Interview with Jayne Harris – In Pursuit of the Paranormal
Interview with Jayne Harris –
Paranormal Investigator and Pioneer of Spirit Attachment Studies
I FIRST interviewed Jayne Harris about a year ago for this website, and also reviewed her book (co-authored by Dan Weatherer) which focuses on haunted dolls. Jayne has been passionate about the paranormal since she was a young girl, and has been in constant pursuit of exploring the theory that items can retain energy and result in paranormal activity.
The last year or so has been especially busy for Jayne. She had several articles written about her and her haunted doll Peggy (in national newspapers), starred in Deadly Possessions TV show alongside Zak Bagans, and even began running her own course on Spirit Attachment. With so much going on, I was eager to know more about Jayne’s recent experiences – and where the future is heading. Jayne kindly agreed to an interview. I hope you enjoy our exchange as much as I did…
Above – Jayne Harris with Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures and Deadly Possessions
I thought it’d be nice to catch up on your work. What projects have you been involved with over the last year or so?
First of all, thanks for inviting me back for another interview! The last year has been the busiest yet and Simon and I have had some wonderful experiences. Roughly this time last year I was interviewed at home for what looks set to be a really wonderful paranormal documentary called “The Other Side’ by Sugarmouse Films. October 2015 saw the release of the book ‘What Dwells Within’ which I co-wrote with Dan Weatherer so that was exciting. Shortly after that I had the chance to return to one of my favourite places in the world, Edinburgh, to be interviewed for the Netherlands NPO networks ‘Lauren!’ show as they were filming a supernatural special and needed an ‘expert’ (I often cringe at the term as I don’t believe anyone can truly be an expert in such a subjective and unexplained field but there you go!) When they asked me where would be a good place to film I had no hesitation in recommending Greyfriars Kirkyard as a suitably macabre backdrop – It was the perfect day at work for me!
December 2015 we flew to Las Vegas to film an episode of Deadly Possessions with the GAC crew, which was followed by a much needed New Year break in our beloved Cornwall. So far in 2016 I’ve been juggling a few projects one of them being a 2nd book which is now near completion. Simon and I also agreed this year to host a series of public events at a wonderful – and incredibly haunted – coaching inn The Talbot Hotel. With the help of psychic medium Ian Griffiths and Paranormal Investigator Paul Bosworth the first was in April and we had some seriously unbelievable experiences. I’ve visited many reputedly haunted locations over the years but something happened in the cellars there, to me and 5 other people simultaneously, which is right up there with the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced. I can’t wait to go back!
At the beginning of last month I was in Paris being interviewed for a paranormal special for the Canal+ network – it was my first appearance in front of a live TV studio audience and yes there were nerves – especially given the language barrier! thank goodness for interpreters. The following week I was part of a German TV report on Haunted Dolls, which was fun. I found it fascinating how there are such different cultural beliefs and approaches to the paranormal – the idea of an afterlife is much less accepted in both France and Germany. Our investigative work continues on the case of Peggy the Doll…leaving us with more questions than answers most of the time. I’m due to give a lecture on the subject of Haunted Dolls at this years ASSAP (Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena) conference in September at Reading University, so I’m hoping to be able to clear up a lot of misconceptions while there, as well as meet up with some good friends and colleagues.
As and when time allows we are also in the middle of producing an independent documentary on a fascinating 70 year old murder mystery, “Who put Bella in the Wych-Elm?” which will end with the first ever paranormal investigation at the crime scene, now THAT is something I am looking forward to!
How was your experience of starring in the Deadly Possessions show with Zak Bagans? Was it as you expected?
Being in Vegas was great, and yes we enjoyed taking part in the show. The production team were wonderful, and made sure we had everything we needed – mainly Starbucks coffee on tap! The museum itself was surreal as it looks nothing like you’d expect outside. It’s very discreet, you’d never know it was there, which I’m sure is the idea. We spent about 12 hours on set in total, for what ended up as a 20 minute segment…it’s crazy how much time is involved in producing this type of TV show.
There is a major trend – which seems to be increasing – amongst people selling and trading in haunted objects. What do you think about this, in particular with the growing market on Ebay etc?
I know that eBay and other online auction sites have tried to clamp down on the trade however sellers will always find a way around it. I get emails all the time from people who have purchased something they were told was haunted, only to find out it’s just a regular object. That’s always going to be the gamble and people need to exercise good judgment as much as possible. Ask yourself what is the likelihood of something actually being a useable and reliable source or conduit for paranormal or spirit energy. Do your research.
It is a growing problem, but you will get frauds in any field where there seems to be money to be made. In reality a lot of these sellers have a short shelf life. They may spend a few months or even a few years selling ordinary objects claiming they are haunted, however sooner or later it comes to an end and they move on to selling other things. I’ve seen it happen countless times. Unfortunately by that point there have been plenty of unsuspecting buyers fall foul of their deceit.
You now run an online course on Spirit Attachment. How is it going? What inspired this project?
