How I started investigating the paranormal

We all have our personal journeys and we are all searching for our own answers. This is how I came to investigate the paranormal.
Sarah Chumacero
29th October 2018.
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I was a relatively late comer to the paranormal field. Unlike a lot of fellow investigators, I did not have a life changing experience in my childhood, and in some ways I didn't even know that I loved the paranormal as much as I do. Like a lot of teens, I played with Ouija boards and did seances. I have done Bloody Mary and tried scrying. Things did happen at the time, but me being me, I was able to debunk them, even when I was 13. I took them for what they were at the time, a bit of fun. To some of my friends however, they took it very seriously and had different ideas about the things that had happened. I was very fortunate in life, and had not really had to deal with the death of anyone until my grandfather passed away just a month shy of my 21st birthday. It was unexpected and it hurt like hell. What seemed to be comforting though was the thought that he had only left his physical body and that in some ways he was very much still with us, and we believed he was giving us those signs. Could I debunk some of those moments? Absolutely I am sure I could ..... but I don't want to.

I have always been drawn to historical places and the strange. It wasn't until I watched my first paranormal TV show in the early 2000's that I realized that people actually went out in search of the paranormal. I found it fascinating but thought that I would be way too scared to even consider doing it. I would be happy to cheer on from the sidelines with the light on. In 2013, I was lucky enough to travel to London with my husband. I hadn't done an official investigation yet, but I wanted to do a ghost tour of some sort and I thought what better place to start delving into the paranormal than in London. We were only there for a few days and it was the middle of winter - it had even snowed the day before we arrived so it was cold. Not Melbourne cold - London cold and that was a whole other level! I was unable to get into anything at the time because I left it till the last minute. All that I could find was walking Jack the Ripper tours and while that would have been amazing, not at night when it was only 1 degree. I settled for day visits to places like Tower of London, Stonehenge and the Roman Baths in Bath. I soaked in the history and listened intently to the tales of the paranormal - especially from the Yeoman at Tower of London which is believed to be a very haunted location. It was the closest thus far I had been to dipping my toes in.

Outside Tower of London 2013

Things took a turn for the worse for me in July 2013. I found out I had a 10cm cyst on the tail of pancreas which needed to be removed and I had to hope that it was not cancer. I lost 1/3 of my pancreas and also my spleen - but no cancer - Phew. I had a lot of complications in surgery and in hospital and at one point, I wasn't even sure I was going to make it home. It was a long and painful recovery. My children were only 1 and 2 & 1/2 at the time and it was really hard. I had a wonderful support system in place at home which helped me, but it was hard. After a lot of my physical recovery was complete, I then started to slip into depression. I couldn't even get out of bed. I went to the doctor to get some help. One of the things he told me was to 'find a passion'. He suggested something like photography (which funnily enough I did delve into at a later date), but I had no idea what to do. I slowly started to enjoy life again and I realized that life was too short and I started developing a more care free attitude. I still had to find that passion though!

My brother and husband had always been at me to do a paranormal investigation but I was too scared. With my new carefree attitude, I said Yes. So at the end of 2013, we went out and did our first real investigation. After years of wanting to and dabbling in things, I finally got the courage and jumped in. I guess you could say the rest is history. I was hooked. I started studying the history of locations and researching anything to do with the paranormal. If you know me in real life, you know that I don't do things by halves. Before I knew it, I had found my passion and there was no stopping the train. Every week I would attend investigations. I would join Facebook groups based here in Victoria and talk to fellow paranormal enthusiasts. I became friends with the other people I would see on tour. It wasn't before long that I was asked to be in a paranormal group to run the social media side of things. If you know me, you will know I am not really the kind of following orders type of gal and I wasn't in the group very long. So I started my own group. I had a lot of questions when it came to the paranormal and I wanted to commit as much of myself to the process as I could. I was a part of a group, but I also wanted to do something that was just for me as well. Something that was mine. I had always wanted to write. When I was a teenager in school I would give myself homework because I wanted to write. I had thought in the past of writing a blog, but I didn't have anything I was passionate about. Living Life In Full Spectrum was born. I started it on my own and the blog has been me and only me all this time. It was always seperate to everything else I did and I am so very proud of everything I was able to do. It started out as a candid take on my adventures and what it was like being a paranormal investigator. My main purpose was to be real, ask questions and learn along the way. It very quickly evolved into what it is today. It not only looks at the paranormal field in general, but I am really proud to have introduced the Stuff Paranormal investigators need to know series. It presents the alternate explanations to paranormal experiences. It is not me being a skeptic, but it is me accpeting that most of the time what we experience isn't paranormal. The more we know about the brain and natural elements that can mimic something paranormal, the better investigators we become. I have been able to interview investigators all over the world, visit some amazing historical locations and learn about different macabre things. There is not one size fits all when it comes to the paranormal and I love showcasing that.

