Books detailing the experiences of ghost hunters and paranormal investigators alike are numerous these days and the publishing market continues to be bombarded with dozens of new titles every year.
Most investigative teams’ adventures focus on the thrill of the hunt, the lore behind a haunting, a little bit of factual history and finally, some evidence captured via technical means as a result of their efforts.
Surprisingly – or not, depending on who you speak to – there aren’t many books that reflect serious investigation teams’ use of the esoteric in an attempt to garner results. Of course, I refer to those blessed with the gift of second sight: intuitives, sensitives, clairvoyance, clairaudiance, psychics and mediums.
No doubt the sting of the profit-seeking charlatans bilking the hopeful and gullible during the Spiritualist movement (and beyond) is why many investigative teams invest most of their faith in the latest technological gadgets, rather than trust the ramblings of a “crazy person” sharing what they’re perceiving at any given location.
It’s no secret that the Searcher Group employs some very talented clairvoyants when conducting its long-term investigations (and the benefits of doing so will be covered in a separate article). So as an avid reader of non-fiction accounts of ghost encounters, imagine my delight when I happened upon Marcus F. Griffin’s Extreme Paranormal Investigations (Llewellyn, 2011) a book documenting some of the most hair-raising experiences of WISP – Witches in Search of the Paranormal – a former Indiana-based team comprised entirely of practicing Wiccans!
SPOILER ALERT: Because WISP founder and ordained Wiccan Priest Mr. Griffin answers all the standard questions a layperson generally has about ghost teams (ie. their origins, philosophies, techniques, etc.) in his book, we dive straight into the heart of his work and finer points of the book in the following interview. As such, if you haven’t read Extreme Paranormal Investigations yet, stop reading now (but please return when you have).
Peter: Outside the extreme investigations documented in your book, how many does WISP conduct a year, on average?
Marcus: The number of investigations we perform on a yearly basis vary widely, but we conduct roughly 3 times the number of investigations [found] in my book during a single year.
Peter: Regarding cemetery investigations: Your book describes the most extreme in terms of WISP’s cemetery visit results, but have you or your team visited other burial grounds where very little or nothing was picked up on (other than Resurrection Cemetery)? Do you find a majority of cemeteries are quiet, paranormally-speaking?
Marcus: I do find that the majority of cemeteries I have visited are peaceful and quiet from the standpoint of paranormal activity. In fact, many of the cemeteries WISP has investigated that produced strong evidence of paranormal activity are only active a small percentage of the time.
However, even during casual visits or strolls through garden variety cemeteries (ie. cemeteries that have no history of paranormal activity), I tend to carry a digital audio recorder along with me and am able to capture at least one or two anomalous voices.
Peter: After being introduced to the app Ghost Radar® during the summer of 2012, I found myself smiling when I read it was incorporated by one of the WISP members during an investigation or two. I am especially curious to know since publication of Extreme Paranormal Investigations what your stance is regarding the Ghost Radar® app and its effectiveness in the field. Has WISP tried the latest versions (Legacy, Connect)?
Marcus: WISP has indeed field-tested all versions of the Ghost Radar® app with varying degrees of success. The Ghost Radar® is an intriguing tool, but at this time I do not feel that there is enough scientific evidence to either prove or disprove its effectiveness and ability to produce proof of paranormal activity or a ghostly presence.
Peter: Speaking of Ghost Radar®, as I was reading of the Okie Pinokie investigation (Chapter 6), I was hoping to learn of a confirmation (or debunking) report on the name ‘Bronwen’ that was spoken by the app and any significance (if any) that might have in relation to the area investigated.
Marcus: As unusual as this name is, WISP was unable to discover any relevance or relationship between the name Bronwen and the investigation of Okie Pinokie.
Peter: Other than the voice-matching to Jeffrey Dahmer’s mentioned in Chapter 5, does WISP conduct follow-up historical research following evidence review to validate its evidence captures?
Marcus: WISP does indeed conduct extensive pre and post-investigation historical research as a standard part of our investigations.
Peter: Are any of WISP’s EVP evidence available for sharing, online? If not, are there plans to do so in the foreseeable future?
Marcus: Unfortunately WISP’s audio evidence is not currently available online. However, I have recently signed a contract with Llewellyn Worldwide to publish Extreme Paranormal Investigations 2 and plan to develop a new website where the audio evidence can be accessed that coincides with the book’s release date, which is currently slated for sometime in 2014.
Peter: I felt after the incredible build-up to the results described in Chapter 7 (Return to Munchkinland) that the chapter ended quite abruptly. What happened following the manifestation of the male figure within your sacred circle? How did – or does – the team “wind down” after performing such rituals? Has the team attempted to perform a similar ritual somewhere, since? (I wholeheartedly agreed with your decision to omit the exact details of the ritual, by-the-way!)
