Interview with Michael G. Kehoe

Today I’m welcoming film director, producer and writer, Michael G. Kehoe. Thank you, Michael for stopping by!

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up going to a Catholic school. My mother was a theater director in the local parish. One of the first films that caught my attention when I was very young was a film by an Australian director Nicolas Roeg titled “Walkabout”. Roeg was a Cinematographer on such films like “Fahrehheit 451”, Second Unit on “Lawrence of Arabia” just to name a few. So his attention to detail as far as composition and light was something that caught my attention for some reason.
My family moved to Ithaca and while I attended high school I became interested in drama and started acting. I wanted to direct so I approached the school and a sports booster club to produce the play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I produced it, directed it and played the leading role of R. P. McMurphy. The play was a success for the sports booster club and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was then approached by my high school English teacher to apply to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. I then waited for word, and was finally accepted.
After completing my studies there I left for California and took a job as a bartender. There is a longer story, but it would end up being a book!

 

 

What are some of your on-screen accomplishments?

As far as acting goes, my first on-screen appearance was being a biker on a film titled “Savage Dawn”, that film starred Lance Henrickson, who I met years later and we talked about that picture, he said not to remind him as it was the worst picture he was ever on. I would tend to agree. I then had a small role in the film “Iron Eagle” starring Lou Gossett Jr. and Jason Gedrick. From there I was in an episode of a television series called “Downtown” and then appeared in a TV Movie “A Different Affair”. My next acting job I landed was in a film titled “The Danger Zone”, I was the 1st Assistant Director on that film and drove to work on my motorcycle. At the time I had long hair and looked like a biker, the film just happened to be a biker film and they asked me to play a role in it. I did a small scene for the same company in a film called Vampire at Midnight. (I’m rushing through this!). I then went to Mexico on a film titled “The Taking of Beverly Hills”. I played Griff in my own film “The Art of a Bullet”, had a small scene in “Vanilla Sky” and “Jerry Maguire”, had a cameo in “Mission: Impossible 3”.

 

 

What got you into the film industry? What was the spark that ignited it all for you?

Kevin Elders, the writer of “Iron Eagle” and I became friends while I was bartending. We discussed the possibilities of me getting out from behind the bar and Kevin made me a promise that he would make that happen. Just before his picture was picked up by Tri-Star, he pulled me out of the bar and landed me a job on a movie being Sylvester Stallone’s assistant on Rocky 4.

 

 

Your newest film is titled, Hush. Can you share its chilling synopsis?

The short film “HUSH” is a scene taken from a feature script I wrote that is an Untitled Horror Script. It takes place one night while a young college student is baby sitting her professor’s daughter. A storm front has moved in and the power to the house goes dark. When the little girl calls for the baby sitter to come upstairs, the baby sitter is in for a night of terror.

 

 

What inspired you to create this film? Was it based on imagination or actual events?

I had written a horror script just prior to the Untitled Horror and my producing partner had to go on location which put the film on hold. So, instead of sitting and waiting, I wrote a story that combined some elements of events that occurred in upstate New York while I was growing up. I had heard about a story of a house in a small town not far from where I was from where a woman who had committed suicide was haunting a condemned house. When I was 17, I went to the house with several friends and I remember entering the house with a great feeling of fear. That moment stayed with me and helped in the writing of the script. I’ve always been interested in the afterlife. My first short film titled “SECOND DANCE” was about suicide, I had several people close to me die in one year, one of them from suicide. I wondered what was happening before they crossed through that threshold? What was on the other side? Can we reach those that passed on? What if they were angry when they passed? These are questions I continually think about and maybe this was part of the inspiration. I remember a time when I was in Ireland with my mother, brother and sisters. We stayed in a town in Donegal called Moville. There was an Inn called New Park. We checked in for 3 weeks. On the first night my mother heard someone coming up the stairwell outside our door thinking it was odd that they were arriving at a country Inn at midnight. So the next morning at breakfast my mother asked the woman who was the Inn keeper about the people coming in so late at night. The woman brushed it off and said “No one is here but you and your children”. My mother then asked if she was walking up the stairs at midnight and the woman replied that her and her family stayed in the cottage a little ways down the path from the Inn. This interested my mother, she was always talking about spirits and the dead.
So, the next night when my mother heard someone walking she asked me to go out in the hallway to look. I had no idea what would be out there and I didn’t think there were any spirits or ghosts that would be out there. Besides, I was a tough kid from Brooklyn and no ghost was going to frighten me. Well when my mother asked me to go out in the hall, my brother closed the door leaving me in the dark. The tough kid was no longer tough and I began banging on the door.
We then heard that the home was Field Marshall Montgomery’s home that he bought for his mother before he left to fight the Nazis in World War 2. Apparently, they got into an argument before he left. She later died never coming to terms with her son and now walks the stairwell at night waiting for him to return. This was a story we heard from a number of old timers in the town. This also inspired me.

 

 

Hush has been receiving very impressive reviews. What are some of the exciting things that people are saying?

We’ve received 29 awards and all the reviews have been positive. On one particular screening I noticed a man who when standing was about 6’ 6” and when he sat down he looked like he was 5’8” same height as me! At a certain part of the short film there is a moment that shocks people and this guy leaped out of his seat screaming. I had to meet him in the lobby and record him. I still have the moment on my phone where he explained how the film made him jump out of his seat! Others have followed us from festival to festival wanting to know more about the feature film. I receive emails and posts that are always positive about the film. I was extremely nervous releasing the short film always thinking that I could do better. But the fans of the film have been so kind and supportive. I have a friend that I went to grade school with that I have not seen in years told me her 15 year old daughter loves the short film and wants to visit the set of the feature. She has already said that she is willing to travel to see the short at any festival. Lucky for her it is playing near her in Philadelphia in October at the First Glance Film Festival. These moments keep the fire burning for me. This is who I want to make films for. I want to avoid the blood and guts and get into the real terror of what is behind the door????