Photo from my first Paranormal Investigation 2013

It was in 2015 I started this blog. In 2016, I co founded Black Rock House Paranormal Tours. It was a location we had come across and soon found the perfect place to not only investigate, but to open up to the public. Having been on more tours than I can count, I wanted to be able to give people what they wanted from a tour based on experiences from attending other tours. From that we were contacted by the National Trust of Victoria to work in a partnership for 12 months of paranormal investigations to the public. This ended at the end of 2017. In 2017, I relaunched my website and really took it seriously. I rebranded in a way and that is when people started to take notice and wanted to hear what I had to say. On the back end of the blog, I have spoken at the Worlds Beyond forum at Earthcore, and I was a planned speaker for the Australian Paracon (before it was cancelled). I have done a few interviews for podcasts or acted as a special guest to talk about all things paranormal. Having a blog means that people now look to me or my blog for information. It is amazing when someone contacts me to ask if I have written an article about a certain topic as they use them as reference points or to learn from. To have that kind of responsibility is not something I take lightly and why I put so much into my research. I want to present accurate information. I have also joined forces with some amazing people in the paranormal field where I am a researcher and host for Worlds Beyond TV. It is a really fun project and it makes me step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. You see as a blogger, I am very happy behind a keyboard in hiding. It is very difficult sometimes for me to be front and center - especially in front of a camera but this is what this pushes me to do and I am loving it and learning a lot along the way.

At the beginning of 2018, I made a decision to go solo and leave the paranormal group I had help to create. After doing so many events, I felt like I was not being true to myself as a paranormal researcher. In some ways I almost felt like I had become a glorified tour guide and I didn't want to run events anymore. I wanted to do things I wanted to do and in a way that felt right to me as an investigator. I can be very confrontational when it comes to the paranormal. I guess I don't accept BS I call things what they are. I didn't want to keep doing the same EVP sessions asking what is your name. I was destined for more. So I left my team to persue my path in the paranormal as an independent investigator. It opened up a lot of doors and a lot of collaborations. While I am independent I am certainly not alone. I have a few people and teams that I work with and who allow me to come and investigate with them. It has been fantastic because I am now able to be an observer. Your perception changes completely when you step back and observe an investigation. I will always remain a volunteer at Black Rock House because the place is a part of me. It also allows me to be able to continue my research, and involve members of the public with it as well. It lets me give them a taste of what a REAL paranormal investigation is like.

It is scary, it is exciting and I could not be happier. I am by no means an expert, a point I like to regulary make clear. I have so much more to learn. I work hard, I research, and I am out in the field every single week. I am a researcher, I am an investigator and you can also call me a tour guide. I am honest and I am really using this blog as a platform to tell everyone what I have been doing, what information I researched this week or what is on my mind. That is just me! I found with the blog that people seem to relate to it and come to me to thank me because it makes them feel like they can go out and try investigating or that they have found a place where they can be themselves. I guess in a way we are all a little bit outcast, maybe that is why we are all drawn to one another. I have met some amazing people along the way and it just wouldn't be fun without them. I think most will agree that the people you surround yourself with make such a big difference. We can use that to learn from one another. If I can pass some of the things I have learnt to others, that is amazing. But the main reason I do it all? I love it!!!!! I have found something that I can throw myself into completely and be myself. If I am going to be honest though, I don't do this for them. I don't this for the likes. I do this because I enjoy doing it. I enjoy writing my thoughts down. I enjoy speaking. I enjoy investigating. Call me selfish but yes I do all this for me. Sure I enjoy giving back to the community and helping to open up doors for them, but I would be lying if I said that is the main reason I do it. It gives me purpose. By day, I am a mum to a 6 and 7 year old. I work as an IT Specialist Technician at a high school part time, and I am also a freelance Graphic Designer. Being a mum can be hard. I am more than just school runs and caring for my kids. This field allows me to showcase that. It allows me to be me.

Do I think I am going to prove existence of the paranormal? No I don't. I am not looking for that one piece of evidence to make me famous. I am not wanting to prove to a group of skeptics that something I experienced was real. I am not looking for social media fame. Honestly I wouldn't be able to handle it so you can have it. I guess in some ways I am still looking for that comfort. The comfort of knowing that this isn't it, there is something more waiting for us. Overall though, it is about the journey ... that is the exciting part. The history, the stories, the experiences, the friendships, the long lasting bonds you can make with people online that you haven't even met ..... the journey. Who knew that investigating the dead, could bring you so much life?

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