UNIFIED PARANORMAL

Searching for Truth and Unearthing Shadows - Part 2

MAY 23rd,2015

By LANA CARBON & JOHN LILIES

[JOHN] You spoke a little bit before (in Part 1) about what got you into starting your own actual team. We’re a little bit curious about who the other members are and how you actually met them and decided that they were the ones to form your team? [*John’s note: We agreed to not include all of the details Andrea mentioned, as her team members were not present to represent themselves and Andrea felt they would prefer to speak for themselves.]

[ANDREA] Sure, [a girl] I have been friends with for a very long time and it was just an interest we’ve always had and have been able to talk about. I had just mentioned a long time ago “Oh I noticed there are some public events coming up” and she was really interested in it and her and I showed up at this public event and we were the embarrassing people that had like backpacks and flashlights and gadgets and stuff and realizing that’s not the type of event it was. So we were the keeners, and then we just started doing that together and then we both started talking about, you know, it would be really great to do something on our own so we were able to kind of do what we wanted to do and so… I mentioned to her that I was thinking I was going to start a group “Is this something you’d be interested in?” and she was like, “Yeah absolutely” and so that’s kinda how it started. She was definitely a founding member.

Unearthing Shadows Team

Unearthing Shadows Team

My other friend… I actually met her through the other team that I help out. It’s Beyond Belief Paranormal Events. They’re one of the bigger groups in Victoria. …I met [this other friend] through [a connection there] and her and I just bonded instantly… She was really interested in getting more involved and so I invited her to join the group…. And then [another woman], her and I are kind of like, you know, we’re really gung ho about the paranormal like we would drop everything if we hear about a case or something like we’re just on it… she’s the one who runs her own group Preserve the Haunt.

…Another person, you know, I met through the Beyond Belief team and her and I just kinda hit it off and became friends right away and we just work really well together. …One of the other girls though, she is not really an official member but she volunteers with us, she’s more on the spiritual side. She kind of just helps us and does OPS and stuff like that, but she’s just kind of like a part-time volunteer. …She is very spiritual she does have a very different view of paranormal activity than the rest of us but she’s very good, like, with anything to do with more of the spiritual side. She’s learning, so it gives a really good perspective with her learning too, because sometimes she picks out things that we may not notice just because everything is so new to her.

[JOHN] How did you come up with the name Unearthing Shadows?

[ANDREA] Me, I’ll definitely say I’m the kind of person who probably uses my creative mind a little bit more than the thinking, so I don’t know, I was trying - I mean this is really ridiculous - but I was looking for something that kind of maybe had a little bit of a poetic aspect to it but also was really representing of what we do. We just wanted to stand out and kind of have the point of, you know like… shadows is a common thing with paranormal investigating because like you know, most of the things that happen you’re not really physically gonna see; you’re gonna more experience it through, touch, sense, you know, feelings, emotions, sort of thing. So that’s kind of where that concept of you know, there’s always something lying in the shadows. Then we wanted to kinda have the name representing like you know, we’re investigating, we’re researching, we’re looking into history, we’re looking into facts, like, we’re doing all these things… we’re uncovering, so that’s why the Unearthing part came into it. So we thought it was a poetic way to explain what we do without being too terribly cheesy.

[LANA] It’s fantastic actually!

[JOHN] I don’t think it’s cheesy at all! We’re big fans of the name.

[ANDREA] Thank you! It’s really hard to come up with a name in paranormal investigating that isn’t cheesy.

[JOHN] Well, and that also hasn’t been done or isn’t just another take on somebody else’s name.

[ANDREA] That’s just it. That was really important to us. We really wanted to stand out and I wanted us to have a name that had meaning that really stood out, that wasn’t cheesy, and just wasn’t that close to anything else that’s out there. We spent months, like, I mean I had asked the girls too, if they had any ideas, you know and I had lists and lists and lists of names and every time I’d search something very close would come up and then I don’t know, just one day Unearthing Shadows just kind of popped into my mind and I’m like “Hmm, I kind of like that. It has a good sound to it and people will remember it”. The other thing that I liked about it too was that the initials are U.S., right? I thought that made a lot of sense because it’s us investigating, it’s us in the whole aspect like the spiritual world and us like we’re in this together, like, you know existence forms one so we kinda like that.

[JOHN] I think that’s a really great background for the name. I mean it’s such a unique name. When you look at it, you’ve got Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Stalkers, Ghost Adventures, and then you’ve got your Haunted whatever. So I think you’ve done a really great job and I think it’s going to bode well for you guys for sure.

[ANDREA] Well thank you. I mean, we’re definitely trying really hard and we’re not doing this for the ego. We’re really doing it genuinely wanting to help and that’s what’s important to us. You know, for example, we will talk about this too with the TV show thing, you know even if we had five people that were interested in us, it wouldn’t stop from what we’re doing. We feel we’re helping so we’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing and that, to us, is what’s important.

[JOHN] I think that’s great and I think that’s what’s actually going to make you really successful. Honestly, I really do and Lana is nodding in agreement here.

[LANA] As you can tell, I’m the quiet one.

[ANDREA] Thank you, that’s really nice to hear. I mean, the reason why the TV show idea came up was I had this idea a while ago, I mean like all the shows are pretty much gonna be the same but I just had a bit of a different view on how I would want to show it and I want to show something that is very realistic and something that’s a bit more honest from “What got you interested in this investigating”, not just like “Okay we’re here and this is what we’re gonna do” and just give it a bit more of a perspective of this is what paranormal investigating is, whether it’s a supposed demonic entity, it’s somebody’s grandmother coming back to speak to them, it’s somebody who’s trapped, like we want to show it all. We want to show some of the locations that really nobody knows about because that’s what we find is really interesting and, you know, we just feel that will help people be like - look we’re just normal women, you know and we’re doing this because we believe in it but you know other than that we’re just regular people - and so then that way it gives more normalness to it and you know, we figure too that it also gives us a bit more of a voice. You know, we have our own things that we do, like I’m really big into animal rights and rescuing animals as well as kind of speaking up for the people that don’t have a voice like there’s a lot of that that we feel goes hand in hand with paranormal investigating, just like an all around respect for life. Whatever side you’re on, just like, to care and to love a bit more and so we kind of figured that would be really nice if we ever by chance did get famous, we would have a stronger voice and we could do more good on this side, as well as do good helping those on the other side. So, that’s kind of a general consensus of why we want to do the TV show because some of the girls on the team honestly have no interest in being on TV at all, but for that aspect alone they feel it’s important because it will help more people.

[JOHN] I think that’s really great.

[LANA] Just out of curiosity, are you using your sensitivity now to read into our next questions?

[ANDREA] No, ha ha.

[JOHN] You have an incredible knack of a natural segue into pretty much every question that we have listed here to ask, so it’s a little uncanny and quite enjoyable.

.[ANDREA] That’s hilarious! I love it. 

[JOHN] You’ve saved us from having to ask a lot of our questions, actually; it’s great.

[ANDREA] Oh that’s funny.

[JOHN] So, we were actually going to ask you if you could share some of the vision for your show, so you’ve done that, and how your show will differ from others, so you’ve done that. I am loving this! Somebody is feeding you the information I think.

[ANDREA] Maybe.

[JOHN] I’m curious about how you might handle the challenge of the network-driven pressure to produce results because I’m sure that it is going to happen, depending on who picks you up.

[ANDREA] I’ve got a list of boundaries that we’re not willing to do and if that means we never get a TV show, we’re okay with that but we’re not going to back down on what our ethics are and that’s why we’re trying to approach it this way, where we’re trying to take them a finished product. Because they have some interest in what we do now but we just want to say, “Look, here’s our show. This is it, it’s done, and you can’t tell us what to do.” You know, that way so that we have an honest show. Then if people are questioning us after, we can say “Of course, there’s always going to be doubts with this kind of TV show and field but we did this on our own. There’s no network influence, so more people will believe what we’re producing”.

[JOHN] I’m really happy to hear that you already have that planned out and that you are confident to stand strong in your views.