 

 

Where can people find the movie trailer for Hush?

The trailer for HUSH at the current time is at hushthefilm.com
As I mentioned the title for the feature will be different as another company has a film in production already titled Hush. So if people stay in contact and follow me on Twitter I will keep everyone informed as to the new title that we are working on. My Twitter handle is @MikeyKehoe
We are working diligently on the preproduction of the film and can’t wait to scare the S#!& out of everyone!!!

 

 

And for all of us movie goers who want to see Hush, tell us where we can find it?

On November 11th I will be releasing the full short film of HUSH on YouTube and will be announcing it on my Twitter account. I am holding off because we are still in a number of Festivals around the world.
Such as:
First Glance Film Festival – Philadelphia, PA
Catalina Film Festival – Catalina Island, CA
Celluloid Screams Horror Film Festial – Sheffield, England
I Filmmaker International Film Fest – Marbella, Malaga Spain
Ithaca International Fantastic Film Fest – Ithaca, NY

We are submitted to the following but have not yet been notified:
British Horror Film Festival – London, England
New York City Horror Film Festival – NYC
Sacramento Horror Film Fest – Sacramento, CA
Screamfest Horror Fim Festival – Beverly Hills, CA
The I Heart Horror Film Fest _ Garden Grove, CA
Macabre Faire Film Fest – Mastic Beach, NY
Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival – Amsterdam
Chicago Paracon & Film Fest – Chicago
The Indie Horror Film Festival – Gatlinburg TN
Tokyo Lift-Off Film Fest – Tokyo, Japan

 

 

What’s next for Michael Kehoe?

We begin principal photography on the feature film that the short film Hush was taken from. But please know that when you see a feature film titled “HUSH” it may not be ours. So, once again @MikeyKehoe on Twitter will have all the information.

 

 

Any positive words of advice for your fans?

I would love to thank all the fans that have cheered us on throughout the festival journey. And for the future filmmakers I would say “Dream Until Your Dream Comes True”. “Never Give Up”. Someone gave me a chance and I always believe in paying it forward. I hope to share a number of films with those that love cinema. If I am at any of the festivals or screenings, I would be more than happy to share some moments and talk with those who are following my work. Thank you for this opportunity to share these words with everyone. I hope I can entertain you all in the time to come. I hope we can do more of this and keep everyone informed as to the progress of the films to come. Please keep an eye out for our feature as I mentioned we will update everyone on Twitter.

 

 

Michael Kehoe

 

Hush 1

 

Hush 2

 

 

*** Hush review by Sheila Renee Parker: ***

I’ve actually had the privilege to watch the entire short film titled, Hush. The following is my review.

Hush is a respected adaptation of supernatural events that delve deep into the human psyche. The film’s production is tastefully done and is void of any unnecessary vulgarity and unwanted nudity. The performances are well executed and believable, all the more reason to send chills directly to the bone. With its terrifying atmosphere and shockingly dark storyline, it easily leaves the viewer wanting more. Fortunately for us movie goers, this phenomenal short film has been created from the script of the feature film that will go into production under another title. Certainly exciting news!

Hush recieves a definite 5 stars from me! ~ Sheila Renee Parker

 

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Interview with Omar Sfreddo

Today I’m welcoming special effects artist, Omar Sfreddo. Thank you, Omar for stopping by!

 

 
Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a single father of two beautiful little girls. My day job is at an Event company in Deerfiled beach FL, where I manage the art department. I used to work in Hollywood, CA in the special effects Industry until work became scarce. Having a baby and little work, I decided to move back home in Florida to be near family. because there’s practically no FX industry in FL, I was not able to pursue my career in my field. 10 years later, here I am trying to make a come back to special effects. What better way to get my self noticed than to plaster myself all over your TV sets, right?

 

 
What got you into special effects and body painting?

What got me interested in special effects is my love for Horror movies. My mom and I used to sit and watch Elvira Mistress of the Dark every weekend til all hours of the night. Yea, my mom’s a cool chick! I’ve always been interested in art and knew that it would be part of my career, but never knew in what capacity. I always found myself attracted to the macabre and constantly drawing the images I saw in movies like A Nightmare on Elm St. But it wasn’t until my teen years that I realized that I wanted to be part of the movie making process. So my friends and I started making our own home movies with my Dad’s camera. this was the era with no youtube, so I relied mostly on my imagination and creativity to come up with different ways to make an effect happen. That pretty much got the ball rolling and soon after graduation I left FL and drove up north to attend The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and the rest is History. I only got into body painting in 05, helping an amazing local airbrush artist Jason Fiss. I learned tons from him and I’m very grateful he got me started in that field.

 

 
What are your favorite types of creatures to create and why?

My favorite types of creatures are Aliens, Demons, and anything that looks weird! I feel that in those types of genres you can make your own rules (with out disregarding basic anatomy) I love coming up with ideas that stray from mainstream designs. That’s hard to do because there’s always another artist out there that came up with a design very similar to yours, so it forces you to stay on point and think outside the box.

 

 
You were a part of this season’s Face Off series on the Syfy Channel. What was that like?

It was an amazing experience! It was also very stressful in good and bad ways. It was my first time away from my kids for that long, so that was hard on me. Also, having cameras shoved in my face was something to get used to, but after all I did sign up for that. Overall it was a great experience. I got to share the stage with some amazing artists which I have the upmost respect for. I am happy to call these awesome group of misfits my friends and family!

 

 
What would you say would be the biggest challenge, thus far, that you’ve ever had to face during your career of being a special effects artist?

My biggest challenge in this field is trying to stand out amongst so many talented artists. Of course, I wasn’t in the Industry that long to help make that happen but I’m hoping to change that.

 

 
What inspires your creative process?

What usually gets my creative juices going is popping in a good 80’s horror movie in the DVD player or movie soundtrack on the ol ipod, and sitting at my art table with either a sketch pad or a big block of clay and let my imagination go wild. I also draw inspiration from other artists. I love sitting down next to someone who’s better than me while they’re in the middle of a beautiful sculpt and learning different ways of creating. I feel that allows me to grow as an artist.

