Here's a blast from the past. In 2003, I met George Lutz at our annual conference, UNIV-CON. He is, of course, the man who lived in the Amityville house and fled after 28 days. It later inspired a book, "The Amityville Horror" and two films based off of it (one in 1977, then a remake in 2005). Back in my journalism days, I was a freelance writer. In 2004, knowing that they were remaking "Amityville," I asked if I could interview him about the process.
All of us go through what St. John of the Cross calls "The Dark Night Of The Soul." It's known by many other names. Mid-life crisis, life changes, etc. Whether it's leaving a job after years or ending a marriage, these changes are hard. Sometimes they're embraced with optimism. But most of the times, ending a job, friendship or relationship, even when it's for the best, comes with fear, sadness, guilt, depression and anger.
I remember when my mother quit her job working as a CPA for another CPA. For as long as I could remember, she built herself up to earn her CPA certification, but over time, she was unhappy working for someone else. In 2005, she decided to leave her job and start her own business. She was terrified. I was scared for her. From afar, I had faith she was doing what she felt was right. But from her end, she still had three underage children, a husband, a house and one child in college to support. She knew the risks of starting her own business, but it doesn't make it any less scary. In 2005, I too, was going through my own change. I was due to graduate. Due to some very intense paranormal cases where we were working with the Catholic Church, I ended up having to temporarily drop out of college. There was fear on how I would come up with the finances to resume my education. My family, already giving me five years of supporting my college career, were strained. I was scared. I was also angry at myself for failing all my classes that semester (which forced me to drop out, so the grades wouldn't count). Did I have a valid reason? It depends on who you ask. I knew I couldn't abandon the families we were helping, who were experiencing life-or-death situations. My parents didn't understand and to this day I don't expect them to.
Some time ago, never mind exactly when, I was sitting with a psychologist who was a prominent member of the American Psychological Association. I was surprised by her visit, because I have had to battle against the close-mindedness of some psychologists and academics for as long as I can remember. It should be noted, however, that after "Paranormal State" aired, I started receiving e-mails on a regular basis from scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical/scientific professionals who were believers in paranormal research. They feared, however, being open about their beliefs because they believed it would cost them their job.
This psychologist, on the other hand, wasn't concerned about any of that. In fact, she acknowledged that there is a stigma, or a prejudice, within the scientific community against anyone who believed in the possibility of supernatural phenomenon. I argued with her - and she agreed - that there are more in the field who believe than don't. If only more of them would come out about it, I argued. But she had something else on her mind.
It started off by her asking me, "what do you do, exactly, when you investigate these claims?" I was a bit puzzled. After all, she sought me out, so in theory she must've seen my show or at least Google'd me. Nevertheless, I tried to explain to her what I did as best as I could.
Many people ask where I've been. Or when will they see my face back on their TV? Well, the first part I'll answer as best I can. Doing "Paranormal State" was a massive undertaking and when I informed A&E in 2011 that I would not be returning, it was largely due to exhaustion. I had been followed by a camera crew since my final moments in college up until my late-20s. I hadn't known anything else. And there are other responsibilities that come when you "star" in a hit TV show that happens to be a documentary/reality program. You're not an actor playing a doctor where you read lines. I was, and am, a real paranormal investigator. What you saw in the show were my cases. The judgment calls and direction the cases went in were by my decisions. In other words, despite the TV crew, I was working as a full-time paranormal investigator. Now, add the TV crew and you have another job on top of that.
This is where I'll write my introductory blog. Keep it creative. Keep them guessing.