1 - The South Shields Poltergeist (I'll abbreviate it to SSP from hereon out) bears some striking
similarities to the Enfield case. Was this something that struck you during your investigation?
It certainly was. Of course, there were broader similarities – the ones that
tend to be universally present in poltergeist infestations, such as movement of objects, rapping sounds, and so on –
but there were some intriguing parallels that were so specific that it became hard not to think that there was a deeper connection
between the two cases. Both entities had a fascination with Lego bricks, messed around with fish tanks and threw books from
shelves, and, intriguingly, would shake the refrigerator in the kitchen violently. It was these specific parallels that intrigued
me the most, and I've listed dozens between both the Enfield and South Shields cases.
2 - The "classic" presentation that the majority of poltergeist cases display tends to center around
an unhappy household (i.e. a broken home), single-parent family, or a teenager entering puberty. The SSP case seems remarkably
different. Have you any thoughts or theories as to why?
This is a difficult question to answer. We did identify the focus or host of the polt, but it
was a male in his 20s – not your stereotypical pubescent teenager! However, the guy was under stress for a number of
reasons, and this, we think, may have been why he unconsciously precipitated the polt episode. As to why poltergeist hosts
sometimes differ from the stereotype, I don't really know, but there are analogies in other walks of life that we can compare
it with. I have a serious heart condition which went undetected and almost killed me a couple of years ago. Now I have a pacemaker
fitted and I'm fine. The interesting thing was that this condition normally affects super-fit athletes or the very elderly,
and I fit into neither of those categories. Why did the condition “choose” me? I don't know; it just did. Similarly,
maybe there isn't a reason why the polt chose Marc as its host – perhaps it just happened spontaneously. Its an intriguing
question, but unfortunately I don't have any clear-cut answers.
- Following a great deal of evidence-gathering and deductive reason, Darren and yourself concluded that the focus of the SSP
seemed to be the man of the house. You document an impressive amount of evidence to support this conclusion. Why do you think
the SSP activity seemed to revolve around this particular individual?
There were a number of reasons. Firstly, as I've said the guy was under a great deal
of stress, but there were other factors that may have had an influence. For instance, he had taken to meditation as a way
of dealing with the stress, but unfortunately he carried out his meditation rituals in such a way that, sometimes, he left
himself open to malign psychic influences. Sadly this encouraged the poltergeist.
4 - Your investigative methodology was meticulously documented and entirely scientific in
nature. As a skeptical reader, I was gratified to see that Darren and yourself were both willing to accept the possibility
of fraud/deception, natural causes, and plain old mistakes for some of the phenomena. You go into great detail in explaining
precisely why certain occurrences were almost certainly paranormal in nature. What was the single most impressive piece of
evidence you gathered in South Shields?
I'm not sure how Darren would answer this, but I can certainly give you my perspective. There
were a number of instances that impressed me from an evidential point of view, but perhaps the most startling was the appearance
of the cuts. This didn't just happen in front of me – it occurred on a number of occasions in front of numerous witnesses.
I've always said that each piece of evidence taken in isolation means relatively little – but the collective evidence;
eyewitness testimonies, video and audio footage, etc. - is telling.
5 - The family underwent a
terrible, protracted ordeal. Have the disturbances completely subsided now, or is activity ongoing in any form? Without giving
away any privileged details, have they remained in the home, or relocated?
don't have any contact with the family now. As far as we know the activity has stopped altogether. We did hear that the family
had relocated, but haven't been able to verify this.
6 - The apparition of the SSP entity partway through the book was both chilling and extremely exciting. Could
I please ask you to talk a little about that particular incident?
The incident occurred on the same night as a number of other strange occurrences.
The two principal experients and I were standing in the child's bedroom. At one point I turned – I think to speak to
the woman of the house – who was quite nervous as you can imagine. As I turned towards her, I think she believed I was
actually looking past her into the hallway. Assuming that I'd seen something – which up to that juncture I hadn't –
she turned and looked out of the doorway to see what it was. At that point the entity strode into view, seemingly having walked
from the bathroom.
Physically the entity
was anthropomorphic and jet black from head to foot. It looked as if it was wearing a black, one-piece body stocking from
the tip of its head to the soles of its feet. The only way I can describe it is to say that it looked like a three-dimensional
silhouette. It paused, looked at me and then carried on walking into the main bedroom out of sight.
One of the more banal
criticisms that has been made concerns the point at which the entity looked at me. As I've admitted that it had no eyes, merely
two light depressions at the points where the eyes would normally be, some have asked how on earth I knew that it was looking
at me. To be honest, it really isn't rocket science. Imagine that someone near you is wearing a deeply tinted visor. Now imagine
that the person stops walking, then turns their head in your direction before looking forwards once again and moving on. Technically,
you can't say that the person is looking at you because you can't see their eyes; but the fact that they pause and turn their
head to exactly the right position as if they are looking at you tells you that this is almost certainly what they are doing.
The entity made no noise
and did not attempt to communicate with us. It was only in view for a few seconds, but I won't forget the incident in a hurry.
