Paul Stevenson is the editor at Haunted Magazine- so we caught up with him to discuss all things ghostly just in time for Halloween.
When and why did your passion for the paranormal begin?
A long time ago, in the late 1970s I got this book- USBORNE GUIDE TO THE SUPERNATURAL and I was hooked. I was an 8-year-old reading about ghosts, paranormal investigators and haunted houses AND I LOVED IT!
In this book, there was a section about Harry Price and Borley Rectory. The book was for kids and written in a way that I could understand. I still have the book and I might let my kids touch it at some point in their lives. I guess the love for all things spook has been with me since then.
What made you want to share your love of ghosts with others and how did Haunted magazine come about?
Ever since I can remember I loved to write, be it stories, comics, poems or stapled together fanzines. I’d had the Haunted Magazine idea since about 2004, at that time Most Haunted was the biggest and ONLY paranormal TV on the box and it was at its most popular.
I was working in a sales job; it was financially rewarding too but I was becoming bored and disillusioned with it. Having a love for the paranormal and seeing that there was no magazine available for other lovers- I started working on the idea.
So, I bit the bullet and quit my job and became a freelance writer, writing for a variety of magazines, trying to earn some money whilst trying to build up a plan for Haunted Magazine. It took a good few years until the magazine came to fruition, but by early 2009 things began to take shape.
As I mentioned earlier, the idea had been with me since 2004 but it took five years to turn that idea into an actual magazine. The first issue was published in August 2009 and the print issues ran for 11 issues for the best part of two years. Due to rising print and distribution costs, the magazine moved into the digital market in 2012 and over the last 4 years the magazine has now become a FREE digital magazine and is downloaded and read online by over 130,000 people ALL across the world.
In 2017, we decided to kill two ghostly birds with paranormal stones and decided to go full circle. We continued with the FREE digital magazine but also got back into print with a limited print run to make them appeal to the paranormal audience who have been saying that they’d love to buy a print copy. We now have our last four issues in print all printed with a limited print run of 500 copies. There are only a few left of each now though.
What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you on the job?
The scariest thing whilst ghost hunting has to be someone whispering in your ear. There’s been plenty of standout paranormal moments. You think- how can that happen? There’s just no logical or rational explanation as to why that would happen.
I have had a chess piece thrown at me, although I think that was my fault as I did ask “whoever was there” to do something to me; I just didn’t think it would be that.
But for me, the scariest has to be when you clearly hear someone talk in your ear, yes, a whisper but as clear as anything.
I go ghost hunting with a bunch of mates, we call ourselves HAUN7EDLIVE as primarily we do live Ghost Hunts on Facebook.
This one time we were at a crossroads on the site of an old colliery. We were just standing there calling out and although it was dark, I was near a tree and I kept looking at it, don’t ask me why, I just felt I had to look at it. Next thing, someone whispers in my ear “Paul”, I jumped around to make sure the guys weren’t around me and they weren’t. The way I was positioned, the whisper into my left ear came from the tree, the very same tree I had been looking at.
I am renowned in the team for being the “scared” one, it’s not that I am scared, it’s that I am perplexed in a scared kind of way, if my logical brain can’t work it out, it kind of freaks me out. Anyway, to cut a long story shorter, next day, one of the team went back and took some pictures and captured what looked like a face in the trees, yes that tree.
What is a typical day in your world like?
I don’t think there is a typical day in the paranormal world, yes there’s structure and a plan of action in place but whether you stick to that just depends on what happens.
I divide my time between working from home and the Haunted Magazine office, and normally end up taking my twin girls to school, then it’s check emails, work on the magazine, plan future issues of the magazine, see what’s happening in the paranormal social media. See who is moaning, see who needs winding up, (I do like a good wind up), check out the paranormal stories of the day.
As I said before, things are different most days, when there’s a magazine due, it’s a lot of proof reading and working on a magazine flat plan to make sure it reads the best it can. Then obviously there’s also the ghost hunting that I do, not as a pro or an expert, far from it. I ghost hunt for the craic, the buzz, the vibe, I have no desire to prove ghosts are real or not. I mainly ghost hunt as part of a team with my good mates. As I said before, we go under the name of HAUN7EDLIVE, and as the name would suggest- there is 7 of us and we do live ghost hunts on social media. If I may, I will do a name role call – Andy Soar, James Pykett, Jason Wall, Lee Roberts, Pete Cox, Simon Powell and obviously myself.
We are all different in terms of personality and beliefs but the mix works and we try to do at least one social media live a month, sometimes more.
What would you say to someone who doesn’t believe in ghosts?
YOU IDIOTS!! Only joking, to be honest, I am not a 100% believer. What would I say to someone who was adamant that they didn’t exist? They have every right to voice that opinion, but it needs to be said in a way that’s respectful to others who have a different opinion, as most do in the paranormal.
The way I view it is- ghosts haven’t been proved to be real NOR have they been proved to be not real. Whether we believe, sit on the fence or don’t believe, none of us know if we are right or wrong.
Each to their own- that’s what I say. I have seen complete non-believers dragged to ghost hunt events by their partners and then something happens that they can’t explain, the look on their faces- classic.
On your site it says there is no other magazine like it in the paranormal genre, so what makes Haunted so unique?
