Investigating Under Opposition:
One of the first facets people discover when they are introduced to the work of The Searcher Group is our stellar reputation regarding the issue of trustworthiness. For over three decades, we have assured and made good on our promises to clients from safety procedures to anonymity concerns.
Most groups with a professional mindset share this approach to their work and those are the teams TSG wishes to associate with, especially since there may come a time when we’ll need to confidently refer a client to that other team for reasons of logistics (ie. when TSG is too far to be able to aid a client calling for help).
In our ongoing efforts to establish credibility to ourselves, the work that we do and the field we are exploring and researching, we prefer to share our real names and images in a gesture of openness, honesty and that all-important trust. As such, TSG does not endorse or associate with groups that opt to hide behind anonymous hashtags or e-mail handles. After all, if you had a problem and decided to call in a paranormal investigations team, would you contact a faceless stranger at email@example.com to handle your personal woes?
That being said, how does a team of earnest, hard-working and multi-talented investigators even manage to exist when they’re based in the centre of an entire community populated by a majority who vehemently deny and outright oppose anything remotely associated with the paranormal? Well, as you may guess, in order for them to do their work, their members must remain anonymous.
Introducing the Sault Ste. Marie Paranormal Research Group (SSMPRG), a team of female investigator/researchers established in 2006. The backgrounds of its current membership range from knowledge of quantum physics and Wiccan/Occult symbols to real estate, pharmaceuticals and police services. You will not find surnames or photos of the SSMPRG online, due to the dense Catholic and Aboriginal populous surrounding them; to avoid persecution and keep their day jobs, this is an unfortunate but necessary policy they uphold.
Still, the collective skills the team applies to those occasional cases (when a member of the community genuinely requires answers) intrigued me enough that we conducted an interview for our and your reading pleasure.
Peter: Most people who have an interest in paranormal investigation teams will appreciate having access to clerical and scientific resources. How has the input of a social worker aided in your work? Would you please describe a particular case as an example?
Kim (Founder/Director): Having a social worker is integral to our work because the majority of cases are not bona fide paranormal per se; they are more of an attention grab or, sadly enough, a mental issue that can best be resolved with normal therapy. One particular case involved a man with schizophrenia and he was certain that his apartment was haunted. Our preliminary screening did warrant an investigation, however further investigations debunked most activity. Moreover, negative energy from the apartment below him and above him was adding to his paranoia, as well as any residual negative energy contained in the century-old building.
Peter: How long has SSMPRG been a member of PSICAN? Are there certain prerequisites a paranormal investigation team must have in order to become a member? Have you found being a member helps assure potential clients they are in trustworthy hands?
Kim: SSMPRG has been an affiliate member of PSICAN for almost 5 years now and we did sign up with them in order to gain credibility and insight to paranormal investigators across the country. As one PRG/PRS knows, the more resources you can pool, the better off you are. There are no prerequisites to being a member, although we did have a waiting period while PSICAN viewed our site, references etc.
Peter: What kind of equipment does the team utilize? Ever have any of it damaged in the course of an investigation? What’s the highest-tech? The lowest (or simplest)?
Kim: Our PRG does not have outside financial assistance, thus any equipment used is purchased and the onus of each member. The best equipment we have is the simplest equipment: recorders, cameras, digital video and IR cameras; digital thermometers, compasses, motion sensors, A/C – Stud Finders; EMF readers, candles, dowsing rods, crystals, baby powder, string; Ghost Radar Legacy apps., pens and paper (to record incidents, activity, ley line readings etc.). I am still looking into a full spectrum camera as well as more IR customizations and wow, a Ghost Box would be fabulous but my Ghost Radar app works well in the meantime.
Peter: Your team boasts members who obviously bring their own unique talents, experiences, education and mindsets to the subject of the paranormal when working in the field. As such, I’d like to ask some individual questions, if I may.
Kim, as the founder of SSMPRG can you tell us how the team came together, please? Did you assemble from people you knew or did you actively seek like-minded individuals?
Kim: I have had several individuals join and quit on their first investigation. You may have encountered these people who claim they are seasoned and are not afraid [then] find out on their first investigation that it’s either a waiting game or a mad dash out the door, never to return. My current team has been understanding and resourceful, and we are a close-knit group. I have always sought out like-minded individuals as well as sceptics because the combination of both is integral to fact-finding. I am always leery with regards to ‘evidence’. Having our affiliate resources outside the team has always been beneficial to our success – a fresh set of eyes, explanations and technical detail is always important. Though having a finding debunked is not the greatest feeling, you can appreciate the extra assistance. Our team actually consists of five women and two part- time men; our resources consist of various clergy, one social worker, one videographer, one electrician, two professional photographers and a house inspector. Actually, anyone I ask to review the evidence is most helpful and discreet in doing so, so really, our affiliations are limitless.
Peter: How do you attempt to apply science into your research?
