Marc Arvilla and Lauren Sheridan are leaders of a team called Mass. Ghost Hunters Paranormal Society out of Gloucester Mass. They are holding an event in Salem this April referred to as SalemCon. They also have a radio show on www.dtmwickedradio.com
Tell our readers about your team.
Marc – Mass Ghost Hunters Paranormal Society or MGHPS was started in early 2010 by me and a couple of friends. We had done a lot of research and reading before we decided to start investigating. At first we would only investigate public places until we were comfortable enough in our techniques that we could begin assisting people in their homes. Our group never charges for our services and we take great care in everything we do. MGHPS now has 3 to 4 active investigators and we are more than willing to work with other groups when necessary.
When did you become interested in the Paranormal and why?
Lauren – I became interested in the paranormal at a young age after having a personal experience during which I believe that a recently deceased relative was attempting to comfort me. It wasn’t until I had the chance to meet paranormal investigators and celebrities at Para History Con 1 that I discovered the depth of my interest in the paranormal.
Marc – Like Lauren, my interest also began at a young age. My most memorable experience was from my teenage years. I was home alone, with my dog, watching TV one night. It was winter so all of the windows were closed. As we sat watching TV my parent’s bedroom door slammed shut down the hall. I ran outside as fast as I could. I stood in my backyard until I could muster up the courage to go back inside. Once I did, I reluctantly went down the hall, checked on the room and found nothing. It wasn’t until shows like “Ghost Hunters” came on that I revisited my childhood curiosities and here I am today.
What is your favorite public place to investigate?
Lauren – Though the list of paranormal locations that I’ve investigated is quite small and not very diverse, I’d have to say that it’s a tie between Fort William Henry (Lake George, NY) and the now closed Irish Mist Bar & Restaurant (Troy, NY). These are 2 locations in which my paranormal experiences were the most intense, consistent, and fascinating.
Marc – Hands down my favorite location to investigate is Houghton Mansion in North Adams Mass. Every time that I have visited this building we have come away with evidence. I really feel drawn to Houghton and have a real need to investigate it several times a year. There is a connection that I cannot explain.
What do you find is the hardest thing in running a team and or investigating the Paranormal?
Marc – I believe that the hardest thing about running a team is maintaining a good reputation. So many people want to knock the next group down or shoot holes in what the other guy is doing. I don’t know why this has to be about being “the best”. This field started as a way to help people and find answers for the unexplained. Now it has become more of a battle of “my evidence is better than your evidence”. This goes along with what the most difficult part about investigating is; locations are becoming attractions, like Disney World. It’s more difficult to get into locations that we would like to “recreationally” investigate because it is either too expensive or claimed as someone else’s ”turf”.
Does your team hold any events, fundraisers and/or public investigations? If so tell us about them?
Marc – MGHPS has recently begun holding public events. Last year we conducted a small overnight investigation at the Lizzie Borden bed and Breakfast and everyone had a blast. The reviews were so good that we decided to have a second event, this one held at Venfort Hall in Lenox Ma. That too was a success so this time we decided to go big. On April 10th and 11th we will be hosting Salem Con 2015 at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Ma. Salem Con is huge. We have several big name celebs that will be in attendance including John Zaffis, Brian Cano, Dustin Pari, Tim Weisberg, Jeff Belanger, John Tobin, and Scott Gruenwald. There will be a VIP party on Friday night, a vendor conference and lecture series on Saturday, and “Ghost Hunts’ on Saturday night. Tickets are still available on our website www.mghparanormal.com.
Experienced investigators state a newbie in the field should have a mentor? Did you have any mentors in the field and if so what is one thing you learned from them?
Lauren – I’ve been lucky enough to have more than 1 mentor in the field and I’m extremely grateful for each one individually. John Tobin introduced me to the paranormal field when he invited me join The Glory Haunt Hounds and it’s because of him that I’ve met so many wonderfully talented and genuinely friendly people, and also experienced the paranormal event/fundraiser aspect. Marc Arvilla took me under his wing almost immediately and has taught me the fundamentals of paranormal investigating. I wouldn’t want to investigate a location without him because I consider his knowledge and insight to be irreplaceable. Brian Cano has taught me how to investigate using critical thinking skills and common sense approached. His knowledge is invaluable as well.
Marc – I agree with this statement 100%. When getting involved in this field I read many books and took time to watch and learn from some pretty knowledgeable folks. If I had to choose one or two people that I could call a mentor I would say it is Joe Chin and his sister Christine Downes. Joe and Christine have taught me so much about technique, communication, and patience. Patience is so important.
Speaking of newbies what is the one piece of advice you could give someone starting out in the field and why?
