep factor scale. We all, regardless of my cowardice in certain situations, walked away with our experiences. Enough to keep each one of us on our own personal search for the truth. The search I want to tell you about is the one Heather has found herself on. To me, it's the most interesting and fruitful.
In a planned series of stories and ride alongs I intend to do with Heather, this is my first interview with her.........
After the interview, I realized it just happened to be 13 questions...it's already starting to be creepy (Twilight Zone Theme playing in background)
First, I'd like everybody to get a feel for where you stand, the frame of mind in which you personally do what you do. So let's start with your beliefs in the paranormal. Could you explain where you're coming from on that issue?
I believe that there is something out there but am still unsure as to what. It's because I don't know that I'm on this quest.
At what age do you remember having an interest in the possibilities of the paranormal?
Around the age of 8. It started with reading ghost stories at that age and then began to evolve once I'd experienced some unexplainable situations at about age 16. That's when I started with the rudimentary experimentation with occult-ish things, religion, spirituality, etc..
Do you believe your personal experiences to be paranormal/psychic related or unexplained as of yet?
Unexplained as of yet, definitely. I know what I believed to have experienced but in the heat of the moment with no evidence or way to corroborate it's hard to say what they were.
What is the name of the paranormal society that you belong to?
British Columbia Ghosts and Haunting Research Society.
What is their mandate?
"To collect information of data pertaining to ghosts and haunting in BC" is the official statement. We try to establish frequency and similarity of reports, corroborate them with any known history we can find that matches the information coming from the people who are having the experiences. Accurate documentation is critical of witness accounts.
What led you to this society? Was it you seeking it or did it find you?
I was aware of their website and was looking for the story of Mandy the Haunted Doll in Quesnel, BC. I noticed they were looking for a new director for their BC chapter which I applied for.
What do you specifically do for and with the society?
Besides being Director for BC, most of what I do is take witness accounts. There is a group that I go out with a few times a year to conduct observations at places we've been documenting for awhile and have been invited to. We did have a member of BC Skeptics in our group but we're mostly just regular people. Occasionally we have a psychic accompany.
How do you choose a place to investigate, or as you put it, observe?
Accessibility is the first and most important thing. We can't go to someones house and ask, we require being invited. That way we don't come across as soliciting. Some people are very private about their experiences and discretion/complete privacy is essential. We don't go to cemeteries, Generally, emails that I get in which people will tell me their experiences and I'll ask questions about the area. Things that I can look into about the history of the area. We usually suggest people start a diary and track the disturbances. Eventually, if things persist we can check it out once requested.
What sort of experiences do you have on any given observation?
Usually, sadly, very little. (She chuckles here) There have been some things that makes us stop and question but it's very hard to get onto video or recording to confirm or investigate. Being that we're trying to achieve collecting what will be considered to be factual evidence, without the backup of video or audio we can't, on behalf of the society, claim any specific experiences. It's so easy to be misled by a sound or a flash of light that you need that backup to be able to refer to and usually it can be debunked. It's just not as easy as some of those ghost hunting shows make out. The reality is you can do this for years and not be able to get anything concrete.
Where would you say is the most active place you've been to?
Hells Gate, BC. Most definitely. There are several witness accounts that are very similar in nature. A cigar smoking man, a lady baking apple pie in the gift shop, things like that.
I know there's a lot more to Hells Gate but I don't want to give away what's coming in the next hub! So let's leave that one there....Can anyone join the society and how would they?
There is a 150 page course book online that you can read through which helps you to really understand our mandate and at the end is a quick, one page questionnaire on how well you've understood the point of view we enter these observations with. Once those are completed and reviewed by the society, you're accepted.
Would you recommend just anyone going out and trying to do what your group does?
Absolutely. I love the history part of everything and then seeing it match to the events currently taking place.
What tools would you recommend for anyone starting out in the field?
The best equipment I can think of is a paper and a pen. Always remember that the best tool is observation and documentation. There are also video cameras, recorders, pictures, sometimes we take temperature readings.
Thanks so much Heather, I can't wait to go to Hells Gate with you!
What would you do?
If you were experiencing strange events in your home, would you take it upon yourself to communicate and find proof or would you feel more secure getting in a Society to observe and investigate?See results without voting
My own future plans with this research society....
I look forward to being able to go to Hells Gate with Heather and witness an overnight observation. I also thank her for her patience with my questions, the repetitiveness and her openness on this topic. Hopefully I'll come back with all sorts of stories to add to my hubs!
The first link is the main branch of the society that Heather belongs to.
The Toronto and Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society - Canada's Oldest Established Online Group Dedicated to the Study and Collection of Experiences with Ghosts and Hauntings.
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