In recent years terms like Electronic Voice Phenomenon (“EVP”) have found a place in pop culture references thanks to television shows that hunt, chase, or debunk paranormal activity. Locally, the Vancouver Paranormal Society has been conducting investigations of their own for the last 19 years. The non-profit organization is the Lower Mainland’s longest-running paranormal research group and they have been keeping very busy.
“With the presence of TV shows and stuff like that it’s helped people sort of come out of the woodwork and contact us,” said Peter Renn, President and Lead Investigator at the Vancouver Paranormal Society (“VPS”). Peter got into this line of work — or hobby really, as all VPS members volunteer their time and have day jobs outside of the group — due to experiences he had growing up in a heritage home. It led him to want to explore just what might be out there.
“Our main priority as a group is helping people out. But taking a step back from that, the personal experiences you have with the things that you see just make you look at the world differently, with a different perspective.”
VPS Members volunteer their time to conduct two types of investigations: private residential cases and public buildings. Usually people get in touch with the group to find answers to things they cannot explain — and to see if there is a logical explanation out there.
Peter said that 95% of the time there’s a logical explanation for something that people might deem as paranormal but it’s that other 5% that drives them.
Members come from all walks of life and have varying belief systems but they have one thing in common, they hope to understand more than they do now by sharing their experiences with their clients. Each case is confidential and clients receive a report from the team once the investigation wraps up.
For public buildings, usually it’s the VPS team that contacts the manager or business owner so that they can go in and test new equipment or experiment with new methods. Local landmarks famous for otherworldly visitors include the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (with the “Lady in Red”), the Dominion Building (and its architect that is said to linger near the stairwell) and several others including theatres and museums.