We have taken a deep dive into spooky season and as we tucked into binging shows like “The Fall of the House of Usher”, we can’t help but have spirits on our minds. Many of us have had stuff happen that we cannot explain. Some of us are JUST FINE to just let things be and convince ourselves that our minds are playing tricks on us. Then some of us are open to finding out more. When we heard about a group called the Canadian Paranormal Investigations, we were definitely curious about what they do.
The team consists of Glenn Laycock, Director, Darlene Van Den Elzen, Assistant Director, Patricia Macdonald, Investigator, Gail Macdonald, Investigator, Justin Alzner, Investigator, and Angel Morgan, Psychic and Investigator.
Each one brings their own special gifts and passion to the team. Glenn is considered the most skeptical of the group. His involvement includes bringing the technical side and is also known to be more of the debunker. Darlene, while a believer, is also searching for concrete proof of the paranormal. Patricia has a lot of experience investigating the paranormal and brings a host of gifts, not only with tech but also as a sensitive/medium. Gail is Patricia’s daughter and is getting proficient in the investigative process.
Justin is known as a lightning rod as some of their tech equipment goes off in his presence. He brings his strong beliefs and passions to the team. And then there’s Angel. We already know Angel who has been working as a psychic for many years. She has an abundance of knowledge about paranormal beliefs, customs and practices throughout the world. She is considered an invaluable resource for this team.
We had a chance to ask them about what they do…
How did this group form and why?
Glenn: I’d have to say that this group was formed to help people.
I was never a believer in the paranormal until I bought a home that turned
out to be extremely active and I realized very quickly that we had nobody
to reach out to at that time for help. When picking a team I asked my friend
Darlene Van Den Elzen to help me.
Darlene: Our fearless leader Glenn Laycock lived in a haunted house and sought help some years ago. He started a paranormal team in order to investigate the paranormal and get answers to some of his questions. When that team disbanded he decided to form another team. That’s when he asked me to join him.
Angel: Our group was formed because of Glenn’s insatiable love for this work. With the help of Darlene, who co-founded this team, they hand-picked the six of us. Our need to heal and our curiosity is partly what brings us to the table. We want to know the stories behind each case we take on. Darlene is a bit of a historian and the stuff she comes up with is gold. Then when we go in, combine that with what the spirits have to say, and sometimes the old timers that actually still are a part of the space….there is nothing like it.
What does this team do and how often do you meet?
Glenn: We are in contact all the time. Along with being team members, we are also very close friends. We share ideas, and thoughts and even sometimes share advice with each other outside of the paranormal.
Darlene: We often get called for help. When we receive a call, we discuss it with the team. It must be stressed that while we consider every call and discuss it amongst ourselves, we don’t always take on every investigation. We carefully consider the who, what, where, when and how of each paranormal inquiry and sometimes we do decline. Most of the time, however, we will plan and execute an investigation, which normally consists of bringing tech to a location and then attempting to interact with spirits.
Angel: On a team like ours it’s important to have people you trust. We are really fortunate because we have also become friends. We discuss each case as a group to decide if it’s for us, we do post-mortem sessions to discuss how we felt about it, and how we can be stronger next time.
We have team building experiences like a class I held with the team to help us understand how to keep the situations we get into energetically safe, and what to do if things go sideways. Some of us also went to on a weekend where we experienced ceremonies, cultures, and spirits in different ways. This helps us to become more sensitive to different situations. It really helped us to bond:)
Is it like what we would see on TV? Do you go in with all the equipment to determine if there is any activity?
Glenn: What we see on TV is a little on the dramatic side and sometimes very embellished. We use the same equipment bay what is unique with our team is we combine the tech with the skills of mediums (Angel and Patricia) We find the two methods often complement and many times validate each other
Darlene: It is a lot like you see on TV, except TV takes all the highlights and plunks it into a half hour show. Real paranormal investigation takes a massive amount of time and patience. If we get a number of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and the spirit has interacted with us through the spirit box or through dowsing rods, We call that a successful night.
Angel: I find it’s very tech-oriented or psychic-oriented. There are very few that are both. We have two mediums on the team myself and Patricia. She’s cool cause she’s also a tech so she’s a bridge. When we go in we are able to experience the spirits and then have the tech validate. Many teams on TV are out there to prove ghosts exist. I always say for us “We are not here to prove a ghost’s existence, we are here to help you experience their existence”. And more so, we help everyone move on with their lives, or…after lives, LOL.
