Wednesday, October 16, 2013

13 Days of Halloween: An Interview with Sharon Day, of Ghost Hunting Theories

We are now half-way through October, and just two weeks shy of Halloween itself. Halloween, a day with deep roots in tales of hauntings and the unexplained. It seems only appropriate, then, that this interview be with someone who with a life-long fascination with the paranormal. She is Paranormal Expert, horror author, blogger, and my good friend, Sharon Day, of the renowned blog Ghost Hunting Theories. So, without further a do, let's get started:
Q: For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself?
I’m the author of the blog Ghost Hunting Theories and over a dozen books involving the paranormal and horror themes. I grew up in a very actively haunted home that was a Civil War hospital and there I developed my skills of psychometry (the ability to read objects background by touching them).

Q: What was it that drew you to the paranormal in the first place?
I grew up from the time I was a baby in a very actively haunted home in Northern Virginia. I saw it as a normal part of the world and how it works. It never involved magic or fearfulness, but just the world and its many layers. I began to wonder about other things in the paranormal realm and transferred my concepts of it all being part of nature to other paranormal arenas. I now spend my spare time working on theories about all things paranormal.
Q: You say you lived in a house with ghosts from the Civil War? What was it like growing up in that environment?
My parents had a great attitude about the home. They said, “these soldier died alone, away from family and now the house has 5 kids in it. If you hear them walking the halls at night, they are doing their rounds protecting you. Who better to protect you than soldiers?”
Q: Your blog, Ghost Hunting Theories, has enjoyed enormous popularity. What made you start blogging?
I had my Achilles tendon reattached and couldn’t walk for months. I was in a funk. My son said, “mom, you’re into ghost hunting, why not meet others through blogging?” He got me started. I was apprehensive since I only knew enough on the computer to do basic things, but I had nothing else to do and he was right. I not only picked it up quickly, but I finally found my tribe – I hadn’t found people like me in Arizona where I live, who were asking the big questions, but online, I found a community of paranormal geeks – which ultimately inspired my book “Paranormal Geeks” about our unique group.
Q: You’re the author of many books, both fiction and non-fiction, including Paranormal Geeks, Zombie Housewives of the Apocalypse, Growing up with Ghosts, and Abandoned Places: Abandoned Memories. What inspired you to become a writer, and out of all the books you’ve written, which would you say is favorite?
I had been writing romance novels and submitting them for years, and getting rejections. When I started blogging, the readers were giving me such good feedback about my writing that I entered a contest for writing an essay for Ghost Adventures show and I won. Then, I realized I might have a real talent. I knocked around a book concept with a friend, we decided to publish it ourselves, then another, then another, and pretty soon, we were putting out books regularly. I have also done many books on my own. I am very proud to have a horror/SciFi novel, MetaNet coming within the year and that is going to be my favorite, but believe it or not my favorite right now is Don’t Go There! A Flash Horror Anthology because I actually have a hard copy and read it when I’m curled up at night. It’s dozens of short stories on every horror theme and they are timed out so you know how long it will take to read each one.
Q: You’ve also written erotic horror, including the ebook Philia: Sex in Dark Places. What inspired you to go in this direction?
I’ve always had an odd talent for erotica and I love horror, and to me sex and horror go together – it’s all about the tension and the climax!
Q: Any more books in the works you’d care to tell us about? 
Abandoned Places: Abandoned Memories (Appalachian Edition) comes out October 1st. I have an erotic horror novella Pagan Bloodlust coming very soon, a romantic horror series opening book The Hunt: Ghosts coming soon, MetaNet and a children’s book Twice As Special. I plan to do a tween-aged horror series about some kids who start a paranormal club and a couple members live in an antebellum mansion in the south that is haunted. Their team includes a Bigfoot from the woods and two ghost soldiers from the North and South who assist.

Q: When you are preparing to go on a ghost hunt, how to do you prepare? What sort of equipment to you normally bring when you’re beginning an investigation?
I bring all the standard equipment except for talk boxes – I am not at all impressed with those hocus pocus devices. In fact, the best hunt is done with absolutely no equipment, simply your senses for observation. We get so caught up in equipment which isn’t effective and we miss the real action. I don’t do protections or any of that stuff. I don’t have a personal concept that involves Devil, demons, Evil or possession, and consequently, I never run into it. I do appreciate setting up equipment and leaving the building to rest a while before reentering.

Q: You’ve done a lot of urban photography. What drew you to this?
When I was a kid, we had some outbuildings on the estate that were old and decrepit and had old abandoned furniture in them and an abandoned 1940s car in the field.  Mom was an historian and we spent a lot of time at historic sites in the east. I found myself drawn to places people no longer inhabited. They looked sad, but also beautiful as the elements rusted, peeled, and aged the sites. I wanted to try to capture my feelings for these sites, so I began to photograph them the way I saw them and people reacted strongly to the images. About half the time I photograph a site, it’s torn down within the next year, so sometimes I’m one of the last people to ever document it. It’s a moment in time that no longer exists.

Q: You’ve stated countless times on your blog that you are a huge horror fan. What would you say are your favorite horror films?
Oh, this is soooo tough. Usually I’m driven by moods, but there are some standards that pass the test of time – Night of the Living Dead, The Haunting, The Changeling, The Fog, Legend of Hell House. I have a very special place in my heart for everything from the 70s from Hammer Films and the Brit works to made for TV horror which was a huge genre then.
Q: No doubt you have had to put up with a lot of naysayers who claim that the paranormal is a load of malarkey and that you’re either a fool or a liar. How do you deal with people like that?
I really don’t have to deal with folks like that because it’s not my driving force to prove to others anything paranormal exists. I am on a journey to understand what I know of it from my own encounters and observations. This is my journey. Not theirs. They can take their own.

Q: I understand you’re a big fan of Halloween. What is your favorite Halloween memory?
I have so many, but the one that really sticks out in my mind influenced my Halloweens the most. When we were living in the haunted estate, we rented the cottages to students from George Mason University. One student in one of the cottages had a Halloween party. It was my first Halloween to Trick Or Treat. I was 4. My brother was 9. We were all dressed and ready but we stopped by the cottage and they told us to come in and there as a lady at the table with a crystal ball doing  gypsy readings. I was fascinated forever with gypsy and crystal balls. We went into the main room where the costumed people were. I was nervous, but when a man entered holding his head in his arm, I freaked out. My brother freaked out. He pushed me back against the wall in horror and was crushing me. I was screaming more from my brother’s squashing than the headless dude. I was so scared, I didn’t go trick or treating, so my brother took a bag for me and got me candy. It was my first image of a costume party and gypsies and I have forever been changed by the love of Halloween parties and costumes.

Q: What has been the coolest moment of your paranormal career?
Hmm…. I have done some TV and some radio and interviews that were cool, but I think the moment I most enjoyed was when Ben Hansen from “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files” on Syfy contacted me. He was in town and wanted me to interview him. He came to my home and we talked for 4 hours nonstop about everything paranormal. It was a fun interview, but the really cool thing was just having someone so experienced in the field to share concepts and compare notes with. It made me realize the value of paranormal conferences and events where you can meet with other minds and discuss the juicy stuff in the field.

Q: Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring ghost hunters who may read this interview?
First and foremost, figure out your motivation. Some people enter the field hoping to get a TV show, which is not only ridiculous, but it drives your decisions quite differently than someone who has experienced the unexplained and wants answers. Know if you seek research, seek helping homeowners, or seek fame. You must make decisions based upon these goals.