Exploring the paranormal is a global phenomenon. No country is without its ghosts, and no country is without its ghost hunters. Allison Andrews is with the team Haunted Australia. A group that also serves as the cast of the popular television program, Haunted Australia which airs across the land down under on Channel 31.
Ghostvillage.com asked Allison to share her perspective on the role of women in the paranormal from her Aussie perspective.
How did you first get interested in the paranormal?
Without being cliché, I had experiences as a child that I have often thought about, that to this day I cannot explain.
The previous owner of the house I occupied as a child passed away in the front bedroom, and I would experience cold spots, doors opening and closing, feelings of being watched, etc. Being I did not know a lot about the paranormal at that age, I thought these experiences strange, but did not take a lot of notice until they began to happen on a regular basis in which I began to question why these things were happening.
I began to read books and research spirit communication in an effort to learn all I could about the afterlife and the paranormal in general.
Do you feel that because you’re a woman you have had to overcome some hurdles in your pursuit of the paranormal? If so, what were they?
I consider myself to be very lucky almost as far to say that this is what I am supposed to be doing. There are not a lot of opportunities to work on television in this field, but I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of Haunted Australia only two years after I had started investigating on a serious basis, and I am very grateful for the opportunity I have been given.
The only hurdle I personally have had to face is my age. I have come under scrutiny by other more experienced investigators here who believe because of my age I do not have enough knowledge to be taken seriously, personally I believe this is a very outdated way of thinking as what I may lack in experience, I make up for with hard work and enthusiasm. I could not see myself being anywhere else at this stage of my life.
What unique challenges do women face in the field of paranormal research today?
This is a male dominated world unfortunately, but in this day-and-age, things are changing very quickly and women are no longer seen as second to men. I think the leadership roles within the paranormal field are predominantly played by men, but I think women’s roles are equally as important in this field, as there needs to be a solid balance. Dare I say men and women have two very different ways of thinking, and in this growing field both those ways of thinking and looking at certain situations certainly compliment each other toward a better conclusion.
Have you encountered certain instances during your work where you feel that being a woman has helped you in your research?
I think in general terms people respond better to women.
I don’t know about the U.S., but certainly here in Australia people have a tendency be quite reserved when you mention that you are a paranormal investigator and what your research is for, so you must approach certain subjects with care when researching and on investigation, and I think women are better for those roles.
What is the biggest misconception about women who are interested in paranormal research?
That we are too bloody emotional and highly strung ! C’mon, boys… you can’t play that card forever !
How prominent is the social aspect of paranormal investigative groups in Australia? Have you seen an increase in women who are interested in becoming part of an organization?
The rise in paranormal groups in Australia over the last two years has been phenomenal. I think we have the likes of Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted to thank for that, and for bringing the field to the public eye. But I would definitely say there has been an increase of women who are interested in becoming part of an organization which I think is fantastic. Every person has differing ideas, theories, religious beliefs, and methods of investigation, which all play a big part in the way we personally investigate, which I believe is essential to keep this field fresh for future generations of investigators.
Do you think women are becoming more prominent in the paranormal compared to five years ago? How much is still left to be done until you think there’s truly an equal footing?
Defiantly! But I also think there has been a huge rise in this field compared to five years ago. It is slowly becoming more widely accepted that this is a serious field that deserves due credit to experimentation as to what lies beyond. I think now more than ever people are starting to ask questions about our existence, and what happens when we pass on to that other place. This is defiantly a learning field and there is no end to how much we can explore, I think there will always be certain boundaries between men and women, but those boundaries not only in society, but also in this field are quickly coming down and we are seeing both men and women working equally and with unity to achieve the common goal.
You can visit the Haunted Australia Web site at: www.mysticalguides.com