PAUL MOYNIHAN chats with Gavin Canavan, an Irish Demonologist and co-founder of Ireland’s newest paranormal research organisation, Raven International Paranormal
What got you interested in the paranormal?
I was always drawn to the paranormal as a child, particularly the field of demonology. After seeing families whose lives were being turned upside down by malevolent spirits, I wanted to help people.
Do you remember your first paranormal experience?
I was around 12 or 13 years old when I saw a woman floating outside the kitchen window in my house in Wicklow. I don’t know if it was my imagination or not, but it drew me in to the world of the unknown.
What’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
A woman contacted me from England who was being attacked by an unknown entity in front of her family. I spoke to her via Skype, getting to know her and giving her advice. The Skype system began to cut on and off as I tried to perform a deliverance. I was trying to figure out if this was a psychological issue or a supernatural one. At the end of one particular session, I finished the call and was punched in the face. I knew then that something was wrong. When I went to bed that evening, something dark came into the room. I prayed out loud and showed the sign of the cross with my hand, spraying holy water around the house and burning sage. This can calm the energy. The entity disappeared and never came back. A very close friend of mine is a medium, who took over the case and cleared the negative energy.
Where is the scariest place you’ve ever been on an investigation?
I was in an old manor house in Ireland (the location cannot be disclosed), and after entering, we noticed there were at least twenty rooms in the house. On the way up the staircase, we heard a woman calling us down the stairs, as if warning us to not go any further. As I approached the top of the stairs, I heard growling noises. While conducting an EVP session on the top floor, the energy changed and we all felt fearful and ill. We felt unsafe and decided to leave the house. There was no electricity in the house, so we had to take our time. It felt as though something was there watching us, taunting us. I then saw a man standing at the bottom of the stairs, and began to pray in my head. He then disappeared. When we reached the bottom of the stairs, the sound of the woman’s voice also disappeared. This was early in my studies of demonology, and it raised my passion for the subject even higher.
How did you pursue your studies in demonology?
I bought numerous books on the subject and enrolled in an online course covering demonology being run by Bishop Jerry Williams in America. We have since become really close friends, and I have appeared on his radio show. I am currently at Advanced 5 level, and hope to reach a doctrine. I have also enrolled in a parapsychology course with Jerry, which I look forward to completing soon. The reasons I’m studying this field is because the more knowledge I have, the easier it is to help people. The paranormal requires us to be open-minded, because it is easier to change an idea than it is to change a belief.
What signs do you look out for in a case of potential demonic possession?
A demonologist is not a priest. We can gather enough evidence for a priest (EVPs, photographs) to give a blessing and see the individual. The signs I look for in a case are a disdain for holy relics, changes in personality, bad odour in the air, and potential levitation. A victim can also become very strong, taking the strength of numerous people to hold him or her down. A victim can also be fluent in different languages. A demonologist can only perform an exorcism when he or she is backed into a corner and there is no one else to help.
How do you feel about the depiction of demons in Hollywood movies such as The Exorcist?
Hollywood exists to make money, and the more gore and blood, the more money they make. I love horror movies, but the real thing is a lot scarier. A demon attacks a person’s mind. Oppression is outside and possession is inside. Most of the people attacked by demonic forces suffer in their personal lives, becoming depressed and losing all sense of what is real. Hollywood movies make it look a lot glossier. In reality, it can ruin a person’s life.
How do people react to you when you tell them you are a demonologist?
I tell them I am drawn to this field, and still have a lot to learn. I am at the bottom of the ladder, and it will take a long time to learn more on the subject. My friends know I am in it to help people. I usually don’t bring the subject up in my personal life, but I receive support from all my friends and they know I am still learning. I have a long way to go. These studies have made me more religious and have strengthened my faith.
Tell us a bit about your new paranormal research organisation, Raven International Paranormal.
Raven International Paranormal has ten members, each of them equal. Each member has experience in the field and many of them were members of various teams across Ireland. We created the team together as a group. There is no founder, because we are a team in a circle of trust. It was formed with one goal, to help people. If this is not achieved, we consult other teams across the country because at the end of the day, the clients come first. We have a very successful Facebook chat group, and are currently building a website that will have chat forums for a worldwide paranormal community to meet and chat.
What equipment and methods do you use when researching the paranormal?
We use a scientific and spiritual method. We use night vision cameras, EVP recorders and a Ghost Box which scans radio frequencies in order to communicate with spirits. We have numerous sceptics on the team, as well as mediums, a demonologist and investigators. We are covered with liability insurance should something go wrong. When we go into a house, we go in to prove it’s not haunted. If we can’t prove this, we believe it is haunted. If you enter a place believing it is haunted, then your mind will play tricks on you and convince you it is home to ghosts. When we investigate a supposedly haunted location, we treat the spirits with the utmost respect.
What is your ultimate goal in this field?
My goal is to help as many people as I can, to educate myself and my team, and to have fun. Most people spend their weekends in pubs, we spend the weekend investigating haunted castles in search of ghosts, working with other paranormal teams in Ireland who we have the utmost respect for.
You can contact Gavin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at gavingaz. Check out the Raven International Paranormal Facebook page, or look for Gavin. He will be glad to add you to the page.