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When is Dead Really Dead?

Death is a Process – Not a “Moment in Time” Event?

 

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This is a morbid subject. Talking and thinking about death – of ourselves, of our loved ones. If you’re happy to continue, I’ll be interested to know your thoughts.

 

ACCORDING TO respected author P.H Atwater, who has studied and written numerous articles and books on the subject of death and Near Death Experiences, being brain dead isn’t quite enough to be declared medically and legally dead – and here is her explanation of why:

 

“It didn’t take long for brain death to be deemed unsuitable as a dependable criterion (to pronounce someone dead). That’s because too many patients who were brain dead tested with biological activity up to SEVEN days afterwards, and too many of those used for organ donation showed increase in blood pressure and heart rate as organs were being removed.” P.H Atwater, in the Book of Near Death Experiences.

This startling comment from the author really caused some big questions to arise within my mind: if even brain death isn’t enough to pronounce death, is there more we could be doing through medical science and health care professionals, to ensure that dead really means dead? It has come to light through science advancements that death really isn’t a one time event, but rather a slow devolution, a process whereby the body shuts down in phases.

Of course, tied in with this line of thinking is the powerful subject of the Near Death Experience. Encountered by many the world over (and often during a state when the person has been declared clinically dead)  NDEs have often been touted as proof of an after-life: people leave their bodies and are able to see, hear and remember things they should not be able to (because they are at that time dead before being revived). They report travelling through tunnels of light, seeing deceased relatives and even facing a ‘movie’ of their life from beginning to end. These experiences are, by many, valid and real – and even some scientists now admit that there is at least a possibility that consciousness is separate from mind.

If, however, we arrive at a new assumption: death is a slow process and perhaps our minds are still functioning, (even when this doesn’t register on a hospital monitor), then perhaps the NDE is happening when some kind of life is still in the person. Therefore – does this undermine those that seek to use NDE as proof of an after-life? I personally am undecided.

Outside of the paranormal/after-life aspect to these thoughts, there is a harsh and important reality – when IS dead really dead? We have all come across chilling tales before, of those who were almost buried, but were later found to be alive, or morgue staff who, about to move a body, find that the individual is actually still alive.

In August of 2015, a tragic story was reported by the Express newspaper about a young lady who was three months pregnant, but after collapsing was pronounced dead by a doctor only three hours later. However, friends and family heard banging and shouting from within the coffin but when they lifted the coffin out – they were too late. She was dead. (Read full story here: http://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/600659/Woman-wakes-from-dead-coffiin-buried-alive )

 

Family members broke inside the tomb with a sledgehammer

Above, family members remove the coffin, photo from the Express

Or, there is the recent account from UK newspaper The Mirror, who reported a morgue worker found a man alive – in a fridge. The man had been pronounced dead after a serious road crash, five hours after being left in the morgue’s fridge. (Read the full story here: HERE

Above photo, courtesy of The Mirror

As a result of the above story, the family are looking into how their relative was pronounced dead – and if anything could have been done differently to save him as a result.

It’s a dark and morbid subject, not one that many will want to focus on. However, death – whether you believe in the after-life/paranormal or not – is a part of all of us, and I do feel that this warrants more attention and thought. Is there a way we could do things differently? And for those that believe in the power of NDE, do you still feel this brings us confirmation of the after-life, or merely a result of a dying brain?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Thank you.

 

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The Dark Verses of Richard Bell

Richard Bell

 

I LOVE DARKNESS – in novels, films and television. I never knew how much I could love dark poetry, until I discovered the work of writer Richard Bell.

Bell has been writing for over ten years, including flash fiction, but focuses heavily on poetry – dark poetry full of the macabre and creepy. He has had his work featured in several anthologies and websites, and I am pleased to be featuring two of his poems here.

So, lower the lights, turn off the TV, and get caught up in the world of Richard Bell.

