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Interview: Sorting the Supernatural. See What the Experts of ‘Paranormal Caught On Camera’ Have to Say!

Paranormal Caught On Camera
Image: Travel Channel

Apparitions, UFO’s, cryptic creatures… they simply cannot escape today’s vigilant videographers! Are we to simply believe the evidence placed before us? Thankfully, Paranormal Caught On Camera offers up expert insight to help us decipher inexplicable phenomenon. Fan Fest News had an opportunity to perform its own investigation with four of the show’s expert panelists. See what they had to say about getting ‘Caught’! 😉

Brian Cano – Paranormal Investigator

Brian J. Cano, Paranormal Caught On Camera
Brian J. Cano Image: Travel Channel, Paranormal Caught On Camera

Linda: Describe your process of assessing a submitted video? Added research?

Brian: When it comes to assessing a submitted video I have to clear my mind and put myself in the place of the person capturing it. What might they be feeling? What’s going on around them? I also try not to compare it to all the similar videos I may have seen before. Each entry deserves a fresh view with unbiased eyes and I do my best to provide that. If it’s a place I know or have been to, it’s helpful, but I do often research into the background of the topic or location after viewing the video to gain more perspective.

Linda: What is your response to those that disagree with an analysis of a submitted video? Has social media helped or hindered the process?

Brian: The show may be called, ‘Paranormal Caught On Camera’ but it is by no means an hour of indisputable evidence proving the existence of the subjects beyond the shadow of a doubt. It is meant to introduce, enlighten and inspire – much like In Search Of did back when I was a kid. That show talked about cryptids, ghosts, mysteries and wonders and that all resonated with me. So much so that decades later I am adding my voice to the consensus.

“Do people disagree with the analysis sometimes? Absolutely. But that creates a dialogue and from that comes a more balanced view as well as further discussion.”

Even if a viewer disbelieves a specific clip, yet they learned something new about the topic or perhaps were introduced to it for the first time, then I feel we’ve done our job. In this age of instant feedback via social media we can gauge that reaction pretty rapidly.

Linda: Which video(s) shown thus far has left you most undecided in its authenticity? Why?

Brian: The collection of videos I’ve seen thus far has fascinated me, baffled me and inspired me. How, you ask? My skeptical nature always looks for the ‘tell’; the ways it could be faked or demystified as something ordinary. I’m an investigator, it’s my job to get to the bottom of such things! That being said, even if something CAN be faked doesn’t automatically mean it has been. Furthermore, it doesn’t invalidate the topic it illustrates. For instance, in a prior episode, viewers saw a spectral soldier stroll in front of a cannon in Gettysburg. I’m also a video editor by trade so I could see how such a clip could be forged. But even if it were, I know that Gettysburg is still very, very haunted. In an upcoming episode, I watched a phantom feline pad his way through a garden and then fade away. My thoughts were that the video was manufactured. Or maybe I’m just jealous that my passed-on pet doesn’t visit me. Who knows?

Linda: What assets make for a good paranormal analyst?

Brian: A good paranormal analyst should be a good analyst without that word to qualify it. They should seek facts, not reinforce hopes. Follow the evidence, not force the events to fit a preconceived notion. Report what IS, not what could be. That’s how I approach evidence review. Once that is done, we’re free to discuss the history and theory that surround the subject and that is where conjecture belongs.

Linda: What do you hope fans take away from Paranormal Caught On Camera?

Brian: My hope for fans of the show is that they are entertained as well as educated. That they balance skepticism with a healthy dose of imagination. I want them to ponder, “What if…?”, just as I did when I was young. And keep those cameras rolling!

Sapphire Sandalo – Host, Something Scary

Sapphire Sandalo, Paranormal Caught On Camera
Sapphire Sandalo Image: Travel Channel, Paranormal Caught On Camera

Linda: How does Paranormal Caught On Camera stand out amongst the vast array of paranormal TV shows?

Sapphire: I think what sets this show apart is that it has a sense of wonder about the paranormal – we’re not debunking these videos or making fun of the submissions;

“we all genuinely love talking about unexplainable phenomena! So, whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, you can still enjoy the show.”

Linda: What impact do you feel social media has had on the paranormal field? Has it become more challenging to sort the truth from the sensationalized?

Sapphire: Social media and the desire to go viral has probably tempted a lot of people to make fake videos and stories. Social media has provided another outlet for sharing ghost stories, and part of the fun is debating the validity of these stories with your friends.

Linda: Which video (if any) shown thus far has shocked you? Why?

Sapphire: There’s one video that was security footage from a dispensary, and it’s state certified, meaning it’s illegal to alter it. And because of that, it’s the most compelling piece of paranormal evidence I’ve ever seen! I wish all paranormal videos were state certified!

Linda: What advice would you offer to someone that feels they are witnessing paranormal activity?

Sapphire: Stay calm and don’t panic! Most spirits and entities don’t want to harm you, but if you feel threatened, get the hell out of there.

Linda: What has been the fan response to your appearance on the show?

Sapphire: I’ve gotten some messages from fans saying they were happy and surprised to see me suddenly show up when they weren’t expecting it! And that makes me happy. This is my first TV appearance, most of my work is on YouTube and in podcasts, so I think people are excited that I’ve crossed over into this new medium!

Derek Hayes – Host, Monsters Among Us

Derek Hayes, Paranormal Caught On Camera
Derek Hayes Image: Travel Channel, Paranormal Caught On Camera

Linda: What do you feel has been the most intriguing crypto footage shown so far on Paranormal Caught On Camera? Why?

