Conversations with a paranormal investigator .... Cat From Spirit Paranormal Investigations

13th September 2018. Reading Time: 9 minutes General, Conversations with a paranormal investigator. 1322 page views. 0 comments.

This week I chat to a fellow Aussie investigator Cat Ward. She has been in the paranormal field for 18 years and always willing to have a chat and lend advice to her fellow investigators. She has some really interesting thoughts too!

Being in the paranormal field in Melbourne Australia and the mutual friends we have made along the way, it was inevitable that I would cross paths with Cat. She initially reached out to me to just introduce herself and offer any help and just a friendly chat. That is the kind of person Cat is. She has been in the paranormal field for 18 years, yet doesn't really advertise a lot of her stuff on social media - something she is slowly coming out of her shell with. She is one of the hard workers that literally goes out there and does the hard yards, but doesn't necessarily advertise it. Being in the field so long, she is also a keen researcher and perhaps has a little bit of a paranormal book addiction which is not a bad thing. Always wanting to learn and expand her way of thinking through research is one of the qualities I admire most about Cat. I won't do all the talking for her though, but there is a lot that can be gained just by having a conversation with this wonderful lady that I am proud to call a friend! Would you believe we still haven't met in person?

Please provide a short bio of who you are and what you do in the paranormal field:

I have been participating in investigations for almost 18 years, and I’m the Lead Investigator for a small, private team based in Victoria. I, and a few of my team-mates, also do semi-regular work as tour guides at some of our most beloved locations, teaching our guests about location history, investigative techniques, theories, and good conduct on investigations. That aside, I am very keen on the research, experimentation, and “alternate theory” aspect of the field- I’m a little of everything, I guess!

How did you get started in the paranormal field?

I had a rather unusual Mum spent a large part of my childhood working as a “trance medium” and “rescue medium”- at times with the Victorian Spiritualist Union, and as a small child I witnessed various aspects of her work- and had some unexplained experiences myself! I never knew there was such a thing as a Paranormal Investigator here in Australia until my early 20’s, when a work colleague brought an article from her local newspaper in to work.. I contacted the leader of the team featured in the article and was fortunate enough to be invited to learn how to be an investigator through working with his team. That man became my mentor, teacher and guide through my early years in this field.

What is it that draws you to the paranormal?

The possibility that there is a lot more going on than what our regular senses tell us..and the fact that there are no solid, quantifiable answers as to the nature of what it is we seek..there are many questions, but so many different angles of approaching any attempt at answering those questions! The questions, and what I learn in research and studies, are the main draw! Oh, and also time spent at some amazing, beautiful, historic locations, with incredible stories within their walls, and the privilege and honour of spending time in those locations when nobody else is around!

Do any members of your family research/investigate the paranormal as well? (Does it run in the family?)

Aside from my Mum’s earlier work- if that counts- no!.. I’m (very proudly) the “black sheep”!

What is your area of expertise in the paranormal?

I don’t think anyone can claim an area of expertise- we have no proof that we’re expert in any particular aspect of the field..If we’re talking favourite elements though, I do have a great fondness for audio recording, and analysis of it!

What do you believe a ‘ghost’ is? Do you believe in ghosts/spirits?

The more I read and learn, the less of an answer I actually have to that question! I do feel survival hypothesis can’t be entirely ruled out, and I have had several experiences that perhaps support that feeling, but as someone who has broadened my knowledge base to include parapsychology/PSI theories/telepathy I’m also aware that there is stronger supporting evidence in that respect than that supporting survival hypothesis.
Basically, I’m not sure what I believe nowadays.. and I’m not sure a firmly fixed belief is beneficial!

What approach do you take in researching/investigating the paranormal? Spiritual, technical, theoretical etc

I tend to take a multi-angled approach- my team does use a Medium on occasion, and have had some interesting experiences with that.. So far as the technical side goes, I do use some of the “devices”, but I have always been taught to use them for environmental monitoring purposes only, and that is my main reason for doing so, aside from use in various experiments.. I have also gained a great appreciation for the theoretical aspect over recent time, and am fascinated by the variety of possible alternate explanations for perceived Paranormal experiences!

What inspired you to research the paranormal at a deeper level?

