Interview with Paranormal Genealogist, Shannon Bradley Byers

Today I’m welcoming Paranormal Genealogist, Shannon Bradley Byers. Thank you, Shannon for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

This is always difficult for me because I never know what people would really like to know! I was born in South Carolina, but my daddy worked for the pipeline, so we moved around a lot the first eight years of my life. In 1976, we finally settled right outside of Atlanta and I have been here ever since. In 1993, I had daughter, who is my only child, and in 2003 I met my 2nd husband, David. We married in 2005 and we spend our time on some amazing adventures. I have a passion for good old-fashioned bodice ripping romance books, especially ones by Victoria Holt. In 2006 I was introduced to the time travel romance worlds penned by author Lynn Kurland and each year I look forward to her newest book. A big guilty pleasure of mine is the supernatural romance books by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Team Ash!).

I was given a project in school in 1981, when I was 13 that introduced me to the addicting world of genealogy. I was supposed to write about a “family story” that had been handed down, and interview family member to see what kind of facts I could find about it (remember, this was before the internet!). On my daddy’s side, there was a bare bones story about a civil war soldier that had had enough of the war and decided to quit and walk home, from Virginia to mountains of North Carolina. When he was just a mile or so from home, he was shot and killed by the home guard. That was the beginning of my passion for genealogy. I love it so much, I have spent the last 36 years working on family research for just about anyone that asks me for help. As a side note, if that story sounds familiar to anyone, it would be because my cousin wrote a book in the 90s called Cold Mountain, which was later turned into an award-winning movie where Jude Law played my 3rd great uncle. The book and movie are complete fiction, with almost no resemblance to what really happened. Anyone interested in knowing the real story can visit my website and read all about.

Genealogy aside, I am also on the preservation board and historian for the Wynne-Russell house, a local historic home in our city. I work very closely with our local police as a board member for the citizens police academy and I am a member of our county’s archaeological society.

In what little spare time I have between all of the above and my paranormal pursuits, I work with other people like me who need help understanding their gifts and haunt antique markets looking for old medical equipment.

 

 

How did you become a paranormal investigator? 

When I was 8 years old, we had a book fair at school and it was then that I first laid eyes on the book Haunted Houses by Larry Kettelkamp. I decided right then and there I wanted to find a ghost on my own. Now keep in mind this was 1976 and my exposure to looking for ghosts was limited to the television show In Search of.., things written by Hans Holzer and books like the Time Life series.

My parents were big on our summer vacation spots being “historical” in some way. I spent a lot of time on St. Simons Island taking pictures at Christ Church Cemetery and the Bloody Marsh battlefield. All in the pursuit of that holy grail of paranormal evidence… a picture of an apparition, only to be disappointed weeks later when the film was developed to find out I had not. In a way, I miss film cameras, but I definitely do not miss the “wait” time of film developing.

When David and I met, we found out quickly that we both had a huge interest in the paranormal, so it was only natural that we start looking for ghosts together. This was 2003 and there was a lot more out there in the way of paranormal research, but it was still before the multitude of television shows. We went to as many historical places, cemeteries and spooky places as we could and conducted our own experiments.

In 2010, I started trying to join other groups of likeminded people, thinking that a historical researcher would be an asset, but no one would ever get back with me. In 2013 we spent a couple of months with a friend that was forming a group, but para-drama got in the way and David and I decided that we would just keep doing our own thing like we always had. The problem was, because groups of “ghost hunters” were misbehaving, historical places did not want to let us in without a resume. That was when we decided to “organize.” We came up with a name, joined the wonderful world of social media and I spent all my time sending out letters practically begging places to let us investigate and filling in the gaps with private residential and business clients around the southeast. Now, with the references we have, it is much easier to get into places that most cannot, so we just keep doing what we love as a husband and wife team.

 

 

You’re the “Paranormal Genealogist”. Tell us about that?

Many years ago, I saw an episode of one of the paranormal shows that highlighted a true crime that I had studied since I was a child, the Pearl Bryan murder (I have always had a morbid fascination with Victorian murders). Well imagine my shock and surprise when they started presenting “facts” that I knew to be untrue. Before that time, I had not realized that we were being fed a line of untruths on these shows in the way of the history they presented. That was when I really started looking into the real stories of places like Bobby Mackey’s Music World, the Old Charleston Jail, the Exorcist House, Waverly Hills Sanitarium, Sloss Furnace, etc. I used all my genealogy research skills to tract down information on the people, town, and structures that could be backed up with documented facts. I had been doing that kind of research on my own cases anyway because I am a FIRM believer that you cannot conduct an effective investigation without knowing the history. I quickly found out that most of the information we were being fed on television shows and movies was misappropriated or just plain made up so, in the interest of getting the real information out there, the Paranormal Genealogist was born. Now, I spend my time giving lectures and seminars on the real histories of these places and how you go about tracking down the information. It is my opinion that giving false history on the people that died (or did not die) at these places shows a level of disrespect that is unconscionable.

