A former globe-trotting reporter for the National Enquirer shares with us some of his most interesting paranormal assignments – Part Two.
By Brent Raynes
Paul Bannister is the author of the newly published book, Tabloid Man & the Baffling Chair of Death. Last issue, as you may recall, we kicked off a lively and fascinating interview with Paul, formerly the National Enquirer’s lead paranormal journalist, talking with him about his assignment to look into the Stanford Research Institute’s government sponsored remote viewing project, his investigations into curious hauntings in such diverse locations as England and Brazil, and the straight facts on the British Chair of Death that originally launched his tabloid career.
Paul once even recorded his own EVP, which he wanted to share with our readers who can simply visit his website to hear. Go to: www.BannisterBooks.com
Brent Raynes: It must have been quite an experience to get to travel around with Edgar Mitchell.
Paul Bannister: Yes, I really liked Ed. He introduced me to people for the Enquirer. The Enquirer had a contract with him and he was interested in exploring the boundaries of consciousness. He was the lunar lander pilot on one of the Apollo flights, and the sixth man to walk on the moon.
Brent Raynes: Yes, a couple of years ago, I actually got to interview him over the phone, like we’re doing right now, and it was quite an honor. He was a fascinating gentleman and I can just imagine that spending all of the time with him that you did it must have been a great experience.
Paul Bannister: I liked him. I think it was mutual. He told me a wonderful story, that you might like to hear. I put this in the book as well. He told me that he was at White Sands. He was a jet pilot. Somebody said, “You might want to come and see this.” And the story was that they had had a rocket ready for launch and they had a high-speed camera trained on it and somebody saw a UFO near the rocket and somebody had the wits to turn on the camera. On the film this Frisbee sized UFO he said appeared like a hummingbird going up around a telegraph pole, and it went all the way up it. I think the film ran out, because it was high speed, and the film ran out before the thing disappeared, but anyway he saw this himself, he told me, and he went back about a week later with a colleague and it had vanished, like it had never existed.
I have total faith in Ed’s credibility and he told me this and there was nothing to be gained by him telling me a story like that. He told me he saw it and I totally believe him.
I did a couple of UFO stories. I did that Alan Godfrey UFO story where that policeman in England was on patrol and he saw what he thought was a bus at a bus stop and when he got closer he realized it wasn’t. It was a saucer with windows and he said he got out of his car to investigate it. His two radios went dead. Jenny Randles wrote a book about it, called The Pennine UFO Mystery.
He described being taken aboard and being medically examined by a Biblical looking man and robots. He didn’t remember this consciously, this came through hypnotic regression, and a lot of it could have been influenced by television programs that he had seen. But his police boot was quite badly scarred, as if it had been dragged along the road. They were new boots. I don’t know how that fit in with it.
Brent Raynes: So there must have been some time that he couldn’t account for?
Paul Bannister: There was. It was a short time. He came to. His memory was of being in the car and a light shining at him and then his next memory was of being in the car with nothing around, a dried patch in the road, and he was about 150 yards down the road.
It’s inconclusive, to be honest, because there have been theories that he had a seizure of some sort. I think it’s important to know that there are people who are not intentionally trying to delude you but they themselves might have been misled.
Brent Raynes: There have been so many people who have come forward with these stories, and of course whenever you have to utilize hypnosis you begin to wonder if it’s confabulation or something genuine.
Paul Bannister: Yeah, the crime scene gets polluted, as it were.
Brent Raynes: You’ve had quite a fascinating journalistic career, and your book Tabloid Man not only details your paranormal assignments but also others like celebrities.
Paul Bannister: Yeah celebrities. I don’t like celebrities particularly. (laughs)
Oh dear me. One of them, who I do call a friend, a real nice guy, just popped up the other day. Dan Haggerty. He was TV’s Grizzly Adams, and there is a lovely story there. He was filming in Canada and he played a scene as a stone age warrior, as Dan is an animal trainer. He had to play this Mongolian warrior who had to go down to this frozen lake and wrestled with a Siberian tiger. The crew filmed all of this from the tree line, at the edge of the lake, and so that night he’s back at the hotel near Banff, Alberta, and these women are talking to him, a women’s social group called the Bitch and Stitch Club, and he said that he had been filming out at this lake, called Lake Kananaskis, when this one woman said that her husband had been at that lake that day also, ice fishing, and he came home in shock, claiming that he had been smoking some weed and it caused him to hallucinate seeing a Neanderthal warrior fighting a Siberian tiger. He told her he was never going to smoke dope again or go back to that lake. Dan laughed and told her what had happened, and she said she might not ever tell him any different!
