Spirit Garden: Explorations in the Spiritual

Author, shaman, and psychic medium Catt Foy shares experiences and knowledge on a wide range of spiritual topics.

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What Paranormal Investigators Should Know...

I am a big fan of television shows about psychic phenomena, unsolved mysteries, and paranormal explorations.  Beginning with “In Search of…” and “Unsolved Mysteries” in the 80s and 90s, more and more television shows have been dedicated to popularizing the paranormal and the puzzling.

While I am grateful that the “woo-woo” (i.e. all things psychic, metaphysical, paranormal, or strange) is receiving greater mainstream acceptance, I am also concerned that many of these paranormal investigators appear to know little or nothing about the subject they are attempting to document. 

As a practicing psychic and student of such things for over 50 years, I am often alarmed at the practices that some of these televised investigators employ.  Perhaps the most egregious show is “Ghost Adventure with Zak Bagans and company.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Zak—I think he is smart and brave and shows good reasoning skills with his attempts to debunk phenomena.  But. 

Zak seems to operate primarily from a Christianized perspective of paranormal phenomena, often referring to pagan practices as “demonic” or even “Satanic.”  This perpetuation of unfounded Christian-based stereotypes is harmful in the long run to the pagan community. 


In addition, the practice of “provoking” is hardly ever a good idea.  Provoking spiritual entities you know nothing about can bring about grave consequences—psychic attacks, possession, physical attacks, illness, and lingering after-effects such as emotional and psychic disturbances like nightmares, as Zach often mentions in his television series.

I want very much to give these guys a broader education on spiritual beings—ghosts, poltergeists, elementals, faeries, elves, sprites, etc.  It seems nobody has done any reading about so-called mythological creatures who may or may not be the source of paranormal phenomena.  Are there demons?  Possibly.  I do know there are spiritual entities who feed on negative human emotions like fear and anger—and entities who can cause these feelings as well.  But if we are to truly do scientific investigations, we must refrain from framing these beings within the limited constructs based on the western world’s Christian paradigm. 

Today, for example, I watched a “Ghost Adventures” episode where they are investigating a mine.  They refer to “tommyknockers”—creatures who live in the earth and often knock before appearing (or misbehaving). What they haven’t considered is that these beings may be what have also been referred to as dwarves—known for mining and living deep in the earth. 

Another complaint I have is that so many shows rely on visiting the “most haunted” places.  While interesting, these allegedly intensely haunted locations are usually well-known and have been “investigated” many times.  I have never heard one paranormal show host suggest that these haunted places may be created by or at least further empowered by the collective belief that they ARE haunted.

How any instances of paranormal phenomena are human-caused?  We are capable of manifesting, whether consciously or subconsciously.  Much poltergeist phenomena, for instance, is caused by a particularly powerful or sensitive person who has sublimated their emotions.  This often occurs around adolescent females.  I have done paranormal investigations where there are no external entities at all, or the person living in the house is a natural medium and uneducated about such things, leading them to think they are being “haunted.”

Many paranormal investigators also seem to know little or nothing about psychic self-defense and protection.  Sage, white candles, salt, and other things can create a powerful circle of protection around the investigators.  I think every team should have an experienced psychic/medium who can perceive things beyond the physical senses, and receive information that may not be available to others on the team.  A good psychic can offer both protection and insight, being able to warn the team if danger is near, or explaining something that might otherwise be misunderstood or misconstrued.

An angry ghost of a human being can often seem like a demon.  But if you refuse to immediately jump to that conclusion, and employ a psychic or intuitive, you may well learn that the entity is not demonic, just a very confused, angry, or mentally ill human soul who has not been able to move on after death.

I would like to see more shows like the “Dead Files” where the investigations are aimed at helping ordinary people experiencing extraordinary phenomena.  Steve DiSchiavi and Amy Allan do a thorough investigation—Steve as a former homicide detective and Amy as the psychic medium—and then make recommendations to the living people as to how to cleanse their home, or help spirits move on or at least be at peace.  This seems to me to be imminently practical and demonstrates kindness and an effective understanding of our interactions with the spirit world.

Paranormal investigators also need to develop their own spiritual gifts before embarking on investigations.  Psychic self-defense should be required training.  Shamanic journeying or other means of connecting with their spiritual guides and guardians should be required.  While it makes for good television ratings when investigators get scared and followed and haunted, it is not a good idea for the investigators to experience this.  And it encourages the uninitiated, the inexperienced viewer to venture into areas where they can be hurt, injured, possessed, caused to commit crimes, etc.

As a psychic, I know that you need your team.  Your spiritual team—those unseen guardians who know far more than we do about such things and can act as guides and protectors for us.  Shows that exist solely to create fear and horror do us no service. 

Most paranormal activity is harmless.  Most ghosts are people who are stuck, unable to move into the Light.  They usually just need to be talked to and pointed in the right direction.  Your spirit team can help tremendously with that and a skilled psychic can help with that.

Another thing investigators should keep in mind is that there are simply places where humans don’t belong.  Like dangerous rapids in a river or volcanic places that exude poisonous gases, some places should simply not be inhabited by human beings.  Native peoples often know where those places are, and we would do well to research native lore about a location before investigating.  By that same token, native peoples know the spiritually blessed places, the sacred places, the healing places.  Both the dangerous and the sacred need to be protected.  One to protect people from dangerous influences; the other to protect the sacred from people. Let us encourage the employment of these investigations toward building understanding and dispelling fear and sensationalism.

There is much we know about the paranormal world—especially those of us in the pagan community.  But the body of scientific evidence needs to learn more and understand further.  They could learn a lot by establishing a healthier dialogue with the pagan and psychic community.


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Catt Foy has been a professional psychic and astrologer since 1978 and a freelance writer and photographer since 1981.  She is the author of Psycards--A New Alternative to Tarot, and the novel Bartleby:  A Scrivener's Tale.  She holds an MA from Western Illinois University and an MFA in Fiction from Spalding University, and is currently CEO of Psycards USA.  Catt likes to garden, paint, and make jewelry, and is currently working on several other novels.  She lives with her husband and two feline companions in an RV in Eugene, Oregon.


  • Gerrie
    Gerrie Friday, 28 April 2017

    Right on Catt! I always love watching these shows, if only to yell at their stupidity. But yes, I think Amy Allen on the Dead Files is the closest to the real thing because she talks about actual remedies.
    I often go back and forth on these same exact issues. But then - I have to remind myself that these shows aren't created to show the real stuff. They just want to entertain. (It reallllllly raised my hackles when Zak and his bunch went to Ireland and characterized the Morrigan Herself as demonic. *sigh*) So people like Zak, yelling "bro!" "dude!" gets all the credit while the rest of us real paranormal workers go about doing the real stuff.

    Thanks for bringing up this issue!

  • M.T. Noah
    M.T. Noah Thursday, 26 April 2018

    Exactly. I can't count how many times some person on one of those shows gets all aggressive (baiting a non-bodied person) and then when someone reacts predictably (with pain or outrage or just OH HELL NO YOU INVADER OF MY SPACE) they start calling the person a demon. *hard eye roll* No. You getting scared because you did a disrespectful and/or cruel thing does not make the self defending being a demon. It makes the invading 'investigator' rude, at best.

    Thanks for writing about this, Cat.

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