A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Instagram (@judeandtheobscure if you aren’t already following my account) with a request for questions. Without further ado, here is my very first Q & A!
“What is your favorite [sic] horror film? You can give one before 2000 and one after 2000 if that’s easier.”
Ooh, tough one! The Mummy (1999) is more of an action-adventure than a horror film, but that’s definitely my favourite film of all time. If I had to pick a classic horror film (i.e. pre-2000), it’d have to be The Omen (1976). My post-2000 horror film would be The Witch (2015).
“What’s the most haunted place you’ve ever been?”
The first two ghost hunts I did were at Drakelow Tunnels, Kidderminster, so that’s probably the most haunted place I’ve deliberately been to! I’ve been to Dudley Castle and Warwick Castle quite a lot too (although not for spooky purposes!) and they’re both allegedly haunted too.
These questions were from my good friend Sarah, who is a legend. Shout out to Sarah!
“Do you think that paranormal entities serve a purpose/have a function or do you think they merely “exist”?”
I think it’s possible that some entities do! There are plenty of people who agree with the theory that some latch onto a location or a person because they have a mission to carry out or a message to deliver.
“Personal opinion on the most significant (or cool, or interesting, or downright spooky) historical example of the paranormal/unexplained?”
Whether you class this as a paranormal incident depends on which theory you believe, but the spookiest example that immediately came to mind was the Dyatlov Pass incident.
Nine experienced hikers perished on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl in Russia’s Ural Mountains in 1959. The evidence suggests something made them run out of their tents, none of them properly dressed for the weather, and six subsequently died of hypothermia. The other three hikers were found with physical trauma – chest fractures, a shattered skull, even a missing tongue and eyes. It’s a story that’s stuck with me since I first read about it, primarily because it has remained unsolved. Theories range from an avalanche, to an animal attack, to aliens. There are even folks who reckon it was a yeti.
I find it especially spooky because we may never know exactly what happened. Historians and paranormal investigators alike have their theories, there have been documentaries and horror movies made on the subject, but we’ll probably never find the answer. *shudder*
The most significant event I can think of is probably the Patterson-Gimlin film (1967), which is likely the most famous piece of footage of Bigfoot out there. Two friends filmed what they believed to be Bigfoot in Humboldt County, California, and the still I’ve included below is arguably the most iconic image of Bigfoot.
“Spookiest/most unexplainable encounter you’ve had?”
Ooh, there’s been a few! The spookiest was definitely the very first “paranormal” encounter I ever had. It was when I was in primary school – I’ve got a feeling I was about 6 years old. I was asleep at my dad’s house and something abruptly woke me up, although I don’t know what. I lifted my head off the pillow and saw a face looking at me above my headboard.
The figure – though I could only see its very white, very gaunt face – was standing between the head of my bed and the door. It must have been reasonably tall for me to see it, as I had bunk beds at the time (the lower bunk had drawers and shelves instead of another bed). I’m now roughly 5’6″ (1.7m) and, picturing the bunk beds now, they were probably as tall as I am. We stared at one another for a couple of seconds. Then the entity opened its mouth and made a gasping, growling sound, which (obviously) startled me and I put my head back down on the pillow with the duvet over me. When I looked up, the thing was gone and, shortly after, my dad came in to check on me. I asked him if anyone had been in my room and he replied that no-one had.
I’ve talked to other people about this experience. A friend of mine at secondary school believed it was probably sleep paralysis, a condition in which a person is conscious but unable to move and they may hallucinate vividly. I respectfully disagree, as I distinctly remember moving and speaking throughout the experience and I’ve never had any sleep problems before or since. What I find most odd is that I’ve never had any other strange or potentially paranormal experiences at my dad’s. I’ve heard noises without a source at my mom’s house, but nothing more at Dad’s house.
“Do you think “paranormal”/”horror” films have created an undue fear or resistance to the paranormal?”
I think so! In some ways, horror films have the potential to get people interested in the paranormal, but I think they often give a false representation of what ghost hunters/paranormal investigators do and what “contacting spirits” is actually like. There’s this idea that all spirits are trying to manipulate or kill you, whereas the couple of times I’ve been ghost-hunting have been really positive experiences. It was fun and interesting rather than scary. I came away from those experiences with a lot to think about, but I wasn’t upset or frightened.
Generally, we’re all a bit scared of what we don’t understand and that’s totally natural. My very first “paranormal” experience was terrifying, but that was largely because I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I feel like I’m armed with information and experience when I go ghost-hunting now, so there’s less to feel afraid of!
Thank you to the folks who contributed! These were such interesting questions and I had loads of fun answering them.
If you couldn’t think of anything to ask this time around or missed the submission deadline, never fear! I think I’ll do this again – maybe we should make it an annual thing? Let me know what you think!