Halloween was one of my favourite celebrations growing up in Canada.
And in celebration of Halloween, I thought I’d focus this week’s blogpost on the ‘other side’. The side that some people believe we go to after we die. The place where we keep living, in spirit form.
And what better person to talk to than the Hutt’s bonified ghost investigator, Kathy McBride. Below I ask Kathy about ghost investigating and her ghost road. Go grab a cuppa, turn off the lights, ooh even light a candle, and enjoy this week’s Little Hutt story!
Meet: Kathy McBride
Psychic Medium and Ghost Investigator
What’s a ghost investigation?
Ghost hunting, Kathy tells me, is about taking people into a haunted location to try and get proof of the other side. It’s for people to see ghosts or experience spirits.
‘We sit in the dark and call out to them. We’ve had some good success rates. We have equipment as well. We bought ours from the States. We have electronic voice phenomena (EVP), electrical magnetic fields (EMF), thermometers and other equipment.’
Kathy would like to get more equipment too because it makes it easier for spirits to connect with the people. She tells me how, thankfully, her husband is a bit of an inventor, and how they’re working on building ghost motion sensors that are different from the ones you can buy. They’ve also used a laser light, and have seen a ghost walk in front of a laser beam. It was awesome, she tells me.
‘In terms of being scared, we end up laughing a lot. People must remember that these are just family members of people who just passed away. Most of what you see on TV is not real. There are good and bad ghosts, but that’s why you go with someone who knows what the hell they’re doing.’
Recording movements, obtaining photo evidence, Kathy tells me how she’s scientific about ghost investigating.
‘If someone’s just taking a photo of a piece of dust flying around, and they go, ‘Is this an orb?’. I’ll tell them, ‘No, it’s just a piece of dust, or that’s an insect, or that’s rain, or that’s the sun’.’
Kathy also tells me how she believes in putting a protection up around herself and the groups she leads through investigation. How she’s respectful to the spirits.
‘There are bad things out there,’ says Kathy. ‘And if you’re disrespectful you can end up taking stuff home. That’s why I believe you should go with someone who knows what they’re doing.’
How often do you ghost hunt?
‘I can do it every month, sometimes more. I have a group of ghost investigators that I go with that love it. They’re passionate about it. We want to bring through proof.
‘When we go to a venue. If there are any ghosts that are stuck or need help, we, of course, help them. That is our priority over getting evidence. The ones that have shown themselves like at the hospital, they have chosen to show themselves.’
At a recent ghost investigation, Kathy tells me how out of 19 people, 18 people saw black figures walking behind people.
‘These weren’t things you could manipulate. These were figures walking. Honestly, when you see this you’re more in shock and not able to film. You’re just struck dumb when they are going down the hall.’
This year Kathy’s running two fright nights (fun nights) at the Wellington SPCA (already sold out!) over Halloween, which is a big fundraiser for the SPCA. She’s done a few of these ghost investigations at the SPCA on Halloween. (Although you may still go on a ghost hunt in January with Kathy…if there are places left.)
‘Thankfully, the SPCA has moved into a haunted building. Because you have my favourite cause [helping animals] with ghost investigations, so I will forever do paying ghost hunts up there. And half the money always goes to the SPCA.
‘We’ve helped raise thousands for the SPCA over the last few years. It’s great.’
Kathy tells me how she and her fellow ghost investigators are also planning on doing a series of the ghost investigations on YouTube soon.
Her ghost road – Kathy’s story
Accepting and knowing she had a gift wasn’t a clear road for Kathy. It was more one full of smoke, fog, learning by taking chances and making mistakes along the way. Kathy didn’t realise she had psychic medium powers until she was well into her adult life. She knew she had friends, and she started realising over time that other people couldn’t see these friends. Below Kathy tells me a little about the journey she’s taken to get to where she is now, her ghost road.
Growing up in Wellington, Kathy had memories of seeing spirits back to when she was eight months old of being pushed in a swing in the door. Her mum would push her as she’d do the housework. She remembers how she always had these people around her, but she wasn’t scared of them. At the time she just thought they were her friends, and that everyone could see them.
Not all the spirits around her were kind though, and navigating who she could trust down her ghost road was a learning experience.
‘Probably my worst experience was in kindergarten when I was about four. There was a very tall, steep slide. I’d go up the top of the stairs to the slide and this voice would tell me, ‘Roll down the stairs.’ It was a man’s voice.
‘I’d go, ‘No! No!
‘But one day I decided to do it and rolled down the stairs, head first. I landed at the bottom and for some reason, I wasn’t hurt, and thought, ‘I wonder if I should do that again?’’