 

 
Special effects play an important role in a lot of our favorite movies, what’s your favorite film genre to watch and why?

My favorite genre is …no surprise here, Horror. I grew up watching it from a very young age and has led me to this amazing career. But I also love crime drama (The Godfather, Casino, Goodfellas) Next to Horror, that has to be my second favorite. I’m a Cosa Nostra connoisseur ! Ask me anything about the Gambino crime family and I’ll recite you their whole history from beginning to end!

 

 
What would you consider to be some of your biggest achievements during your impressive career?

Even though I got the chance to work on a lot of cool movies while I was in LA, I never got credit for any of them and it is hard to pin point what I did because so many other artists had their hands in it as well. Having said that, I would consider my greatest achievements in my career is being the Lead Fx artist on a short film “Dead Water” which filmed last year and being on Face Off. Even though I wasn’t on the show that long, people got to see me and I was able to showcase my art. Working in shops you don’t always get the chance. My best work is yet to be seen…but it will be soon!

 

 
Any exciting projects you’d like to share?

At the moment I am collaborating with Derek Garcia form season 3 on a few projects. We will both be at this years Fantasy Fest in Key west. You can check us out at http://www.bodyartkeywest.com. I’m also in talks to design and create the fx for a Haunted House next year in Jacksonville FL. I will be posting on that in the near future. You guys can check out my page at facebook.com/omarsfreddofx, Instagram @pibe75, Twitter @Omar_SFX. I’m always updating on a daily basis and answering any questions or comments.

 

 
What’s your advice for future special effects artists?

Well, I’m old school so my advice will be old school as well. I recommend that they familiarize themselves with the great Dick Smith, Rick Baker, Tom Savini, Stan Winston, Steve Johnson and Rob Botin. And I would suggest they watch tons of 80’s horror especially The exorcist, An American Werewolf in London, The Thing, and Day of the Dead. Those are the movies that influenced me the most. Also get Dick Smith’s Do it yourself Monster Makeup handbook, Grande Illusions by Tom Savini and Special Effects for Stage and Screen by Todd Debreceni. I feel is also a good idea to go to a good makeup
school to develop a good foundation. Don’t just rely on YouTube and tutorials, they are helpful but nothing beats having a teacher helping you in every step of the way. And you’re never to old to learn something new. I’m still learning myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omar clown

 

Omar

Interview with Wolf Paranormal Investigations

Today I’m welcoming the paranormal investigative team from Wolf Paranormal Investigations. Thanks everyone for stopping by!

 

Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

We are a small group of people in Calgary, Alberta, Canada who are dedicated to helping people find answers to their questions about what is going bump in the night in their homes and/or businesses.  We don’t get paid to do this; for all intents and purposes, we are, essentially, volunteers.  This means that if we’re called to a location too far away for us to return home the same night, we will ask for assistance with travel, fuel, and/or accommodations expenses, since all of our expenses are out of pocket.  We do accept donations, and we’re grateful for them, because they are what help us to get to those locations and to get the equipment and other resources that we need in order to do our jobs effectively.

 

How did you get into the paranormal? Was it because of interest or a personal experience?

A lifetime of unexplained events beginning from the age of two until today drove me, demanding more of me than I thought I could give, teaching me along the way that if I did nothing else of value in this life, the one thing I *would* do was to show people experiencing similar events that they were not and they are not alone in what they’re going through, that someone does understand and will do as much as is humanly possible to help them.

 

What type of places do you investigate?

We will investigate wherever we’re called.  We investigate homes, businesses, abandoned buildings (only with permission, though), and any other locations we might encounter in our daily lives that are reported to be haunted.  We do tend to stay away from locations that profit from being haunted, however. For example, some pubs that have long been reported as “haunted” are places we will stay away from, because those locations do make money from that reputation. Can you imagine being a pub owner making money from supposed ghosts hearing from us that we found answers to what people claim to see/hear/feel?

 

What methods do you use during your investigations and what’s your favorite piece of equipment?

We investigate using a variety of methods ranging from voice recorders and EMF readers (Electro-Magnetic Field detectors ) to Sensitives.  For example, Shae, our Occult specialist, is able to “read” energies in a location and determine whether it is male or female, adult or child, animal, or something else.  We have a small variety of equipment right now: voice recorders, digital still-photo cameras, a video camera, and a Mel Meter, which is essentially the same as an EMF detector, except that it reads temperature changes along with fluctuations in the EM field.  I personally don’t have a favorite piece of equipment, but I do tend to rely more strongly on the voice recorders, because they’re highly sensitive and can pick up sounds from quite a distance away.

 

Do you investigate the paranormal only in your local area or do you travel to other states as well?

Well, Canada has provinces instead of states, but currently, most of our investigations have been fairly close to home.  We have traveled to locations a couple of hours away from us, but as yet, that’s as far as we’ve gone.  If or when we are called to a location in a different province, and if there are no teams closer to the client, then of course we would make arrangements to get there.

 

What’s been the scariest location you’ve visited so far and why?

The scariest location… Hmm.  Well, I don’t know about “scary”, but Green Hill Mine in the Crowsnest Pass definitely had us on our toes!  The second night of our second investigation of the location resulted in all of us experiencing a sudden, very intense feeling that we had to get out of there or something very bad would happen.  Everything about that evening was somehow off – it’s difficult to describe it, but even the moon looked “off” in a weird kind of way…

 

Can you share with us some of your most compelling evidence captured such as EVPs or video footage?

The best EVP capture ever caught was actually caught in my own home, back in 2010.  The voice is male, and it very clearly says, “Good girl…”  Here is the video link if you’re interested in watching the clip, which I called “Sleeping With Ghosts” (note: the blog link near the end is no longer in effect): https://youtu.be/mfTlj0U-8Ck
The best video capture I’ve documented so far was, again, captured in 2010, in my own home, when a door closed by itself.  The video is called “Closing Doors”.  Here is the link if you’re interested in checking it out:   https://youtu.be/kNRqAdtLWL4

 

Would you consider yourselves skeptics as well as believers?

