INSIDE OUT MAGAZINE
Thanks to Tao Li and the guys at for the University for taking an interest in my work
Happy to oblige!
For our readers, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?
I'm a Paranormal Investigator and Writer and along with my Husband Simon, I am Co-founder of HD Paranormal Research Ltd, a non profit organisation set up to investigate potential cases of spirit attachment and alleged hauntings. I never know what each new day will bring, which is partly why I love this field. I spend a lot of my time researching and writing about various paranormal phenomena along with my own experiences as an investigator. A lot of what I do also involves the collection and analysis of statistical data in relation to the study of paranormal activity. A typical day could start with reviewing audio or night vision footage taken the previous night in the hope of capturing EVP's (electronic voice phenomena), orbs, shadows...anything unexplainable! Once done, I will set up further experiments, which could involve the use of motion detection equipment, cameras, audio recorders, trigger objects etc. I'm always looking for new ways to capture evidence of the paranormal and at the moment I'm doing a lot of background work looking at new ITC (Instrumental Trans Communication) tecniques.
Once that's done I tend to respond to requests for home visits from people experiencing unexplained activity in their homes.
We arrange to go in and set up various pieces of technical equipment and spend time trying to experience some of what they claim is happening for ourselves. Usually these are cases in which people believe the activity centres around a specific object, maybe an old photograph or inherited wedding ring for example, but not always. We never stop but we love what we do.
How did you get started this business? What made you want to become a paranormal investigator?
I can't remember ever consciously thinking to myself "I want to be a Paranormal Investigator", I have just always had a fascination with the spirit world, and all things unexplained. Growing up I was told stories by my parents of their experiences with ghosts and the paranormal, and it sparked by interest. My Father has seen many ghosts, the example that sticks in my mind is when he told me he walked towards a figure in his bedroom and put his hand through it. It didn't move but his hand felt icy cold. My Mother too is very sensitive to the supernatural and has been known to get accurate premonitions in the form of vivid dreams. Both my maternal and paternal great grandmothers were mediums, and while I never knew either of them as they died before I was born, I believe their gifts and beliefs have influenced both sides of the family and certainly led to me being raised in a very open minded and spiritually aware environment. When I was 17 I experienced the death of a loved one and that really increased my desire to reach out to the afterlife. I've had various jobs over the years but I've never stopped studying the paranormal, and investigating haunted places. I think over time word spread and people began asking me to visit their homes and help them with what they believed to be hauntings. Many cases were not, but some absolutely were and with each new genuine case I learnt something new. It's still like that today. You can never know everything about the paranormal. There are no experts really, we're all learning.
What question do people ask you most when you tell them you are a paranormal investigator?
Are you bored with them?
I never get bored talking about what I do, in fact once I get started I could talk for hours! When people hear about my beliefs and the work I do they tend to ask "Don't you ever get scared?". My answer is generally the same. Of course I do get scared at times, but my curiosity always over-rides my fear, and so I continue. I also get asked "Have you ever seen a ghost?", and yes, I have.
What is the hardest part about being a female paranormal investigator and writer?
I guess the hardest part, if looking at it from a male vs female angle, is being taken seriously. At least when I was younger. It's not so bad these days as there are more women in the field and it rarely comes up in conversation actually! However as a fresh faced 17 year old it was mission impossible trying to persuade local paranormal groups to let me join them on vigils. I think some thought I was going through a phase or a fad that I'd outgrow. Others thought it too risky. I recall one particular investigator saying to me "I don't like having women on investigations, they scream too much". Another once said "you do know we use a lot of technical equipment don't you? It can be a bit complicated and you might get cold". Looking back I find it hilarious, but at the time as a young woman I felt angered and it was attitudes like that, that made me determined to go out there and do it for myself.
Having said that I have been incredibly fortunate over the years and have met and worked with some wonderfully insightful and supportive people...both male and female!
Does anything scare you about ghost hunting or Paranormal Investigations?
Not really. There is always an element of fear or anxiety associated with walking into the unknown, however I think that is what makes people who work in this field keep going. I suppose you could call it an adrenalin rush. I do get uncomfortable in small dark spaces. Last year we visited Sinai House in Burton on Trent with Burton Ghost Walks, and spent some time in the small vaulted cellar. While down there is darkness I felt a tap on my arm and there were times when I felt the darkness really enveloping me.
What is the most remarkable and memorable case you've investigated? Describe it?