Kim: I cannot see how you cannot apply science into the research in order to investigate thoroughly. There are some things stranger than fiction and are completely normal in the scientific community. Although our team has certain abilities, including myself (clairaudient), we always seek out identifiable explanations first, prior to extending our research into the unknown.
The term ‘pareidolia’ is not something I use lightly, [as] most people suffer with this daily, whether it’s by sight or any other sense. I essentially compare pareidolia to Freudian slips because it is the individual’s perception causing the phenomena.
Another example of science needed: there are a series of blue light streaks in the Peruvian desert caused by natural electrical static energy; if you were not familiar with such phenomena, you would think it paranormal in nature. Gravity, electro-magnetic fields, geological disruptions, faults, ley lines and certain ores – certain materials in our natural world act as conductors of energy that either attract or repel certain energies.
Another example is that a wooden building is more likely absorb more residual energy than a stone building. It is true that depending on the stones, certain energy will repel within the walls; however, wood [absorbs] energy. A great example of how energies remain is to walk into a couple’s home who are constantly fighting, and you can feel the energy vibes; walk into Gramma’s house and how do you feel?
I use science because it’s my way and I can debunk 90% of any paranormal activity using it; it’s the other 10% that we’re interested in. I remember the first case of having demonic energy present and we invited an affiliate to accompany us (she is now a part-time member). The moment we entered the home, all four of us felt a negative presence and tried to debunk through interviews with individual family members and could not; we delved into science to debunk the energy and could not and found that that particular case was special and bona fide. Sometimes science cannot provide an explanation; however, it sure serves as a greater purpose.
Peter: By the sound of your write-up online under ‘Ghosts Explained’ you may be in a position to write a whole thesis on the relationship of paranormal phenomena to quantum physics and quantum geology. Have you or are you considering doing so to help further theory on what a “ghost” may truly be?
Kim: Yes it’s true I could write one hell of a thesis on the subject; however, I may be too presumptuous in defining a infinite theory. Using quantum physics and quantum geology only explains most phenomena and too many of us have had experiences and our own perceptions as to what a “ghost” really is.
Peter: Who are your influences in the world of quantum theory in terms of coming close to explaining – scientifically – what may be behind the creation of a spirit person and why?
Kim: The first time I read Gerard t’Hooft’s Holographic Principles, a part of me scoffed and the other half rejoiced that there is weirdness in the universe and explainable somewhat. Stephen Hawking and I are on the same quest: to find the source of ‘energy’ and how it is distributed. If you know Occum’s Razor and combine it with Laws of Attraction, physics and Einstein’s Relativity, then you know that energy is basically everywhere and it is how the energy manifests in any particular moment.
The “ghost” itself comes in many forms of energy and can manifest in many ways. I have heard of certain cases whereby a person is haunted specifically and once they deal with personal issues, manifestations magically disappear. Your mind is more powerful than you think and if stress, past traumas and whatnot can create poltergeist activity, then we all need to rethink what causes poltergeist in that situation only. The real problem is, there are so many different scenarios and each case is so unique so no two principles can be applied for any one case.
Peter: Talia, how long have you been interested in or studied Wiccan and Occult symbolism? Have you (on your own or as a member of the team) had an opportunity to exercise this knowledge on a particular case?
Talia (Investigator): I would say I became interested in all things historical, religious, non-religious, symbols, paranormal, etc. since I was a young girl starting with mummies in Egypt, moving onto things like Loch Ness, Bigfoot, other studies such as oddities in the world like the Bloop sound, aliens, mysterious world events, etc. While I wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means, I have done a ton of reading and research and know a lot about symbolism, including Wiccan and Occult symbols; I also know a fair amount about crystal healing stones and uses of stones and gems in our daily lives to affect things like Zen, healing, and money.
Peter: Your online bio refers to you as an ‘intuitive’. Is this a title you prefer over ‘medium’, ‘clairvoyant,’ or ‘psychic’? I appreciate there are perceived biases some people have between the various terms or titles – what is your take?
Talia: I would not call myself psychic or a medium, I say ‘intuitive’ because I notice many things that others do not. It’s a hard feeling to explain – I know I do not see hear or feel spirits or have anything like Ghost Whisperer happen to me. What I find myself most intuitive by is the actual humans, themselves; I think I notice things others miss all the time about people, signs, little quirks, behaviour [and] body language.
Peter: How long have you been aware of your intuitive abilities and how have you honed or worked with them?
Talia: I just open myself and I never let what we know as adults get in the way or cause myself not to believe in something. I guess you would say I am very in tune with my body and I allow myself to feel when something is wrong such as that “nervous” belly you get when you know you’re doing something wrong. I have that and I listen to it; I never block out what my true inner feelings are, like a lot of adults do.
Peter: Which component(s) of your abilities is/are your strengths? (ie. Clairvoyance? Clairsentience? Clairaudience? Clairalience? Clairgustance? Claircognizance?)