[LANA] [agrees].

[ANDREA] Yeah, and I told that to my girls from the beginning and they agreed with me too. We genuinely would love more than anything to have a TV show but we are perfectly happy to walk away because we don’t want to pretend to be people we’re not, and we don’t want to pretend to give evidence that isn’t really there. If we’re going to do that, we might as well just become actors and actresses and go on other TV shows or, you know, do something completely different. We just don’t want to do that. We want to be true to who we are.

[JOHN] Well you have completely earned our respect with that, so more power to you.

[ANDREA] Thank you.

Unearthing Shadows YouTube Channel

[JOHN] Besides investigating, you have talked about Preserve the Haunt, can you tell us about Unified Paranormal?

[ANDREA] Oh, Unified Paranormal… was mostly me and Alicia, the Founder of Unified Paranormal. We were just talking about how there’s a lot of really good resources out there to support the groups but we didn’t really find that much in Canada. So I had suggested that why don’t we, I mean it doesn’t really cost that much to start a website, and why don’t we just start something on our own and try to promote – we try to focus on Canada but we’re happy to include anybody from around the world. So, we just started, you know I just quickly did up the website and then one of the other girls on my team offered to help, so we’re all trying to contact the teams we know as well as, you know, just politely email them just saying “Hey, it’s a completely free resource, if you’d like to help and join the community, just send us your information and we’ll post – put you on there for free.” Yeah, we didn’t want anybody to have to pay for anything and we just want to support the entire community. It just goes back to that point where, like, we have found that a lot of people don’t know who to reach out to, so it’s not even just a resource for those in the field, we wanted it to really be broadcasted to people who are needing help in a certain area or who have questions or want to join a team, or just for whatever they’re looking for in the paranormal field – to be able to go to that resource and easily find who they need to talk to. Pretty much anybody can join, however we do have a rule that we’re not trying to be too judge-y but if we are aware and have legitimate reasons that there is a group that has done some unethical things or we get reports from other people that aren’t shining a very good light on them, after a few emails of people reporting the same thing, that’s the only guideline we have, that we won’t put them on the website. We don’t want to be policing it, but at the same time if we know that people are actually doing not so good things, we just would prefer not to promote that.

Unified Paranormal

[JOHN] I think that’s totally valid and very respectable. I think that’s part of what’s really going to make you successful and I think a lot of people in the community who are legitimate would very much appreciate that about your standpoint.

[ANDREA] Oh I hope so, I mean we just, you know, we’re kinda coming at it from all angles on the people from the other side and the people trying to help out a bit, so you know, we’re trying to remember that and that’s how we’re trying to help.

[*Lana’s note: On doing our research for this interview, we found an article in the Times Colonist that linked Andrea as a consultant to a movie entitled “The Castle”. We thought we would include this after obtaining permission from the production company (Alpha Film Production), once we saw the company’s dedication to use Canadian talent on the film and to keep the story realistic from a paranormal investigator’s point of view even if the tale itself is fictional. We asked Andrea about her involvement but she is unfortunately not at liberty to discuss it as of yet. We have included the promotional clip for “The Castle” which is still looking for assistance via their indiegogo campaign as of the time of posting this entry.]

Castle Craigdarroch, Victoria, BC from The Victoria Tourism site

[JOHN] Well friends, that concludes our interview with Andrea Bailey and we are very grateful for her time and willingness to chat with us about her experiences and business ventures.

[LANA] Thank you John for taking the lead in our first ever interview. Your work was very much appreciated.

[JOHN] No need to thank me silly. You did all of the background work and I was simply stepping up to the plate for my part. Besides, you manage all of the social media interactions, so it was only fair for me to do the interview.

Interested in more information about Unearthing Shadows? Have a look at the links we have listed below and reach out to Andrea and her team with your questions and curiosities.

Until next time…

LINKS:

Unearthing Shadows Website

unearthingshadows@hotmail.com

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Searching for Truth and Unearthing Shadows - Part 1

MAY 23rd, 2015

By LANA CARBON & JOHN LILIES

We find the paranormal fascinating and while we have never participated in any kind of investigation, we do follow a lot of people on social media who do just that. One of these people is Andrea Bailey. Andrea is the founder and lead investigator of the Victoria, British Columbia-based paranormal research team Unearthing Shadows. During a conversation thanking each other for our mutual support, I somehow asked if we could do an interview for the blog. What was I thinking? I’ve never done an interview. John hasn’t since she was in high school. I waited with trepidation for her answer which, while seeming torturously long in coming, was probably no more than a few seconds after the asking. I think that you can tell by the writing of this article what that answer ended up being.

Since we tried to stay more in the conversational style that we like to present our blog and the fact that we wanted to allow Andrea the freedom to express her thoughts in a natural way, we tried to interject as little as possible while still getting the answers to the questions we had.

[John] We experienced a few technical issues, about which we are transparent in the following text. Thankfully we did not lose much of the context and we have thus been able to bring you a rich conversation with our new friend.

[Lana] So grab yourself a drink and cuddle up in your favourite reading chair to enjoy the next few pages as we search for the truth and Unearth some Shadows.

[John] Disclaimer: We take no responsibility for the unexplained noises you may hear within your home…

May 3, 2015 1700 EST
INTERVIEW WITH ANDREA BAILEY OF UNEARTHING SHADOWS

[JOHN] When and how did you first become interested in the paranormal? What triggered your interest?

[ANDREA] You know, I’ve had stuff happen to me ever since I was little, like little little. We used to have a restaurant here called the Princess Mary.  It used to be an old steam ship which they converted with another ocean liner and it became a restaurant and there are a lot of stories from there. I remember when I was little a lot of weird stuff would happen to me all the time and I would never really question it; I just assumed that was life.

I remember on two occasions…one time I was in the washroom (I mean I’m only like seven, eight, nine years old, not very old) and I remember being in the stall and the taps kept turning on and off. There was another lady but she was in the stall next to me and her and I came out at the same time. She was probably in her 40’s and she looked at me and she’s like “You heard that too, right?” and as I was like, “Yeah, I did,” the taps you could actually see were like the bars and you could see them swing and then the other taps had like the twisty knobs and you could see them turn right after. So both taps started going off and we were like “Okay that’s weird. Like how…” I mean I was pretty little and I was like “This isn’t normal” but I couldn’t really explain it further than that.

West Coast History page via Google

West Coast History page via Google

So the next time, I mean my family went there all the time, I was probably 11, 12, maybe 13, I would say at the time. I remember being in that same washroom again and I remember coming out and there was a lady standing in the corner by the door but I knew I was the only one in there, I knew the door didn’t open or close. She looked like a real person, like you couldn’t see through her or anything and she just stood there and she was wearing (I would guess) early 1900 clothing and I remember she had a ruffled collar and had dark hair up in a bun and then she just disappeared and then the taps turned on and off again. I wasn’t scared but it was an unusual feeling because I knew this wasn’t a living person. So I went back to the table and I told my family. My Grandpa starts talking and was like “Oh yeah that’s ‘cause it’s like haunted here” and my mom gave him trouble.

So that kind of stuff happened to me always. I moved to Calgary for a while for example and that’s when I noticed a lot of activity would happen to me there. Pretty much every house I moved into had some kind of activity in it. This is the ridiculous thing though, I wasn’t afraid of actually dealing with it at the time but I was afraid more of watching the stuff on TV. I didn’t like watching the shows because I knew I would pick up so much emotion from it. When I was a kid too, I’d be able to go into a building and pick up emotions from people and the building and get flashes and images of stuff. I didn’t really ever think too much of it but on the rare occasion I would mention something about it, I would be told “Well actually yes”, it was very close to the history that happened. So my curiosity started a little bit more. I didn’t think I was a psychic or medium or anything like that but I was more curious about why was I knowing these things I couldn’t possibly know? When I was little, like three or four years old I knew stuff about Egypt - very detailed stuff there was no way for me to know. My mom was just dumbfounded about how I knew some of this stuff. You know, I didn’t watch those types of TV shows, you know I was too little to read, so she didn’t know how I could know these things.

