ANN MASSEY O’REGAN spoke with Tina Barcoe, the founder of Paranormal Researchers Ireland, about how she is following the footsteps of female pioneers in the paranormal…
Women have long taken part in the world of paranormal research, yet their contribution has been undervalued or simply ignored.
Female pioneers of paranormal research and investigation include Catherine Crowe whose exceptional work dates back to the mid nineteenth century. Catherine’s research and data collection were unmatched and but whilst her findings and theories were used to start the Society for Psychical Research, she herself was never recognised.
And in more recent years US paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren has risen to the top as a researcher with her work getting mainstream attention through the film The Conjuring, yet the world of paranormal investigation remains male dominated.
In Ireland of all places, how does a woman rise to the top as a paranormal researcher and what does it take?
Tina Barcoe is one of the most prolific and internationally recognizable personalities in Irish paranormal research and investigation. An outstanding professional reputation in her chosen field has led to Tina being invited time and time again into Ireland’s most prestigious and haunted locations.
Tina has an ever increasing worldwide following and a book on her and her team is due for publication at Halloween. Tina herself is headlining Ireland’s Horror Expo for the second year running. Things show no sign of slowing down, with many more exciting projects before the year is out. So how has the Dublin native risen to the top of her field and did being a woman help or hinder?
How Tina Barcoe started out as a female in the Paranormal field
“I started in the Paranormal field because someone close to me died. At the time I really just wanted to see if there was some sort of life after death. I researched it so much and got caught up in it all and began to go slightly deeper, coming to my own conclusions about certain things.
Joining my first team was a huge step , which lead to another and then to Paranormal researchers Ireland. Forming a team just seemed to flow. I sat back and looked at different people, seeing who would work and who had the same ethos as me. I was lucky enough that many of the circle I mixed in had an interest and wanted to be a part of it and I had some fantastic people approach me, wanting to become a part of PRI.
They were predominately men interested in joining my team and I do think there are more men in this field. Of course few would be described as ‘sensitive’ and it is mainly the women who are interested in the sensitivity end of the Paranormal. At least the majority of those who have expressed an interest in PRI would have described themselves as psychic or sensitive.
As well as those into the more psychic or sensitive end, there are very seasoned and knowledgeable female investigators in Ireland who are very much into the research end of the Paranormal. A lot of these ladies take a back seat but are there to help if you need it – they just don’t need to be in the spot light.
As a woman in a male dominated field, I do have to work twice as hard to be taken as seriously. Most assume I am sensitive when first meeting me, however I am the complete opposite. When they realize I’m not they start their “tech talk” and theories and I think I can hold my own on these subjects as well so the next man!
‘Rules’ of the Paranormal Field
You will never find me living to any rules or expectations or so called “book” of the Paranormal. I think what I and my team do is approach each situation and make an informed assessment based on the evidence. I don’t take part in any drama that goes on publicly or behind the scenes. Respect is something you work for and everyone deserves it regardless of being male or female.
I feel everyone has different beliefs and different ways of working. This is what it’s all about. I do keep my head down as regards mixing but that’s ok also. I’m known by many to speak my mind and as you have said Ann I’m a straight shooter. I would class myself as extremely confident and love adventure.
I ‘think’ women initially came forward in the Paranormal and presented themselves as sensitive as a way into the paranormal field at a time when it was only men being taken seriously and this carried forward over the years.
There are also a lot of men that are seemingly sensitive also but stay back, not confident to speak openly about this as if it lessens them in some way. On saying that I’ve noticed in the time I’m involved in the paranormal more men speaking up about it and getting involved which is a great thing. Even joining us for a night it was mostly women now sometimes it could be 50/50 which is good to see.
More women coming forward in the field it would be fantastic and not just sensitives. The field needs more confident, dedicated and focussed women taking the helm and pushing boundaries.
Never get intimidated and in the Paranormal field there are so many different avenues for you to take. Personally I love the technical side and would really listen to theories all day and never lose interest, but that’s only one avenue.
I always tell someone starting out in Paranormal to be strong and confident, but always remember to ask for help if you need it. You will never know everything and man or woman, never think you’re to big that you can’t ask for help.
Find out more about Tina Barcoe and Paranormal Researchers Ireland here: