In honor of this most excellent holiday, my guest today is Paranormal Researcher Darcie McGrath! Darcie is the founder of the Quantum Psi Group, whose mission is to provide educational opportunities - scientific and metaphysical - to assist the public with knowledge of, paranormal events, concentrating on the survival of consciousness outside of the physical realm. Both elements will work together, as one, in validating and exploring this field.
Welcome and thanks so much for being here, Darcie and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. So let's get on with the questions!
Were you ever a skeptic or did you always believe in the paranormal? What drew you to paranormal investigations?
I got into the paranormal by getting in trouble with the assistant librarian. I was 8 years old, and it was storytelling time in the library. I ended up monkeying around in the back of the group, trying not to be bored, when the assistant librarian came up and asked what I was doing. It was Halloween. It was ghost story time. Why wasn’t I excited by that?
I put on a practiced face that had been taught to me by my parents and told her, “There’s no such things as ghosts. This is kid’s stuff!”
“Really,” she said. “Come with me.” She took me over to what was, to my surprise, the non-fiction section.
Handed me Larry Kettlekamp’s Haunted Houses. I read it. I was hooked.
I read everything the school library’s had to offer. When I got my first library card, I read all that, too. You couldn’t go to the book store to buy books there. They were in the occult section. You didn’t dare get caught there. And in all honesty, they really didn’t have much to choose from. No matter what phase in my life I was in, my interest always came back to that, somehow.
Do you have to have any kind of degree to become involved in paranormal investigations? If so, what kind?
People come from every walk of life to do this. Some are engineers, IT specialists, maintenance people, and plumbers. Some are MIT graduates with degrees in Quantum Thermodynamics. Some go as far as building a degree in parapsychology – but in my experience, the only degree you need is one of curiosity.
How does an investigation come to you - how do you get a case? Do you seek them out? Do people call you?
When I first started investigating – and that wasn’t until I was about 19 – I looked for them. Now that I’ve been doing this awhile, and more people know me from discussions and my work at Kirkwood College, they come to me.
That’s still not to say I don’t check out documented haunted locations out there when in between cases (Farrar School, Lemp Mansion, Pythian Castle).
What do you look for in an investigation?
The number one thing, before we even start, is to sit down and have a thorough interview with each affected person at the location. We can’t always sit down with all of them, but we get as many as we can. Sometimes that gives you more information about what’s going on than any other tool in our arsenal. Many times, based on that, we can decide how deep we need to look. Many times, not that far.
We also use our digital and video equipment to search for video anomalies and audio anomalies that might be considered instrumental transcommunication (ITC). Entities can communicate through almost any form of electronics by manipulating the electromagnetic field (EMF). Sometimes this can be in the form of electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), or visual manifestation on film or digital image.
If we can combine two to three different pieces of evidence to document an occurrence, then there is a high likelihood that we’ve encountered something paranormal.
What tools do you use?
Interviewing is our number one tool. It costs nothing, and it doesn’t need batteries. Our second most useful device is the digital audio recorder. It’s from these that we capture electronic voice phenomenon (EVP). Digital camcorders are also useful to help capture who was in the room when EVPs occur, and of course, any visual anomalies that cannot be explained.
Another tool that is not used by all ghost hunters, are the impressions of a psychic or medium. It has been the opinion of many notable parapsychologists, such as Dr. William Roll and Dr. Hans Holzer, that if you want to get to the bottom of a case, you must use a psychic. I tend to agree with that assessment. Many times we find that the energy will manifest faster when we have them present, than if we didn’t. It saves us many days and nights of sitting in the dark, hoping the activity will engage us. We confer with them on a regular basis. Their input is combined and weighed equally with all of the other evidence collected to help us form a case.
Our group chooses to balance the metaphysical with the scientific. We find them mutually beneficial in the field, and I have hopes that, some day, the science will help validate the metaphysical, also.
Is ghost hunting an adrenaline rush or are there a lot of boring nights?
I like to say that ghost hunting is hours of complete boredom, followed by 10 to 15 seconds of sheer excitement. Many places do not have a plethora of physical manifestations (slamming doors, moving objects, full figure apparitions). Most of the evidence we find is usually after the fact – after we take the equipment home and compare notes.
Have you ever had a really active location and how did you deal with that?
There was a very active private residence that we were requested to check out, when the owner was in between renters. On our second trip out, we found all of our electrical devices being drained one by one. We’d turn the camera on, and that would die. We turned the recorder on, and that would die. We’d turn the cell phone on, and that would die.