The course has been a real success I’m so proud of it, and of the 80 + learners who have completed it. I get excited for them when it’s time to issue them with their certificates, and just love receiving photos of them proudly holding them up. I’ve always felt that it’s a very misunderstood, and often overlooked area of the paranormal, and in actual fact if you google Spirit Attachment most of the information out there is relating to Demonic possession so if nothing else, I’m pleased that in using the phrase at every opportunity when discussing these isolated hauntings I’ve helped people understand the difference. It makes me smile when I see people setting up their own haunted object groups on social media with “Spirit Attachment” in the name as a couple of years ago it wasn’t even used in reference to haunted objects so I know at least 1 thing I’ve said over the years has stuck so thats good! My primary goal with the course was to inform and to some degree educate anyone wanting to better understand the field. I didn’t want it to be too heavy as I knew it would be a completely new realm for some and I wanted to make sure it was a manageable stepping stone, hopefully to future learning. I’m no tutor but I have enough years experience behind me to be confident in explaining what I’ve learned and I’ve had some lovely feedback from people.
You have become quite a well known name in the paranormal realm. People enjoy your books, social media and investigations etc. Have you found getting to know others in the same field to be eye opening? Has your experience been positive so far, of the people you have met and worked with?
Haha, oh no is that a leading question!? to be honest I try not to have too many preconceived ideas about what people may or may not be like, after all you never know if you’re just catching them on a bad day if and when you do meet someone. There are a lot of big egos out there in the paranormal community, whether in terms of their celebrity status or their educational achievements but ultimately it doesn’t matter whether you’re famous or the man on the street, whether you have a PhD or didn’t finish high school. You don’t need to be highly educated or famous to have a paranormal experience.
I’ve met some really kind genuine people over the past couple of years, and some arrogant individuals! – it’s the same in any field.
What do you recommend to people who feel they might own a haunted object. What are the best techniques for confirmation of a paranormal presence?
I always start by trying to establish WHY people think the activity they are experiencing is as a result of a specific object. Often people may have inherited something from a deceased relative for example, and because they have then subsequently been having dreams of that person, or felt them around the home they decide that it must be as a result of the object. A lot of the time it’s simply a psychological thing, triggered by the introduction of something which once belonged to that person. In other words, that person is subconsciously on their mind. In cases where people have no idea about an objects history, maybe they bought it recently, then it becomes more interesting. In these cases you really need to be looking at the potential haunting in the same way you would a potentially haunted building.
If someone feels they had acquired a haunted object they should set out monitoring and trying to record anything which they perceive as paranormal activity. Keeping a log or diary of events, times, duration that kind of thing to see if any patterns emerge. It can be a long process and requires patience. Some people prefer a more spiritual approach and take their object along to psychic mediums to be ‘read’ using Psychometry. It can be interesting but remember you never know exactly where the medium is receiving the information from. It could be the object, but it could also be from you, your energy or your thoughts. As with anything when it comes to paranormal research and investigation, there are no cut and dried ways of identifying haunted objects, but personally I find a combination of both the scientific and the spiritual works best.
Jayne Harris, above, with Zak Bagans and the doll Peggy during séance
What does the future hold for you? What projects are coming up?
The very near future is hopefully looking fairly calm at the moment, but then things change at the drop of the hat! I’m hoping to focus on the Wych-Elm project over the next month or so to get that well on the way to being completed. I’m editing it and it requires concentration and patience – both of which I lack at times! I’m taking part in Haunted Magazines ‘Women in the Paranormal’ special edition coming soon and have written a few articles for that which were fun to do, and have several radio interviews lined up.
A big responsibility I’ve taken on is that of President and Chair for the Midlands Society for Paranormal Research (MSPR), a non-profit organisation which aims to not only develop and roll out a series of paranormal trials over the next few years, but also to offer support to Midlands based individuals or teams who have ideas for their own trials. The MSPR has gained quite a few members already which we’re thrilled about given that we only launched a few weeks ago. We are currently working on building up an advisory panel and already have some great advisors onboard namely Eamonn Vann-Harris, Malcolm Robinson, Alan Cox, Norie Miles and Greg Martin. At some point over the next few months I’ll begin planning the first MSPR conference for 2017 which we’re all very excited about so watch this space for that one.
There are 2 US based projects potentially in the pipeline if time allows but I can’t say much about those at the moment unfortunately.
But now for the most mind blowing development of 2016… my daughter will be starting school in September, a thought which just scares the life out of me as I literally have no understanding of where the last 4 years have disappeared to! I’d say that’s the project that I am most nervous about!
For fun – what are your favourite scary movies?
You know it’s a weird thing, I used to love horror movies when I was a kid. Freddie Kruger was a particularly favourite, however as I’ve got older, I find myself more unsettled when watching them…although I still do! I love anything supernatural (unsurprisingly) or psychological. I would consider The Shining to be right up there with my favourites, Jack Nicholson is genuinely disturbing, a wonderful portrayal. Silence of the Lambs has also always been a favourite, and I think that Shutter Island is fantastic. I also have a bit of a penchant for a good old fashioned Hammer Horror, oh and the original Psycho!
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
The best place is the website www.hdparanormal.com, but also Facebook and Twitter.
Anyone wanting to learn more about the Midlands Society for Paranormal Research can visit www.themspr.com
A BIG thank you to Jayne for taking the time out to answer my questions!