Talia: I would say this question doesn’t really apply because I am not a medium; I am just someone who notices things, that others do not. That being said, I do use science and my knowledge of human behaviour to back up what I know, along with my feelings to back up my cause.
It is possible I am a little more in tune with myself than others, and it is true odd things happen to me: I get déjà vu about 4 times a week, I have odd dreams. But I still would never consider myself a medium or psychic.
Peter: Has a response from a spirit you’ve picked up on ever been caught by a camera mic or a recorder, simultaneously?
Peter: Nancy, your empathic and Wiccan abilities coupled with a background associated with police services intrigues me, because it’s not often the two are paired. For starters, could you explain what Police Foundations means/entails, please?
Nancy (Empath/Investigator): I currently hold two diplomas both in police foundations as well as law and security administration. What this means is that I have the knowledge and skill set to work in the criminal justice field. Have been trained in surveillance equipment, self defence, hand cuffing and many different legal proceedings.
Peter: The Searcher Group feels police services’ utilization of anyone with “second sight” abilities is incredibly underused, especially in hard-to-crack cases. Would you agree or would you say that they are indeed used quite often (perhaps cited simply as a ‘source’ in the media), but the public is kept unaware?
Nancy: I agree; I do not feel that they are used enough. We have a very different perspective on things that most other people cannot relate to. I think this is why you don’t see those that are gifted with second sight utilized as often.
Peter: What is – or has been – the general reaction of fellow police associates with regards to your abilities to read energies and study Wicca? Appreciative? Deterring? Mixed?
Nancy: It is a mixed reaction; I come from a law enforcement-based family, so I of course get the support on that side. With my gift in particular, my father (a Canada Customs officer) has been very focused on making sure I have had the ability to keep it under control, so it does not negatively affect my work. During my education, many of my teachers were ex-police officers and they were very warm and welcoming about my faith and wished to learn more and spoke of the many benefits it has in that field.
Peter: When the Searcher Group utilizes the various skills of its mediums, we tend to bring them on investigations individually and “blindly,” so that one’s reading will not influence the readings of another. Is this the case with the SSMPR team or does it investigate and include both you and Talia together? If the latter, how does the team find that works out?
Nancy: The investigations I have been on with the team it was just me. Being an empath, I am able to work with other mediums as what I pick up is mostly emotional. I can sense some spiritual activity, but depending on what it is, they do try and stay away from me as best as possible. That is mostly due to my Wiccan background which I will explain in the next question.
Peter: Are you familiar with WISP (Witches In Search of the Paranormal, currently based in Colorado) – an all Wiccan-practicing paranormal investigations team? Assuming you are a practicing Wiccan yourself (and please correct me if you are not), do you feel that that spiritual connection brings an advantage or edge to the team (paired with Talia’s abilities to identify Wiccan symbols) and how?
Nancy: I am not familiar with WISP but I will be sure to look into that, now. I am a practicing Wiccan I am actually a Wiccan Priestess, if you are familiar with the hierarchy of Wicca, at all. I personally do find that having someone of that faith is a big benefit to the group. For example, my Goddess is Hecate. She is the guardian of the crossroads and spirit realms. I joke around a lot with people and say every group has their token witch; well, in most cases when it comes to me, they do. I practice a much older tradition than Wicca itself, but it’s the same power, drawing the same ancient energies. These things alone can actually attack spiritual energy and make them want to come out and play more often than not and a lot more often than they would, for say, just a group of normal people.
Peter: Have you or do you perform cleansings for clients after an investigation?
Nancy: I have done a cleansing after an investigation, but I also do them for the general public, as well both household and personal [cleansings].
Peter: What has been the SSMPR group’s most memorable moment or investigation to date?
Kim: Most memorable? They are all memorable.
Peter: What is the best book you’ve read on the subject?
Kim: I’ve read a myriad of information through university philosophy classes, history classes, etc., but most notably and memorably:
Phenomenology of Spirit, Existentialism – Georg Hegel (1807)
Holographic Principles – Gerardus t’Hooft (2000)
The Theory of Everything – Stephen Hawking (2002)
Various articles via internet research on geology, quantum geology, physics, etc.
Talia: Time-Life Books’ Mysteries of the Unknown; I have all 33 volumes, which range from aliens, to ancient wisdom, to paranormal, to out-of-body experiences. Wonderful book set; my mother gave it to me.
Peter: How busy does the SSMPR team find itself, per year? A few cases on average? More?
Kim: Due to the large Catholic influence, superstitious cultural backgrounds, our PRG receives less than one case a year. I have taken our members to known public locations with activity to test [both] their ability and patience. [Laughs] For all the inquiries we receive, only one will warrant a second investigation.
Peter: Can you tell us about any of your current work or research plans for the future?
Kim: We have one case that demands our attention and we will continue to work with the family in order to sort out the cause of [their] intermittent hauntings.
To contact the Sault Ste. Marie Paranormal Research Group, visit http://www.angelfire.com/crazy/spooks/About.html for more information and contact links.