I couldn't possible single out just one memorable experience, as for different reasons, I have many. Once we held an investigation at 'The Devils Chair' near an ancient stone circle in Avebury and that was pretty magical. The air seemed filled with energy, almost electric. Working outdoors can bring challenges obviously, but those kinds of investigations really make you feel closer to whatever great spiritual force is out there. As for individual cases, I have experienced strong activity through the use of a ouija board however we no longer use them and I don't advocate their use. Myself and a group of investigators all experienced a visual hallucination during one particular session in which we believed the board had set alight. We all jumped back. A few seconds later everything was back to normal. We don't know who or what was trying to scare us, but it certainly made an impression. Another favourite was the Alberta Springs Hotel in Banff, Canada. A family were murdered in room 873 and so the doorway is now bricked up, but apparently they still roam the corridor, and late one night my Husband saw a little girl walk through the wall into someones room!
So what causes the haunted doll activity?
Theres no 1 cause. It's the same as asking "why are there hauntings?" in general. Spirits can have many reasons for remaining here. One of the most common we find i that of unfinished business. A spirit may have a message for someone living, or may have a story they need to be heard before they can cross over. When it comes to why they choose a specific object, we find it tends to be due to an emotional connection. For example, a wedding rings holds a powerful symbolic meaning. They are worn every day by their owner, throughout good times and bad, tears and laughter and so inevitably they absorb and retain our energy. In cases where the object chosen is a doll, it could be that it was once the treasured possession of someone who loved it so much in life, they couldn't leave it in death. Remember, death and the afterlife is unknown to us, and not everyone will feel ready to cross over when their time comes. For some, holding on to something familiar at the point of death will come naturally, and we have witnessed evidence that the soul can in some cases remain in the presence of that item.
What should be done if a doll is haunted? Could we just burn it?
Absolutely not. A spirit is not a physical entity, and so choosing to burn an object you believe to be associated to a spirit would simply destroy the item, not the spirit. Most spirits mean no harm. They were once living, like you or I, and in some cases may even need help to cross over. We have nothing to fear from the spirit world, only much to learn. If a house was haunted you wouldn't burn down the house. There are ways to deal with such matters.
Except for Greyfriars Kirkyard, are there any other locations that make your dream list for the investigation?
We would love to visit the Hellfire caves in Buckinghamshire. They have such an unusual and powerful history, although my fear of enclosed spaces may be a problem! Also the ship the Queen Mary, docked in California is meant to house at least 600 ghosts - that would be interesting too!
What are your favourite supernatural beings? Fairies? Werewolf? Vampire? Unicorns? Or something else?
Hmm...never been asked that! I'd have to say fairies. There are some mythical creatures I do not believe exist, although they make for a good story. Fairies however I do believe in. I have spoken with very sane rational people who have claimed to have seen them and have described what they saw in detail. I actually spent some time studying historical cases. Plus of course, I have 2 young daughters who love fairies and all things magical.
What is your favourite fairy tale, folklore or urban legends? Who is your favourite author in this field?
I love classic children's fairytales but not for the reasons you may think. I love the way that most of these fables have a dark side, that is subtle, and not even noticable particulary as a child, but that once you re-read them as an adult, is incredibly creepy. Hansel and Gretel for example is pure horror! The thought of an old witch who captures children, cages them, fattens them up and then cooks them for her supper is disturbing in the extreme. Then there's Little Red Riding Hood who walks into her Grandmas bedroom to discover a wolf has not only eaten the poor old woman but is now in her bed wearing her clothes and waiting to eat poor Red Riding Hood too! It makes you wonder how they ever became much loved childrens stories. Very very clever writing.
If you have a chance to write a letter to the author, what would you say?
I would probably ask why they chose to write childrens stories instead of going into adult horror where clearly their talents lie!
Obviously, you believe in ghosts. What can you say to non-believers to convince them? Or do you not even care to try?
You can't convince anyone to change their beliefs. It works both ways. No-one could ever persuade me that there is no afterlife and that ghosts don't exist. I've seen and experienced too much to deny it. However, until I saw a ghost for myself, part of me was still skeptical and so I understand fully why those who have not experienced anything, disbelieve it. Having varying view points keeps debate interesting, it would be no fun at all if everyone in the world believed in the same things.
If you're not doing ghost hunts, what do you like to do most?
Well my children are the centre of my world and I love nothing more than snuggling up on the sofa with my family watching a film to be honest, or taking them on a walk through the woods looking for fairy houses (my eldest is 3 and loves doing that!) family time is very important. I try to completely switch off from all things paranormal from time to time as it can be all consuming.
Do you have any advice for new investigators or those who want to become paranormal investigators?
Don't be put off by anyone else's attitude or opinion of it, steer clear of big egos and those who claim to know it all. You don't need to spend thousands on fancy gadgets or recording equipment. I started with a torch, a tape recorder and a warm coat.
Don't try to convince the world just satisfy yourself and you'll learn more with each new experience.