Probably the most profound thing that happened to me was two weeks before my dad passed away, I had this horrible dream of him passing away. It was all the classic, not wives’ tales but folklore I guess, about dreams leading up to somebody passing. My parents were divorced so we didn’t live in the same house. Me and my sister were sound asleep, it was early in the morning. My mom - see there was no way we could hear her talking - she was at the other end of the house talking to my grandparents. She came in and that’s when I woke up, when she opened the door and she was crying and I sat up in bed and I just looked at her and said “Dad died.” He was a diabetic, so he slipped into a coma and nobody was there to wake him up so that’s how he passed away, so there was no way to predict that that might happen. So that started bothering me because I was kinda like, “Why do I know this if I can’t help?” and then there was a string of that happening with my family and friends that would pass and I would know. Like enough that when I lived in Calgary and would pick up the phone and my mom wouldn’t say anything and I was like “Oh no! Great-grandma passed away” or things like that. So then that started bothering me because I’m like “I need to know more because I’m being told these signs but why am I being told if I can’t do anything to help”. So that was kinda the first step of how I kinda got into it.

As I got into that a bit more that’s when I found more spiritual activity started happening to me but it was more, I found, people coming to me for help or - [sigh] you know here’s the thing - the one house I lived in, this was about 11 years ago, I moved from Calgary to White Rock [British Columbia] (don’t ask me why) and that lasted 6 months and then I moved over here and the timing worked out perfect. My mom’s friend was moving away and needed someone to move into here place for a year to take care of it, so I’m like “Okay, perfect”. I didn’t really think about it at first but she kept saying that if anything unusual happens to just let her know. I’m assuming that it had something to do with her ex who was giving her a hard time but she kept hinting like if anything else unusual happens. So I’m like “Okay, whatever” and didn’t think much of it. It was probably a month or two after I moved in - I always had a weird feeling from this house from day one. It was a townhouse with two bedrooms upstairs. There was also a little landing at the top of the stairs. When you got to the top of the stairs you would see the bathroom, there was a master bedroom to the right, the spare bedroom to the left and then a huge walk-in storage area and a tiny little storage area kinda under the window that went into the roof. It was really small. I don’t know what it was but the two storage areas, it almost felt like a highway, just constant energy going back and forth; and the spare room I just didn’t like. Now, I’m somebody who is so used to being on my own so really not a lot scares me so I wasn’t creating this on my own but that spare room I would always keep locked or shut because I just lived alone, I only had my cat, you know, I’m the kind of person who always locks their doors when I’m home alone. So then I started noticing random things happening. For example, one of the first things was - you could rent the five movies for five bucks for five days, so I’d always go do that. I’d hang them on my bedroom door at night. It wasn’t fully closed but it was pushed as shut as you could without it latching and my cat would always sit next to me and we’d just watch TV on the end of the bed. All of a sudden the door would open up about a foot to two feet and violently shake and I know we get earthquakes here but nothing else was rattling, no pictures were moving, like nothing was moving. Even, for example, having a glass of water, because I did this after a while just to make sure, I put a glass of water on the nightstand and the water wasn’t even moving. It was only the door and enough that the bag was flying a good five or six inches off the door and slamming back and forth. This would last 30-45 seconds and then just stop and the house would go to a dead calm.

That happened for two weeks in a row, pretty much every night and then the next thing that started, the stairs were kind of in an `L’ shape and there’s a walk-in closet under the stairs. There’s no hot water tank, there was no wiring, there was no pipes - nothing. On one side of the stairs was my entrance and the other side was my living room and then on the front was a gated patio so you know where the sound is coming from and it was coming from in the house. Every night, the door, something started pounding on it enough that if you walked downstairs you could see the door kind of rattle back and forth. So me, I always jump to “What’s the logical explanation first?” so I mean, I tried everything. I got one of the people from Strata [*Lana’s note: Strata is a British Columbia housing properties corporation] to come in to find out - also because my neighbour next door kept complaining about me thinking it was the bass on my stereo and I had nothing hooked up at that time. The only thing I had hooked up was the TV in my bedroom – and so I kept getting into trouble for that - that’s how loud the banging was. It would last for a couple minutes every night. It was enough that the person I was seeing at the time wouldn’t even come over to my house, he was so afraid. Friends wouldn’t come over anymore because they witnessed it and were just like “That’s too freaky, we’re not coming over”.

That was the only thing I would witness downstairs, everything else was upstairs. I had a huge bronze lamp - it was like, you know, those heavy 1950’s kinds of bronze lamps - it was in that spare bedroom, it was on one of those corner shelves that are, like, screwed into the wall where there is no way you were getting that thing off. It fit the shelf perfectly, the window wasn’t open, the cat couldn’t get in there, like it was blocked off from everything. One night when I was walking up the stairs, I heard something being chucked in the room and this huge smash so I went into the room, I opened the door and the plug was ripped out of the wall and it was thrown across the room about four or five feet. The metal was actually dented, the light bulb was shattered, the lampshade was crumpled. That’s when I was like “Okay this isn’t getting funny anymore” and things were escalating. The problem was, like, at the time, there wasn’t really anybody around here that you could talk to or ask for help. When I did mention it to a few people they were like “You don’t talk about this or people are gonna think you’re crazy”. I had built a really good reputation in Victoria, with my job and friends and I’m just like “Okay I don’t want people thinking I’m crazy”. You know there is a part of me that starts doubting it too, like is this really what’s going on? So that kind of was freaking me out too. So, that room, I pulled everything off that was wire, I looked around, I checked the window, I could not have any explanation of why that got ripped out of the wall and thrown. I had actually been in that room a bit earlier that night because I used it as my office, putting some papers away and I had turned the light on so I know it was secure on the shelf, you know, I didn’t have a violent fit and throw it across the room so it wasn’t me.

Then at night-time, when I was in my bedroom, it was like it was a subway station is the best way I can describe it. You honestly felt like you were hearing people going back and forth, back and forth. It freaked me out. I could only fall asleep when I was so tired I couldn’t help it but to fall asleep. I probably was getting maybe two to three hours of sleep a night, which also wasn’t helping because then I’m getting drained.

The worst thing that happened to me was I was in the washroom just blow-drying my hair. Now the door kinda opened up from behind me and pushed open as I was drying my hair, and pushed me up against the wall for probably about 10 seconds. I remember trying to push the door off of me like “What’s going on?” and I checked and the cord was in front of me so there was no way it could wrap around the door handle. There was no breeze; the cat was sleeping on the bed. I didn’t really think too much more about it. I was like “Whatever” and pushed it open and started blow-drying my hair again. Well probably about five seconds, 10 seconds after I started blow drying my hair again, the door violently smashed me up against the wall so I was like this [*Lana’s note: Andrea’s posture showed her arms essentially pinned down making it difficult for her to move much at all] up against the wall for probably about a good 15, 20 seconds. I could not get the door off me. It was really awkward trying to push with my arm wedged right down. I could not get the door off me and so I was finally like “OPEN THE DOOR!” and I pushed it off me and I turned around and saw a vision of a man walking up the stairs. It went quick but the only thing was, I don’t know if it was from me being freaked out or if I actually saw that. So I will be very clear, I know what I saw but I don’t know if I thought it or actually saw it. So then I just was like “Screw it, I’m taking control of this” because this had been going on for months and I was just getting freaked out.

Just to jump back, when I did contact the cemetery society (because someone had mentioned to contact them, that they do investigations) after I contacted them, that’s also when the activity got a lot worse and it got a little bit more aggressive.