Marcus: This particular chapter did indeed end quite abruptly. This is due to the fact that the ritual and investigation itself ended quite abruptly. During the ritual and the investigation we expended a great deal of personal and team energy and the result was exhausting, to say the least.
To “wind down” after such an ordeal we typically “ground” ourselves, which is basically a way to release our mental and spiritual connection to the present spirits and the investigation/ritual itself. Grounding is a highly personal and subjective technique and varies from witch to witch. My own technique for grounding is to kneel on the ground, close my eyes and envision my skeleton slowly leaving my body and melting away into the earth, carrying any residual energies along with it.
Peter: Regarding Daytime Investigations: Obviously there are many locations that are publicly-accessible and that night time will afford a more private investigative experience (and less contaminated evidence/data). However, in team WISP’s experience, how do daytime visits differ from night time visits from a practicing Witch’s standpoint? Why do you think that is?
Marcus: I have discovered that from a paranormal aspect, the main difference between daytime and night time investigations is the strength and frequency of activity, with said activity typically being much stronger during the evening hours. Although the exact reasoning for this phenomenon remains a mystery to me, I believe that for whatever reason, darkness amplifies paranormal activity similar to the way that radio waves are stronger and travel farther during the night time.
Peter: How successful are you in capturing photographic evidence during a“non-extreme” investigation? (ie. cases that do not appear in the book.)
Marcus: In my experience, authentic photographic evidence of paranormal activity is extremely rare during any investigation, extreme or otherwise.
Peter: Do you feel sound energy is much easier to manifest (and record) than visual phenomena?
Marcus: Yes. The amount of audio evidence WISP collects verses photographic evidence is roughly 100 to 1.
Peter: Since this book’s release, are you aware of anyone visiting the lesser-known locations described within, to try their hand at investigating them, as well? Has anyone contacted you to share evidence or stories of their own in these places?
Marcus: Although I’m certain that people have visited the lesser know locations after reading about them in my book, to date I have not been contacted by anyone that had their own story to share.
Peter: Do you personally have any desire to learn about what happens to our energies/souls/essences when we leave the physical plane before we do, or are you content waiting to find out when it happens?
Marcus: I believe that the paranormal is a beautiful mystery that can never be entirely proved or disproved, but merely experienced and enjoyed. In my opinion, absolute proof of life after death would forever strip it of its true beauty and I have no desire to know what will happen to me after I die beforehand.
Peter: Do you feel it is possible to attain this knowledge any time in the near future?
Marcus: I do not.
Peter: As a Witch, do you feel this knowledge should be attained?
Marcus: I believe that knowledge is as useful as it is dangerous, and that witch or otherwise, there will always be people intent on using knowledge for their own means and to do others harm. I believe that earned knowledge is sacred knowledge and is much less likely to be abused.
Peter: Has team WISP expanded its ranks since Extreme Paranormal Investigations was released or is it primarily the core four investigators?
Marcus: Since Extreme Paranormal Investigations was released, my wife and I have moved from northern Indiana to Colorado and our ranks have swelled. Since the move we have added four new team members to our ranks.
Peter: Can you tell us about any of your current work or plans for future research?
Marcus: As previously mentioned, I have signed with Llewellyn to publish Extreme Paranormal Investigations 2. For this new book, I will not only be performing investigations with team WISP, but with a wide variety of Colorado-based teams, as well. Only the best of the best of these forthcoming investigations will be featured in my new book. Many (of) the new investigations have been scheduled and outlined, but since they have yet to take place I am unable to give you exact details at this time.
However, to whet your whistle in the meantime, I do have a new book centered on an amazing paranormal encounter I experienced during my youth. This new book is entitled: Playing With the Devil- The True Story of a Rock Band’s Terrifying Encounters With the Dark Side. This book is also being published by Llewellyn Worldwide and is slated to be released in September of 2013.
I was also recently interviewed on camera for a segment for A&E’s Biography channel based on the Belle Gunness investigation featured in my book. Unfortunately, I do not currently have exact info as to the title or air date of this segment. I will post this info as it becomes available on my official author website.
Peter: Are there any parting thoughts you wish to express?
Marcus: Believe in yourself and trust what your senses are telling you. Never take another investigator’s words and/or beliefs as law and that includes my own words and beliefs. Trust your own instincts. I’m certain that you’ll discover that they will rarely let you down. Earn your own knowledge and never accept someone else’s knowledge as golden. Discover your own truth in your own way and you will truly understand the definition of the word.
To reach Marcus F. Griffin for more information, please visit http://www.marcusfgriffin.com