Subtleties of Spirit Sounds

Call unto the never end and never shall it be
Call unto the graven stones awash with pitted grief
Susurrate a tone below the cochlea sea foam
They scream inside their silence
Once departed from the bones

Call to cameos of life
Remembered as a dream
Call to their recorded trek
The dead discerned as steam
Breath that glides electric chills
On curdled starlit wings
Carried from the there to here
By dark before dawn sings

Call unto the candle dance
By those attuned to loss
Call unto the brittle air
By those who’ve been across
The Bell, the Lamp, the Likeness Spell
For those come forth to talk
The linking skin feel hope within
Where highways meet and fork

Call to those gone much too soon
Beloved, wrenched out hearts
Call to hints, reminded glimpse
In states and worlds apart
Plunge in pools of ectoplasm
Teeming with our prayers
Submerged in swirling liquid dirge
Yet breathed as light as air

Call to shining spheres of them
In warmth devoid of pain
Unbridled joy, they cry “Ahoy!”
And be with us again.

 


 

The Ouija Tablet.

“Daddy, wake up, he wants to speak
I can’t shut down until he’s talked to you
A voice in the darkness, my screen has gone blank
Help me! I just don’t know
what I should do.”

He grumbled and coughed, sat up in bed
Looked at the clock in bleary dismay
His shift would begin in less than four hours
Yet another grim fourteen hour day

“Why are you not asleep in your bed?
I told you no games to be played after ten
Who wants to talk to me? What does he want?”
“Daddy, the man with the red eyes again.”

She handed him over her tablet with caution
He tapped twice on the blank screen yet to discover
The darkness stared back, but a much deeper blackness
Then slowly two terrible eyes were uncovered

A dread that he’d known only once in his life
Passed over his soul with awful despair
Knocking at death’s door in the heat of a battle
He swore that he saw them above in the air

“I am brought forth from behind the child’s mirror
What strangeness is this realm that keeps me from yours?
One soul awakened me
one soul I shall claim
The spirit board’s power hath opened hell’s door.”

He laughed at the horror then noticed the address
‘Virtual Ouija’ in brittle red script
The lump in his throat hit his gut like a gunshot
He needed to barter her clean soul for his

“I will bequeath my life force for her gentle soul
If that will appease the one I now address?
She could not know of the danger, in innocence
Attraction to floundering fish in distress.”

The tablet screen flashed and it fell to the floor
Spinning three times to counter the clock
“Daddy, he’s gone!” She smiled in relief
Then cold breath descended and all lights went off

From shallow and panicked to deep with relief
A breath on the pillow and he was asleep

“Daddy, he wants what is rightfully his
You are the sacrifice, you made the bargain.”
The little voice growled through a stirrup pump rasp
The screen of the tablet it burst into flames

He grabbed the girl and ran into her room
Blocking the door with a table and chair
She was asleep the whole time as her eyes rolled
Something was making its way up the stairs

The flickering lights saw a shape at the door
Three giant raps on it followed by hush
She fell to the floor laughing hysterically
He shouted “Begone!” in an adrenaline rush

“I have crossed over the spirit division
Called to this realm through thy looking glass board
Surrender your shine that escapes with the last breath
Fall with dark angels beyond rule of law
Bleed until pain is thy boatswain’s command
The serpent’s tooth sharpness of obscenity
Rivers of death thick with black sails, emblazoned
Bound for the gates of the kingdom
Of He.”

He picked up the child and put her to bed
As silence duped hope that the sound dissipated
The door split in two with a terrible crack
And breathed as he breathed and waited and waited…
And waited…

Then darkness with nothing from modern design
No lights and no motors just sibilant hiss
Into his left ear a little voice uttered
“Will you take the summoner’s place with a wish.”

“If I make the trade she’ll be spared, you will swear
and I will breathe hell’s stench ladened air?”

Morning it broke like an egg
in the pan
She heard her tablet say ‘message for you’
The eye of the planchette grew large in the screen
Her father appeared but not one she knew

He grinned and he pointed just off to her right
She turned with dread to face the foul demon
The tablet claimed two souls in one awful night
Transported to realms beyond natural seasons

Message for you from the Ouija Board Tablet
Click it to contact someone you once knew
Ask as the planchette sweeps over old letters

Beware the dark forces that are out to trick you.