 

 

Being an empath, have you always known that you had this ability? And would you consider it a gift or a curse, or maybe even a little bit of both?

No, I have not always known, but looking back, I should have. Metaphysical things were not taught in my household when I was growing up so I had absolutely no understanding of what an empath was. As a young child and into my teen years I was described as “tender hearted” or having the ability to relate to others in a weird way, but that did not really do a whole lot in teaching me that being an empath was a “thing.” I am a southern girl, and during the time I was growing up, we still brought the dead home and laid them out in the living room so being around death never bothered or affected me other than being sad that person was no longer physically in my life. Several years ago, I lost a close friend and it was the first time I had felt complete and utter devastation by a loss. It was at that time I sought out help to understand things I had always “known” but did not understand. This was when I learned about being both an empath and a deadseer. My mentor made me realize that many things I had never understood as a child made perfect sense. For some unknown reason, I had a very hard time with my 47th birthday. As a birthday gift, my mother wrote me a long letter that detailed our lives together. That letter meant a lot to me on different levels, but there is a portion where she talks about when I was around 18 months old and she would get up every night and find me sitting up in bed talking to the “angels in the corner of my room.” It was like a flood light had been turned on for me and where maybe before that I had looked on my abilities as both a gift AND a curse, I realized what a precious gift it is IF I work with it as it was intended to be. Since that time, I have never referred to it as a “curse.”

 

 

What was the inspiration behind writing your book, “How Not To Be A Ghost Hunter”?

In 2016, a colleague and I were lamenting for the hundredth time about all the groups out there posting on Facebook and the web about their “ghost hunts” and “evidence” they had captured. A few things have bothered me for years about groups that have popped up since the television shows became so prominent. First is the fact that they think they can watch these shows and know exactly how a paranormal investigation should be conducted. Another problem is getting them to realize that their “evidence” is nothing but normal occurrences (again, thanks to television). They simply do not realize the damage they can cause and the dangers for themselves, their clients, and the spirits they may encounter. One of my biggest gripes are the people that go to a location to experiment and then just leave with no follow through for either the client or the spirit(s) who many times, are just wanting help.

My husband and I are on the preservation board for a historic home in our city, and we have been investigating there for years. To raise money for the never-ending things that have to be repaired, we hold history/paranormal tours and in the fall people can donate to investigate with us, (100% of their donation goes to the preservation fund). During the summer of 2016, we decided to hold a workshop fundraiser for the house, similar to the talks we give at DragonCon, a kind of “normal paranormal” class. Because I loathe being called a “ghost hunter,” I came up with the class name of “How NOT to be a Ghost Hunter” and wrote a 60-page book to give to the participants. I shared the book with some other colleagues and the feedback was incredible. The consensus was that I should write it as an actual book and publish it. I spent the fall rewriting, tweaking, and having it edited so I could release it in January of 2017. It does not included anything “metaphysical” because the focus was for people to understand just what it is to be a paranormal researcher and how different it is from television.

 

 

Where can readers get their very own copy of your book?

It can be purchased as a paperback or kindle version on Amazon or in e-format on iTunes.

 

 

What’s next for Shannon Bradley Byers?

I am constantly working on research to debunk the haunted fakelore of locations featured on TV, but along with that, I have two more nonfiction books in the works as well as a fiction one that I have been working on for years. Unfortunately, with a full time job and my non-work related schedule, finding time to write is extremely difficult… OR when I do have time to work on them, I get hit with a case of writers block! The next few months are going to be busy between private investigations, an archaeology dig, and teaching another paranormal class as a fundraiser. As of right now, my next big “event” is The ScareFest in Lexington, KY this fall since I have decided to forego speaking at the 2017 Dragon Con. If all goes according to plan, my next book will be out in September 2017.

 

 

Any advice for future paranormal investigators?

