Interview-Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2016
An Interview with:
Paranormal Investigator Christy J. Parrish
by: Brent Raynes
Brent Raynes: How did you happen to become involved in paranormal research and investigations? Did you have personal experiences yourself? Christy Parrish: Throughout my life, I have always felt that there is more to our surroundings than what is readily laid out before us. It was a little over 15 years ago that I started my journey into paranormal research, and while there were experiences throughout my entire life, there was a defining point for me and the outcome resulted in research becoming a requirement to learn more about what was happening around me. My wake-up call started with a slap in the face from something that I didn't see. This slap had force behind it; enough to turn my head and leave behind bruising on my left cheek. That event changed my course forever because I could no longer dismiss the activity and so I set forth to prove it and understand it.
Brent Raynes: It appears to me that you've gotten some pretty positive recognition in the paranormal field and was recently featured on Destination America's Kindred Spirits. My Wife, grandson and I met you November 12th at a paranormal gathering over in Fayetteville, Tennessee, where you were providing information and constructive suggestions and advice for anyone interested in investigating paranormal occurrences or who was looking for explanations. What motivates this? Has it become somewhat of a calling for you?
Christy Parrish: The biggest motivator comes from personal experience. There wasn't a lot of avenues of support when I first started delving into the field. It just wasn't as mainstream to speak about such things as it has become in recent years. I remember people poking fun of me or looking at me as if I was crazy when they found out that I was looking to prove if activity was real or not. That is why, if someone wants to discuss ideas or even tell me about their experiences or ask my advice, it is important to exchange the information. A simple idea can change a person's entire situation. Being open and helping others is definitely a must in my life, being supportive in whatever way that I can through the exchange of ideas or teaching some simple techniques based on my experiences just feels natural to me.
Brent Raynes: During our recent meeting a few days ago, you were sharing paranormal evidence gathering techniques and ideas with us. A few months earlier, Tennessee paranormal investigator Mike Sears was describing to me a psychomanteum type project that you had inspired him to work on himself. Can you share this with us and other methods that you encourage "ghost hunters" and those new to the field to utilize?
Christy Parrish: Mike Sears was kind enough to invite me to one of his team gatherings. It was there that I brought out an item that I called "Smoke and Mirrors." This construction was designed to incorporate certain elements that could allow us to visually see the spirits that we were trying to communicate with. There is a belief that spirits can appear in mirrors. So for the design, I used mirror security film as it is safer and lighter than an actual mirror, but you still can achieve the same results. Also I built a box to house the mirror in the back, as well as form a cavity that we could fill slowly with smoke. Why smoke? Because it takes very little energy to move the smoke around and this essentially becomes a canvas for the spirits to use. The last element to this is light. We experience more success using red light inside the cavity than all other colors. But I encourage folks to try various colors just the same. We do continue to use this item during investigations and we walk away with interesting results not only inside the cavity and mirror but also Electronic Voice Phenomena speaking about what they see and describing the smoke and the box.
When it comes to using tools and techniques, my advice is to keep it simple. If you purchase a piece of equipment, read the manual. Try not to over complicate your investigations using technologies that you don't understand. Try to incorporate simple everyday objects into your investigations. Also study people, watch them and see what draws their attention, then translate that into a technique. Chances are the spirits will be fascinated as well.
Brent Raynes: What have been some of your own most memorable paranormal investigative experiences?
Christy Parrish: There have been so many moments throughout the years during investigations... One that comes to mind happened during an investigation at Waverly Hills. It was just about daybreak and my teammate and I were the last investigators in the building. We were on the 2nd floor and heard rattling at the end of the hall accompanied by a quick flash of yellow light. We made our way cautiously down the hall, nervous that someone was illegally in the building. As we neared the door, we both leaned in to see what was going on in the room as we still heard the rattling. There sitting Indian style with its back to us was a shadow form of a man. He had a yellow light and was searching for something on the ground. Quickly he turned and looked at us, then shot up through the ceiling, rattling as he disappeared. Both she and I looked at each, silent at first about what we had just witnessed. Then we entered the room and searched for every logical scenario, but alas could not explain this away.
During an investigation, at the Houghton Mansion, the entire team was on the third floor above the Masonic Hall with the host of the event. We experienced temperature drops and kept seeing a shadow that seemed to be curious about us, but was cautious to approach at first. So we all sat down and gave the shadow its space and through conversation we were able to have the shadow come closer and closer to us. After it became more and more comfortable it eventually stood right in front of us. All five of us could see it and our meters responded to its presence. The host tried to get the shadow to give him a high five...but nothing. Then the host stood up and said okay maybe you will be more familiar with a handshake. It was at that point that you could see the shadow reach over to his hand and begin to shake his hand. When something this meaningful happens, tears form and the experience becomes something that clearly states we are dealing with human beings. The fact that the entire group saw, felt and walked away with this moment is incredible and goes to show possibility.
Brent Raynes: What sort of advice or suggestions would you give to someone just starting out in this field?
Christy Parrish: Figure out what your true intent is.
If your intent is to experience a rush or a scare, then please just go to public investigations and events, there are many available to choose from. This is the forum where you can use the equipment and walk away with experiences.
If your intent is to learn, explain and help others, understand that there is a world of work to being a paranormal researcher or investigator. As a researcher or investigator you have responsibilities to the people who are needing help, to the spirits that you are interacting with, to the physical locations, to your team and to the field. An effective investigator will give each case its due diligence. Follow through with your historical research and review all your evidence in a timely manner. Show respect to each location and family that you are around by using a clean, caring, and honest approach. Always remember that it takes one wrong move to set back the field after all the hard work that has gone into it to bring it to where it is today. Be open to ideas and work with other investigators when you can. It will be a huge asset in discovering new techniques and ideas. One mind can be powerful but collective minds can be unstoppable.
Brent Raynes: Who in this field has perhaps had the greatest influence on you?
Christy Parrish: Although I have only meet him once or twice, Bill Chappell is an inspiring person to me. From his release of the Kinect mapping technology to his work around digital dowsing, his approach is one that I identify with.
The people that I meet and investigate around are perhaps the greatest influence. Because of the experiences that we have and the discussions that take place, that inspires me to try new ideas. These relationships help me push to try to develop the next experiment or build a new tool, so that we can experience something groundbreaking together.
Brent Raynes: Are there any particular books on this subject that stand out in your mind as especially good and helpful?
Christy Parrish: On the paranormal, the first book that comes to my mind is "Ghosts" by Hans Holzer. The was beneficial because it takes you through various case files. But there are so many great books on the subject. Harry Price has several that explore poltergeist and also psychic abilities/influences. These men are pioneers in this field and there is a lot to be learned from their experiences.