So the door thing, I just stood at the top and I was just like “No, that’s it. Whoever or whatever is in my house get out. This is unacceptable. You do not get to treat me this way” and before that I was always fearful and that’s when I took control. So that’s when it changed. So then every time I would go downstairs, the best way I can describe it is that I felt like somebody was like two, three inches behind me, quite larger - it always felt like a male presence to me. I don’t know why, I just always felt like that was male. It was no different than if one of you were standing behind me. It always followed me for the next couple weeks but it felt like hung shoulders, kind of like frustrated. Then I got a bit of a different perspective. I thought that all this time, for months I was being terrorized and then I was like I wonder if the spirit is trying to tell me something and I’m not understanding so he’s just being frustrated and trying to communicate the best that he can. So that was the point I was like, “I’m going to start researching and figuring this out” because I knew Victoria has a reputation for a lot of haunting for a number of reasons and I didn’t want people to feel alone or scared like that or feel like they’re crazy. Yes, in this field you do have to be really careful because there are a lot of mental health issue cases so you have to be aware of that but there are also a lot of legitimate cases and either way, to me, obviously I don’t really want to get involved in the mental health issue cases but at least, you know, you can still offer some support or suggestions. I just wanted to help and then I started thinking there are two sides here to help. One, it’s the spiritual side and then two, like, the living spirits. That’s when I really started realizing people have this really wrong perception of what ghosts are and they forget that they’re spirits – they’re human, right (for the most part) and people forget that and always think that they’re stuck here because they’re bad or evil or, you know, demons like you see on Ghost Adventures and it’s not. I mean, sometimes but most of the cases it’s not.

That’s why I was kinda like, “Okay I want to protect myself, I want to find out what’s going on” and I tried really hard to find out what was going on at that location to see if I could offer some peace or relief for that spirit or whatever else was going on. That’s when I learned about portals, so I think there was some portal there and I think the one male spirit - I found out after, that that was a First Nations burial ground that somebody had bought and then built these townhouses on. That’s pretty terrible to do that because of the graves there. I didn’t get any further than that but my guess is that it is probably linked to that. So that really bothered me too ‘cause then I started thinking that there’s so much history and just a line of respect that people are crossing. So there’s a whole bunch of aspects as to why I got into it but that was a pivotal point for me of where I’m like, “Okay I’m going to make a difference here”.

So that’s how I got into it and from there, I forced myself to watch shows, I started doing a lot of research and started contacting a lot of the key people in society that, you know, are known for having legitimate research. I started learning about the technology. I also got really interested in learning about the old ways to communicate because I find you need to have a balance of the old ways as well as the new technology, and then a bit of the spiritual side - whatever your religion is. That’s what my team does and we’ve had a lot of success with that because we’re really respectful; we don’t generally provoke. We kinda go there with a kind nature; “We’re here to listen if you want to come forward”.

I work with two other teams as well. The other team that I work for, we do private client cases. So if somebody’s actually experiencing negative issues in their home we will help them with that and we do public events. With Unearthing Shadows, what we basically do is we don’t go to people’s private houses; we do more of research out of our own interest. If it’s been something linked to us or if we just find a case that’s really interesting that we can bring forward the evidence that we have and learn that way and share it with the public. So that’s kind of what we do with that, and then the other group I’m involved in is Preserve the Haunt. They do very technical paranormal investigating and they try to digitally preserve the locations. It’s kinda neat. So I’ve got a pretty well rounded group that I work with and a pretty good understanding, you know, but my belief is that it takes a community to do paranormal research not just one team.

[JOHN] So you’re a volunteer Paranormal Investigator - how do you pay the bills with that?

[ANDREA] A good full-time job. Everything we do right now is self-funded. We never ask for money for anything. We don’t believe in that. Because we’re trying to advance with the TV show and stuff like that, we are looking for donations but every donation that we get goes directly into the research that we do. We definitely put out more money than we get. We do different things, like we’ll try to sell art and different things like that to just generate money. We do garage sales or book sales, pretty much anything we can to try to raise money. Pretty much all the equipment we have is either stuff that I’ve bought or other team members have bought, so it’s not a cheap hobby.

[JOHN] No, it wouldn’t be a cheap hobby at all I’m sure.

[ANDREA] Trust me, I could easily spend a lot more.

[JOHN] It must be difficult, assuming that most of the research and investigations are done in the evening or at night and you’re likely working during the day?

[ANDREA] Yes. A typical day for me is all my breaks at work are dealing with our social media accounts. I have so many meetings during the day. It takes a long time to show that you’re credible so you can get an investigation somewhere, so there are a lot of meetings with that. I’m also trying to push the TV show idea, you know, it takes a lot of time. I’m usually up ‘til between one and three a.m. every night on a minimum, especially the evidence review. Like even say for example, four hours of video usually takes us about 12 hours to review so that definitely takes a lot of time but we’re pretty dedicated and we’re happy to do it. There are times when you’re just like “Oh I’m tired” but you just kind of push through.

[JOHN] You are putting me to shame because I’ve been thinking I need to devote more time to the blog let alone all of that.

[ANDREA] That’s the problem too. I’m so busy that things get forgotten about. Like our blog, we haven’t really done that much with it. You know, certain elements get forgotten about for a while and then you move on.

[JOHN] Well it’s hard to balance it all.

[ANDREA] I would love it to not have to work and could do it full time but for now…

[JOHN] When did you discover you were empathic? I know you said that when you were growing up you started feeling these things and being sensitive to the paranormal, but when did you discover that you were actually empathic?

[ANDREA] I have such a hard time labeling myself ‘cause I think there are people whose abilities are much stronger than mine. I’m trying to develop them. I mean, I knew I had this ever since I was a little girl just because my friends would tease me about it and try to get me to do like parlour tricks and things like that. I guess when I really started noticing it was when a bunch of things were going on in my life like when my dad was passing and other family members I knew were passing and friends. Even complete strangers would come up to me and I would get all these visions and feelings about what was going on in their life and a lot of it wasn’t good. It was more health issues or things going on [with] their life and I was getting frustrated ‘cause I couldn’t help and just the situation I was in, it just wasn’t really acceptable for me to actually be who I am so everything kinda got pushed away for a while and I kinda subdued it all.

A couple years ago I found - the paranormal has kind of always found me – it’s not always necessarily I’ve gone searching for it (even though I’m really interested in it and will take on any adventure) but it has always found a way to find me, so that started happening again. At a recent event where some weird things were happening that were connecting me to somebody I don’t really know, like enough where books were falling out related to this person like in bookstores and just weird things happened like TV channels switching so I’ll see something and, like, there’s a lot of numerology things that were coming up numerous times a day. At first you start questioning, “Hey, this is probably just a coincidence” but there was like thing, on top of thing, on top of thing that were all leading to the same thing. So that kind of made me be like “Okay I need to figure out what’s going on here” and I still haven’t figured it out but I mean these clues are happening constantly. It’s kind of a weird situation to explain but it’s enough that it made me be like “No, this is what I need to do” and so that’s when I got back into joining other groups and then starting my own group and I’m just like “No, I need to figure out what’s going on here and I need to help”. To answer your question, I’m still coming to grips with being an empath and being a sensitive but I’m trying to develop it and I’m trying to use it for good and I’m trying to find a way not to just being told messages but actually do something with those messages. I always knew I had it but when I really knew it was more than “Oh you’ve been given this gift” was probably when I was around 15, 16, 17 was when it really hit me.

[JOHN] Not really having a label for it until later on, did it make you feel really different or were you comfortable in your skin as being sensitive but just not really being able to define it to your personality?

[ANDREA] Only in the past couple years I’ve actually been comfortable with it. Especially in North America, in today’s society, anytime you talk about anything to do with psychics or the paranormal you get labeled and with a lot of things, like I work with a lot of volunteer groups with helping animals and helping people, working in public service and that, you need to have a reputation where people don’t think you’re the weird girl. Then I just got to the point of where I kinda owned what I do and I know what I’m talking about. I know what I’ve experienced. I’ve pushed through all the boundaries. I won’t say I’m an expert because my opinion is I really don’t think there’s experts in this field - the ghosts are the experts. I guess maybe a specialist, like I’ve tried to understand what’s going on, I guess is just the best way to put it. That’s when it was like I’m gonna help and I became okay with it. Now pretty much everyone at work knows about it. They don’t all believe in it but because I’m very matter of fact about it and I’m very sensible about it, they seem to respect what I do. I’ve got to the point where I’m like I don’t really care what people think - I just don’t.