We see ourselves as “open-minded skeptics.”  This allows us to work from a perspective that demands concrete proof while still allowing for the possibility that what we may have seen/heard/felt may have been something without an immediate, logical explanation.

 

What’s your advice for those who want to become paranormal investigators?

For those who are interested in becoming paranormal investigators, there are a few very simple but critical things you need to know.  1. Forget everything you’ve seen on TV.  Most of the reality of this work is left on the cutting room floor during editing, and generally speaking, viewers are given only the investigations that provided at least one piece of possible “evidence.” The actual reality of this field is that we spend countless long, often tedious, mind-numbing hours reviewing and analyzing data. It’s exhausting, and nine out of ten times, we get nothing for our efforts.  Usually, it’s a one in 1000 chance that you’ll capture something genuinely unexplained either on audio or video.  2. *Never trespass!*  We cannot emphasize this strongly enough. It’s difficult enough to gain credibility and respect in this field; trespassing can not only be physically dangerous (e.g. in structurally unsound, abandoned buildings ), it also has the effect of painting the entire, global paranormal community with a very unpleasant, quite unfair brush.  If you don’t have permission, oh well. Too bad, so sad.  It’s that simple.  3.  Never investigate alone.  If you get hurt, you have no one to help you.  If something paranormal happens to you, you have no witnesses. Depending on the severity of physical injury, no back-up could cost you your life. For paranormal experiences, no witnesses means no credibility.

 

If you’re interested in following us, here we are:

Our website:  http://wolfparanormal.com/

Our blog:  https://wpinvestigations.wordpress.com/

YouTube:   http://tinyurl.com/opqclg5

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/wolfparanormal

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/wolfparanormalinvestigations

 

 

 

wpi

Interview with Ryan Buell

Today I’m welcoming Ryan Buell from A&E’s television series, Paranormal State. Thank you, Ryan for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, most of your readers will probably know me as the host/star of A&E’s “Paranormal State,” a docu-drama series that ran for a successful six seasons. The show followed myself and the organization I founded (Paranormal Research Society, or PRS) and our investigations. When it comes to me, I was raised in South Carolina. I had several experiences that I believed were paranormal when I was a child. The experiences, mixed with other circumstances, made me a bit of a loner (and still am, I suppose). In high school I focused on journalism, debate, drama and broadcasting. I became the editor of my high school newspaper, and we changed up the format, which as a result saw a rise in readership from the students. In college, I continued my focused in journalism. I chose Penn State, which is 600 miles away from home. So I felt a certain freedom entering adulthood and being able to explore certain parts of me that I wasn’t able to before. One of them was paranormal investigation (which I’ll get to later). In my early years, I started an online website dedicated to online news reporting. Somehow I found myself in the middle of the Internet journalism boom, interacting with other key founders of the online journalism world. Originally I wanted to pursue filmmaking at Penn State, but I found myself bored and unchallenged. Ironically enough, through “Paranormal State” I got to pursue that side of me by executive producing the show during its later seasons, as well as directing some of the episodes. I am also a freelance journalist. On occasion, when I feel there’s a story of importance, or when I’m approached with a lead, I will report on it, as I did in 2011 during the Penn State Sandusky Child Abuse scandal.

Right now, I’ve been enjoying seclusion and a more quiet life. I travel between my home here at Penn State and South Carolina, especially in the summer, where I spend a lot of time at the family lake house. I’ve had to take a few years off for personal and medical reasons, and now that my health is improving with every month, I’m slowing weighing in on what’s next for me. I’m open to doing another show if the right idea comes along. I’ve been doing some writing, and for years I’ve been mostly finished with my first novel but never had time to push it through. So that’s one of my biggest priorities, as well as rebuilding PRS.

 

 

What is PRS and how did it get started?

Paranormal Research Society is the organization I founded in 2001. It has four research departments. As for its origin, it began with an eager teenager who was simply looking for answers. With the Internet starting to take shape, I wrote to the few paranormal groups I could find in the Pennsylvania area, but none responded. I don’t blame them. I was an 18-year-old. I did a few investigations under the guise of making them special-interest feature stories for the college paper. The following year, 2001, I transferred to Penn State’s main campus, which is one of the largest in the country. It boasted over 600 student organizations. Yet, despite Penn State’s enormity and diversity, there wasn’t a single organization remotely close to exploring the paranormal. So, during the second week of school, in a brand-new town and campus I didn’t know, I decided to try starting a group. I posted flyers. And I reserved a room in the student activities building. About four people showed up. Another walked in late, but he shared my excitement and passion, and he helped me build PRS. By our second meeting, we had 20 interested people. It’s a college town, so people came and went. It was hard work. We didn’t get to ghost hunting for at least six months. We had to create a charter, a constitution, solidify membership and then go before a committee to receive official group status. At the time I never considered taking it off campus and just making like the other groups out there. I think the challenge is what drove me. It became clear our group didn’t fit into the traditional categories that they were used to dealing with. For example, when I had to answer questions before the committee that approves new groups, they asked if our work and/or research was dangerous. I answered honestly, “yes,” explaining that there have been many instances of people being attacked or killed and police/science could not explain why. After that, I was forced to go before the Environmental Safety Department to get approved. On the form, the committee listed concerns, such as “demonic possession” and “psychic attacks.” The head of the department literally was bewildered, not knowing how to respond. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “You say this stuff happens but I can’t see what my department can do to respond to these claims of potential harm. If the purpose of your group is to enter homes with asbestos and educate them on why they need to remove it, then I’d be able to figure this out. But I have no idea how to respond to the committee’s concerns that you may put students in jeopardy due to them becoming demonically possessed.” He signed the form, which essentially meant he didn’t see us as being a risk, and we had to go back to the committee. We went again and again before the board, each time with a new problem they pointed out. I don’t believe they were trying to deny us, I think they were just confronted with new questions and conundrums that they don’t have to deal with. They’re used to clubs like the Chess Club, or Salsa Dancing Club, or Relief For Haiti. So right off the bat, we were the oddball, or rather, I was.