Lauren –Maintain professionalism, Keep an open mind, Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and READ! Books are the most valuable sources of information available to us as investigators and researchers. We can only become better investigators by studying and learning from the experiences of the ‘Paranormal Pioneers’; an elite list that includes Ed and Lorraine Warren, Hans Holzer and Harry Price. The internet is OK for general information but not solid evidence or stone cold fact. If you want to be successful and respected in this field you’ve got to know your stuff.
Marc – One piece of advice that I would tell someone new to the field is DON’T EAT SPICY FOOD BEFORE AN INVESTIGATION. I’m kidding, but don’t. Seriously though, I would say find that mentor. Having someone with experience who can teach you the dos and don’ts is so important. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be an individual or have your own technique it means that you will learn how to apply your own style properly. Investigating is not what you see on TV. There is a lot of work that goes into each investigation whether you capture evidence or debunk everything. Knowing how to do it properly so no one gets hurt, and giving a client the best service possible is priority.
Who do you admire the most in the paranormal field?
Lauren –I think this is an unfair question because my list and reasons would be pages long however, I will say that I admire those who work hard, are modest, lead by example and through experience, and never stop learning because they think they know it all. People like John Zaffis, Jeff Mudgett, Marc Arvilla, Dominic Bouchard.
Marc – There are many people in this field that I admire. I don’t think that I can pick one person but I will say this: If you are willing to step into this field and push the envelope, maintain professionalism, and be yourself, I admire that.
What is favorite piece of paranormal equipment you could never leave home without and why?
Lauren –Because I’m incredibly clumsy I keep the equipment that I carry around to a minimum. I ‘d say, a digital recorder.
Marc – My favorite piece of equipment that I must have with me on every investigation is my digital recorder. Your body is the best tool you have and you need to listen to what it’s telling you. But, a digital recorder will sometimes take you into another world and someone else’s thoughts.
If you could investigate any place in the world where would it be and why?
Lauren –The Roman Forum, the Colosseum, or the Agora in Athens. The histories of these locations span thousands of years and include periods of brutality, political upheaval, and Stoic philosophy.
Marc – If I could investigate anywhere in the world It would have to be the Catacombs under Paris. I want to know who they are and what their stories are.
People say the paranormal field is dying off. Do you think that is true? Is there a future for the paranormal? What do you see and/or hope in the future for in this field?
Marc – I would not say that the paranormal field is dying off. The TV shows are running their cycle and are beginning to wane in popularity but the field is stronger than ever. There are more people investigating now than at any other point in history. There is a lack of direction at the moment but that will change. I hope that the future of this field finds teams cooperating and working toward a common goal. We do not need to all get along but we do need to work toward the same outcome.
If one of your friends described your team’s style of investigating what would they say?
Marc – I would hope that if someone were to describe our team they would say that we are professional, respectful, and honest.
You also have a talk radio show on DTM Wicked Radio. Tell us about it and how did you come up with the name? It is quite charming name and rolls off the tongue.
Marc – Lauren and I do have a show on DTM Wicked radio as well. We talked about many different names and what we could possibly call the show and ultimately the Paranormal Hangover name stuck with us. We felt that there were so many other shows out there that we wanted to be different and talk about the stuff other shows do not. We have all experienced the Paranormal Hangover from investigating into all hours of the night in dark and sometimes dangerous places. The effects can last for days, weeks, sometimes even months. That is what we what our show to do. We want our conversations to linger on in your mind.
What is the scariest public place you have ever investigated and why?
Lauren –The Irish Mist (Troy, NY). Every single person on our team was physically and mentally affected by the spirit activity and spirit energy during that investigation. Quite incredible.
Marc – I have to agree with Lauren again. The scariest place that I personally have ever investigated was the Irish Mist Pub in Troy, NY. The atmosphere became very charged at the end of the investigation and each person that was present was physically scratched. I also had a very emotional encounter with a child spirit on the 3rd floor of the warehouse portion of the building. I will never forget the Mist.
So many teams come and go from this field. Why do you think this happens?
Marc – I feel the biggest reason for the turnaround in our field is that people come in expecting it to be like the TV shows. They expect Portals, and poltergeists, and demons. It’s not usually like that and they do not want to put in the time and hard work. You sometimes can sit in a room for hours and hours and come away with nothing. Then they expect when they do capture something that a TV network will come knocking on their door with contract in hand. When this doesn’t happen the thrill has been had and it’s on to the next.
What does the future hold for M.G.H.P.S and Paranormal Hangover? Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Marc – I haven’t really given much thought to the future. I am happy to be where we are right now. If I were to hope for anything it’s that we are a respected team that people can come to with questions or for advice.
You can find their team at www.mghparanormal.com
or their show, Paranormal Hangover at www.dtmwickedradio.com