[JOHN] That’s a great perspective though. Especially when you are dealing with a professional life, it’s really hard to balance it and that is one of the reasons we have remained anonymous really, because I’m not there yet.

[ANDREA] Well in all honesty, a few girls on my group too, you know, they feel the same too, they’re little bit concerned about it so that’s why I try to respect that and I never push anybody on the team to do something that they’re not comfortable with. Our philosophy is we don’t really flaunt what we do but we definitely will talk about it if somebody asks or if there’s a reason to.

[JOHN] You’ve touched a little bit on why you feel that paranormal investigation is important. I’m curious about in your experiences, what is your driving mission? You’ve talked about helping people. In what way do you feel it is helping people?

[ANDREA] Well I think it helps people like in the situation I was in for example, like not understanding what’s going on with them. In all honesty, I mean a lot of times people are reporting paranormal activity and it’s not or it’s a combination or it full out is paranormal but it does help them in that sense because you know, there’re so many people freaked out being in their house and thinking like “This is bad, this is bad if there’s a ghost” and it’s not. It could be residual or it could be an intelligent spirit. It could be a family member of theirs just trying to be like “Hey I’m here” or protecting them or having an unresolved issue so I think it gives people a better understanding. Sometimes just them being heard, having somebody, to have a safe place, a safe conversation where they know they’re not being judged helps them cope themselves.

It helps the other side too. What’s their story? What are they upset about? I mean you can’t help them all but there’re so many reasons why there are spirits here, you know, sometimes they’re trapped or because of their religious beliefs. With the spirits, what we try to do, like at one of the abandoned forts, there was one case where this one spirit kept coming through and he kept linking to an article - we think we’ve got his name and we think we’ve got a good story to figure out who he is. So we’ve been working to find this article that he seemed to be really stuck on and with the amount of time…  [*John’s note: phone line broke off for one second]… for example in Bastion Square it moved locations but that building itself – it’s #28 Bastion Square - that’s the first Supreme Courthouse in all of B.C. It’s also the first concrete building in Victoria here. That building, I will say by far is probably the most haunted in, I would definitely say in all of Vancouver Island, probably B.C., probably in Canada it’s one of the most active. There seems to be a portal there.

Plus when the Maritime Museum was there itself, all the artefacts seemed to bring some attachments. It was the old jail, there were hangings that took place there. There are still bodies that are buried there in the courtyard and there’s a gallows there as well. Plus there’s a few spirits there like Judge Begbie for example. We’ve got a lot of evidence supporting that he is there. He just likes it there. That’s his courthouse so he tends to stay there. With my group, as well as the other group that I’m volunteering with, we’ve gone a few times before the building closed to try to help pass over a few spirits. Some of them, because they died so suddenly or didn’t even realized they had passed on, had a really hard time because they don’t know what’s happening to them so they don’t want to cross over because of fear of maybe they think they didn’t live the purest life they should have. One really profound experience was a little girl and I’m going to call her Elizabeth just because that was what I connected her to was Elizabeth. She started making herself known to me and it was really heartbreaking and it really bothered me so I – like I’m not kidding you - I rented that place out quite a few times so we could investigate before they moved just to help that little girl because I think she was linked to one of the ships that went down around here and because she didn’t know she passed, she was stuck here. She kept saying she wanted to find her mom and she was very freaked out at the museum because there were a lot of male entities there that were from the jail and very rough. I think some were protecting her and I think some were also taunting her and she just wanted to find her mom, so we kept going back until we were able to transition her. So that’s the kind of work that we do. I mean we hope that’s what we accomplish, we believe that’s what we accomplish but we’re going to keep trying because we feel it is the right thing to do. With some of the other spirits we just listen to their stories, like some of the people who were jailed there, some claim it wasn’t them - they were innocent. Some claim that they did do those horrible things but they just wanted to speak and tell what happened, right, ‘cause things aren’t always so black and white as we tend to think these stories are so that’s why we do it. That is number one for me. The drive is helping. Bringing forward factual proof. As humans we need that visual proof so I think for people to really believe it and accept it, they need that. I know for me too, it takes a lot for me to really believe. Just because a light flickers on and off, I’m not going to run and be like “Oh my God, it’s paranormal” right, so I make sure I know what I’m talking about, that I just feel comfortable to say “Yes, I do believe that this is paranormal”. So that’s the drive. I think part of it (and I’m being very honest) I do have that bit of adventure element so I always try to push myself forward a bit because I want to know. I feel like if anything’s making itself known there’s a reason for that so I’m gonna to push through. I always look back on what happened to me and think “Well, what was the worst that happened?” Yes, there’s a huge risk to doing this but for the most part, you know, if you protect yourself, you’re logical and you’re okay, and I think having a strong mind is key when you’re dealing with spiritual activity and so I just keep pushing myself a bit further. Now granted, I take things a little bit further than my team just for safety reasons but I’m the crazy one who jaunts off to England and goes investigates the most haunted rooms in this pub by myself.

[JOHN] That’s a really good segue actually. One of our other questions for you is do you feel that scepticism is important in your field and how do you see it aiding the investigative process?

[ANDREA] Yes it’s important because again, like I said, not everything is paranormal activity and I honestly think when you can show - one picture I took for example, I swore you could see a man’s head forming and I went back; something just wasn’t sitting right with me and I went back enough times until I got the picture again so I was able to prove that it was matrixing. For me, I find that’s important because then people will be like “Wow, she was really honest that she made a mistake and she went back enough times”. Some people will say “Well okay, if you prove that’s wrong then you can prove everything else is wrong” but my point is I do that with everything that I do. I go back as much as I can, I try to be as logical as I can, so if I really can’t find an answer to that and I have enough supporting evidence, odds are it probably is real paranormal activity, right? So that’s why I feel it is important; that it helps in both ways - it gives you credibility and it just really shows the lengths you are going to prove something.

[JOHN] How did you actually learn to investigate? Was it on your own versus in trial and error or did you actually have a mentor when you got started?

[ANDREA] When I got started it was more just because of the activity that was happening to me, so a lot of it would start by noticing what was happening where I was at the time, like if something was moving. It would be simple things like that. I would purposely put things out to see if things would move, put out camcorders, digital video recorders. I tried to be very safe because a lot of this was done on my own. I started reading; I researched who, like, the actual credible researchers were in the past and kinda looked at what their techniques were and then I started watching some of the shows. With all due respect, when I watch those shows, I knew there was an element of ‘Hollywoodism’ and not a lot of legitimacy but I also knew that the way they were doing things (to some degree) was accurate as well. It was also good (even if it was all fake) just to see what questions were being asked and that was the key to finding questions when you are directly communicating, learning how to ask questions and how to dig into the history a bit more. So then I became a historian a bit, not a very good one but you know, I learned the resources I need to find out the information I needed to. I don’t know, every time you investigate you get a new element where you are like “That’s a good idea, I need to remember that”. I talked to a lot of investigators too. I started off by just going to public events and seeing how they did things and then I started looking at ways to protect yourself. I became friends with a few people who owned or worked at some of the metaphysical stores because I obviously wanted to be safe doing this sort of thing. I just kinda put one foot in front of the other and started and that always led to something else that brought up more questions. By nature, I’m somebody who does ask a lot of questions so it kind of gave me more avenues by doing that. Sorry that’s kind of a long-winded question [answer].

[JOHN] No, no, that’s really great. So would you say your investigation style is a little bit more scientific versus spiritual or do you think that it’s a combination?

[ANDREA] I’d say pretty 50:50. We’re very technical and we’re very scientific. How we kinda work it is I, for the most part any investigation we go on, I will do a whole research into the history and into the stories. I will get accounts of people experiencing activities. Some of the girls on my team want to know and some don’t; some go in there blind so we have a good balance. So yes, we do go in, we set up all our equipment as well as some of the girls on my team do have various psychic abilities and things like that. Some of them are purely technical and some of us have a bit of both. The reason why I find that important is because my team is so diverse that it gets good conversations going and different perspectives and when we do all agree on something, we feel we have something pretty conclusive. It works well.