And it continued. PRS started receiving case requests. It was slow, but it gradually grew like clockwork. They were reaching out to us because of the Penn State name. They felt we had reliability. And then there was our first time working with the police. A student went missing on Halloween 2001, and around the start of summer, we put the police in contact with a psychic who specialized in missing persons cases. From there, the press covered it. And then, we started hosting a paranormal conference. In 2004, the Roman Catholic Church approached us for the first time, to work on a highly confidential case that would later be granted the rare rite of exorcism. It involved a Pittsburgh politician, former commissioner Bob Cranmer and his family. We kept the case a secret until just recently. In August 2014, Cranmer released a book about his haunting.

I could go on and on, but we just kept having unique events happen to us. You could say that, at times, the paranormal, in some form or another, found us.

 

 

What are your views on the paranormal? Do you believe that there are just as many good spirits as there are bad?

First, let me be clear, PRS has no official view on the paranormal. It does not defer to any one religious view. We have conducted research and performed numerous investigations, and its investigators, including myself, file opinions, but these opinions are only that of the investigators. So, my personal views are not the official views of the Paranormal Research Society, even though I am its founder and current Director.

I was raised Catholic and I am still a practicing Catholic. My personal religious views have, at times, come into conflict with my role as a paranormal investigator. To say anything else would be a lie. However, I also do not believe that the Roman Catholic faith currently has any official stance on ghosts, other than comments made by the Pope and other cardinals, bishops and priests throughout the centuries. In modern times that Church seems to take the stance that there are no ghosts, as many within the Church believes it contradicts the teachings that when we die, we are judged and enter either Heaven or Hell. There is the belief of purgatory, a sort-of in-between state some of us may go to after we die where we are processed. Some priests who have accepted the belief of the paranormal have used purgatory as a possible explanation for the existence and appearance of spiritual activity. Other priests, mostly traditional, believe all spiritual activity is either the work of the Devil or of Angels.

When I investigate, I do my best to leave my Catholic faith in the background. Instead I have formed what I believe to be a practice similar to that of a journalist and detective. Often, the two are the same, only one carries a badge and the other, a pen.

My beliefs have put my in a strange position at times. After “Paranormal State” began to air, some criticized me for being too Christian or allowing my Catholic beliefs to interfere with my investigations. On the other hand, some within the Church have criticized me for not being Catholic enough, and for allowing non-Christian practices and beliefs, such as the use of Pagan and Wiccan rituals and members and other non-Christian rites to be performed. In truth, we often conform to the clients’ religious beliefs when it comes to the end of our investigation – trying to explain and possibly remove the spirit(s).

Objectively, PRS does not perform house cleansings nor exorcisms. We assist. Personally, I have assisted in house cleansings, deliverances and formally approved rites of exorcisms. But I do so as an individual after PRS’ work is done.

I have seen things I cannot deny. I have witnessed levitations, heard voices whisper in my ear, seen apparitions, watched objects move upon command, and watched as other people have suddenly undergone drastic personality changes and speak languages unknown to them. We always have a psychologist, psychiatrist or some other member with a medical background with us to not only rule out the psychological and medical explanations, but to also document, if applicable, the lack of a natural explanation.

I believe spirits exist. How or why are beyond me. I have my theories, but no proof to back that up. Some may feel as if I am being too cynical or skeptical. Whenever I speak like this, someone who is a believer feels as if I am trying to be too political when in truth I am simply trying to be honest. We have documented these unexplained phenomena’s. But just because a table levitates, it doesn’t mean it’s a ghost. To blame it on a ghost is to project a belief, similar to that of a religious one. Now, when you add voices, apparitions and then the ghost offering to perform some sort of manifestation, similar to what happened during the Enfield Poltergeist case, then theories are formed. And traditional methods have to moved aside for more… unconventional options. Such as believing that we may be dealing with a spirit.

For almost 150 years, the practice of paranormal investigation has shown us many things. And just like with some of life’s mysteries, some famous paranormal events from a century ago have become solved, like the fairy pictures that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed to be proof positive of their existence (it later turned out the photos were a fake).

One day, perhaps, we may learn that there are rifts in gravity. Or perhaps the spirits we see are simply a rift in the space-time continuum. In other words, we are seeing people from the past and in the past, they are seeing what they believe are spirits. Who knows?

I know I’ve thrown around many different theories, but these are my beliefs. My beliefs in the possibilities that there are spirits, there are bad spirits, there may not be spirits, there may be other explanations.

When I step away, taking what I’ve seen and practiced as an investigator, and what I’ve seen through the lense of my religious faith, I currently believe in the spiritual world. Are there bad spirits? Well, there are most certainly people who have done bad things. So why should the spiritual world be any different? Just as some may believe we are the only living beings in this universe, something that seems childish and ignorant as we have discovered more and more inhabitable planets, it would also be childish to believe that there may only be human spirits. There may be ancient spirits, whom some call demons. They were never human. Perhaps there are inter-dimensional beings, as the late journalist John Keel believed when he investigated what is now known as The Mothman Prophecies case. But back to the simple question, are there good and bad spirits? All things being equal, yes. Just as there are good and bad humans. Are there more bad than good or vice-versa? Both are possible. I don’t believe anyone is beyond redemption. Choices are made. And the choice to return to the light can be attained.

We’ve all been a bad guy to someone in our lives. Perhaps we were once a bully to one person in elementary school? We broke someone’s hearts. Or we made a mistake and did something awful that hurt the ones we love. And then, later in life, we change. We learn from our mistakes. Maybe these “evil” spirits, maybe they won’t be one day? Or perhaps, they won’t change? After all, some have spent their entire living lives doing more and more horrific things, like Hitler. Who knows the answers to these questions? I cannot definitively tell anyone that one way is truer than the other, or that one belief is more superior than the other. I cannot say that Christianity is more superior than other religions, even though I am Catholic.

