Killarney Paranormal Society, based in Kerry, Ireland, has just celebrated its 4th Anniversary and investigations have taken them not only around Ireland, but to England and as far as the United States. ANN O’REGAN spoke with the groups’ Founder, Ruth Deery to find out more about KPS and how it all began.
SPOOKY ISLES: How did you become interested in the paranormal and what was your first paranormal experience?
RUTH DEERY: My first paranormal experience was when I was 7 years old, when I had an ‘imaginary friend’ however, I wasn’t aware it was anything paranormal until I was much older. It wasn’t strange to me at the time as children are very open to the Paranormal. As I got older, I had forgotten all about her until I went to visit a medium who brought her through and confirmed that she was a little girl in spirit that I had been communicating with.
Were you skeptical before this and do you try to debunk on your investigations?
I don’t think I was ever skeptical about my first experience, I accepted it as a normal part of my life, however, when our team are on an investigation we do go in with logical thinking. Not every creak, bang or noise is going to be paranormal. Common sense always comes first.
Who or what inspired you to establish your own paranormal group?
I had been a part of a previous team, and when I left I decided to set up my own group with some friends. The paranormal is something that I had a passion for and it seemed to be the best option. That was on August 20th 2009.
Have you ever come into contact directly with a spirit or entity?
Yes,I and other members of the team have had many personal experiences, however, we would never document them as ‘ evidence ‘ as they can never be proven but they are quite interesting when they occur. Apart from my childhood encounter, I have seen apparitions ranging from a little girl in Wicklow Gaol, to my uncle and best friend. The main spirit who appears is that of my son who transitioned into spirit in 2008 through miscarriage. Encounters like this are fantastic to have and I personally find them comforting and encouraging.
What equipment do you use and what is your favourite method of collecting evidence?
Our team uses a lot of different equipment including thermal imaging cameras, infrared night vision cameras, electronic voice recorders and motion detectors to name a few!We also have a lot of old school equipment such as the planchet which we still use along with the high tech gadgets.We do try and stay away from equipment such as K2 meters etc. as there are too many ways in which they can be influenced by non-paranormal means.
When investigating, do you find out the stories or “hot spots”, or prefer to go in cold?
We have a research manager who researches the history and any information they can about a location. She keeps this information to herself unless requested. Any mediums we have working with us will never be told, as we wouldn’t want to influence any information that they might pick up on. The research is used for validation for us and the owner who might not be aware of some of the background of their location. Some of the team like knowing the ‘ hotspots ‘ and some don’t, it’s an individual choice. I personally prefer not to know.
What do you like most about being a paranormal investigator?
Really I enjoy the history side of things, I was always interested in history and we have been to some amazing locations in the past four years. Sometimes the history of a location is more interesting than the investigation itself.
How often do you investigate and how do plan an investigation?
We used to investigate about twice a month for the first two years, and then we were on hiatus due to team members being unavailable. Now we are back up and running we investigate once every couple of months or so. We don’t have a general time frame; it’s when an investigation comes up.
What is your most memorable investigation and why?
By far my favourite investigation was The Salem Inn in Massachusetts. It is said to be quite an active hotel so we asked the manager which rooms were ‘ reported ‘ to have the most activity. As a result I stayed in room 16.
A few nights in we had all returned to our rooms. A still night, I witnessed a number of doors within my room and the outer hall slam shut sequentially over a set period of time. The following night, I had my suitcase securely placed on the couch. I was awoken that night by the suitcase ‘falling’ off the couch and ‘landing’ quite a distance away. All in all we had several personal experiences during our stay.
On checkout we asked for the stories behind the hotel. Apparently rooms 16/17 were all one when the hotel was used as a private residence way back. A married couple were residents, and the husband found out that his wife had been having an affair. He hung her in the bedroom, room16 where we had most of our experiences, and where our recorder had been placed around the clock. When we arrived home and reviewed the audio, we clearly heard a lady screaming “Help me, help me!”
Due to everything we encountered during our stay in the hotel, it has been classed as my favourite investigation to date. We are investigating in America again in November of 2013 so hopefully it will have much in store for us again.
What advice would you give to someone looking to join a group or start their own?
The main piece of advice I would have to anyone is always use your commonsense as it is the best tool you will ever have. You can buy every fancy high tech gadget going, but realistically most investigations carried out are not of a paranormal nature. If we go into a home, there are times we believe there is something paranormal, however we can usually find out the cause of most activity. Logical thinking and your own intuition are great tools, and then after that, you can go out and buy whatever you want.
The paranormal can be fun, and the history of locations is great. We have made some wonderful friends during the course of the last 4 years but I always remember it’s a hobby at the end of the day.