[JOHN] It sounds like it really would and it sounds like you have a good balance and you’ve really thought it out in that way which I really respect a lot. I know Lana is always laughing at me because for as much as I believe, and I believe really strongly and I’ve had my own lifetime of experiences (though never investigative), I am so sceptical that I sometimes get really frustrated. You know, we watch the TV shows and I think, “No, it wasn’t just that easy to come up with that evidence” so I appreciate that you have such a broad make-up in your team.

[ANDREA] We try. We try to be really respectful, for the locations as well ‘cause we know a lot of places don’t want to draw that attention to them and the other thing too, when we approach a business to see if they will allow us, is when we actually would investigate we’re very tactful about how we present the information and talk about the investigation because we know these people - we leave and they don’t. They go back to work there or live there or whatever and we don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. We do try to keep all those things in mind. We also don’t want to upset the spirits. I mean, the one thing that really bothers me is when people provoke but provoke in a way - I respect Ghost Adventures but just using their example of bringing that one doll they did onto the Island of the Dolls. Like bringing that extra spirit in to upset other spirits that are already there - I think that’s unnecessary. It’s not going to bring good karma and I just don’t think that’s what people should be doing. So we don’t do that type of thing.

[JOHN] I appreciate that. That was actually going to be one of our questions - how do you feel about that provocation and do you feel it is important at all? I know I really struggle with it and Lana really wants me to agree to investigate somewhere but for me, I want to make sure we are doing it for the right reasons and not simply to find out if there is something there, so if we do discover there is in fact something there, what are we doing about it? Why are we actually there? Is it just to talk to them and just to hang out for a bit, to have tea or whatever? Is it to help in some way if they actually want help and then how do we do that but never to go in with the, umm, I guess the balls of thinking that we are important and it’s up to us to save you or it’s up to us to gather the evidence. So I really struggle when I see a lot of those teams and they’re being aggressive or rude. I really struggle with that aspect of it so I’m actually curious what your perspective is on that?

[ANDREA] My thing is that we go in very humble. We go in with the attitude of “If you would like to talk to us or come forward, awesome. If you don’t want to, that’s fine, we’ll just be here anyways in case you do” and we kind of always leave it a bit open where, if you need help in the future please know that there are ways. We also block it off where you can’t follow us home, you know, don’t harm us. Also, that’s why we have a close-knit team because I don’t allow anybody who is gonna to break in or anyone who is gonna talk poorly to the living as well as the deceased. It’s hard though because I think anytime you do reach forward, in some sense it is provocation as soon as you say anything to the spirits “Okay do you want to come forward” but you know, as long as you have respect there and - I don’t think you can say there is never any provocation. You know, we’ve been in some situations where there are some aggressive spirits. Now, not that we are trying to provoke them to come forward but when they’re doing things like scratching you or when things are moving and it’s an aggressive situation, I will be very forward. I’ll be like “That’s enough! You’re not doing this! Show yourself or back off!” So I guess that is a form of provocation but it’s more standing my ground, kinda like a bully - where the spirit is trying to provoke you, so therefore you are kinda like “Hey, I can play this game too” but that’s more for safety, it’s never about trying to get the evidence.

I mean it is really cool when you get something but if you don’t, you don’t. For example, we went to the Victoria Golf Course for the April Ghost (which is a pretty well known story around here). It was very challenging because I never got permission to go onto the golf course so we had to find a public area on a street or on a beach that was okay for us to go. We just went there and talked to the April Ghost as if she was there in a very respectful way and I don’t think we captured anything (I mean we’re just starting to go over the evidence now) but we don’t care, we were happy enough just to be, like, hopefully she heard us and knew that people respected her and felt bad for her situation and that’s all we wanted. Yeah, it would have been cool because there are some pictures I’ve seen, like an image of a woman – a white woman floating by. I mean, of course, anybody would love that but we didn’t care - we were happy to go out there in the wind and looking like lunatics on the side of the road.

The Victoria Golf Course from  Seeks Ghosts Blogspot.ca

The Victoria Golf Course from Seeks Ghosts Blogspot.ca

[JOHN] That’s fantastic.

[ANDREA] Yeah, so that’s how we approach things. You’re not always gonna capture something and that’s okay if you don’t. We do find though, that the times we least expect it, that’s when you capture something.

[JOHN] That’s probably why it comes out the way it does though, right? You aren’t expecting it and I think often, even in my own experiences I think if I’m expecting it to happen or I’m expecting to feel something in a place where I typically would feel something, when I’m expecting it to be there it never is. It’s that total unexpected time where it scares the crap out of you instead.

[ANDREA] That’s the other thing too, any investigator who says they’re not scared is full of baloney because, I’m sorry but even me, I will adventure way beyond where I should, I get scared - I’m not gonna lie.

[JOHN] But that’s what keeps you safe though too, right?

[ANDREA] Yes and safety is huge with the team. I do take calculated risks but I do that still being as prepared as I can be. There was good point I was going to say too, about what bothers me about people who investigate, not all but sometimes people will go to these locations and just demand, like “okay spirits come forward and talk to us”. They are forgetting that these are people and it’s no different from walking into a coffee shop and being like “Alright, I don’t know any of you but someone come talk to me now”. It doesn’t work that way. My group too, are posting a lot of the stuff we’re doing now but you’ll be able to see that a lot of the spirits reach out to each of us because they’re drawn to us for different reasons. It’s no different than in the physical life. That’s what we try to do too, is acknowledge; we try to introduce ourselves and make the spirits feel comfortable around us, so it’s almost like “Okay you know who we are, if you want to come forward we aren’t a perfect stranger.” Some of the other groups, I mean not all, some of them do the same as us, but the ones that don’t do that we just wish that they would look at it a bit different. But in turn, you also get more if you are putting out more positive and more respect; you seem to get that back to you.

[JOHN] Thinking about the number of investigations that you do, is there a specific type of evidence that you prefer to gather like in the scientific sense vs. the spiritual sense?

[ANDREA] For me, I like both because then that gives me - I think you need both to really believe – at least for me anyways, I shouldn’t say that. There was this one time, for example, I was sitting on the couch - and I don’t often have a lot of activity happening here - it was late at night and I had my dog sitting on one side of me and my cat on the other and something kept going back and forth. It was really hyper and busy. I got this really anxious feeling all of a sudden and I was just watching TV, I was fine. I got this vision in my head of an older lady and “Grace” kept coming to mind and then I kept getting this in my mind, “Protect my grandson. Help my grandson. Protect my grandson. Help my grandson” and that was it. Just the four sentences and then you could feel a breeze whipping back and forth in my house and I’m like, “Okay, this is kinda weird”. My cat and my dog, their heads were turning and I’m like, “That’s interesting” and so that right there gave me the physical proof as well as the spiritual proof because I don’t usually get things that clear coming to me. Usually it’s more like a feeling. It’s really hard to explain. I don’t necessarily get the words or a direct communication with the spirits in that sense; sometimes I’ll get little snippets. Usually it is more visual or a feeling, like “Oh okay you had this thought”, that’s how it works for me – those are the kind of examples.

At Fort Rodd Hill, for example, that’s a place where we were quietly allowed to investigate, there’s some issues where we have to be really careful about investigating there but you know, for us, we get a lot of feelings. Like we’ll feel really anxious and then we’ll start pulling out the equipment and then when we have the supporting evidence of the equipment we’re like, “Okay I trust myself, what I actually felt was supported by the evidence to back it up”. There’s always gonna be doubt if you’re just experiencing it spiritually.

[JOHN] So when you are looking at the scientific aspect of your evidence, what would you say is your favourite piece of equipment and why would it be your favourite?