Derek: For me, my money is on the potential sasquatch video depicting a very large creature that appears to be walking uphill, through a deep snowfield. Not only was the location extremely remote but the entity covered a lot of ground in a short period of time, something that would be nearly impossible for an afternoon hiker. Not only was I impressed with the footage but several people in my everyday life caught the video and were also astonished.  I had several friends and family members reach out to get more background on the video. However, I don’t have a solid explanation for this one.

Linda: What tips can you offer the audience in spotting an ‘altered’ crypto sighting?

Derek: Unfortunately, hoaxing is a detrimental element in the paranormal field but there are ways to weed out forgeries. Often times I start with the framing of the video… if the videographer keeps the subject in question in frame and in focus that’s a good indication that he/she is trying to capture as much detail of the subject as possible, which could imply the subject is genuine. You can also learn a lot from the reactions of the people featured in the video… Are they overacting, underacting? Is their reaction fitting of what they are seeing? And probably most importantly, check the source. Sometimes YouTubers will upload a staged, yet scary video they recorded, and in the description explain that the video is fictional… only to have the disclaimer removed and shared on several paranormal sites as a legit video… Always check the source.

Linda: What is the biggest challenge in analyzing a submitted video?

Derek: Missing information seems to be the biggest hurdle to jump when analyzing these videos. More often than not, there’s no background on the video, you won’t find a filming location, date, or other imperative information. A lack of information also applies digitally– a majority of these videos are captured in dark conditions with handheld cameras, or camera phones, which can often leave the image blurry or pixelated. I’ve found the inability to clear up these issues one of the biggest challenges I’ve experienced.

Linda: To what do you attribute the rising popularity of interest in the paranormal?

Derek: The paranormal is a funny thing, it has a weird way of bringing people together.

“Almost everyone has experienced something they couldn’t explain, something that likely scared them. These people are left with more questions than answers, and it’s human nature to explore the unexplored, to solve the unsolved.”

It also helps that learning more about the subject often takes people back to their childhood. I for one spent many hours as a child in our school library reading the same 3 or 4 books on the subject. I couldn’t get enough.

Linda: If you could explore/investigate any location in the world, where would that be? Why?

Derek: I’d love to explore the Congo in Africa, it’s said a dinosaur-like creature known as Mokele Mbembe, or ‘The One that Stops the Flow of Rivers’ resides there. According to local legend, the creature is aquatic and spends most of its time in the Congo River and its tributaries. Due to the remoteness of the region, there have been very few expeditions sent in search of the beast; I’d certainly like to add to that short list.

Susan Slaughter – Paranormal Investigator

Susan Slaughter, Paranormal Caught On Camera
Susan Slaughter, Image: Travel Channel, Paranormal Caught On Camera

Linda: Paranormal Caught On Camera offers insight as well as entertainment, do you consider it important to have that balance? Why?

Susan: I personally like to educate my audience on paranormal phenomena and proper investigative practices in the field. Sometimes when you take a subject too seriously and try to lecture people in a ‘matter of fact’ manner, you run the risk of coming off as stuffy and boring and will lose your audience. Having an entertainment aspect alongside being informative keeps an audience engaged.

Linda: What inspired your interest in the paranormal field?

Susan: Just recently, Lorraine Warren, a well known paranormal investigator and medium passed away. I was reflecting on how long I have followed her investigations and realized that she might have been the first person to make me realize that spirituality can be scientifically explored, data can be collected, and personal paranormal experiences can be corroborated. Although Warren and I have huge differences in methods, we both became aware of the supernatural world from a young age and confronted it with abilities we chose to explore and strengthen. When I started having experiences in my early childhood, I wanted to know why I was experiencing the phenomena.

“I had so many brooding questions about life and death and I felt the connections I had with the energies around me could help answer those questions. That’s why I set out on my path into the paranormal field.”

Linda: What types of activity excite you the most? Why?

Susan: I think the most exciting thing a paranormal investigator can come across is an apparition. Even better than experiencing one is capturing the phenomena on camera. But spiritually speaking, I love the personal encounters I have through possession. Because of movies and religious misconception, being possessed has become stigmatized. Voodoo practitioners know that you can learn so much about the history and your ancestors, as well as gain insight and advice through possessions. It’s not often, but when I come across an energy who wants to speak with me through the direct line of possession, I welcome it and learn from it.

Linda: What are the biggest misconceptions regarding the paranormal?

Susan: I think one of the biggest and most annoying misconceptions in the paranormal field is on the subject of demons. Yes, I believe there are such energies out there that are non-human in nature, meaning that there are intelligent and interactive energies that have never been harnessed in a human body before. That being said, all energies have a negative and positive aspect to them. A Yin and Yang, if you will. And all types of energies can snowball in a specific direction depending on how they are approached. When investigators go into a location and antagonize the energy, they send out bad vibes that can be absorbed by the non-human entity, and just like karma, the entity will return that energetic output back onto the investigative team emitting that vibe. Also, experiences like being pushed or scratched can be misinterpreted as a demonic interaction when in reality (or for all we know) that can be the reaction of a once human energy trying to communicate but not knowing how to manifest properly.

Linda: What is your response to those that view the paranormal field as disingenuous?

Susan: A huge chunk of the paranormal field is absolutely disingenuous. The majority of the investigative teams out there were schooled on how to investigate by some TV team. These teams just regurgitate the information they learned from shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures and then decided to call themselves professionals. It’s truly sad because the real investigators that spend years collecting proper data on the subject and take courses in theology, religions, esoteric studies, and even energy sciences get lost in the shuffle. I hope that paranormal sciences will one day be properly maintained and governed just like any other profession would be, like medicine or law.

Thank you, Brian, Sapphire, Derek and Susan, for sharing your Paranormal Caught On Camera insights. Be sure to check them out on the Travel Channel every Wednesday night at 10 PM EST. Do you believe? Let us know at Fan Fest News!

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