For those of us who don’t know, can you tell us what is a paranormal investigator? Are you ghost hunters?
Glenn: This is only my opinion but paranormal investigation and ghost hunt are two very different things. If you go to a site that is visited by teams constantly is it really an investigation? Just ask the previous team for their results.I have a bit of a problem with this because if there is such a thing as a trapped or tormented spirit is it right to be amongst the hundreds of people each year poking at it saying “are you here?”
Paranormal investigation is going to a location to validate what people have experienced and trying to find out why a spirit is there. Is it by choice or is it trapped?
Darlene: The important thing to remember is the claim of paranormal activity can be very distressing to a client. Sometimes people are frightened by the activity in their space. In my opinion, a paranormal investigator must be very sensitive to the client’s needs, discreet, mindful of the client’s privacy and focused on the client’s wishes. We are not ghost hunters. We take a paranormal claim very seriously when we are attempting to discover the reasons behind a disturbance. That being said, we will do events for charity.
Angel: This is just my experience. Hunters are hunters. That’s what they do. I did this kind of work early in my career. Some work with equipment, some don’t, there are different kinds. They go in, they hunt out darker spirits and they get rid of it by any means necessary. This type of “hunt” done well, is to be respected.
Some, however, hunt out ghosts with equipment so they can see what’s there, and experience the presence without doing anything outside of that. And others go in with equipment to poke the ghost so to speak, that’s just not cool in my humble opinion. Hunters can run in teams (or packs), or can work individually which is never recommended.
Investigators investigate. They collect data. They find evidence and help people understand what is happening in their spaces and lives energetically, through tangibles. When required they have the knowledge and ability to do releases like hunters, but most times differently, and more gently.
How do you decide where to go? And do you have a bucket list?
Glenn: I wouldn’t say I have a bucket list but really any historic building that is thought to be active. The ROM in Toronto would be incredible!
Darlene: Just like in the Ghostbusters movie, we wait for a call to come in. We don’t have a bucket list, per se, however, I think all of us have a dream location in mind that we’d love to investigate someday. Mine would be an old castle.
Angel: I don’t have a bucket list, but The Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto is one I’d like to investigate. I worked there as an usher when I was younger and not on this path. I want to see how that experience would feel now:)
What was one of the coolest places this group has visited? and what makes it so special?
Darlene: So many come to mind, each one is special in its own way. We recently hosted a ghost walk at the Horse Palace at the Exhibition grounds during the Toronto Home Show. That was pretty special, and also sobering, to potentially contact soldiers whose lives were cut short by WWII. Many were housed at the Horse Palace before being shipped overseas.
We also investigated a graveyard connected to the Underground Railway in Otterville, Ontario. In fact, the candle in our logo comes from the grave markers found there. As the head of the Otterville Historical Society told us, they didn’t have the names of the people buried there, but they wanted the spirits to know that their light still shines, so each grave was marked by a stone with a lit candle engraved on it. As a team, we found that very moving.
Glenn: I’m with Darlene on this one. Otterville was unique, and at conjure camp, we had the privilege of doing a release of unarmed freedom seekers, so it was profound having already been to this incredible place.
Angel: Patricia and I had to do a release of what we thought was one entity haunting which ended up being two and we had to tag team to bring the home and residence to peace. So cool to put our ability to work together to the test!
What do you wish people knew about what you do?
Glenn: That we are here to help, we don’t judge and want to validate what they are experiencing.
Darlene: Our team was formed in order to help people who have nowhere to turn, We also identify and help spirits who may be restless, or need assistance crossing over. We try to do this with the utmost respect.
Angel: Not all cases are hauntings. I’m the psychic and will be the first one to tell you that in many cases there is a logical explanation. Please don’t be afraid. Talk to friends, and family first. Don’t be embarrassed or shy. This is a topic that is mainstream now.
Could people invite you into their spaces to help determine/confirm paranormal activity? And if so, what could they learn from this experience? And where can they reach you?
Glenn: Absolutely they can! We don’t charge anything for doing paranormal investigations, we do it because it is our passion and we really just want to help. People will learn that spirits are not to be feared. They are just people who are lost, have unfinished business or are just holding on to a place where they were happy.
Curious to learn more? Check out their website www.CanadianParanormalInvestigations.com
*Lead in Photo by Erik Müller on Unsplash