Conversations with a Paranormal Investigator ... Josh from Midnight Paranormal
I have known Josh through social media for a few years now. He has been around in the paranormal field for a long time and seen it change. People have come and gone and he has remained and focused on his own research doing things his way. He has some great theories and is always looking for ways to think differently to everyone else. He is also very supportive and willing to impart his knowledge onto others. He is highly respected in the field and I know I have learnt a lot from the chats we have had. I feel very priveledged to be able to call Josh a friend.
Please provide a short bio of who you are and what you do in the paranormal field:
Now settled down, married with children , I spent most of my early years traveling around New Zealand, Australia and most of the South Pacific exploring and investigating any historical buildings and locations I could find and learning as much local history and cultural beliefs as I could. Started field investigations in the mid 70s which continues today . I prefer to look at why people are claiming to experience Paranormal activity rather than investigating ghost stories. I try to eliminate the obvious the logical and rational before ever entertaining there may be something paranormal going on . From my experience, actual unexplained occurrences are very rare and I'm very hesitant to call anything paranormal.
How did you get started in the paranormal field?
It was a gradual progression into the paranormal field. My very young years I was fascinated by ancient cultures, religious beliefs and history. I loved old TV shows like "tales of the unexpected", "twilight zone" and "in search of" . I read everything odd and mysterious I could get from the local library. Early experiences I had as a child got me thinking, why am I experiencing things others don't and is there an explanation I can personally find out .
What is it that draws you to the paranormal?
The draw for me is the thirst for answers . Not to prove anything to the world but just for my own interest. Is there life after death is there a higher purpose or do we just exist by chance of nature? Are we alone in the universe? Why do some people experience Paranormal activity where others don't?
Do any members of your family research/investigate the paranormal as well? (Does it run in the family?)
Nobody in my family research or investigate . They have no interest in what I do and have always considered it as rather odd and pointless. To this, I couldn't care less.
What is your area of expertise in the paranormal?
I have no expertise as such as no one is an expert in this field. Only those with more experience, education and knowledge. At best I'm a jack of all trades but master of none . I'm still learning still looking and open to suggestions, theories and opinions that may assist my research.
What do you believe a ‘ghost’ is? Do you believe in ghosts/spirits?
I don't know what we call a "ghost " really is . I've seen and experienced many different things that can fit into the traditional idea of a "ghost " but then others that don't. I really don't know for sure. Do I believe they exist . I would say I believe something exists outside our understanding but is it a ghost or spirit a departed soul or a parallel existence, I just don't know .
What approach do you take in researching/investigating the paranormal? Spiritual, technical, theoretical etc
My approach firstly is to debunk I suppose. To look for the rational explanation if possible. Determine fact from fiction and put the stories to one side and make up my own mind. If you go looking for a ghosty that's supposed to be there then a lot of people find it. That's the big mistake in the field, not enough questioning and too much blind belief and the hope they'll see something. The reality is far different.
What inspired you to research the paranormal at a deeper level?
Personal experiences as a child got me to research deeper and realizing that others for centuries have had experiences like mine. But why was the question and the only way to answer it is to look for myself as I wasn't happy with what others had written about it .
Do you have a favourite topic you like learning about?
My favourite topic I suppose is cultural belief. The similarities and differences between different cultures and countries from the beginning of recorded time.
You like to use different experiments and techniques that are considered to be ‘old school’, what are some of your favourites and why?
I have experimented with many techniques and trialed the new gadgets just to see how they actually work and determine their faults which generally are many. My main technique is simply to observe with my own eyes and ears and record with pen on paper. I prefer a compass to emf meter. Things that are less likely to be manipulated by other gadgets due to interference or programmed for false positives. Flour in a door way, trigger objects. But mainly observation getting used to the natural noises of a settling building and nature's noises from outside as well as the weather conditions etc. Then once you've become accustomed to those you can start noticing possible annomolies if lucky enough.
Do you believe research is an important part of investigating?
I think research is important before an investigation. I like to know as much information about the building or location as possible. Who built it? Who lived or worked there and it's purpose . Also for a location if a battlefield or event occurred i like to know the history about it. Also a knowledge of how it was built, the wiring the plumbing any renovation or alterations over the years. To simply look at the ghost stories involved in a place doesn't help determining all the possible causes of what's reported as paranormal.
How often do you investigate out in the field?
I go out at least once a week, often more for my solo work. I'll just up and go at a moments notice if the bug hits me. Spending time alone at a location is something I've always done and find therapeutic. With the team it could be monthly or every few weeks, depends on what comes our way or our requests to gain access to certain locations. It varies. Winter is usually quieter with warmer months a bit busier.
What sort of equipment do you like to use on an investigation?
On team investigations we mainly use video. Set up as many as possible in various areas and angles . You get visual as well as audio . Motion sensors , trigger objects . Emf meters I only use to assess electrical out put . I'm not a fan of the "ghosts " communicate through emf or activate them when present. Evp sessions we do but with so much possibility of contamination from electronic, electrical, mechanical or environmental causes that can sound like a voice response but really aren't , I really can't rely on them as possible evidence.
If you retired from the field tomorrow, what legacy would you want to be remembered for? (Achievement, Tours, theory, experiments, attitude etc)
I don't think I'm worthy of leaving any particular legacy but I would like to be remembered as a logical and rational thinker that always questioned established but unproven theories and not to be a totally grumpy old bugger, but someone who liked a good laugh and swap ideas and opinions with like minded people and friends in the paranormal field.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?
My main advice to the new investigator is to question everything, research all sides of a theory and develop your own opinion through experimentation and practice. Do it for yourself and not for likes, views, attention or praise . Be thick skinned and determined but keep an open mind and willingness to learn .
If you could educate your peers or pass on knowledge, what would it be?
The main thing i would pass on is do it for the right reasons. Keep your integrity, be true to yourself and don't let the knockers get you down. Don't rely on social media or the Internet for the answers or acceptance. If your not in the field for personal reasons of interest then your probably never going to be fulfilled.
Plug yourself! Do you have any websites, Facebook pages - advertise them
Our website is a slow work in progress and won't happen until I'm happy with it ( and get someone who can build the bloody thing professionally ) until then we have our Facebook page. ..
Midnight Paranormal Hamilton Here in New Zealand.
Always happy to help if anyone needs advice or questions about aspects of the paranormal field.
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