[ANDREA] Ooh that’s a tough one. It does rotate. For me, the K-II [*John’s note: the K-II is an EMF (electromagnetic field) reader often used in paranormal investigations], I just really enjoy it just because that’s a pretty - you have something or you don’t have something - kind of tool. There’s very few malfunctions that can happen with it. As long as you’ve done your thorough check and seen what exposed wiring there is or just see what the atmosphere is like before you’re investigating. That’s been a really interesting tool for me. I like the spirit box quite a bit too because you actually get a real back and forth communication but for me, it’s kinda coming up with my own devices or just my own ideas. I was at a garage sale and found an old Morse Code, so we don’t have it hooked up to any power, no battery, nothing. A few times we’ve taken it and it starts working on its own and we’re like, “Oooh, that’s kinda cool”, so I think the more innovative or unique ways we try like that to communicate with is a bit more of my favourite because it’s different every time and you really have no idea what results you are gonna get.

[JOHN] Have you learned Morse code so you can try to understand what might be coming through on the machine?

[ANDREA] I’m in the middle of that right now.

[JOHN] That would be really cool to see what kind of things you’re actually getting from that.

[ANDREA] Yeah. Luckily we’ve recorded it so we can take our sweet time trying to figure out what it is but a few times it isn’t really that clear. It’s so subtle, the movement, but it’s enough movement you know that it’s – it’s such a heavy device with the arm ‘cause it’s all metal that you know that it can’t just move with the wind or whatever. We’re trying to learn it so that way we can figure it out on the spot. It’s cool though.

[JOHN] I think that’s awesome.

[Lana] That is fantastic.

[JOHN] I think that is my favourite thing I’ve heard so far. I like that. Talking about the evidence, and obviously the paranormal field has grown significantly and has gained widespread acceptance in the mainstream (be it for good or for ill, I guess, depending on the way that you look at it and how it’s being portrayed), I’m curious about what particular type of evidence you feel is more accepted by your peers and how does that actually affect your attempts to collect the data?

[ANDREA] I’ve spent a lot of time researching orbs because I know that’s a point of contention right now. A lot of the colleges or research centres are actually trying to get any evidence of orbs completely thrown out. I do think some are authentic but I think there just needs to be a better understanding of what they are because unfortunately, everybody - you know, you get a water molecule or a dust mite or something and people are like “Oh it’s an orb” and you know, that’s very problematic. I think for me, what’s really good evidence is the spirit box or even E.V.P.’s too. You know, if you’re asking direct questions, not leading questions just direct questions, that you’re gonna get a very specific answer to and then you get that answer too, to me I think that is one of the best evidences you can get because you’re getting a direct response. If you’re asking something a bit more than just like a yes or no or getting answers that’s like, “Oh, that maybe could be related”, for example “What is your name?” You always have to be careful asking about what year you died because we don’t always know, but if you were to ask that or “Where did you die?” if you get a direct answer for each and then you’re able to match that up with historical records that proves that person exists, I think right there that gives you very credible evidence because you’re not gonna get that from a radio station giving you three exact answers.

I think society definitely needs picture evidence. I really think people, with their own eyes, need to experience a ghost walking in front of them, not just on TV but probably to experience it as well. I think a lot of the evidence that is out there is either manipulated or matrixing of some sort. I think some of the credible evidence that’s out there people will never believe just because of all the baloney that’s out there. So it’s really I think the best evidence tied into the question you asked me before, showing both sides of it. If you’ve made a mistake, report it. If there’s nothing there, report it. If you have something, report it because then people are gonna start to really believe what you’re saying and I think it doesn’t really matter what type of evidence you’re providing as long as you’re being consistent and credible. That’s what’s gonna get people to believe.

[JOHN] So would you say that there’s a type of evidence that is less likely to be accepted by your peers? Obviously transparency is really important and I really appreciate and admire that about you, that you are so strong in your belief of being transparent about whether or not you’ve found something and I guess debunking (that’s the term? [Lana nods]). But what type of evidence would be less likely to be accepted and how would that actually (or does it) influence the para-community?

[ANDREA] I think it depends who you speak to. Table tipping and glass moving are ones that are very questionable. I also agree with that. I’ve seen a few situations where I would think that maybe something’s happening there but more times than not I think it’s [bogus]. I don’t think any kind of recordings of that is ever going to [be] accepted. The pendulum too, is another thing that could go either way. The Ouija board is another one – I mean they aren’t safe to use for people who don’t know how to use them but I think too, because when you’ve got three or four people manipulating it, sometimes you unintentionally move it on your own so that will never be credible evidence. Again, photography of orbs I think is one that is rarely gonna be accepted as credible evidence because it could be so many things. I think there’s very few situations where people can really claim that orbs in the pictures are orbs. It’s so hard because people criticize the spirit box because they are saying “Oh it’s a radio station” and correct, it’s sweeping all the radio stations but when you’ve got eight stations sweeping in one second, there’s no way you are gonna get an answer from those radio stations. The new spirit box does 32 or 36 stations per second, like it’s not possible but people just won’t believe it. Or the K-II, people have issues with the K-II ‘cause they’re thinking “Oh, it’s picking up your cell phone or other equipment”, you know, but they don’t see the hour before you’ve done that, that you’ve tested that with every piece of equipment you have and you’ve checked the room.

I find people will only truly believe any good piece of evidence if they’re actually there themselves to witness it. I mean, I hate to say it but until it becomes more accepted and people stop falsifying things, I think it doesn’t really matter because any good piece of evidence you have, people aren’t going to believe. But yeah, I think the least credible I would say is probably the table tipping and the glass moving. Also the thing where you take the film and put it in a box as well, and you just ask the spirits to show themselves, the problem is with developing it. There’re so many things that it could and couldn’t be, I don’t think that will ever be accepted.

[*Lana & John’s note: At this point in the interview, Andrea had to retrieve a power source for her laptop. When she returned, her monitor had stopped functioning so we continued the interview over the telephone.]

[JOHN] You had mentioned before about keeping you and your team safe in a spiritual sense as well as a physical sense, so a two-part question or maybe more, but what kind of rules do you apply to keep yourselves safe when you embark on a case in terms of your protection? Do you have a routine or a ritual that you follow to protect yourselves – like a preliminary walk-about or scouting the location, or what kind of research about the actual location do you do that would aid in your safety?

[ANDREA] I’ll just give you the whole thing that we do. The equipment for example that I take, I always throw little, tiny, quarter-sized rocks of obsidian or jet or any of the black stones that we throw in among the equipment. Each of us have our own ways to protect ourselves, but we always do a spiritual based protection where we ground ourselves; we kinda hold hands and do a little protection circle so that everybody can still have our own personal beliefs but we’re just drawing in the positive energy from the Earth and the energies around asking to protect us and increase our vibrations so we can connect with the spiritual world a bit and then I just kinda tell the spirits as well that we are just here to communicate if you would like to come forward and I give the boundaries. You know, no harm, you know, I kinda go through it. It’s not a fail-safe plan but we do feel that it does… [protect us].

[*Lana & John’s note: At this point, our recorder stopped on us but we noticed fairly quickly and resumed the interview while Andrea was speaking on the team’s physical safety while investigating on location.]

[ANDREA] [Talking about examining the property and ensuring no safety hazards will endanger the team members]… Fortunately I’m the one who usually demonstrates this by accident with tripping and falling on these things, so that gives everybody on the team, you know, I’ve already done it so they don’t need to do the same. Everybody signs waivers as well, of what is acceptable and not acceptable to do. Nobody on the team is ever allowed to be on their own – it always has to be minimum two people, and if you’re going to the washroom for example, you have to advise and if it’s a long distance away somebody at least has to walk you there. We kind of have this theory of no man left behind… we just make sure, you know, there’s always at least two people. I’m the exception to that, just because I’m not going to sue myself. I’m the only one who’s allowed to go investigate on my own. Mostly that’s because that’s the comfort of my team that they don’t really want to investigate on their own. I’ve taken that liberty just because I don’t mind and I probably have a bit more experience than the other girls on the team, so that could change but for now I just don’t feel that being a safe idea. We also have checks too, like when we’re on an investigation there’s always two people - well if there’s the full team, there’s always two people watching the entire group, so if one of the girls or if anybody is with us as well, starts nodding their head or acting different or whatever we have a routine in place to get them to snap out of it and if we can’t get them to snap out of it, we have an immediate action plan to vacate the room or vacate the property and get them grounded. So that way we’re trying to limit any possessions because we’ve had a few cases of team members not protecting themselves properly and opening themselves up too much and kind of letting an entity take over, so we don’t want that and I’ve made that very clear that you need to have boundaries.

