Interview – Joe Casolo / Northern California Paranormal Researchers
How did you first get interested in the paranormal?
My interest began in seeing a picture on the web of a alleged apparition. I began comparing some pictures on the web with a good friend who had a similar interest. As paranormal shows started popping up on TV, I thought, this can be done. We formed a group and started from there.
How long does it take to learn how to become a paranormal investigator?
Not very long. But how well you do is based on how much knowledge and research you put into it. Anyone can get out there with a camera and a voice recorder and ‘hunt’. And sometimes this is enough. I like to think the more you expand your knowledge about what has worked for the pioneers in the field really goes a long way. Having knowledge of construction, electricity and photography also really helps. Most of what people refer to as paranormal can usually be explained by properly debunking natural phenomena.
Would you say that there is a lot of paranormal activity in the Northern California?
I would say Northern California is probably as active as anywhere else. By that, I mean paranormal occurrences are happening all the time, whether we witness these events or choose to believe them or not. With the growth of the field, and more social acceptance people are more apt to report or seek help in what they are experiencing.
How often do you go out on investigations?
It varies, it really does. Sometimes we get a flurry of contact emails, and by phone interviews and screening we are able to maybe investigate a few locations in a row. Other times, it could be weeks or months before we are contacted. 2009 and 2010 were really slow years in terms of actual site investigations.
Most of the time, we find people are looking for possible explanations, and by talking with these people we are often able to determine possible causes for their ‘activity’ and the need for an investigation reduced. Lately, about every six months or so we are able to get out and investigate a location.
What is the most common thing that you investigate?
I would have to say the most common event reported to our group is unexplained noises in homes. Loud thuds and bangs, footsteps, faint voices, that sort of thing. Shadowy figures are a close second.
How do you feel about all the Ghost Hunting television programs?
There are a precious few that really show some merit. Some TV shows actually show investigators who investigate the right way. There will always be doubt and skepticism, and when you do your best to eliminate as much of the real world natural causes, it really helps your case.
As the field has gained more and more popularity, and more and more networks are slapping together and packaging their own shows to ‘ride the wave’ – as a result less and less real investigating is taking place.
It’s a double-edged sword – on one side, you are happy these shows are raising public interest, because you are hoping more people will reach out to your organization. The exposure really helps. On the other hand, with all the Johnny come lately paranormal shows doing shotty investigations, credibility of the whole field is beginning to shrink.
One day the popularity of ghost hunting will Jump the Shark. Exposure may decrease a bit, but sound investigations will carry a lot more weight.
Do you have one experience that stands out among the rest?
Yes, on my last investigation in January 2011. A flash light laid on a bedroom floor was manipulated in a way that I cannot explain. The light was being turned off and on while doing an EVP session where we invited any spirits to come and play with the flashlight and other objects. The flashlight actually did turn on and off a few times in what we think was in response to our prompting. Very exciting!
What is the most valuable tool to take with you on an investigation?
Your brain. Gadgets come and go, but keeping your wit about you is paramount. Being able to react calmly when something occurs is a trait I look for in all investigators. If a object moves, or a sound is heard it is important not to get so excited that you lose your objectivity. Knowing when and how to attempt to debunk an event is key. Additionally, following your instincts is very important and may lead to a break-through you did not think was possible.
Is there anything out there to be afraid of?
I certainly hope so! I want to believe there is more to this world than meets the eye. The belief in ghosts and spirits goes back centuries, even longer – I would like to hope all of this belief was not misplaced. I am a skeptic who would love to prove to myself there is something out beyond everyday life as we know it.
How can someone get in touch with NorCal Paranormal?
.Thanks Joe ! Hey, I’ve never been to NorCal but I’m planning to go soon to hunt down some ghosts. I’ll return next week with another paranormal interview.
Later F’N’ Later,
Unexplained Confidential: NorCal Paranormal