The voice told Kathy to do it again, but she decided she wouldn’t. She decided she wouldn’t play around the back area of the school where the slide was anymore.
Right throughout school, Kathy felt like an outsider. Never playing with the other kids, she found herself alone. She would always go outside the school grounds and talk to her friends there.
It wasn’t that she was the only person in her family who experienced these other people. The other side was normalised in her house. When a door in her house growing up would open by itself, as it often did, her dad and mum would say, ‘That’s your auntie so-and-so’ or, ‘That’s your grandma so-and-so.’ No one in her home ever referred to them as ghosts.
‘I used to talk away to these people, and hear my grandfather walk up the veranda stairs. Because my room was where the old sunporch was, and they converted it to a bedroom.
‘I would hear my grandfather who was dead walking up the stairs. I never thought they were ghosts, although sometimes things would scare me.’
Kathy always had premonitions about people and even though she didn’t mean to, she gave her first unofficial reading to a girl way back in primary school.
‘There was this girl who kept trying to beat me up. My people told me to ask her to write a list of 10 things she wanted. So, I did. She had a fish, a puppy, and a few other things. She was an only child.
Young Kathy told her, ‘You’re getting a fish, and you’re getting this puppy.’
The girl, Kathy tells me, went home that day and she got a puppy – she wasn’t expecting it.
‘The next day the girl went to school, and she and her friends found a goldfish in the gutter alive. Apparently, it came from up the neighbourhood where this woman had a fishpond in her yard. She had been cleaning up her fish. Somehow it got down the stairs, across the road, and around the corner, found in the gutter and it was still alive – they returned the fish.’
After that, the girl pretty well left Kathy alone.
Not fitting in and not feeling like she connected with anyone at school was the reason Kathy decided to leave school when she was 15 years old. She just couldn’t handle the other kids. She preferred her own people.
After she left school she worked at Woolworths, then went into office work. Working her way up the corporate ladder Kathy ended up running offices at some of the best companies around Wellington.
‘I was actually quite posh. I had grown up that way. I did very well.’
Kathy strived away in the corporate world for about 15 years until she became sick after having her second child. She was in a lot of pain and couldn’t go anywhere. It was at this point that Kathy had an inkling that these invisible people weren’t just people, but she still didn’t know she had a gift.
‘In a nightclub in my 20s, I asked this woman why she brought her grandmother who was wearing a green dress to the nightclub? She told me, ‘That’s my grandmother and she’s dead! What the hell are you talking about?
‘I had to leave the nightclub and go to another one. My friends got all upset with me because this woman’s grandmother had not long been dead.’
Kathy can see these people as clear as you. Sometimes she just knows they’re there. Sometimes they’re a bit like smoke, and other times they can be as solid as you or me.
It wasn’t until Kathy went to the spiritualist church in Wainuiomata that someone told her that she saw spirits, that she could do readings. And it was around this point that Kathy was open to receiving input from others, and her friends told her to start doing readings.
‘By then I knew what readings were, but I had never trained to do this ever. No one told me how to do it. But they said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll tell you what to say.’ And I went, ‘Okay’. So, I put an ad in the paper.’
Kathy’s first client visited her in Wainuiomata all the way from Tawa. She charged ten dollars for the whole hour. The woman’s loved ones came along with the woman, Kathy could see them in her head, she described what she saw, and said what her people told her to say.
And that’s how Kathy’s psychic medium career all started. Three months later Kathy booked a hall and started teaching people how to listen to the spirits.
‘So, I did, and up to the last minute I was typing out how to do this.’
Soon after Kathy sold her house, and went to live in the gypsy fair. ‘The proper one,’ she tells me. And not long after she joined they told her she was going to do a show with another psychic. She had about 170 people attend the show – her first one. She continued doing shows with breaks in between; but she kept doing readings, teaching people how to do it.
Travelling around the country she lived on the gypsy fair for about 18 months until she left the fair to live in the Wairarapa. And it was in the Wairarapa that Kathy had her first taste of ghost investigating.
‘I met one guy up in the Wairarapa he had been hunting with a group of ghost investigators in England. There’s a well-known, scientific group that’s very hard to get into over there. He and I did quite a bit of ghost investigations in the Wairarapa.’
Kathy moved down South for a time, and then back to the Hutt City where she’s been calling it home for the last seven to eight years where she continues to train people on how to give readings, leads ghost investigations, organises psychic fairs, and gives readings.
If you’d like to experience a reading, or to organise a ghost investigation, contact Kathy McBride.