We also have safety words too, and ridiculous checks too where we will ask the most ridiculous question you can imagine to get that person to snap out of it. So, that works as long as you can catch it in the beginning. So, we definitely do that. Other things too, like I make sure we always have glow sticks on us because the majority of the investigations we go on, our equipment does die quite frequently and we always do checks to make sure we have extra batteries, we’re fully charged, like you know the cameras are plugged in until the minute we take off to that location, so that way if we have glow sticks we always know we have some light source in case we run into trouble. I always ask everybody to carry a whistle, if we’re in an outside location or in a building in case the equipment doesn’t work and you’re in trouble, that you have some way to call for help. We do time checks, we usually have an OPS set up so somebody’s checking in all the time, you know, keeping us on time as well as checking in with the groups if they haven’t heard anything for a while. 

[JOHN] Wow, you’ve really thought it through.

[ANDREA] And we always close down before we leave and you know some of us in the group have practices too, you know where you take your shoes off before you go into the house or whatever, that kind of varies amongst the girls but that’s kind of the general safety guidelines that we go through.

[JOHN] I really like how thorough you’ve been. I’m curious about what you mentioned about wearing black and white - can you expand a little bit more on that and how it’s related in the protection aspect?

[ANDREA] Sure. I’m not the best one to explain it, that’s one my team member, Maquelle, should explain a little bit better but I know it’s been around for years and years and years and just like, the protection that the black and white seems to repel any negative activity or keeping kind of like a barrier against you and anything from taking you over. It’s just like a protection like anything – black always has a reputation of being negative where it’s actually very protective because it’s absorbing all the light spectrums.

[JOHN] Wow, that’s actually the first I’ve ever heard of that.

[ANDREA] It’s not really that known anymore and honestly it’s one of the things that you have to [search] for a long time before finding information on it. For me, it was more that I just always did it, I don’t know why. Because I just felt it was protective and then I recently learned that there was a reason behind it. I just can’t explain it as well as I should be able to.

[JOHN] No that’s perfectly fine, I’m just really intrigued by that idea so I might be doing my own research on that to learn a little bit more about it.

[ANDREA] Yeah it’s interesting. I’ve been trying to find out a lot more but like I said it’s pretty limited but I know back in the old days like especially in you know, 16th 17th century around there, a lot of the practices were to wear black and white and there was some link to between like, the Catholic Church and them wearing black and white as well when they did exorcisms. So it seems to be in a lot of different cultures and religions that black and white is the way to go.

[JOHN] Wow that’s really interesting. I have learned a lot so far! So, do you have any specific types of locations that you prefer to investigate?

[ANDREA] See for me I’m really interested in the places that aren’t really talked about. I’ve done a lot of research on places around the world that nobody really knows about but have a lot of activity. I’m really interested in it all. I don’t like taking my team to places that are known to have the darker entities or if you believe in demons, that type of thing. But, for me I think it’s important to have an understanding of what those entities are and how to protect yourself and others, because you never know what you’re gonna run into, so I just have the philosophy that the more you know, the more you’re able to help. So we don’t try to find those things just because we’re like “Oh yeah, this is gonna be great! We’re gonna be tough!” It’s not about that at all. It’s more just like, okay we need to be well rounded and know all these types of things but I like just the interesting unusual places like Plas Teg Hall in Wales. I would love to go back to that place. That was such a fascinating place to me there on so many levels. Like, it’s just a very unusual collection of spirits that are living there, so that really intrigued me because I’ve never really been anywhere like that at all.

There’s a place, THE HOSPITAL IN THE ROCK in Germany, no, shoot, not Germany. Sorry I’m totally blanking on where that is, but anyways, like that’s a place that nobody’s really investigated but so much happened there and nobody really knows about this place that, like, there has to be activity there. So, I would like to go because I think there’s probably, my guess is that there probably are a lot of trapped spirits there that need help or have stories to tell. [*John’s note: Budapest, Hungary is the location Andrea could not remember.]

I really am looking forward to going to the QUESNEL MUSEUM. There’s a haunted doll there that I’m really curious about. That’s what really fascinates me, is why are there these attachments to physical things? I don’t know like, the Maritime Museum, like I’d love to go that place because like you’re encountering the same spirits every time as well as very different ones every time, there’s so much going on there, like, just the stories themselves are interesting. I don’t know, I don’t really know that I can say that there’s a particular type of haunting that I’m interested in, because it all really fascinates me.

[JOHN] Would you maybe have a dream location to investigate?

[ANDREA] Oh I have a few. For me, it’s VLAD TEPES’ CASTLES and THE HOIA BACIU FOREST. I know those are a bit well-known places but I had dreams about those castles when I was a kid, before I even knew who he was and in the dreams I would have about him were about him as a real man, not as the Dracula legend that came to be. And I would have very, very vivid dreams about the castles, and then when I grew older and learned about these castles it was exactly what I had dreamt about when I was like five, six, seven years old. And I also used to dream quite a bit about forests that had a big circle that nothing grew in the centre, and it was very dark like I didn’t like these dreams. It wasn’t good at all but when I found out that was a real place, and actually recently I was really lucky enough I contacted DR. ADRIAN PATRUT. I felt really privileged that he responded to me and then that really sparked my interest even more to go there. But that probably would be the number one place right now for me. Well, the three together.

[JOHN] What types of challenges have you encountered so far in your investigations? (Any kind of challenge)

[ANDREA] Oh, I think the main one is just getting people to let you investigate. You know, the problem is because it’s become so well known now that more places are just saying ‘no’ than ‘yes’. Because they’re worried about business, they’re worried about their own personal beliefs. I just find the biggest challenge is getting people to allow you to investigate there. And the other problem actually, there are unfortunately the people out there that are doing things illegally like breaking into places or talking about places that have asked to not be mentioned, and so then all of a sudden it makes somebody like “Nope, nope. I don’t care how credible you are, nobody’s investigating here. Nobody’s talking about us.” You know, it’s really quite sad but that by far has been the biggest challenge.

[JOHN] So it’s almost overcoming the reputation that other people are building for the whole field.

[ANDREA] Pretty much, yeah, that and just, I don’t know, there’s too much emphasis right now it seems, on the – well not in my opinion but there’re a lot of businesses or people who aren’t, I guess, interested in it as much as I am - they just feel there’s too much of an emphasis on the paranormal right now and they just don’t want anything to do with it. But, I mean I get their point too, they’re worried about their business and that they don’t want to attract any activity and some of them just don’t believe in it and think we’re a bunch of whackos, you know, but yeah it seems to have gone from one extreme to the other but even some places that my group and some of the other groups were allowed to regularly investigate, now they’re saying ‘no’ to anyone and not because of us, just because they’re like “Okay, too many other people are asking us to investigate here so just no”.

[JOHN] That’s got to be tough on you guys though, especially when you’re so passionate about it.

[ANDREA] It is. I find it hard because I see the bigger picture and how it would help and I also am very understanding of why people are making that decision but, you know, my point is that we can still do this without causing any issues for you and, you know, we’ve always got ways to work around it too where we don’t have to mention where it is and we can show the things that won’t actually hint to where the place is - which we’ve done a few a times but they’re just so worried, they’re just like ‘no’, and we respect that. There was one place in Victoria recently I had asked about and the lady was taken off guard that I asked and asked if I wanted to talk to her further about her reasoning, I could contact her and I just kind of left it at “It’s okay, I know that this makes you uncomfortable and I don’t want you to be uncomfortable. You have all my contact information, you feel free any time. Other than that, we won’t bother you again,” and she was really kind of like “Wow”. You know, she said all the other groups would pester her all the time but we feel if there is any chance in getting an opportunity to investigate these places like there, that will give us that opportunity rather than pestering somebody.

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