Before you get your first piece of equipment, come up with a catchy name, or buy your t-shirts, the first thing you need to ask yourself is “why do I want to do this?” The answer to this question will determine many things. If it is just for thrill seeking, you might want to rethink your decision. As in all things, thrill seeking can have detrimental effects on yourself and others. People have been trying to use science to prove the existence of the afterlife for centuries and you are going to have to be comfortable with the fact that it will never be a recognized “science.” There is just no way to come up with a hypothesis and test your theories because you cannot get the same results every single time you do an investigation, and consistent verifiable results is the basis of science. There will always be roadblocks along the way. People will tell you that you are wasting your time, or that you are nuts or that you are going to hell for talking to dead people. Just remember why you decided on doing it in the first place. I hope that your reason is to help.

 

 

 

 

Meet Raleigh Nichols

Have you read my paranormal romance, The Spirit Within? If so, then you’ll know who this rugged mechanic is. Meet Raleigh Nichols, the inimical boyfriend of the main character, Cassy Blakemore.

Who is this irreverent soul?

He’s a hard working mechanic who’s employed full-time at the local body shop. His name is Raleigh Nichols and is crazy in love with his girlfriend, Cassy Blakemore. Sure, he may be a tad overbearing and a bit cynical, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to please his girl with his sultry, southern charm. The way Raleigh’s sensual touch melts Cassy’s heart, gets her every time. Well, that is until the day Raleigh’s inner darkness emerges. A darkness that becomes so brutal that it creates a terrifying wedge between the two lovers.

Their love is undeniable, but the personal turmoil that Raleigh battles causes him to lose the fight to alcoholism. While his thirst grows deeper for the bottle, his anger becomes intensified as his emotions become explosively abusive towards Cassy. Raleigh’s apologies are hollow and ignored, but that doesn’t end his relentless obsession with his girlfriend.

Before the final straw breaks, Cassy discovers supernatural abilities that she never knew she had. It’s thanks to these newly found powers that keep her world from totally disintegrating.

How does Raleigh deal with Cassy mysteriously “zoning out”? And how does this volatile relationship continue….. or does it? Get your very own copy of my novel, The Spirit Within available on Amazon!

 

Here’s the sketch that I did of Raleigh Nichols from my novel, The Spirit Within. Prints of my sketch are available at…. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/raleigh-nichols-sheila-renee-parker.html

 

 

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

 

 

(Raleigh Nichols. Sketch by Sheila Renee Parker.)

Doppelgangers & Black Eyed Kids

Doppelgangers and Black Eyed Kids. Are they real? What do you believe?

Doppelgangers (German for “Ghostly Double” or “Double Walker”) simply refers to a double of a living person. According to legend, these otherworldly creatures harness the ability to mirror the appearance of those they encounter. Many believe that doppelgangers are harbingers of doom. For instance, if a doppelganger was seen by a person’s loved one, then the doppelganger may be a messenger of danger or ill health. However, if one sees his or her own doppelganger, it’s said to be an omen of death.

A doppelganger is often considered to be a shadow self that is thought to follow every living person. In instances of bilocation, a person can either spontaneously or willingly project his or her double known as a “wraith” to a remote location. This double is identical to the real person and can interact with others just as the real person would.

Several well-known people in history reported seeing their doppelgangers prior to their deaths. Some of these historic figures include Abraham Lincoln, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Catherine The Great, Queen Elizabeth 1 and Maria de Jesus de Agreda just to name a few. Even Vice-Admiral, Sir George Tyron had reportedly been seen walking through the drawing room of his Eaton Square home in London at the exact time he had gone down with his ship, HMS Victoria after colliding with HMS Camperdown.

Another harbinger of doom is known as the Black Eyed Kid (also known as BEKs.) Their origin isn’t clear, but many believe that these young ones are the spirits of lost or murdered children.

Black Eyed Kids are typically known to travel in pairs. Their ages range from eight years to eighteen years old. They have very pale skin and black eyes, showing no pupil or iris. When these children make their approach, they usually ask to be invited in one’s car or home. Almost anyone who’s had an encounter with the BEKs become overwhelmed with a sudden feeling of fear or dread. When turning these kids away, the children show aggression with the intense need to be allowed inside. Those who claim to have encounters with the Black Eyed Kids report that the children refuse to go away until the said person either leaves the scene or closes the door on them. However, there are many reports of these encounters, there aren’t any confirmations of what could happen if someone actually complied with the demands of the Black Eyed Kids.

 

 

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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Meet Cassy Blakemore

If you’ve read my novel, The Spirit Within, then you’ll know who this young lady is…. the main character, Cassy Blakemore! Join Cassy’s gripping journey into the unknown as she discovers deep-seated secrets and supernatural powers!