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Find more about Richard Bell:

https://richardbellhorror.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @rick_nightmare

http://www.ricknightmare.com

A big thanks to Richard Bell for allowing me to share his work.

The Devil in our Lives – a Countdown of Possession Movies

 

The Devil in our Lives –

A Countdown of Possession Movies

WHEN THE Exorcist was first released in 1973, audiences around the world were both shocked and fearful at this new breed of horror. Exorcism was a well known religious ritual across the world, taking various guises and forms in different belief systems, but there were very few references to the dark and creepy ritual in film – until then. Directed by William Freidken, the film became a horror classic and stories of audience members fainting and being physically sick during watching the film only added to the legend of The Exorcist. Since then, however, the devil has visited our cinema and TV screens many times. The themes of the devil, of possession and exorcism are now widespread in our horror entertainment. Some films are similar to The Exorcist – others take a very sharp departure from that style. I’m a big fan of this theme in horror, and so I thought it’d be fun to compile a list of the best devil movies – some well known, others not so much. Take a look, and if I’ve missed any that you think worth mentioning, please drop me a comment. I’d love to know about any I have not come across.

 

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The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Starring Jennifer Carpenter, this 2005 horror movie changed the direction of the demonic possession genre. Yes, there were plenty of jump scares, creepy scenes and frightening moments, but more than that, this film was also a courtroom drama. The contrast between the courtoom scenes and the possession scenes are stark and really keep the viewer tense throughout the story. Said to be based on the real life case of Annaliese Michel, this film has enough atmosphere and scares to please the most ardent of horror movie fans.

 

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The Last Exorcism

Directed by Eli Roth and released in 2010, The Last Exorcism is a supernatural found-footage horror film about the demonic possession of a young, religious teenager. If you’re not really a fan of the found-footage genre, this might not be your thing. However, because it is filmed as an “on location” documentary for the most part, it doesn’t suffer too much from the jerky, jittery filming that comes often with others such as The Blair Witch (not until later in the movie, anyway!) I really enjoyed this film, I think the cast were strong, the atmosphere was very unnerving – and the ending was very twisted. If you haven’t already given it a go, I recommend The Last Exorcism (and its sequel – part two).

 

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Rosemary’s Baby

I deliberated for a moment about whether to include this film in the list. It isn’t an actual possession film, however it most definitely focuses on the themes of the devil and his influence on the world. Based on the book by Ira Levin, this epic and classic horror movie was released in 1968 and was directed by Roman Polanski. The story focuses on a young woman, a mother-to-be, who notices some very dark and disturbing events in the block of apartments in which she recently moved into. This film is a classic for a reason – the script, the acting, the sinister music and the dark storyline really work well. I highly recommend this one.

 

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The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund

This film, released in 2015 and directed by Andrew Jones, is one of the most recent releases of the demonic possession genre. Said to be based on a real life case of possession, this film feels sinister to the audience because it has an air of authenticity behind it. Starring Lee Bane and Tiffany Cerri, this film is creepy and expertly delivers the tale of a young girl’s spiritual battle with the devil himself. The acting is strong, the atmosphere tense. I really enjoyed this offering to the genre.

 

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The Devil’s Child

The Devil’s Child – AKA as Joshua – was released in 1997 and it is a perfect specimen in horror film. Based on an affluent American family, who increasingly become disturbed by the behaviour of their once angelic son, this film has creepiness in buckets. It is sad, twisted, dramatic and scary. This film in itself isn’t specifically a possession movie, either, but you’ll have to forgive me for adding it, because it is a notable and worthy film. It does explore the nature of evil – is this child possessed by some dark force? Or is he simply a product of his environment? You decide.

