Ghostvillage.com author interview
Patrick Burke is the president of the American Battlefield Ghost Hunters Society based in Maryland. The purpose of the ABGHS is to teach paranormal investigations to those interested in the subject. Burke and his group focus their efforts on some of the most haunted hot spots in the world: battle sites. In his first book, Battlefield Guide to Ghost Hunting, Burke explores the locations, techniques, and evidence that he and his group have gathered in their years of research. Ghostvillage.com caught up with Patrick to ask him about the book.
What led you to focus your efforts on exploring the hauntings of battlefields?
Patrick Burke: My love of history, especially military history. As a sensitive, I always felt that there was a presence left on the battlefields I visited in my youth. Many years after I got out of the US Air Force, I came across a picture of what was considered ghostly evidence on battlefields. I felt drawn to further investigate battlefield phenomena and started to film (video) in a Near Infrared (NIR) format in 2000. My first time out I picked up 3 apparitions, I was hooked after that!
Do you think the approach to a paranormal investigation in a Battlefield is different than say, a home or cemetery?
Yes. I cover this topic in my book. I approach an investigation outdoors differently than I would in a historic residence or home. You have a controlled environment indoors, on a battlefield you are dealing with the elements; nature can be unpredictable at best. You need to take into consideration the time of year, what insects for instance, if any, are out during the time you are investigating, what is the basic speed of these possible insects (not wind driven, and be sure to calculate the speed coming toward the light as well as away). Crickets, frogs, and other critters can be a challenge when trying to capture EVP, you rarely get a quiet moment when out on a battlefield, so selecting a site to investigate in the daytime is important. I rely heavily on the historical research to pinpoint the initial area to investigate, where to set-up the stationary cameras, and the best possible location for capturing EVP.
Which battle site that you’ve investigated seems the most active. And why do you think that is?
Well, every battlefield I have been to is active. Gettysburg is certainly high on the list, however it is also now difficult to find an area at night that is not overrun with people; so doing a proper investigation is a challenge. I would say that if you are looking for a personal experience, Antietam in Maryland, Shiloh in Tennessee, or Fort Mifflin in Pennsylvania would be great places and all are very active. That said, my personal experience and opinion is that any area that has seen conflict is a good possible candidate for paranormal activity.
What kind of research equipment do you never leave home without?
When going out on a battlefield investigation; The Sony NightShot camcorder, NIR arrays (our science officer, Smitty builds them, Sony does have an 8 light NIR array we carry as well), Sony Cybershot camera, multiple digital recorders, LED flashlights, natural tri-field meter, and pyrometer wand. We also carry a list of those that have fallen in combat and the unit commanders, as well as the commanding generals from brigade on up. When investigating indoors we also bring remote video equipment, EMF detectors, and various other electronic equipment.
What kind of historical research does your team, the American Battlefield Ghost Hunters Society undertake before conducting an investigation?
The Wolf Pack (Mike Hartness, John Burke, Darryl “Smitty” Smith, and myself) does extensive research on the battle, normal time frame is about 4 to 6 weeks of researching Official Reports (OR’s), first-hand accounts such as, diaries, letters home, and recollection of the soldier in the thick of the fighting. We review maps of the conflict, any period photos of the area taken just after the battle if they are available, especially if it is of an area of the conflict we plan on investigating. Our expertise is on battlefield and historical haunting, I strive to ensure that I have as much information of the individual soldier that fought and died in the battle, or the history of the home so I can use my psychic intuition to interact on a positive level with the energies there. This is a part of the Intuitive Science Method of Investigating that I have developed over the years of investigating.
Do you think paranormal activity is more likely to happen on an anniversary of a battle?
I have captured activity on the date of the anniversary, the week before the anniversary, and the week after the anniversary. I have found that the attitude of the paranormal research is critical in interacting with, and capturing proof-positive evidence.
Your book, Battlefield Guide to Ghost Hunting, goes into a lot of detail regarding Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). Certainly the sound recordings are some of the most compelling evidence we have today. Where do you see EVP research moving in the future?
How the voices of the dead are transferred to the recording instrument is an area I see the most speculation in. I think the more people that experiment with trying to isolate the recording device in a format that would eliminate the outside noise factor would go far to establishing, from s scientific perspective, the authenticity of EVP for those that question the validity of the EVP captured.
What future projects are you and your team working on?
Quite a few! I am working with a production company, GhostNet Productions, LLC (www.ghostnetproductions.com). We are currently in production, with Jack Roth, on a TV pilot show that is going to be explosive! Stay on the lookout for Ghost Soldiers, battlefield history as you have never experienced it before! We are also in production of several documentary projects that approaches the paranormal from a very unique perspective.
ABGHS is a teaching society and we have our first direct-interactive distance learning DVD coming out, “Capturing The Voices of The Dead” a how-to on proper EVP technique, which incorporates the exclusive Intuitive Science Method of Investigating as we use it when attempting to collect EVP. This DVD has 3 methods we use in acquiring EVP, and will be on sale by November. I am also working on my second book. The Wolf Pack, along with Jack Roth and other member societies associated with ABGHS are continuing to expand our expertise and knowledge in historical sites and battlefields and have quite a few investigations scheduled.
What’s the last movie you saw in a theater?
Ratatouille with my beautiful wife and children. It was a great movie! Not to mention that I learned a few cooking tips from a rat! (I love to cook!)
Click here to buy this book now.
You can visit Patrick Burke’s Web site at: www.americanbattlefield.com.