Monday, December 13, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


When Holly Stevens and I were in the United Kingdom in May, 2009, filming four episodes of Ghost Cases, we had the opportunity to work with Steve Mera, Dave Sadler and the rest of the team from the Unknown Phenomena Investigation Association, aka the UPIA. The UPIA investigators employ a skeptical and rationalist approach to the paranormal, but they also keep an open mind about the possibility that our current science might not be able to explain everything about our world. In short, they are looking for answers, not confirmation of an existing belief system. It was a distinct pleasure working with them.

In the two videos below are some outtakes from footage shot for an episode that looked into stories of paranormal activity at the Bridestones, a neolithic burial chamber located outside of Congleton, England (the UPIA website has some great photos here). In the first of these clips, Dave recounts some of the allegedly paranormal activity that has been reported at the Bridestones, including a man who reported "missing time"; in the second, Steve and I wandered out into an adjacent field to discuss the phenomenon known as "earthlights", a possible explanation for many allegedly "paranormal" incidents, from centuries-old tales of fairies and will 'o' the wisps, to modern stories of UFOs. You'll notice the time code at the bottom of the footage, which also gives you an inside look at how material like this is edited together for television.

The earthlights theory is largely attributable to Paul Devereaux - you can read more about it at his site. He writes:

First may I say that I think most UFO reports are the product of (i)misperception of mundane aerial objects whether manmade or astronomical; (ii) mirage effects; (iii) hoax; (iv) psychosocial effects ranging from mental aberration to temporary personal stress conditions affecting a witness’s perception or interpretation of a perception; (v) the occurrence (unawares) in the witness of trance conditions, such as when awaking from or falling into sleep, or when driving, especially at night. Of all these, I’d suggest simple misperception is by far the greatest cause, though I suspect the trance explanation is involved more than we might suppose, especially in the case of reported alien abductions. Having said all that -- as a result of my own experience as well as my own research -- I ALSO think there is a small rump or residue of sighting reports that DO actually relate to genuinely unexplained phenomena. In my opinion, a percentage of this small rump of sightings relates to geophysical or meteorological phenomena that I have termed ‘earth lights’.
For more information on "spooklights" and related phenomena, check out this very good article by Dr. David Clarke. He writes:

Methane exiting from the surface of the marsh would be expected to burn, if ignited, as a flickering, fixed flame, but would hardly move through the air or against a prevailing wind. The marsh gas explanation for spooklights has been superseded by others, some fanciful and others plausible. Popular at the moment is the ‘earthlights’ theory which is a convincing connection between lights and the faulted geology of the regions in which they appear. Although no clear production mechanism has yet been discovered which scientists are entirely happy with, the theory suggests the lights are the product of a build up of electrical charge in areas of geological stress. Rather than being directly caused by earthquakes or tremors, the lights are symptoms of the earth’s internal traumas, springing into life as electrons are slowly released into the air and possibly through the water table as strain waxes and wanes in zones of geological faulting.
You can also find a brief synopsis by the UPIA here.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Holly Stevens and Ghost Cases on A & E Biography

Episode 7, part 4 of the A & E Biography series My Ghost Story, about the Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrew's, New Brunswick, features Holly and footage from the second episode of Ghost Cases. You can view the segment here.

I wish the producers had spent more time placing the incident in context, but that's American television for you - a lot of flash, and a lot of quick edits and special effects, sometimes at the expense of the story itself. Still, the segment is well done, Holly did a great job, and the footage remains compelling.

To get the fuller and much more interesting story, watch the original Ghost Cases episode on Eastlink TV, or check out my Paracast interview segment at The Other Side of Truth podcast, where I discuss the case (listen to it here).

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mully & Sculder on The Paracast, 19 April 2009

Here are a couple of excerpts from an appearance that my Ghost Cases co-host Holly Stevens and I made on the Paracast on 19 April, 2009. At the time of this show, we were in the middle of filming the Ghost Cases series, and had already had some very weird experiences, two of which we recount in this clip. The rest of the show can be heard in its entirety at The Paracast.

Paul Kimball

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Algonquin Hotel ghost case

In this short excerpt from the July 11, 2010 episode of the Paracast, which was our first show on GCN, I discussed perhaps the strangest and most compelling incident from the 13 episode of Ghost Cases - the Algonquin Hotel case from St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick.

