This is the question I am asked the most, by far. And by “this” they mean investigating, researching, and writing about the paranormal.
To be honest, I’ve been fascinated with stories of ghosts and strange occurrences since a very young age. When I was about 7 or 8 I saw a shadow figure in my home. I don’t remember being scared, but I remember wanting to know what it was, where it came from, and why it was there.
When I told my mother what I saw (probably in an over excited fashion) I remember her saying it was nothing. It was just the way the light shown down the hallway as I passed by. It wasn’t until a day or two later when I overheard a conversation she was having with a friend, that I knew she must have thought it was more than just the way the light. She was telling her friend that I saw something odd, and that I didn’t know the previous owners of the house had lost their young child in the house years before.
From that point on I was hooked. The movie Ghostbusters had recently come out and I swear I probably watched that movie close to 200 times. I read every book about the paranormal I could get my hands on. Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark, and In A Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories were on my nightstand for a very long time! Remember The Green Ribbon?! Thank you Alvin Schwartz for entertaining all the creep-o kids like me!
And then, one year when we were back in Maryland visiting my grandparents I remember looking out of the car window as my mother was driving somewhere. Growing up in Phoenix where everything is hot, half dead, and brown, spending time in Maryland was like being in another world. Everything is lush, and green, and so much older.
As we drove down the road I remember catching a glimpse of this odd sort of break in the trees. And I could tell that it was a very overgrown path leading into the trees. When we passed by I caught sight of a headstone, and a very old looking iron fence. I told my mother that we had to stop, I had to see what was back there. I can’t remember if we stopped that day or at a later time, but eventually we stopped and walked through the overgrowth to find a very small, very old, very overgrown family cemetery.
It would be probably close to 30 years before I found myself researching and blogging about the old overgrown cemetery, but I would visit that little cemetery every time we went back to Maryland, it was like a pilgrimage for me. (I still visit each time I go back!)
By the time Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and all of the paranormal shows became super popular in the early/mid 2000’s I figured now was as good a time as ever to actually go do some investigating myself. Our family had recently moved to Utah, my kids were both now in school, and I didn’t know a single soul in the state. I started emailing local paranormal groups trying to find one that would let me join. And guess what, not a single one would. So, I figured, what the hell, I’ll just start my own group. And I did.
I put an ad in the Utah equivalent of Craig’s List in 2007 explaining that I was starting a paranormal team and if anyone else was interested I’d be at a library on a certain date and time and to show up. And surprisingly, people actually showed up. If you knew me, you would know that I am incredibly introverted and shy, so for me to do something like that was just abnormal. But I did it and we got a team going and even though we really didn’t know what we were doing, we figured it out as we went along.
And we did pretty good! Got into some really cool places, had some crazy experiences, and it gave me the opportunity to develop the way I wanted to do things. In the years following I learned how to build and manage my own website (something I still do to this day), I improved at public speaking and overcame a lot of my shyness, and I realized that if there is something that you are really passionate about, go for it! Even if you don’t know what you’re doing at first. (Same goes for writing!)
I ended up taking over the reigns of the local TAPS Family team and then things got incredibly busy. And I noticed that so many people would take reports of paranormal activity at face value and not do any research into the history of the location at all.
And with some (most?) paranormal teams comes a lot of drama. A lot. So, in 2012, after running a team for the last 5 years I decided it was time to get out of the investigation business.
I didn’t want to give up the paranormal field in general; I just didn’t want to manage a team anymore. I decided to start a blog where I would research the history behind haunted places and urban legends. I was tired of reading about regurgitated stories that severely lacked any type of proof to their claims. You know how it goes…my brother’s, friend’s, cousin said this place is haunted by so and so who was murdered there.
The Dead History was born at the end of 2012 and I’ve been researching and sharing the real history behind haunts and legends ever since.
I really started the blog just for myself, and maybe a few others who might find it interesting. I had no blogging experience, or even any real writing experience. I had a passion for what I was doing, and that made all the difference.
In the last 6 years I’ve been amazed at how popular The Dead History has become. I managed to publish my first book last year which was always a goal of mine, and I speak publicly whenever I can to share the importance of history when it comes to the paranormal.
So if you’ve ever been passionate about something, even if you think it’s weird and maybe other people won’t be interested or like it, DO IT ANYWAY. You never know what it might turn into!