 

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The Omen

This 1976 horror flick most definitely is all about the devil – in the shape of a seemingly innocent child. You’ve probably seen this classic, if not, where have you been? It’s up there with The Exorcist in terms of how good it really is. Starring Gregory Peck and directed by Richard Donnor, The Omen is a horror film without flaw, in my opinion. A rich and respected family adopt a child – but who is he really? Death and destruction follow this boy and lead to one terrifying conclusion: he is from the devil himself.

 

There you have it. My list of favourite devilish movies. I haven’t noted The Exorcist, because I didn’t think it was necessary – but it definitely is up there as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

Don’t forget, new TV series The Exorcist has also recently started screening here in the UK.

If you like your entertainment dark, check out the above titles. Happy viewing!

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Thanks for reading. Let me know if I missed any horror greats!

Interview: Jack Sparks Author Jason Arnopp

INTERVIEW WITH THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS AUTHOR, JASON ARNOPP

 

HAVE YOU read the horror book that everyone’s talking about? The buzz about the novel, The Last Days of Jack Sparks, filled my Twitter feed upon its release, and I recently read and reviewed it, after being thoroughly impressed – and scared – by the story.

Intrigued by the authors approach and the immense depth to his writing, I invited Jason Arnopp over to Study Paranormal for an interview. We discuss his inspiration for the novel, how he came up with the idea, what his future writing plans are and his personal favourite titles in the horror genre. Sit back and enjoy, and if you haven’t yet read The Last Days of Jack Sparks, I highly recommend it.

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Above, author Jason Arnopp, picture provided by author’s agent

I recently finished reading The Last Days of Jack Sparks and I absolutely loved it. How did you find the process of writing this novel? What were the challenges, if any?

Thanks Fiona – I’m really glad you had a good time! Writing this novel was a blast, because it’s broadly about the supernatural, so that gave me the ideal opportunity to include whatever scary stuff I wanted. Ghosts, possession, exorcisms, you name it, all that good stuff. There were definitely real challenges involved, though, beyond all that fun! I wanted Jack Sparks himself to have a complex personality and for different levels of that personality to be revealed as the story progressed. As a result, I made things rather difficult for myself, to say the least. The middle act of the book, in particular, was really hard to get right.

 

The story itself is quite dark and foreboding – what inspired it? Do you have an interest in the paranormal or in the occult yourself?

More than having an interest in the paranormal or the occult specifically, I have a preoccupation with death and what might lie beyond death. I suspect I’m not alone in this! One interesting thing about all ghost stories is they’re uplifting by their very nature, because they do seem to confirm some kind of afterlife. The story itself, though, was partly inspired by wondering what the internet has done to our brains. Social media, in particular.

 

When you began writing the story, did you already know the ending and outcome? Without giving any spoilers, the ending was something of a head-trip! Did you outline the story, or do you let it unfold naturally during the writing process?

Hmm, it’s hard to remember now! But I did have a general idea of how it would end – certainly in terms of Jack dying! I think the specific head-trip you’re referring to may have occurred to me in a flash of inspiration as I went along, but it’s hard to be sure. I outlined a skeletal structure for the story, then set about exploring inside that structure. I don’t like to plan too much in advance, because I think your subconscious mind only becomes fully engaged when you’re working at the literary coalface and are properly inside your characters’ heads.

Jack Sparks

 

When I read the novel, I personally found it very unsettling at times. Everything that Jack Sparks went through was very dark and unnerving. Were there times that you felt uneasy during writing?

I do tend to gauge how scary my own scenes are, by whether they send a chill up my spine. Having said that, it can be hard to be judge because it’s impoissible for me to surprise myself! There was one character in this book that I felt very uneasy about killing… but then I did it anyway. Mwah-hah-hahhhh.

 

Jack Sparks is such a deep and authentic character. I love how well developed and real he feels to the reader. Is there anything of Jack in you or someone you know – or is he a purely imagined character?