To hear the entire episode, which also featured host Gene Steinberg and my fellow co-hosts Greg Bishop, Nick Redfern and Chris O’Brien, check out the Paracast.

Paul Kimball

Friday, July 2, 2010

Paul Kimball on Dark Matters Radio, 29 June 2010

A couple of days ago, on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, I returned for a 2 hour appearance on Dark Matters Radio, hosted by the one and only Don Ecker. Don and I covered a lot of ground, and in this episode of The Other Side of Truth I’ve excerpted the two parts that I found the most interesting. In the first, I discuss why I think the discovery of who we are as indivduals is the really important journey to be had in paranormal research. In the second, Don asks me to describe one of the strangest experiences Holly Stevens and I had while filming Ghost Cases in 2009.

To hear the entire episode, and all of the other great episodes Don has done since his return earlier this year to live radio, check out the Dark Matters Radio archives.

Paul Kimball

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ghost Cases - conclusions

Ghost Cases wrapped up a few months ago, and I won't be doing another season (moving on to new projects). That doesn't mean that I won't continue to investigate reports of hauntings as the opportunity presents itself - it just means that I won't be doing it on television.

So, what conclusions have I come to after a season of "hunting" ghosts at thirteen supposedly haunted locations ?

First, I'm firmly convinced that after careful investigation the vast majority of ghost stories can be explained without reference to anything paranormal. Coincidences, tricks of light, fear, environmental stimuli – all can play a part in creating the appearance of something otherworldly.

There is also an element of wish fulfilment – for a variety of reasons, many people want to believe in the paranormal, including ghosts, and as a result they often find what they are looking for, usually by interpreting information to fit their own pre-conceived conclusions.

However, as with most things allegedly paranormal, there are some cases which seem to defy easy explanation. As I see it, there are two possible explanations for this.

The first is that the investigation may have been flawed, or incomplete, so that a non-paranormal answer is available, but just hasn’t been found yet.

The second is that there really is something paranormal happening.

Now, whether that means it’s the dead speaking to us from beyond the grave, or whether it perhaps represents some sort of natural phenomenon that our science doesn’t have the vocabulary to explain yet, I don’t know.

But we should always be conscious of the fact that there are a great many things about our universe, and ourselves, that we haven’t even begun to understand yet. To close ourselves off to the possibility that there might be more to heaven and earth than our current science can explain would be foolish, and… unscientific.

In other words, my conclusion about ghosts coming out of Ghost Cases is the same as it was going in, and can best be summed up by the motto I apply to all things, whether normal or paranormal:

Don’t believe.

Don’t disbelieve.


Paul Kimball

The Case of the Haunted Cell

Ghost cases that rely on single witness testimony are a dime a dozen. Without corroboration of some sort, as any good lawyer will tell you, it’s hard to prove that something anomalous might have happened. At the old jail in St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick, in February, 2009, Holly and I had the kind of encounter that every ghost investigator is looking for, where you have more than one witness both experiencing something at the same time, and that experience is backed up by independent “hard” data.

Sergeant Tom Hutchings was a 21 year old Royal Air Force armourer who was convicted and hanged for the brutal rape and murder of a local girl, Bernice Connors, who was just 19 years old, while he was stationed near St. Andrew’s in the Second World War. Hutchings, who was the last person hanged in Charlotte County, spent his final days in a small, dark, cold cell in the jail, within earshot of where his executioners constructed the gallows.

By all accounts, Hutchings was a model prisoner in his final days, passing the time quietly. He made his way to the gallows without a struggle, and had nothing to say by way of a final statement. Unfortunately for him, however, the gallows had not been built correctly. Instead of the quick death that he might have been expecting, it took Hutchings eighteen minutes to be pronounced dead, a hard way to go, even for someone who deserved it. Ever since, people had reported strange occurrences in the jail, and in his cell in particular, which led to speculation that the gruesome nature of his death had somehow trapped Hucthings’ soul in this spot, destined to haunt it for all eternity.

Given the circumstances, it seemed to me that his old jail cell would be an obvious spot to try and make contact with Hutchings, although in hindsight I have to wonder what I was thinking. Making contact with benign spirits is one thing, but should a person really be trying to meet the spirit of an executed murderer who might still hold a grudge?

