What can you tell our readers about the Ghostfinder Paranormal Society?
The Ghostfinder Paranormal Society is a professional paranormal investigation team. Officially founded in early 2007 by Co-founder Ian Wilce and I, the society has fast become recognised as one of the UK's most 'polished' of ghost hunting organisations. GPS - The Ghostfinder Paranormal Society has appeared on television and radio worldwide, and regularly provide expert testimony or advice on media cases that often appear in the national papers.
In 2010 myself and a few members of the GPS team featured on Living TV in a live two night Halloween special to replace the Most Haunted Live show. GPS are now considered to be the leading paranormal team in the UK today and I recently featured on an episode of the popular US show Ghost Adventures, as well as a feature on ABC News, Weird or What with William Shatner, and NBC Universal. Ian Wilce and I have also just recorded an interview in Los Angeles for an international episode of 'My Ghost Story' which will feature later in the year on satellite channel 'Bio'.
When you visit public or private locations what is your process when you arrive?
The GPS team operates across most of the UK with team members located in several counties including, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Buckinghamshire, Kent, Hertfordshire, Surrey, and London. Ian Wilce manages the team in the South West of England and I look after the London and South East, with Lead Investigators taking responsibility for cases in other locations.
The GPS team is made up of a diverse group of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Members include ex police, military, engineers, catering and retail managers, hairdressers, and even homemakers. The team is vital in ensuring GPS remains leaders in this growing field. To maintain the highest standards, our investigators are required to take ghost hunting exams, and be observed in the field. Trainees are given responsibility at locations to gain confidence and experience in challenging settings, and Lead Investigators have earned their position for being able to challenge, research, lead, and analyse evidence accurately and effectively in the course of any investigation.
As a society we operate as a not for profit organisation and do not charge for our services, but ensure that all costs are met by the client in all cases where necessary. GPS do get paid for some of the media work we do which helps fund the website and our expensive kit and all ghost hunting gadgets.
When we visit a clients home or another alleged haunted property, our main purpose is to try and gather real evidence that paranormal phenomena is taking place there to try and offer the client some answers and peace of mind. Normally our investigation takes place at night and can last up to 8 hours or more. We set up cameras and other video or audio recording devices around the location with the intention of capturing anything anomalous. We also use our equipment to try and debunk claims of paranormal activity also. The first thing we do is to look for the most logical explanation to try and debunk claims of ghostly activity, and in most cases we are successful and can offer a reassuring and validated conclusion to our client.
The team only use the latest in paranormal gadgetry. These ghost hunting tools help us to locate and record paranormal activity and in many cases explain reported activity in more logical ways. Some of this equipment includes EMF detectors, Digital Voice Recorders, Full spectrum cameras, thermal imagers, Infra-Red cameras, digital video recorders and non-contact laser thermometers that help measure for reported cold spots. All these devices help our investigators gather valuable data that ultimately helps us prove or disprove the existence of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena.
How did you interest in the paranormal come about?
I first became interested in the paranormal after personally experiencing ghostly activity in my family home from the age of around 5. From an early age, I witnessed shadow figures, apparitions and demonic activity that truly terrified me. As I grew up, things intensified for me, and culminated in a physical attack which left me scared to stay in my own home or sleep. As a teenager I learned more about this kind of phenomena through books and watching programmes and films. Slowly fear became curiosity and I soon realised that I had nothing more to fear and everything to learn from my experiences.
What is the strangest thing you have ever seen whilst you have been working?
One of the strangest things I have ever seen during the course of an investigation is an amazing blue ball of light about the size of a football appear very high up in a derelict part of Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire. The light only appeared for a spilt second, but was also witnessed by several others and sparked an amazing night of paranormal activity at the castle for all concerned.
For those who don't believe in ghosts what would you say to them?
Those that don't believe in ghosts just need to be more open minded and consider that there are still no explanations for some of the evidence captured by GPS and others across the world over the past 100 years. Such evidence includes photographic, video, and audio phenomena that in most cases defies logic, science and even religious beliefs.
If someone was experiencing what they thought to be paranormal activity, what is their next step?
If a person believes that they are experiencing paranormal phenomena, the first thing they need to do is consider all logical explanations first. This may include explanations for unexplained footsteps at night, sudden cold spots, the feeling of being watched and even objects seemingly moving by themselves. In many cases these typical signs an apparent haunting can be explained away by looking at more plausible explanations. For example; footsteps at night could be attributed to creaky floorboards expanding and contracting at night as the house settles. Cold spots can occur suddenly in drafty houses, and all possible sources need to be ruled out first. Objects can move seemingly independently, but upon closer inspection they are subject to vibrations, temperature changes, and also man made factors. If they are still unsure or can not find logical explanations in this first instance, they should contact only a reputable, professional paranormal investigation team who may offer to carry out a serious investigation.
Do you have to be religious to believe in ghosts?
Belief in ghosts, or other supernatural phenomena Is not just a religious viewpoint. Different people from all walks of life and backgrounds believe in things of this nature. Although there is more evidence to suggest that religion plays a big part in cases of alleged poltergeist phenomena and even instances of demonic activity. It is reasonable to say that some religions do have a more accepting stance on ghosts and paranormal phenomena and do believe that demonic forces are to blame for much of the reported activity of this nature. Some priests are even trained to carry out exorcisms and specific religious rites to banish, expel or remove evil spirits.
What was your first experience of something paranormal?
My first memory and experience of the paranormal was when I was about 5 years old. I was playing alone in my cousins bedroom when I felt like somebody was looking at me. As I looked up from the floor I couldn't see anybody there, but quickly turned my head to see a small toy car start to move slowly and steadily entirely on its own across the carpeted floor towards the wall.
The longer you are in the job, does it make it less frightening the more you are exposed to ghosts?
The more I delve into the world of ghosts and other supernatural phenomena, the less I fear it. After-all fear of the unknown diminishes with knowledge, wisdom and experience. I still get scared during investigations, but wouldn't necessarily say that the fear was as intense as when I was younger or less exposed to things of this nature.
Is it possible to believe if you have never seen anything?
It's entirely possible to believe in ghosts without never having seen or witnessed one personally. People believe in god, angels, demons and even the devil without ever having seen them or having definitive proof of their existence. Belief in ghosts without ever having seen one is individual, personal, and plausible.
Interview with Barri Ghai, Director of The Ghostfinder Paranormal Society