Celebrity stories were all right, but covering the psychic and the paranormal was a lot of fun actually. It got me into a lot of places. But the tabloid has really gone down hill. They don’t do that anymore. They’re just a celebrity fan magazine now, gossip writing really.
Brent Raynes: What about a book that was written way back in the ‘70s, called Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain? Was the Enquirer involved in this?
Paul Bannister: The Enquirer took excerpts from that book. I did do some of those stories about what the Soviets were up to.
Brent Raynes: Did you travel to the Soviet Union too?
Paul Bannister: Oh yeah. They sent me to about 40 countries.
Here’s a story I investigated in York, England. It was a building that the Romans had at one time. There was a police officer I had gone to see there. His name was Harry Martindale. A big man, solid, stolid, unimaginative you’d think – a nice guy. I liked him a lot. He told me that when he was a teenager he had been working in the basement. At the time he was a plumbers apprentice and he was working in the basement of the Treasurer’s house in York, which is a very old building. In it’s present state it had been there for 500 years and it was built on an older foundation.
He said that somebody had dug out part of the dirt floor and he was up working on a small step ladder on some overhead pipes, when he heard the bray of a trumpet and he looked around and from the wall emerged a double file of Roman-type soldiers. He said that they weren’t the way that he imagined Roman soldiers to be really, because they didn’t look like Charlton Heston. Interestingly they had color. He said they had what looked like home spun kilts on and they were dyed green. He fell off the ladder by the way, and crashed in the corner.
They came through the wall, they ignored him, and there were about a dozen of them. They were led by this fellow with the brass trumpet. They were carrying spears and things on their backs and a round shield. The last person to come through the wall was obviously an officer on a small pony. They all looked very dispirited and drug threw and ignored him totally.
But the interesting thing was that they were walking thigh deep in the dirt floor, except for this patch that had been dug out, and he was able to see in this one patch that they had sandals on. When they left he fled upstairs of course. He had been in the cellar. He had the wits to tell somebody about it and write down what he had seen. He kept it quiet. He really didn’t want to tell anybody about it.
Anyway, sometime went by, a year or so, and he then decided that he did want to talk about it and he talked to a local historian who said that he was absolutely wrong because Roman soldiers never carried around shields, and that was the end of it and good bye. And Harry was like, Okay, that’s fair enough, I don’t know what I was thinking.
But it turned out that the hole in the floor was where some archeologists had been digging down to the old Roman road, so these fellows were following the path of the old Roman road, and some years went by and he found, as the Romans did, that they employed a lot of local auxiliaries, and some of these would be local tribes who did have this small round shield, the 6th and the 9th legions were actually stationed in England at the time.
That would have ended the whole thing, but on a seven year anniversary – I think it was within a week or so – two archeologists who were working on the foundation of the treasurer’s house saw the same thing! The same apparition of these dozen or so soldiers coming through the wall. There was a fellow in York at the time, named John Mitchell, he had a record of this story, and they compared the notes. They actually went back on the next anniversary but nothing happened.
Brent Raynes: Sounds quite credible. That’s what makes this stuff so interesting.
What are your future plans now?
Paul Bannister: Well, I’ve just written a novel actually, based oddly enough on Roman history, on the Emperor Carausius. True story is he usurped the British throne in the third century and ruled as the Emperor of Britain for six years before he was assassinated or, it’s a bit patchy, as we don’t know if he was assassinated or if he was actually betrayed during a battle.
Brent Raynes: But you’ll clear all of that up, won’t you? (laughed)
Paul Bannister: Yeah, the end result is the same. It’s a novel but it’s based on a true story. He was actually the first ruler to unite Britain and he was the first to employ a fleet. He stole the Roman fleet, he had been an Admiral in the Royal Navy, and then of course they couldn’t come and get him. They built another fleet and his experienced sailors gave them a basting, and it took Augustus nine years actually to get to Britain.