 

Who is this intriguing young lady?

She’s a mousy nineteen year old college student who’s major is in art with hopes and dreams of owning her own gallery one day. Her name is Cassandra Blakemore, but to those dearest to her, she’s affectionately known as Cassy. She tries to live a simple life with her boyfriend, Raleigh Nichols, a rugged mechanic who Cassy’s Uncle Mitch sorely dislikes, but tolerates for the love of his niece.

Raleigh, who claims he loves Cassy undeniably, soon finds comfort by delving deeper into the bottle. His insufferable alcoholism takes an unruly turn as he becomes abusive towards Cassy. It’s at this point in her life that she’s faced with her worst fears.

And as if all of this wasn’t enough, not only does she endure verbal and physical abuse, Cassy discovers a whole other side to herself that she never knew existed. Cassy starts to have premonitions, experiencing ESP right before horrible things happen. Also, supernatural abilities of levitation and telekinesis begin to show through Cassy’s newly found powers.

She’s terrified and confused. Fight or flight. She has to decide. As she moves forward, she meets new people, embraces new love with a mysterious bookstore clerk named, Drew Stevens, and learns about deep-seated family secrets that are shockingly revealed.

Cassy struggles, but finds the strength to travel down a path to empowerment. She becomes the Phoenix that rises high above the ashes of adversity. Cassy discovers The Spirit Within!

 

Here is the sketch that I did of Cassy Blakemore, the main character of my novel, The Spirit Within. Prints of my sketch are available at… http://fineartamerica.com/featured/cassy-blakemore-sheila-renee-parker.html

 

 

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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(“Cassy Blakemore”. Sketch by Sheila Renee Parker.)

 

 

 

Auld Lang Syne

“Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot, and auld (old) lang syne?” Ahhh…. the long familiar song associated with this time of year.

Auld Lang Syne: “For (the sake of) old times.”

‘Tis the end of another year, my friends. 2016 is coming to a close as 2017 approaches. Did you all have a wonderful Christmas? I sure did. I was extremely grateful to spend a relaxing holiday at home with my family. We carried on the annual Christmas Eve tradition of driving around looking at the local Christmas decorations and lights as we sipped on our milkshakes. Then, once we arrived home we watched the classic film, A Christmas Story starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, along with Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon who played his parents and Ian Petrella who played his pesky little brother, Randy. My family and I have seen the movie countless times, but every time we watch it, it still cracks us up.

And then on Christmas day, we stayed home opening our gifts as we sat by the fireplace. It was definitely a wonderful time!

Tomorrow is the first day of the new year and I’m certainly ready for it. Are you? I’ve got some exciting projects that I’ll be working on and I promise to keep you all posted with the updates as time progresses. I’m really looking forward to this next year! What does 2017 have in store for you? I’d love to hear about it! What are some of your holiday traditions and what exciting plans have you got for the upcoming year?

As we celebrate this festive holiday season, always be safe and enjoy. Life is for remembering, not regretting!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

~ Love & Light, Sheila

 

 

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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YouTube, Radio & Facebook… Oh My!!!

Hello all you beautiful people! Hope everyone’s doing well. For me, the week has been off to another fabulous start. I’ve been pretty busy lately and wanted to share some exciting things with you!

 

Firstly, a very dear friend of mine created this YouTube video for my novel, The Spirit Within. I’m so ecstatic, it was put together quite beautifully!

 

 

Secondly…. Recently, I was the guest on Spaced Out Radio with host, Dave Scott. We had a lot of fun discussing the paranormal, my novel: The Spirit Within and even talked about the ability of being an empath, which I openly discuss that I am. We also had a great time answering questions from the listeners. For those of you who weren’t able to tune in at the time of broadcasting, here is the link……

 

 

And thirdly….  In the near future, here on my site, a few changes will be made. For instance, a brand new banner has been beautifully designed that I’m extremely happy about. Also, a lot of people have been asking if my artwork is available for purchase. The answer is yes. So, as part of the upcoming changes, I will be adding a place here on my site where my artwork can be purchased. I’ve even went live on Facebook discussing my site’s changes. If you would like to check out my “Go Live” video, here it is…. Changes to my site, sheilarparker.wordpress.com

Be sure to connect with me on Facebook as I “Go Live” with upcoming news!

Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker

 

Thanks everyone!!! Remember to always…. Be Original. Be True. Be YOU!!!

Love & Light,

~ Sheila

 

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

 

 

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