The theory is when energy is drained from multiple items that quickly, activity is present and attempting to manifest. This is a time that we make sure that no one person is on their own. Not only is it a good safety precaution, but if anyone is likely to have an experience, they’ll have a partner witnessing it with them. We also make sure to have a good supply of batteries outside the premise, and plug in any devices that have DC power.
Have you ever been in a situation that really scared you?
My first demonic experience was probably the scariest. I ended up bringing something home from a rather dark location we had just investigated. A psychic friend was the first to recognize it. I didn’t know what to do. I learned very quickly that networking is very important in this field, as is developing your own sense of personal protection.
They often say that there are “no atheists in foxholes” – and I often tell my students – this field is one big foxhole.
What are the biggest misconceptions about ghost hunting?
That you are required to bring a truckfull of investigative equipment on every client trip. Many are eager to do that, however, you can learn just as much by sitting down and interviewing the client. Sometimes anxiety and stress can often manifest in people’s minds as a paranormal experience. Oftentimes, once they have a second pair of eyes examining the situation, it’s not like that at all.
Many people often have latent psychic abilities that they are not conscious off. The interview process helps screen for this. If they are psychic, they are much more likely to experience ghosts and spirits in the immediate vicinity, than other people are. It doesn’t mean that there house is haunted; it means that they are capable of attracting activity to them since other spirits and ghosts can realize this, even when they cannot. I’ve witnessed many times that homes not having any reported activity before, now have it because a different group of people have moved in.
These account for roughly 90% of our cases, and do not require one iota of equipment to be brought in.
What do you think of the reality tv shows about paranormal investigations?
I spend a lot of time in my classes clarifying the difference between television and the realities of the field.
Provoking - a method of exciting paranormal activity by aggressively laying down a challenge or insult – is something I often have to speak out against. Not only is it inherently dangerous since most of the time you don’t know what you’re going up against – many times this stuff can follow you home. We encourage our children and teenagers not to do this to the living – what gives us any right to do this to the dead.
What’s also not well known is that not all of them are paranormal experts. Some simply have good camera appeal. If they're creating their own fashion line, or launching their own music album – they’re rockstars, not researchers.
The most important thing is that despite what you see on camera, 95% of all television personalities practice some form of personal protection. You wouldn’t believe how many times I get people shaking their heads at the idea of saying a prayer, or calling down a guide before an investigation. Their macho idols on TV don’t do that. I oftentimes have to remind them that the shows are edited for content and time. If you go up and ask these people personally, they tell you they do practice some form of protection. They don’t want to take this stuff home to their families. Many have kids at home. Most have been doing this for awhile. They know the score.
Anything else you'd like to share?
It is often easy to forget that many of these beings out there used to be people just like us. They’re not trophies or tickets to fame; they are intelligent, feeling entities like you and me. Treat them with respect. Even if they’ve done wrong in life, they’re putting themselves through more of a Hell than you could possibly dream of by sentencing themselves to a self-imposed purgatory. They are afraid of judgment, so many of them stay here in this endless existence. They don’t deserve bullying.
On the opposite side of the darkness that gets so much press in this field, I have many intelligent entities that follow me from place to place that help me in my work. I’ve formed relationships – alliances, if you will. Nothing on paper. These are powerful beings. They know my heart is in the right place. I have psychics and mediums tell me this all the time. I catch their voices on recorders constantly, talking to other energies, trying to prompt wayward entities to listen to me when I try to help the unfortunate trapped souls transition to the Other Side.
The majority of the students walking through my door are not only there for what they see on TV. They have questions. Serious spiritual questions. You’d think it strange that they’d come to a paranormal class for answers, but this can be a very rewarding spiritual experience if done correctly. Would I trade that for money and fame? Never.
More than 170 students have explored the spirit world with instructor Darcie McGrath since she started teaching Haunting and Investigations 101 and 201 since September 2011. Darcie has 33 years of experience studying the paranormal, with an emphasis in haunting and haunting activity. She also has 20 years of field experience in investigating both private and commercial properties. Her investigative technique includes blending the metaphysical with science.
When not working her full time job in aerospace engineering, and teaching, she is also the case manager of the paranormal research team, Quantum Psi Group.
Paranormal Researcher Darcie McGrath - find her on Facebook
Quantum Psi Group - locate them at their web site: www.quantumpsigroup.org
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Darcie, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and knowledge with us today. I really appreciate it! If you have questions for Darcie, please post them in the comments section!
And Happy Halloween everyone!