My investigations, I believe, have made me more tolerant. And more at peace with my own experiences, despite not having the particular kind of closure I originally sought. But my life is not over, nor is my work. Perhaps ten years from now, my beliefs will change.

It’s okay to question. To your readers, I encourage them to question the very things I’ve brought up. I encourage other investigators to do the same. Perhaps one day, we may collectively find answers. There is one thing, however, that I remember whenever I think of the subject of belief/proof and whether or not we will ever know the answers. The nature of the unknown is to remain unknown. Just as it is the nature of a lion to be a lion and what comes with it. I think the thrill is that we may never know, but it is OUR nature to never stop searching. And that, I believe, is one ultimate truth.

 

 

What was it like being the host of A&E’s “Paranormal State” and being a part of the investigative team?

This is a hard question to answer. After I founded PRS, and we started to receive notoriety on our own, we started getting inquiries from TV networks and producers about doing one show or the other. As hard as it may seem to some, my immediate desire wasn’t to do a show, although I saw the value in it. The ability to use the media platform of a TV show to inspire thought and to let others know they aren’t alone. And to give PRS a chance at becoming something bigger. Eventually, I was approached by a producer who offered to develop a show based on PRS and myself. A&E was interested and they greenlit the show. It was hard adjusting to having a team of 20-25 people following you around. Two or three cameramen, a director, sound guy, producers, various assistants to get batteries or set up lighting, etc. As I would do a case, they would light around me, film around me. They adapted around us. There was no movie set. Nothing staged. And as the show progressed, I made very clear rules for production. For example, limited contact with the clients. No contact with the psychics we brought in. And when it came to Dead Time, when I and/or my team would try to communicate with the spiritual world, production would have to back off at a specific distance. And usually only one camera man and sound guy would be allowed in the house or location. I felt these rules had justification for allowing us to do our job and leaving the environment as natural as possible, and at times I believe it paid off.

Doing the show allowed us to travel all over the country. We weren’t limited to just a 4-hour radius. It also gave us funding to improve our equipment. And bring in specialists. It gave us a major boost.

On the flip side, there is the fame element. My life literally changed on December 10th, 2007, the night the show premiered. I remember riding back home the next day and suddenly millions were talking about me, about us. We had to quickly grow thick skin. People attacked us. People wanted to get close to us because of our “fame,” and suddenly one big problem we faced was… who could we trust? Thankfully we lived in a small college town and we were mostly sheltered from the sudden onslaught of fame. But there were many times where I had to go and promote the show, which was reasonable, but I felt very uncomfortable with the public role. Being a public person. People wanting autographs or looking at me differently. As a result, I became more of a recluse. All my close friends and family know this. I enjoyed the fact that “State” was a success, but fame comes with a very heavy burden and a terrible price. It’s all about a balance. I was young when it happened. Plucked from being a simple college student to a TV star. Appearing on talk shows, my face on billboards, etc. It was neat to see, but I had major trouble dealing with the fandom. It made me more closed off.

I’m older now. I’m 33. And even though I’ve been offered other show projects, I obviously had to take time off due to health and personal reasons. I also wanted to enjoy life. And it’s been difficult. I know one day I will undoubtedly return in some form. You never leave the public eye, unfortunately. I still get approached because the show is still popular in syndication. And I’m grateful for that. Now that it’s been a few years since I retired from the show, I’ve been allowed to enjoy some privacy and pursue other things. And I’m considering and looking at some options right now.

 

 

While filming Paranormal State, were there any cases that made you think twice or did you go into full investigative mode, ready to take on anything?

Maybe I’m hard-headed but I’ve never paused or worried about a case due to it being dangerous. The more dangerous it was, the more I felt it was justified that we go in there to help them, as well as try to resolve it. That’s something that is built within me. Whether I succeed or not, I suppose time and history will tell. But no, I never thought twice.

 

 

What kind of methods do you prefer when investigating the paranormal?

Well, it all depends on the case. Each case is different. But I acknowledge that when it comes to investigating hauntings at location – such as a home or other dwelling, we do have standard techniques and then we build from there. That said, I tend to believe that the foundation for my own investigative methods go to my journalism background. The who, what, when, where, why and when it comes to the paranormal, most certainly we must ask, how. For me, you can have all the tech in the world (and it is important), but if you do not have an investigator capable of investigating with their own senses by asking questions, observing behaviors and following leads, what’s the point? So, my role is to play the journalist and lead detective. My team, such as tech, can be interpreted as the forensics side. My psychologist and other medical specialists… their role is pretty defined. They help me determine if I’m on the right track. The historian or photography experts, they are powerful resources that also help me formulate my theories.

 

 

How do you prepare yourself before going into a haunted location?

I get asked this question a lot, and usually it’s from people seeking advice on how to protect oneself. All you can do is have faith. Where that faith comes from is up to you. There are no guarantees that we can be completely protected no more than we can say that about driving on the freeway for several hours. I prepare myself by studying the clients in a basic nature. I read their initial testimonies. Thanks to my case managers, who do some leg work ahead of time, I see, on paper, their testimonies unfold and progress. I develop a game plan. It’s hard to describe, but it’s a gut feeling I’ve developed over time. I get a strong intuition of how to go in to the case. And I have made peace with the fact that once we go in to a case, all bets are off. Sometimes that happens, but more frequently the case turns out as expected. But one must always be prepared to be unprepared. Or at least come to terms with it.

 

 

What’s your most frightening experience?

