Calgary’s own paranormal investigators, “explaining what you thought you saw”
In a recent phone interview with the Calgary Journal, Holly Goddard, lead investigator, and three of the members of Wolf Paranormal – Shae Barry, occultist and investigator; Christine Ford, an investigator; and Paul Cousins, a researcher and investigator – discussed how they prepare for and execute an investigation, skepticism and animal allies. (Some portions of this Q & A have been edited for length and clarity.)
How did Wolf Paranormal get started?
A. Holly: I started it with a former friend. A very good friend of mine in Arizona encouraged me in 2007 to start a team, because we had things going on that needed to be addressed and he said, “Why don’t you start a team?” And I said, “Okay! Just as simple as that.”
How long has everyone been a part of the team?
A. Holly: Shae’s been with us the longest (since 2012). Chris has been with the team for just over a year and Paul not quite a year. Paul is kind of the baby of the group. Megan has been with us for about two years.
What makes your team different from other paranormal investigators out there in Calgary?
A. Holly: Well I can’t speak to any other team here, I just speak for Wolf Paranormal, but we are simply the best. We have a very dedicated group. We work hard with each other, we work hard for our clients and we care about what’s going on. We don’t want people going through that kind of thing and feeling like they don’t have any hope. We truly care.
Shae: We’re attentive to the situations that are going on, as well as we are thorough in our evaluations. We’re not going there just to go, “Oh my God, you have ghosts.” We’re going there to try and make reason of these situations that are going on and if in that process we do find definite proof, then that’s just a bonus that comes along with it.
Can you describe a typical day/night at your job?
A. Shae: I think it would depend on what the situation is. A lot of it has to do with the fact that we want to do our background work well ahead of time. Meaning that we know and research the area. We research if there have been other events that have happened in this area – you know, just to get a really good background. Then once we get there, it comes down to establishing our parameters. So we go in, set up what we need to set up camera wise, sometimes the client is there, sometimes not. It really depends on (the) client, and it depends on the situation. It’s very organic in the way that it flows and then we wrap it up, go over the data, and compile what is explainable with what’s not explainable and then present it to the client a short time afterwards.
What’s your favourite/least favourite part of an investigation?
A. Chris: I actually love everything about the investigation – even the review, to be honest. I don’t really have a least favourite part of it that I don’t like. I just love it all.
Paul: I don’t really have a least favourite. My favourite part is what I do – I research. Sometimes going through the audio can be tedious but I wouldn’t be in the group if I didn’t enjoy what I do.
Shae: My favourite parts are always the investigations. My least favourite part can sometimes be telling the client yes or no or both. Because sometimes they react well, and sometimes they don’t react well and it’s very difficult to tell somebody that’s dead positive that there’s something going on that we can’t find anything. Not saying that there isn’t anything, but that nothing showed up at that point. Or that something could quite possibly be very active in those situations, but when we’re there nothing’s happening. It’s not consistent and it’s the inconsistency that makes it difficult.
How do dogs become involved in paranormal investigations?
A. Holly: Animals are highly instinctual, so they can see and sense energy that we don’t. So in that sense they’re a very reliable barometer of potentially paranormal things. We may not see, or hear, or feel, a ghost – for lack of a better word – but a dog might, or a cat, or a bird… every animal has that ability so they’re excellent phenomena radars.
What’s the best piece of evidence you’ve found of paranormal activity during an investigation?
A. Holly: We did an investigation out in Copper Heights earlier this year and we did the old “shave and a hair cut [two bits]” thing, but we did the knock on the counter part and asked for the finishing knocks. In a rather bizarre, currently unexplained coincidence, the two knocks came right after we asked for them. Now we could not make it happen again, but it was strange that it happened at all.
Shae: And we’ve heard some voices. Some anomalies that you can’t explain once you hear the audio. There’s also been light fluctuations, temperature fluctuations. Paul and I chased a cold spot around for a while. It’s interesting because people say in houses there is always going to be a cold spot, or a temperature fluctuation somewhere, but when it actually stays consistent at one level and moves around and you can follow it. That becomes one of those things where you go, “Okay…” So that’s not just something that happens.
What do you have to say to skeptics?
A. Holly: For me, personally, I welcome skeptics. In fact, pretty much everyone on the team is a skeptic to some degree or another.
Shae: You have to be a skeptic. We go into it wanting to be amazed – rather than expecting to be amazed. A lot of people talk about orbs for instance. Orbs are either real – and there’s a very big difference between a real orb and a fleck of lint — or a weird sound that happened. People don’t realize it could be a knocking sound that their fridge is making. A healthy skepticism is good, but you can also go overboard with being a skeptic as well.
Paul: A lot of so-called skeptics have got the wrong idea about paranormal groups. I’ve been referred to as a ghost hunter, even a ghost buster, along with many interesting names, but people think paranormal groups just go in there to hunt ghosts. That’s not really the way it works. We’re not ghost hunters, we’re investigators, and part of being an investigator is eliminating what’s in there. If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. You’ve got to be a skeptic, because if you’re not a skeptic, you will turn into a basket case. You will. Because you’ll start to believe everything is paranormal when it’s really not.
Shae: And there’s a certain amount of science to it. You have to go through it in a scientific way. It’s that whole idea if you come up with a theory; you need to be able to prove that theory. And when you can prove that theory, you need to have multiple proofs of that theory in order to make that completely clear…. Once you get something that’s a solid form of evidence, then it can be used as evidence.
Are you worried about negative energies?
A. Shae: For me, I say bring ’em on. I’m not afraid of them at all. I think with the amount of experience I have, and I’ve dealt with some nasties, it’s all about being patient and standing your ground.
Chris: Just because of my personal experiences with certain things, they’ve gotten a little bit better now, but yeah I still have a little bit of fear.
Paul: No, not really. Most of it – even if it’s negative – it’s predominantly energy more than anything else and we all emit energy so I’m not entirely concerned.
Holly: I’m not too worried about it. You just deal with stuff as it comes along. Besides, if something really nasty showed up, that’s when I get Shae involved. Because he can deal with it – that’s what he does.
What steps do you take to prepare yourselves before an investigation?
A. Chris: I meditate, but I do that on my own time. So I don’t really take any precautions. If Shae’s there I’m happy.
Paul: Well my research generally prepares me for the most part but prayer usually 24 hours before and no alcohol.
Shae: Being Wiccan, I have the prep that I do, and whatever amulets and things that I go into things with and have an interesting little case that I can take with me that has anything that I need that figure that’s going to help.
What are the future plans for Wolf Paranormal?
A. Holly: We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and howlin’ at ghosts.
Shae: But we need Calgary to stop tearing down old buildings. The city is getting absolutely brutal for tearing down its history and it’s very, very sad when beautiful old homes, and buildings and stuff are just disappearing. It’s going to be really sad when our entire city is going to be one big infill.
Holly: We’re losing our character.
Paul: And Alberta does have an amazing history. I want to echo what Shae said there; they’ve got to stop doing that. You can’t destroy the history; it’s part of the culture, and the land.
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