P&C

Paranormal Peril

This isn’t a case for Scooby-Doo and meddling kids.
By Zach Ewell Posted on October 20, 2022

We’ve covered what insuring a haunted house entails and the various risks associated with alien abduction policies. But now we turn to the paranormal—events or phenomena that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding.

We interviewed Colleen O’Hara of Pocatello Paranormal Research, based in Pocatello, Idaho. O’Hara has been a paranormal investigator for 50 years and has seen it all. We asked her what safety precautions her team uses when conducting a paranormal investigation, what if any, insurance policies they hold to protect them against disgruntled ghosts and what risks they face when confronting the demonic and spirit worlds. Beware: this isn’t your typical Q&A for Scooby-Doo and meddling kids.

Q
How long have you been a paranormal investigator?
A
I have been investigating since about 1972. My mother was a police officer and detective, and she was a medium and paranormal investigator. She used her ability to solve cases and since I was going to work in this field, she decided to train me.

Q
Have you ever seen a ghost before? If so, can you describe where and when?
A
Plenty. We grew up in a very haunted house.
Q
Have you always believed in the paranormal?
A
Yes. My mother did seances, was a medium and did some work at the Haunted Castle in Hollywood. We were surrounded by many people in the paranormal field.
Q
What are some of the safety precautions you take when conducting a paranormal investigation?
A
I check on the criminal background of my clients; I have a responsibility to keep my team safe. I am also a trained certified asbestos inspector, so I do a walkthrough to ensure my team’s physical safety. We never trespass and I ask law enforcement to walk through buildings if I suspect trespassers have broken into the building. In Idaho, most of us conceal carry and my team stays trained. Spiritually we all have learned separate methods to ground and protect ourselves. We all have different faiths and mechanisms for protection. In my case, I ground myself in nature before I investigate. It helps me find my center of strength for the night’s work.
Q
Have you or anyone you work with ever been injured during an investigation? Any trip or falls in the dark?
A
Yes, we have had some minor injuries. We always work in pairs, so no one is alone. In the case of a fall, one of our team is a paramedic and firefighter, so he checks us out if need be. We are lucky; some areas have been sketchy, but we have been okay. We always have water, first aid kits, flashlights and charged cell phones.
Q
When it comes to all your years of investigating paranormal activity, have you ever come up with a system to categorize and document the entities and risks you face or have witnessed?
A
We have our own internal method, particularly with non-human spiritual entities we have run across. Non-human doesn’t necessarily mean demonic. There are ancient non-human entities associated with Native Americans, with nature and some that seem to have no association with anything, they just exist. Some create illness, some create chaos, some watch and some injure.
Q
According to BBC News, a pub landlord in the U.K. took out a policy in 2002 against a spirit that he feared could hurt his patrons. The ghost, which the owner claimed was the restless spirit of a monk long deceased, was moving glasses across the bar. The owner of the establishment worried the paranormal entity could hurt someone, so he took out a policy. Have you ever worked on anything like that over the course of your career?
A
We have for sure. We have one documented case of pyrokinesis [controlling fire with someone’s mind].
Q
What kinds of equipment do you rely on for your investigations, to communicate with spirits?
A
I rely on my dowsing rods primarily. We have mediums on the team who can see the dead. We have empaths who feel energy and communicate that way. We have many different methods and we do use our tools. We have one member who is a trained demonologist, and he can usually make negative energy flee.
Q
What happens if property or equipment is hurt or destroyed in an investigation?
A
We would have to reimburse the homeowner or replace our equipment. We tend to be very careful and require the homeowner to be present during the investigation.
Q
Could communication in the form of spiritualism (e.g., Ouija board) create risk to people who are inexperienced?
A
Yes, I believe it can be dangerous. You don’t handle a weapon you are not trained to use, why use a method to communicate if you aren’t trained to use it? [Ouija boards] are a tool of communication, but you need to know who you are communicating with and not just open the door to anyone or anything. People are in death as they are in life. Some people are cruel, and that energy persists in death. And you don’t want a non-human to show up and create havoc in your life.
Zach Ewell Content Specialist Read More

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