To be honest, I'd have to say that it didn't really seem that interested in us
- At times, the phenomena appears to be playful in nature, drifting towards "seeking attention". In other instances, the activity
took on a decidedly malevolent nature (going so far as to cause actual physical harm to one family member). You posit the
idea that two entities may have been present in the house...on reflection, do you believe that this was still the case?
At one time I believed that there were at least two entities in the house; a conventional
poltergeist – if there is such a thing – and an “invisible childhood friend belonging to the young boy in
the house. I've written a book about the phenomenon of invisible childhood friends, or Quasi-Corporeal Companions, as I prefer
to call them, and was convinced that the QCC phenomenon was present in the house as well as the poltergeist. The bottom line
is that I was wrong, and I'm now convinced that the poltergeist was masquerading as a QCC simply to fool me, which it did.
Poltergeists are devious and cunning, and I think it was simply presenting itself to me in a way that would excite my preconceived
opinions. It worked like a charm, and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
I do believe, however,
that there may have been other entities in the house that were drawn there by the “polt-presence”. How many I
8 - As I've already
mentioned, your research methods were rigorously scientific, which lends the case an incredible amount of authenticity. However,
you turned to Native American spiritualistic practices in order to mitigate the phenomena levels at one point. It would be
fascinating to hear your opinions on the relationship between science and spirituality in the context of paranormal research
- are spiritualistic practices (e.g. cleansing) having a genuine effect, or are they merely placebos?
A fascinating question, to which the short answer would have to be “both”.
Let me explain. As I have Native American heritage and practice Native American spirituality, I tend to see the world “through
Indian eyes”, so to speak. Hence, when I attempted to deal with the poltergeist using Native American spiritual techniques
I was simply resorting to techniques that were perfectly natural to me. There were two reasons why I turned to such techniques.
Firstly, it was to “smoke out” the poltergeist and make it declare itself. Secondly, it was to help alleviate
the suffering the family was having to endure. I don't really know whether there is a relationship between spiritual practices
of this nature and science – the truth is that at the time I didn't really care. All I wanted to do was engage in something
that worked. We were partially successful.
I certainly believe in
the placebo effect. Because stress is at the root cause of the poltergeist phenomenon, anything that reduces stress levels
in the experients will help because it diminishes the poltergeist's “food source”. Poltergeists feed on stress,
and so the less stress there is the smaller its larder becomes. I don't think it matters whether the techniques really work
or that the experients merely think they might work; if the stress levels diminish then its a case of “mission accomplished”.
I think that this is
why exorcism or blessing rituals sometimes seem to be successful. Its not that the rituals actually get rid of the polt; its
just that the experients believe that they might and so their stress levels go down. This weakens the poltergeist and reduces
both the frequency and intensity of its “handiwork”. The experients
think that the reduction in polt activity has been precipitated by the ceremony, when in fact it has been brought about by
the reduction in stress. It doesn't really matter; what matters is that the polt has been weakened.
The problem with the
placebo effect is that it is only temporary. The reduction of stress in the household causes a reduction or even a complete
cessation of polt activity – for a while. Then something will happen to increase the tension – an argument, a
huge power bill, or whatever – and then the polt comes back stronger than ever. In almost every case I've dealt with
where an exorcism or blessing has been carried out the same pattern emerges; you get a short lull in polt activity and then
it comes back with a vengeance. I have every respect for priests and pastors who carry out exorcisms and I'm sure they truly
believe they are helping, but I think they're using the wrong tools for the job. Exorcisms may work well with evil spirits
or demons – but they don't work with psychic entities such as the poltergeist. Until exorcists realise the difference
between the two we're always going to have this problem.
9 - Your book should offer hope and support for
those unfortunate people who are living with poltergeist activity, and probably suffering quietly. What advice would you offer
to anybody who finds themselves in that situation?
Firstly, they need to understand that truly malevolent poltergeists are extremely
rare. To be honest, you've got more chance of being struck by lightning that playing host to an entity such as that we encountered
at South Shields. Typical poltergeist infestations are almost always of short duration – normally a few weeks at most.
In most cases I would say that the person should simply ignore the polt until it burns itself out.
In more intense or more
protracted cases I'd say that professional help might be needed from seasoned researchers. Victims should try and avoid well-meaning
but not-very-knowledgeable “ghost hunters” who really don't have a clue regarding the nature of the poltergeist
The most important thing
is for the victims to try as best as they can to remain calm; remember, the poltergeist feeds on fear. They should also make
every attempt to minimise the degree of disruption the polt interjects into the household. Changing where you sleep or eat,
or disrupting your routine in other ways, only emboldens the poltergeist in my opinion and should only be done when the degree
of activity becomes such that “business as usual” becomes impossible. Try to act as normally as you can and, as
far as possible, ignore the symptoms of poltergeistry as much as you are able.
If all else fails, bring
in the experts – just be choosy about which experts you bring in.
10 - The Boulder County Paranormal
website is primarily aimed at American readers. Does your book have an American publisher and release date States-side yet?
(If not, it can be obtained via Amazon.co.uk).
As yet we know of no intentions to release the book State-side as such, but it is available
to American readers via Amazon.com. Alternatively, a good book store may be able to order it in for you if you quote them
the ISBN numbers, which are: ISBN-10: 0750948744 /ISBN-13: 978-0750948746