Just for good measure, and on the theory of “in for a penny, in for a pound,” I came up with the bright idea of trying to antagonizing the spirit of Tom Hutchings by bringing along a noose on display at the jail as a trigger item. For a laugh, as much to amuse Holly as anything else, I placed the noose around my neck as we were locked in the dark cell by the crew. Holly and I sat next to each other on the remains of Hutchings’ old bunk, with an EMF meter beside Holly, but out of my sight, and we waited to see what would happen.

After almost thirty minutes Holly and I had not experienced anything other than the winter cold and some pleasant conversation. It was at this point that I decided to turn off the low-level camera light we had set up in one corner of the cramped cell. I thought that perhaps this would encourage Hutchings to come out and say hello. I took the noose off of my neck, and plunged us into almost total darkness, with only the barest, almost imperceptible hint of moonlight coming through the slit of a window in the wall of the cell. Little did I realize what I was getting Holly and I into.

Within minutes, something happened. I felt Holly shudder beside me, and then she exclaimed, “oh f-ck.” Now, Holly is about as level-headed as they come, and doesn’t frighten easily, so for her to utter a profanity out of the blue was an indication of just how shaken she had been by what she had just seen – a feeling of something moving in front of us. My response to her was, “that’s weird,” by which she thought I was responding to what she had experienced, but I wasn’t. Instead, while she was sensing something in front of us, I had felt a tightness wrap around my throat. I turned to Holly and said, “I was sitting here and all of a sudden I felt this cold go around my throat, like colder than the cold, the freezing bitter cold that it is in here anyway. I haven’t felt that since I was in here, and it went right around my throat.”

Holly and I had both experienced something at the same time. That was interesting enough, and a step beyond a single witness account in terms of reliability. What made it even creepier, however, was the fact, unknown to me until she told me, that Holly had glanced at the EMF meter at her side as soon as she sensed the “presence” in front of us, and it was spiking above the baseline readings that she had taken when she first entered the cell.

A presence in front of us, at the same time as I felt a deathly cold wrap around my throat, at the same time as the EMF meter spiked well beyond baseline readings. We were both pretty spooked, but we decided to stick it out in the cell a bit longer to see if anything else would happen, although we weren’t quite courageous enough to do so in continued darkness, as I turned our camera light back on.

And then, just a couple of minutes later, it happened again. Holly looked down at her EMF meter and said, “It’s up again… it’s up again…it’s up….and it’s gone.” She hadn’t noticed what I had been doing, but the camera definitely picked it up. I turned to her and said, “I cannot see the EMF thing. There will be camera confirmation on that, that just before you said that look where my head went, back down, I felt the same…” I couldn’t finish the sentence, because I was so shaken – it had been the same sensation of deathly cold wrapping around my neck.

Holly knew exactly what I meant. “Are you serious?” she asked. “Yup,” I replied. “I went, the camera will confirm, before you said it, I went like this…” at which point I recreated my head pushing down into my chest so that my neck would not be exposed. I kept my neck there as I said, “I don’t actually want to expose my neck at the moment.” Holly was genuinely concerned. “I don’t think I’ve seen you like this before, Paul,” she said. All that I could say was, “Yeah, well I have this thing about strangling and necks throats and stuff. Maybe in another life I was hanged. The noose was funny, because the noose was no threat, but this - who knows?”

We were both scared, and we called out to the camera crew that we wanted out of the cell. They obliged, and we made our way out of the cell block and back to the offices in the building as fast as we could. It wasn’t any warmer there, but it sure felt a lot safer. As we recounted what had happened inside the cell, one of our witnesses, Elaine Brough, who works as a guide on tours of the jail, told us that what we had experienced was pretty much exactly what other people had reported happening to them when they went into the cell. She hadn’t mentioned this to us before we went in, because she wanted to see if we would have the same experience without knowing what to expect. The only thing that I could think of to say to her was “mission accomplished.”

Holly and I would often talk, sometimes seriously and sometimes for a laugh, about how when the season was done we would hop on a plane, fly down to Peru, journey up into the rainforest to a village where a shaman would conduct a traditional native cleansing ritual, so that we could clear ourselves of any residual “bad energy” that might have attached itself to us. If there was any one case that brought us closest to booking those tickets, it was the old jail in St. Andrews, where neither of us could shake the uncomfortable feeling that we may have run across the spirit of a very, very bad man. For our sakes, I hope Tom Hutchings is still in that cell, still suffering for the horrible crime he committed forty-five years ago.

