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Who You Gonna Call?

Most, if not all, are familiar with the terms “ghosts” or “spirits.” What habitually comes to mind are luminous apparitions forged by our favorite horror movies, or the iconic melody “Ghostbusters” played annually on Halloween. These conceptions are fabricated almost entirely from Hollywood blockbusters, which have established a cast iron typecast depicting a malevolent spirit, growing increasingly horrifying as movie production evolves. Yet, beyond one’s imagination, the supernatural world is an irrational fear, denoted by most as nonexistent. Few are aware that in our very own hometown of Vancouver, real-life ghostbusters reside. This society differs somewhat from the popular phantom quashing image ingrained within our minds, referring to themselves firstly as paranormal investigators, and attempting merely to converse with what has politely been dubbed as “spirits” rather than extinguish them. Heidi Smith, an 3 year member and paranormal enthusiast, shares her knowledge of these ethereal beings in an interview, expressing firm beliefs undeterred by the multitude of skeptics existent in our scientifical-based society today. The premise behind these deeply rooted, controversial and, to most, far fetched, opinions reside within personal exposure. Specifically, fragments of childhood undergone in a “haunted” house, and underlying these incidents, a near death experience. There is a spectrum of belief regarding the supernatural that varies in intensity, some, like Heidi maintain steadfast beliefs, whereas others only dimly recognize the possibility. What she believes lies upon the extreme end of this scale, and may provoke raised eyebrows amongst skeptics. However, as Heidi asserts, if most recognize the possibility of afterlife, it is not such a drastic step to believe in those who are caught between worlds.

Ghosts, which refer to the impint made on earth by an deceased person, are classified using two identifications, “intellectual” and “residual.” The former refers to spirits with an ability to communicate, whereas the latter denotes an imprint of energy that rarely can be observed by the naked eye. Both variants are considered the “internal essence” of a deceased person whose “physical body has ceased to exist,” and are sustained upon energy siphoned from quotidian appliances such as iphones. Ghosts are typically unaware of their demise or even time itself; precipitated by traumas, sudden deaths, an unvoiced message, or a routine adhered to in life, and unintentionally, death. Investigators, even without donning proper ghost hunting gear are particularly attuned to their activity, which is ever present and materializes as seemingly mundane occurrences. Unfounded noises, fluctuating lights, opened cupboards, strange behaviour in animals, orbs suspended in old photographs, and a general sense of discomfort, for example, can be the repercussions of otherworldly presences. Some will feel an uncanny chill upon entering edifices such as antique shops, sites of tragic accidents, or areas enshrining a deceased person. These venues are designated as “hot spots” and populate Vancouver. Gastown, Chinatown, and the PNE are among the most notorious locales, each retaining their unique spirits. Activity is most populous in between Halloween and Christmas, a time anchored by the inevitable sense of family and an urge for everyone, alive or dead, to reconvene. However, all those with a fear for the supernatural should rest assured, as, if any spirit should crop up wanted, they should merely call “Vancouver’s Paranormal Society.”

By: Clara Chalmers

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