Ah, good question, several reasons really; there’s very few and far between magazines dedicated to the paranormal so that always helps. While public events saturate the market, there’s only a splattering of paranormal magazines about.
Also, when I laid the foundation for Haunted Magazine, I set myself some rules, probably basic magazine rules but I have always stuck to these. The cover is always page 1 of the magazine, it is the page that people see first, it needs to be designed to stand out. The magazine can have the best written words in it but if it’s not designed to be pleasing on the eye then those written words will get lost and that is such a shame.
The magazine would never become a fanzine, 60 pages of A4 paper, stapled together, badly designed and badly put together. I wanted something that readers would buy into, see the expense that has gone into it, have a good whiff of the glossy cover and get drawn into the magazine with eye catching design, tag lines and interesting subjects.
I don’t think any other magazine in our sector does that at all. Not follow all those “rules” anyway. I also think, that because we are not die-hard believers, the magazine adopts the neutral approach and doesn’t preach or be too scientific, it’s a glossy, fun, informative and entertaining magazine about all things paranormal.
What is the most common sign that there’s a ghost around?
Normally me running away OR if something flies through the room and is witnessed by everyone, then me running away. Joking! The most common sign (for me) is when the temperature drops and the atmosphere goes from fun and jovial to dark and tense.
All teams have gadgets, that is the nature of the beast in the paranormal world. I have used the odd gadget, but I prefer to just go by what is happening- how I feel most of the time. I am not a sensitive, a medium, clairvoyant or anything like that I just like to take in what’s around me. You will get differing answers from whoever you choose to ask.
For those who aspire to do what you do- how does someone become a ghost hunter?
No skills or qualifications are needed, don’t believe the so-called experts when they say you need a degree in parapsychology and to have 20 years’ experience in the field of digital photography etc etc. All you need is a passion for doing it, an open mind is so important as well. I know people in the paranormal who go ghost hunting to prove that ghosts aren’t real and to debunk everything. I will never understand that at all. It’s not some exclusive, secret club that only allows a certain type of person in, although people think it should be. Anyone can be a ghost hunter.
Of all the investigations you’ve done- which one has stayed with you and why?
30 East Drive, Pontefract is a location that stays in my mind and not just because we have spent 13-14 nights there including 5 consecutive nights. The fact that it is a council house and not some castle or 14th century coaching inn makes it more surreal and more exciting for me. I can honestly say every night we went there, it was different, from noisy to quiet, peaceful to downright nasty, there’s something not quite right with that location. We have been told to F**K OFF by a ghost, that chess piece was thrown at me there, doors wouldn’t open even though a few of us tried, items have moved, been thrown and on other occasions it has been as quiet and tepid. That is the beauty of the paranormal.
I have just booked in for my first haunted house tour- so what are your top tips for make the most out of the experience?
Exciting, where are you off too? Oh sorry, you’re asking the questions.
A) Be open minded, don’t expect to see a lorry load of ghosts to come wafting in as if they’re performing ghost monkeys or something.
B) Enjoy, no matter what happens, go with excitement and a dash of nervousness to.
C) Don’t be afraid to shout out if you feel or see something, this is your experience and you never know, someone might be thinking the same as you but daren’t not speak out.
D) Have a go at all the gadgets that are available for you to use, see if you like any of them, take your camera and take as many pictures as you can
E) Whilst you are with a group of strangers this is your personal paranormal experience, if you saw something but no one else did, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t see it.
What is next for you and Haunted magazine?
Haunted Magazine issue 18 has just been released, the feedback has been amazing. The magazine is a FREE digital magazine but we now do a limited edition printed version, after being asked several times. We just needed to make sure there was a demand for it and it was cost effective to do so, and it was.
We also won BEST MAGAZINE 2017 at the ParaForceUK Paranormal Convention- we won it in 2016 too so we’re really chuffed about that because it’s voted for by the public, people have to email in and vote.
We are working on issues 19, 20 and 21 at the moment, looking at keeping it fun, informative and exciting. We love doing it and we hope that it shows in the finished product. We are continuing to do LIVE ghost hunts on social media but HAUN7EDLIVE are also hosting an event on Halloween Night, at Bosworth Hall. This has never before been investigated but the staff have experienced paranormal activity and it has a dark and deadly history.
Next for me personally- no rest for the wicked. October is a big and eventful time for me, got a few fun, interesting and scary projects that I am working on. Although Halloween is not just one day anymore, that’s so 1980s LOL!! We have a tag line that says #dontbenormal BE PARANORMAL, that’s us in a nutshell.
You can follow me on Twitter: @hauntedmagazine and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hauntedmagazine and the various projects and groups that I am associated with:
HAUNTED MAGAZINE BLOG: http://www.haunteddigitalmagazine.com/
HAUNTED MAGAZINE PRINT SHOP: https://hauntedmagazineprintshop.blogspot.co.uk/
HAUNTED MAGAZINE GROUP PAGE https://www.facebook.com/HauntedDigitalMagazine/
HAUNTED MAGAZINE CHAT PAGE https://www.facebook.com/groups/HauntedDigitalMagazine/
HAUN7EDLIVE GROUP PAGE https://www.facebook.com/haun7edLIVE/
HAUN7EDLIVE EVENTS PAGE: https://haun7edliveevents.blogspot.co.uk/
Or just email me [email protected]
Tagged in Ghosts