Judging by the largely positive reaction to Jack, I can’t help wondering if most of us recognise something of him in ourselves. Perhaps he reflects some of our worst tendencies, particularly when it comes to our use of social media. He might reflect our inflated egos, our tendency to broadcast more than we receive, and our habit of expressing certainty on any given topic, especially when we don’t actually know for sure. I’ll admit to finding Jack worryingly easy to write, but hopefully that’s not because I’m like him! I would much prefer to think that it’s great fun to unleash the ego-driven side of your personality and enjoy the freedom of that.

 

How have you felt, after seeing the huge amount of love from readers towards this release? Did you feel you were onto something good with this project – or were you taken aback by the positive audience response?

I suppose I tend to hope that if I really like something I’ve written – as was the case with The Last Days Of Jack Sparks – then at least a few other people are likely to enjoy it too. And that has been the case so far. The book has yet to take the world by storm (that particular event is scheduled for next Tuesday, FYI), but a lot of people who have read it seem to really like it. Every day, at the time of writing, a few strangers pop up on Twitter to tell me how much they enjoyed the novel, and that’s a really wonderful feeling. Yesterday, a reader in Pakistan messaged me on Facebook to show me her own Jack Sparks book cover artwork she’d designed herself. That was amazing.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

All year, I’ve been working on my second novel for Orbit Books. This one will be unconnected to Jack Sparks, with a standalone story. It will, however, be along broadly similar lines in terms of being a supernatural thriller, but also be very different. Possibly a little darker and a little less funny, but it’s too early to say for sure.

 

For fun, can you tell us what are your favourite horror movies and books? What releases have unsettled you the most?

My two favourite horror movies are The Evil Dead, which I like to watch about twice a year, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, which I like to watch about once every two years. These films unsettle me in different ways. The Thing unsettles me because we can never know what’s going on inside other people’s heads. And The Evil Dead has accrued a reputation for being camp slapstick, partly because of its sequels, but it remains an exercise in super-creepy, gruelling horror. Books-wise, my favourites include Mark Z Danielewski’s wonderfully insane House Of Leaves, Stephen King’s beautifully grim Pet Sematary and Chuck Palahniuk’s uniquely horrid Haunted. I’m always hoping to be unsettled and scared by stuff, but sadly it happens less often than I’d like.

 

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Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

I’m glad you asked! My website JasonArnopp.com is the best place to go. There, you can find out about my rock journalist past and the other fiction I wrote before The Last Days Of Jack Sparks. There are also a couple of free fiction books of mine that you can download for free, which is nice. And despite my mixed views about social media these days, I’m very much on Twitter as @jasonarnopp, where I quack a whole load of nonsense every single day, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jasonarnoppwriter

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer, Jason!

You’re welcome, Fiona. Thanks for asking the questions in the first place – I literally couldn’t have done this interview without you!

Book Review: The Last Days of Jack Sparks

Jack Sparks

BOOK REVIEW: THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS, BY JASON ARNOPP

 

I’LL BEGIN this the easy way: If you love horror, read The Last Days of Jack Sparks. If you want to know why, and you have a moment, read on…

I’m used to writing reviews. What I am not used to, though, is finding a review hard to write. When I read The Last Days of Jack Sparks recently, I knew this would be a tough one to summarise and describe. For how do you define and categorise a novel that seemingly has it all?

First and foremost, I am an avid horror fan. When I spotted The Last Days of Jack Sparks on Amazon and read the synopsis, I wanted to give it a go. I spotted words in the description that are an instant hook to me: exorcisms, demons, death and the occult. Make no mistake – this book has layer upon layer of darkness. The horror fan in me was more than satisfied; there was one moment when I looked away from the page, because I was nervous about the next scene. This novel has atmosphere and creepiness in droves. It doesn’t stop there though, oh no. Jack Sparks has so much more. It is quirky. It is funny – yes, I laughed out loud many times. It is a book about the complexity of the human condition, of grief, of addiction, and more than anything, about facing our demons, head on.