Paul Kimball

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Case of the Baby in the Basement

In Quinan, Nova Scotia, a cluster of a few houses about a half an hours drive from the town of Yarmouth on the Province’s far western tip, was a small farmhouse owned by Darlene McCall for 33 years. Unexplained occurrences had been happening for decades, but when McCall’s daughter, Shelley Paddock, moved in with her in September, 2008, they became even more intense and frequent. The activity manifested itself throughout the house and surrounding property, but three areas in particular seemed to be the most active.

The first was the basement, where Paddock and McCall described being pushed by an unseen force as they walked down the stairs, and experiencing cold once in the room itself. The second area was McCall’s spare room on the second floor. She claimed that she would hear footsteps on the stairs leading to the room, and that when she entered the room she felt a malevolent presence. Finally, there was the field behind the house. Both McCall and Paddock described the sensation of someone watching them when they would be out there, and Paddock told us that “whatever it is, I won’t come out here at night. I won’t stay out here. I don’t want to be out here. It’s not nice.”

No matter how many technological bells and whistles that you employ when you are investigating an allegedly haunted location, from digital video recorders to thermal cameras, in the end I really believe that it all comes down to whether or not you have a personal experience, because that’s what we’re all really looking for. Sometimes, however, that personal experience turns out to be more than you bargained for,. At McCall’s farm, that’s exactly what happened to me when Holly Stevens and I went to investigate the haunting in February, 2009.

On the surface, the investigation had begun in the same way that it always does – Holly and I arrived with the camera crew, met with the owner of the location, got the back-story on what was supposedly going on, and then set up our gear and prepared to film. But at McCall’s farm, something was a bit different from the beginning, and both Holly and I sensed it.

For one thing, the owners, Darlene McCall and Shelley Paddock, were genuinely afraid, which is something we hadn’t really encountered on previous investigations. As McCall described the basement to us, she was visibly shaking. “The basement is pure scary,” she said. “You get the feeling when you walk into my cellar that somebody is there to grab you. Not only the feeling of coldness but just pure fear. Something down there and he’s gonna get me.” When you see that kind of fear in someone else’s eyes, or behaviour, it can definitely have an effect on you as well.

Further, there was a real sense of isolation at the farm. The house is literally at the end of the road, out in the middle of nowhere, like something out of one of those horror films where people ask for directions at a gas station miles away, only to take a wrong turn and head down the one road to the one house that no-one should ever visit. It’s one thing to investigate a building like a hotel, where there are other people just a minute or two away; it’s another to spend a night in a supposedly haunted house miles away from anyone who might be able to help if you get in trouble. That plays on the mind, particularly when the owners of the property describe whatever it is that’s going on as “evil.”

As Paddock said, “I get the feeling that something wants to get me, to harm me and mine and I don’t know how to protect me or others from it.” Presumably, whatever wanted to do them harm would be just as eager to have a go at Holly and I.

Given that the basement was a key nexus of reported paranormal activity, I decided that I would spend time down there alone while Holly and psychic Kelly Muise, who was along for the ride that evening, were upstairs in the kitchen conducting a sort of séance to try and contact whatever spirits were in the house.

Now, while I have never ruled out the possibility that some psychic phenomena might be real, I have never been a proponent of using a psychic in one of our investigations. Dale prevailed on me to make an exception at McCall’s farm, however, so I did. The results wound up challenging all of my preconceived notions about both psychics and ghosts.

As I sat on the stairs in the frigid cold basement, with the door tightly wedged shut behind me, I could hear the proceedings upstairs in the kitchen through the floorboards. No matter what I thought of using psychics, I was struck by the fact that at least it was a shared experience between Kelly and Holly (and our camera crew), while I was stuck in the basement alone. That definitely ratcheted up the creepy factor. I couldn’t help but think that if there was a malevolent presence in the house, it would probably go for me first, as opposed to the group upstairs, because that’s what I figured I would do if I was a ghost with bad intentions. As a result, I felt like a lone wildebeest, cut off from the herd by a group of hungry lions.