Childhood experiences- but also just a strong, lifelong draw to the subject.. I knew that this was what I wanted to do, well before I even had a name or a definition for it! The people I’ve encountered and conversed with over my time in this field, and what I’ve learned and kept from those conversations, provided further fuel for the fire I guess!

Do you have a favourite topic you like learning about?

I love to learn all I can on any aspects! Currently, I’m delving into parapsychology and PSI theory, and the possibilities inherent there.

You like to use different experiments and techniques that are considered to be ‘old school’, what are some of your favourites and why?

My favourite experiments are those that have little or nothing to do with the responses of various electronic devices- I’m aware of to just how great a degree those are open to interpretation, and thus unreliable..
A great favourite of mine would be experimenting with Singapore Theory; use of era and/or location-appropriate sensory cues.. I like to experiment with “triggers” that take our basic senses into account- audible, visual, tactile, and olfactory. I also greatly enjoy experimenting with sensory deprivation, and the possible correlation between that and any perceived Paranormal experiences- I have the luxury of having many unwitting “guinea pigs” in the form of tour guests! I have been running a “silent and blindfolded” experiment with them for some time now at Castlemaine Gaol, and am finding some interesting correlations in their reactions to certain areas!

Do you believe research is an important part of investigating?

Absolutely! One should never stop learning! Be it about history, technology and its’ applications and shortcomings, learning about those who came before us and their work and contributions to this field, or current work being done, I have an open-ended curiosity with it all! Nobody can ever state definitively that they know all the answers!

How often do you investigate out in the field?

Whenever I can! Whenever I can arrange a night for the team at a location of interest- reliant on the prior commitments of my team-mates of course!

What sort of equipment do you like to use on an investigation?

That which will help me with environmental readings, and those that provide recording of the timeline of an investigation (i.e. video and audio recorders, dvr systems)

How did your paranormal group start?

During my early years in the field, I was fortunate to be part of investigations with the man who was my teacher/ my passion grew, and my learning continued, I wanted to test my thoughts, theories and perceptions on a more regular basis, and luckily had some supportive and like-minded friends who were happy to be part of the plan! ..some of them are still part of it too!

What are some of the benefits of being a part of a paranormal group?

There are many! On a personal level there’s the chemistry, shared jokes, camaraderie.. a sense of being among like minds, folks that “get you”..
Also the experiences, sometimes shared.. and the learning! -different views and perspectives, different interpretations of any of the above.. getting to be alongside friends as we take our steps on this road is wonderful!

If you retired from the field tomorrow, what legacy would you want to be remembered for? (Achievement, Tours, theory, experiments, attitude etc)

As I have learned so much from others, I’d only ever wish to be remembered for what others may have learned from me!

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?

Develop a thick skin- unfortunately there is still much disharmony in this field- jealousy, disagreement, and ego-driven, attention-seeking presences are rife.. don’t let that discourage you! READ! READ LOTS, LEARN about as many aspects as you can! and I’m not talking about online stuff here- buy books, and keep that learning for all time! Be critical but open-minded in your beliefs- it’s fine to be a sceptic or a believer but don’t ever be pig-headed about it.. remember, opinion does not equate to fact.. and be aware that there are no definitive answers in this field- you may have beliefs, but be prepared to have those challenged and perhaps changed! Be open to that- you never know where it may take you! Be prepared for anything on an investigation.. but expect nothing! Sometimes nothing happens! Don’t be disappointed with that, remember you are in a rare and privileged position in even being there- don’t disabuse that! Be respectful and professional in your approaches with clients, location owners, whoever you deal with on an investigation- it is an honour for you to be granted time there- be grateful for that! If you wish to broaden your connections/learning/perspectives.. reach out- and see who reaches out in return! There are some good folks in this field, and some great connections can be made, and knowledge gained and shared!

If you could educate your peers or pass on knowledge, what would it be?

Aside from technical specifications about devices and reasons for their responses, which are all ascertained, there are no definitive answers as to the Who, What, Why or How in any perceived “paranormal interactions”.. there are only questions, and no answers- opinions, theories and assumptions do not equal facts! Keep learning, even if what you learn disagrees with your belief system, keep learning!

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