The story itself focuses on our central character, Jack Sparks, as he goes about investigating all aspects of the paranormal with the aim of writing a book to prove that ghosts do not exist. Nor the after-life, or God, or the devil himself. The deeply wedged cynicism in Sparks triggers him to trek across the world, facing down all manners of experiments, religious ceremonies and occultists, in order to show, once and for all, that there are no monsters under the bed. All we have is the here and now. Nothing more.

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Left, author Jason Arnopp

 

It is after Jack Sparks witnesses an exorcism taking place that the story really unleashes, with a forceful kick. Is the ceremony staged? Do demons exist? This is the foundation of the story, and of Jack’s journey into mental, physical and emotional hell.

Jason Arnopp has written the character of Jack Sparks masterfully. So richly detailed, so vivid, so heartbreakingly real, the reader can see him surely as clearly as the demons that trail across the pages of Jack’s own accounts within the novel. He isn’t the nicest character, either. There are touches of the broken man behind the bravado, that pulls the reader into a deeper investment, and then within the turn of the page we find ourselves angry at his words, his attitude, his stubbornness. He made me mad – then he made me feel sad. He became, for me, one of the most authentic characters I have read in a novel.

I am also a big fan of the use of multimedia communications in novels – and this story has plenty of it. I don’t know why, but in much the same way that I enjoy ‘found footage’ horror movies, I also love books that use real life media. Interspersed in this novel, many times, we have various sample chapters, emails, transcripts and footnotes. I love it. The ploy is used brilliantly and just the right amount – beautifully placed and, in truth, it adds a whole other dimension to the story. The emails between characters give readers a whole new insight into the behaviour of our central character -we even, if we are paying attention, become privy to information our main character doesn’t even want us to know. It makes the story real, more human, and frighteningly so.

All in all, this is a fantastic book. Once I began it, I became addicted. It ticks all the boxes for me. It is unnerving, frightening, unusual. Very original. Beneath that, the moments of humour give lighter moments, and the drama of the relationships between characters are just as engrossing as the horror that unfolds during Jack’s paranormal investigations.

Simply brilliant.

stars

I rate this book 5 out of 5. One of my favourite reads of 2016.

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You can order The Last Days of Jack Sparks on AMAZON, WATERSTONES and in most book stores!

 

Interview with Jayne Harris – In Pursuit of the Paranormal

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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…

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

The Hidden – Out Now

THE HIDDEN BOOK COVER

The Hidden – Short Story Release

MY SHORT story, The Hidden, is out now. It is an exclusive release on Amazon, for the bargain price of 0.99p.

The Hidden is a paranormal story based on a real Urban Legend of Japan. From the back cover:

Charlotte Howarth makes the 12 hour journey to Japan to meet her penpal for the first time. Friends since they were teenagers, Charlotte thinks the break away from home will do her good. However, after her arrival, things take a sinister turn. What are the unexplained noises, the nightly apparitions and the unusual behaviour from her friend caused by? Charlotte soon realises she must find out the truth, before it’s too late to save her friend, her sanity, and perhaps even her life…

The Hidden is a short story based on a traditional Japanese Urban Legend. This Kindle edition contains a bonus feature at the end of the story: a Q & A session with a professor and expert on Japanese myths, ghosts and urban legends.

This story is sure to delight fans of the traditional ghost story, as well as those interested in urban legends. Dare you take the trip with Charlotte?

The first advance review is in from Fans of Modern Horror, who had this to say:

“…Readers are left speechless! Dodwell will drag you in with her relatable, interesting characters and eerie atmospheres and she does not disappoint! This was an amazingly detailed and suspenseful for such a short!  I will definitely read this again, as I will read anything this awesome author lays upon us.  I most highly recommend to all fans of modern horror!”

The Hidden can be pre-ordered from Amazon now, and has bonus content – an interview with a Japanese professor who specialises in urban legends and mythology.

Link for Amazon HERE

Thanks for stopping by – if you fancy giving The Hidden a try, I hope you enjoy it. I’d love to know your thoughts!