About thirty minutes after I began my watch in the basement, I heard Kelly and Holly start to talk about a “murdered baby” being in the basement. They were both encouraging the spirit to make contact with me, and show me where the baby was buried. This was a development that I was not exactly in favour of – indeed, the digital video camera which I had set up to record whatever happened caught me responding to Kelly and Holly, saying repeatedly, “I don’t want to meet the baby,” and “don’t come show me where the baby is.”

And then it happened. Just after another exhortation from Kelly and Holly for the ghost to pop by and pay me a visit, the door opened behind me. As a skeptic, my immediate reaction was that it had been the wind, but I could hear when the wind was blowing, as it had been earlier (without moving the door, I should add), and it hadn’t been blowing this time. Further, the door didn’t open easily, as it wasn’t a perfect fit for the frame and got caught along the ground as it opened. Not the kind of door, in other words, that was easily pushed open by a simple breeze.

I immediately went outside to investigate – my first thought was that one of our crewmembers was playing a practical joke on me – but there was nobody out there. No wind, no people, just the still of the night, and McCall’s dog, lying next to its house twenty feet away from the basement.

That was it for me. I was genuinely scared, and had no intention of going back down into the basement. Despite the fact that it was well below freezing outside, I waited for another forty minutes until Kelly and Holly had finished their séance before I went inside. I told everyone what had happened, and I’m not sure they believed me, at least until we went downstairs, retrieved the camera, and played the tape back. Sure enough, there was the door, opening behind me, at the same time as Kelly and Holly had been telling the spirit to go to me in the basement. We were all a bit shaken, although I could see McCall and Paddock nodding their heads, as if to say, “we told you so.”

Stranger still is the fact that when we reviewed the data from my audio recorder, which I had with me in the basement, we heard what sounded like a baby crying at the same time as the séance was going on and the door opened!

The next day we all headed out into the back field, where the house had originally stood, to conduct what Kelly called a spiritual cleansing. Normally I would have been in a joking mood, because I’m very dubious about things like this, but given what had happened the night before I kept my mouth shut and simply observed the proceedings. Perhaps it was by chance, but as Kelly was spreading holy water over the area, some of it landed on me. I still wasn’t sure if I had encountered an evil spirit in the basement the night before, but I have to admit it crossed my mind that maybe a little holy water wasn’t a bad thing.

It would be easy to chalk this all up to coincidence. After all, that’s the simplest explanation, and as a result probably the easiest one for people to deal with. The problem with simple explanations, however, is that they’re not always the best explanations. With McCall’s farm, and the baby in the basement, I can’t help but think that this is one time and place where something extraordinary might really have happened, and where the explanation that makes the most sense is the one that challenges everything I thought I knew about our world.

Which is exactly why I seek out these experiences in the first place.

Paul Kimball

Friday, April 16, 2010

Paul Kimball - ghost investigation at the Waverley Inn

From my new podcast The Other Side of Truth:

Ever wonder what goes on during a ghost investigation? Well, for me, it always involves, among other things, trying to make contact with the spirits (should they exist, a point on which I am definitely a sceptical agnostic) through whatever means necessary. In one of the episodes we filmed for the Eastlink TV series Ghosts Cases which I co-hosted in 2009, Holly Stevens and I investigated an old hotel in Halifax, N.S. that is supposedly haunted by the ghost of two spinsters who once owned the place, as well as the ghost of Oscar Wilde, who stayed there whilst on a reading tour of Canada. At the end of the evening, Holly set herself up in one of two bedrooms where allegedly paranormal activity had taken place, and I set myself up in another - a room with an old painting on the wall of three rather attractive young women playing music, which had fallen a couple of times with no explanation. What you will hear in this episode are excerpts from my investigation of that room, culminating in what had to be one of the most unique tactics I had cooked up in the entire 13 episode run to make contact!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ghost Cases trailer

The trailer for Ghost Cases, the television series I co-hosted / directed / wrote / produced last year.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Paul Kimball on Coast to Coast with Ian Punnett - Oct. 31, 2010

Last year I was lucky enough to be one of the guests on Coast to Coast AM's "ghost to ghost" Halloween special, which was cool. I like the cut of Ian Punnett's proverbial jib as host, and it was fun to chat about ghosts and Ghost Cases with him, and to hear some of the stories from the listeners.

Paul Kimball

Part I:

Part II: