Dave Considine and Barbie Heid along with the members of the Phantasm Psychic Research Team are the premier ghost hunters in the world now that the Warrens have passed on. They’re leading the efforts to pull back the layer of the otherside. Dave have been a consultant for A Ghost Story for three seasons and interviewed on a few episodes. They were kind enough to answer a few questions for me for the project this year.
Q: How did this whole ghost hunting thing get started?
We developed into what you see today as the Phantasm Psychic Research Team over time. All of us who are members of the team basically started off with personal “paranormal” experiences, which inspired us all early in life to seek further information on the subject. Being of like minds, it just worked out that individually all of us over the years in our own personal journey at different times became investigators for Ed and Lorraine Warren and this is where we all met.
Q: Could you describe your method to my readers? Is it a process you’ve developed?
The Phantasm Psychic Research Team is very clear in its belief system and investigative techniques. We seat ourselves in the category of both ghost hunting and religious demonology, the study of how supernatural and preternatural beings can intercede in the lives of humans. In other words, we believe there are different types of spirits, not just those of the deceased. The first thing we do is determine the severity by conducting interviews over the phone initially, followed of course by a physical investigation. We try to build a timeline of the events that resulted in the situation. The stages are classified as invitation, obsession, infestation, oppression, and possession. It is important to note that we can only aid a person if they choose to be alleviated of this problem. An investigation is fruitless unless the person wants the spiritual assault to stop.
If they willingly invited it in, they have to want it to leave or we can be of no help.
Q: I know by now you must be experts just from the experience you’ve had, and that many formal institutions don’t offer paranormal research as a major. What sort of training have you had? Was it formal or private study?
Dave was trained personally by Ed Warren as a religious demonologist, which led to him being the assistant to Catholic exorcist + O.P Bishop Robert McKenna. Also over the years he worked very closely with many other noted figures in the fields of paranormal research, including exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin, Fr. James Lebar of the New York Arch Diocese and Fr. Rama Coomaraswamy, M.D Assistant Director of the Albert Einstein institute of Psychiatry NY, New York, among others. Dave is also a trained in drug, alcohol and domestic violence counseling which helps greatly in our case work when dealing with individuals and families.
So, with the combined knowledge of everyone in the Phantasm Psychic Research Team from working already with the Warrens and drawing knowledge from there own backgrounds, under the direction of Dave we developed into Phantasm Psychic Research as you see it today and we have been in operation since 1994.
Q: You and your group are internationally recognized ghost hunters. I’ve seen you on telly live and depicted by actors. It must attract a lot of attention. So you must get a lot of requests from people for help. How do you determine which cases you investigate?
Yes, we do receive a lot of emails and letters from around the world, but we never turn anyone away who wants help, even if it’s not a spiritual problem. Sometimes, it comes to light during the interview phase that the person may actually be suffering from a psychiatric problem. In that instance, we would stay with them until they got the psychiatric help they need. When a case takes this path, usually we have to bring in the whole family and set up counseling for them as well. But we never leave a case until it is completely done and the family has what they need.
Q: You’ve been at this awhile. You must have had some cases that fizzle out on and some cases that shake your understanding of life and death. When you think back to your collective experiences, are there any events that stand out in your mind? Can you tell us about some of those stunning experiences?
To be honest, some cases don’t turn out the way you would like to see them end. Occasionally, if the family’s faith is not centered correctly, or if there were already domestic problems present, the situation may lead to the breakup of a family. That’s something we hate to see, and we are always waiting in the wings to provide further counseling, and or professional help if they require it. But normally, we are able to use the individual or family’s faith to wrap up cases successfully and get them back on the road they need to be on with their faith.
There are quite a few cases we can think of actually, but two in particular come to mind. The cases we are speaking of had to do with a mortician’s assistant who was a satanic necrophiliac and had become possessed by a demon and the other was a demonic infestation in a home here in Connecticut which involved a magic mirror.
The disturbing details involving these two cases will haunt us for a long, long time.
Q: Tell us about your cadre of paranormal detectives.
The Phantasm Psychic Research Team includes twelve members, and reinforcements when necessary. Each one of us has a specific function. Dave Considine is a religious demonologist and also is the director & cofounder of Phantasm Psychic Research. Barbara Considine is the cofounder of the group, and an investigator specializing in counseling individuals and families. Barbie Heid is PPR’s case manager and investigator. John Arel is the group’s technical director. Investigator Mark Oneto is responsible for “security” for the group, which in this field involves both visible and invisible threats. Our team’s logistics guy is Investigator Chris Daddio, who a lot of times has to meet the groups needs in completely unpredictable situations. Jeff Messenger and Linda Oneto, and Julie Groom are veteran investigators, always ready for the next task – wherever it may be.
Our team works with many exorcists and deliverance ministers, but we do have our own core group of clergymen whom we work with consistantly. These men are of great faith, and seasoned individuals in there field of expertise. Exorcist +O.P Bishop Robert McKenna has helped many people over the years, and Phantasm has been blessed with his help in many of our cases where it was necessary for Exorcism. Exorcist +Father K is essential to the group, for he is our field exorcist and we count on him greatly in our out of state as well as local cases especially when we feel exorcism may be needed. Deliverance Minister +Reverend Leon Wilkes is also a great asset due to his ministry, knowledge and faith.
Q: Are you off on any cases now? Something coming up in the future?
We just wrapped up four cases, all in the Midwest, and we have three more waiting for our help down the Atlantic seaboard. We don’t like to take on too many cases at a time because we like to be able to give them the individual attention they need.
At this time we are involved with multiple feature film, television documentary projects and are currently on our 2013-2014 lecture tour Night of the Haunted, Beyond the Paranormal. We are also looking forward to releasing our new book- “Where Angels Fear To Tread”, which will highlight cases the Phantasm Psychic Research Team has been involved with over the years.
Q: Do you believe sans a doubt that there is life after death? It would be comforting if you said yes and told me why. I’m a bit scared.
We believe that there is more than just a patch of grass and a marker over our heads when we die. Death is not an end, but a beginning – moving forward into a new and higher dimension, one of enlightenment; and learning the answers to mysteries kept hidden while we inhabited the earth. Proof that as a being, as a soul, we do survive the grave.