I find this to be one of the most difficult questions to answer. You’d think I’d have a ton of stories. I do. And there were moments where I seriously questioned whether myself of a member of the team or a client would make it out alive before our work was over. I have been involved with many dangerous cases ranging from working with the Catholic Church on demonic cases, cases that resulted in great harm and even death to a client, working with law enforcement and even undercover work. Some of the undercover work scared me the most, but I obviously cannot go in to that. Some people see “Paranormal State” and think there’s transparency there. That that is our entire history. But it’s not. PRS has endured many hardships. We’ve had to pay a heavy price for getting involved with dangerous situations. It’s difficult to talk about because to do so means divulging information that could be hard for someone who was involved with it to read. But I will go in to one. It is a case we label “demonic” and it we were brought in, confidentially, by the Catholic Church to assist with gathering evidence to ascertain whether it met the requirements for the formal rite of exorcism. There were so many things I couldn’t explain in that case. We’d drive home thinking we all were going crazy, only all eight of us, plus other specialists the Church assembled, witnessed the same thing. And then there’s the evidence we caught. I was warned before going by three different individuals with psychic abilities, all separate from one another, that they had a strong feeling that I was going to be stabbed in the lower right side of my back. All three told me this before I left. Obviously, I found it both remarkable and a little intimidating, but what was I to do? I just had to hope it wouldn’t happen. One of the clients, who we later felt was exhibiting signs of what is defined as “possession,” said he felt the urge to attack me and it was becoming stronger as my team and I uncovered more and more evidence. We assigned investigators to keep an eye on him. Yet, despite that, he got extraordinarily close to me with a knife, approaching me from behind. If it wasn’t for one person taking quick action, it may have happened. We saw a black shadowy mass, like a black cloud, materialize and move around. Blood materialized on the walls and two separate forensics teams could not find a natural explanation for it. The first team thought it was something other than blood. But they couldn’t determine it. The second team, more advanced, determined it was blood. The scariest moment for me came the day before we were scheduled to return to the case. I started having these weird “moments,” where I’d see “666” everywhere. It was almost comical. I thought that I was clearly matrixing. When I got to my home in the evening, the house was cold, and the thermo-stat read “66.6” degrees. What followed is so over-the-top it seems so unlikely to be true, but it happened. To sum it all up, I was given a warning. I sat at my computer, and was chatting with an investigator, when a poster ripped and flew off the wall, down to the floor. That obviously got my attention. I told my investigator, and we both tried to laugh it off. I thought to myself, “well, if it happens to another poster, then that’s beyond chance in my books.” Not one second after I thought that, a second poster tore from the wall. I told my investigator what had happened, then walked away from the computer. I pulled out some of the tech, and every thermal device read 66.6 degrees. I tried making a call, but no one would answer. And then… I felt punched in the stomach. Then in the back. Then in the stomach again. I ran upstairs, and as I did, it felt as if there were several others behind me because of the way the wooden stairs shook. You’d think I’d run out the front door. Instead, I locked myself in the bathroom. It was clear panic. Thankfully, the investigator I was talking to online, took my silence as cause for concern, and within 15 minutes, a few investigators arrived at my house. This was my first time behind physically assaulted by an unseen force. I have no explanation for it. It wasn’t the scariest moment of that case, and I’ve since dealt with other more bizarre incidents where this one almost seems elementary, but in terms of memory… it was a moment where I had felt my life had turned upside down and I considered for a moment that perhaps I was going to deep into territory I shouldn’t be in. After all, why was the Catholic Church calling in a 22-year-old? Ultimately it didn’t deter me. I’m not trying to sound brave. I had a strong team around me. I felt safe, and this case needed us. Now, I look back and smile.

 

 

What’s next for Ryan Buell?

I wish I knew. I’ve asked that question for years. ? I had to take some time off. I didn’t realize it would have to be this long. It was for various reasons. Health and personal. After investigating so many cases for so long, I needed a break. I’m working on two books, and really, I’m trying to return to where I left off. I’ve been entertaining the idea of doing another show, and I’ve just been seeing what’s out there, and I am brutally honest. If I don’t feel passionate about it, I won’t do it. Right now, I’m open. Open to exploring. I guess the short answer is, I have a few things, but also, I don’t know. And it’s both terrifying and exciting.

 

 

Any words of advice for fellow paranormal investigators/enthusiasts?

Yeah. Be patient. I know you want to go out there and start right away, but you need to do some home work. Study. Read books. Not just the modern stuff, but some of the older research that came before us from some very reputable and respected investigators. And, take breaks. You need to remember to live. Most investigators who delve in to this full-time rarely make it far. There’s an insanity into this world. Take breaks, walk away and enjoy your life. Family, friends. After all, what’s the point of living if all we do is focus on the dead? And finally, as I said, the nature of the unknown is to remain unknown, so you’re never going to find all the answers. You may find some, and it may be personal revelations. The journey is more important than the end or the start. So, learn (I don’t care how old or how long you’ve been doing it, I still consider myself a student of the paranormal), be patient, don’t forget to live and try to follow your moral compass when doing this. Morals and ethics are important. It may take time to figure it out, and you’ll make mistakes, and that’s ok.

 

 

Ryan Buell’s Links:

Website: The PRS Bureau

Facebook: Ryan D. Buell

 

 

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The Spirit Within by Sheila Parker – Venture Galleries

Happy Friday, everyone!! Hope you all have amazing plans made for the upcoming weekend! Just wanted to share with you something exciting. Yesterday I was informed that my novel, The Spirit Within is being featured on Venture Galleries, Book Of The Moment Club!!! Definitely made my day!

And since you all are so important to me, I wanted to share this with you. Hope you enjoy!!

 

Here is Venture Galleries’ link: The Spirit Within by Sheila Parker – Venture Galleries

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

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Interview with Dr. Barry Taff

Dr. Barry Taff is a renowned parapsychologist that I have had the privilege to interview via telephone a while back. The reason why I’m just now publishing his interview is because I didn’t want to do so until I finished reading his book, Aliens Above, Ghosts Below.

First off, before I continue, I’d like to share with you the interesting bio that Dr. Taff has shared with me. Not only does it give a brief description of this esteemed intellectual, it also describes the many different media personalities and agencies that have trusted Dr. Taff’s highly regarded research and skills.

 

 

Dr. Barry E. Taff

Biography

Dr. Barry E. Taff, who holds a doctorate in psychophysiology with a minor in biomedical engineering, is a world-renowned parapsychologist who worked out of UCLA’s former Parapsychology Laboratory from 1969 through 1978 as a research associate. During his four-decade career, Dr. Taff has investigated more than 4,500 cases of ghosts, hauntings, poltergeists and conducted extensive studies in telepathy and precognition, eventually developing the initial protocols and methodologies for what was later termed “remote viewing”. He also, was himself, investigated as a psychic subject, the results of which were published in Behavioral Neuropsychiatry, “A Laboratory Investigation of Telepathy: The Study of A Psychic”, Vol. 6, Nos. 1-12, April-December 1974-January-March, 1975.

One of the cases Dr. Taff investigated in 1974 gained international fame as the book and motion picture, The Entity, starring Barbara Hershey and Ron Silver, released by Fox in 1983. Dr. Taff served as technical advisor on The Entity as well as being represented in the film by the character “Gene Kraft”. What’s unknown by the media is the fact that, in real life, The Entity followed its female victim for quite some time after our initial investigation, continuing its vociferous nature. Doris Bither died in 1999 of cardiopulmonary arrest at the age of 58.

Dr. Taff has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs including Coast to Coast A.M.with George Knapp CBS News, KNBC News, KABC News, Strange Universe, Unsolved Mysteries, The Joan River’s Show, A Current Affair, Hard Copy, Sightings, Judge for Yourself, The Extraordinary, The Montel Williams Show, The Wil Shriner Show, The Suzanne Somers Show, was a recurring guest on NBC’s The Other Side, Haunted History, Mysteries & Scandals, ABC’s World’s Scariest Ghosts Caught On Tape, The Girls Next Door, Sci-Fi Channel’s An Unknown Encounter & California’s Most Haunted (highest rated shows in Sci-Fi’s history) for which Dr. Taff also served as creative consultant and technical advisor. Taff also has recently appeared in the DVD Special Feature sections of The Mentalist (Warner Bros/CBS-TV, 2009) and the feature film, The Haunting in Connecticut “Anatomy Of A Haunting” (2009) and the 20th Anniversary Re-Release Pkg. of Friday The 13th (Paramount Pictures) and most recently, Ghostly Lovers on The Travel Channel (Feb. 2011), The Ghost Speaks, 2012, as well as Ghost Adventures (2014) and Ghost Adventures Aftershocks, March 2015

He has consulted for government, business, and law enforcement, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Language Institute (DLI), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the FBI, Interpol, LAPD, California Highway Patrol, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, and the Westminster Police Department. He has served as a technical advisor or script doctor on the films Logan’s Run, Demon Seed, Altered States, Poltergeist, and The Entity. Dr. Taff has written numerous articles for magazines and journals, and has been featured in many books on paranormal subjects ranging from precognition to UFOs.

In the spring of 2010, Dr. Taff’s, book, Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown is available at http://www.cosmicpantheon.com, Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and book stores everywhere.

 

 

Aside from Dr. Taff’s research in parapsychology, he also has patented medical devices. He has asked me to share with you the article that he has written in regards to the subject, Energy Medicine: Selling A Car To A Caveman. Here is where Dr. Taff’s article can be found, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140626172738-85610322-energy-medicine-selling-a-car-to-a-caveman?trk=prof-post

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t want to publish Dr. Taff’s interview until I finished reading his book, Aliens Above, Ghosts Below. His book is extremely informative and insightful. I definitely recommend anyone to grab a copy. It is well written with great documentation from a true parapsychologist, Dr. Barry Taff, that has well over forty years experience in the field. Aliens Above, Ghosts Below brings more awareness to ufology and the paranormal, nothing fabricated at all. In fact, what he describes is actually quite chilling.

Back in the early 1970’s, Dr. Taff investigated a case involving a young woman who was repeatedly attacked by an unseen terror. Later, a gentleman by the name of Frank De Felitta wrote a novel about the documented case titled, The Entity that was also adapted into a motion picture. As frightening as The Entity was, that wasn’t the only case where Dr. Taff investigated terrifying encounters of the paranormal. His forty plus years of research has put him up close and personal with some of the most horrific situations that would easily cause sleepless nights for many.

Dr. Barry Taff also has the extraordinary ability of ESP (Extra Sensory Perception). When I asked him what was it like living with this ability his reply was simple, “I don’t know of any other way of living. This is all I know.” He told me that his whole life he has been able to see afflictions in people. And that’s not all. He told me that when he was a little child sitting in the front seat of his parents’ car, he could tell exactly the model and year made of the vehicles passing by without any prior knowledge. When his parents asked how he knew those things, Dr. Taff told me that he would say, “I just know”. All his life he’s been able to “just know”  things. As impressive as that sounds, he said that there have been individuals who weren’t as receptive to his ability.

While on the phone with Dr. Taff, he even shared with me a passion of his….. fast cars.
He proudly told me that he used to race Porsches. “Wow!”, I thought. As Dr. Taff and I conversed, it was quite evident that he was extremely knowledgeable with an indisputable background. He mentioned several different articles like Legacy’s End, Learned Psi: Training To Be Psychic, Implicate Order By Design, Building A Warp Drive Engine, and Looking A Gift Ghost In The Mouth: The Science Of Poltergeists all which can be found on his website: http://barrytaff.net/

Dr. Barry Taff, someone with outstanding credentials and impressive research as a parapsychologist, is very down-to-earth. Conducting the interview with him was not only informative, but enjoyable as well. On a personal note, I feel that I have learned a great deal from all that he has shared!

 

 

Dr. Barry Taff’s Links:

Website: http://barrytaff.net/

Facebook: Dr. Barry Taff

 

 

 

Dr. Barry Taff