Conversations with a paranormal investigator ..... Ashley Knibb
When I wanted to launch this new series, I automatically had in mind the person I wanted to feature as the first interview. When I reached out, I was thrilled that he agreed to be apart of this project. I am of course talking about Ashley Knibb. I first 'met' Ashley online (as we have never met in person) where our mutual contacts and love for research and the fact that we were both paranormal bloggers meant our paths crossed. After talking with Ashley, he completely changed the way I look at certain things. In particular he has really opened my mind to the possibilities of PSI in ways I had never thought. I know how much I have benefitted from our discussions and from reading his articles and that is why I want to really highlight the work he is doing in the field.
So here is the first conversation with a paranormal investigator and I introduce to you: Ashley Knibb from the UK!
Please provide a short bio of who you are and what you do in the paranormal field:
This one is always quite tough to answer, as the what I do bit is often an anomaly in itself. So, I will start at the beginning and run through it as fast as possible. I was lucky enough to be brought up in a house where my father was always very organised, logical and methodical in his approach to work and life really. He also worked in communications. My mother was more the creative influence, but equally had the comprehension of science from her work at universities as a technician in lab. It was my mum who was the writer and wrote a few books in her time. Between them they always encouraged us to seek out the answers and to make our own minds up through working through things. This included the understanding of things like religion, science, technical things and the unexplained. It was this background that sparked my own approach and interest in the paranormal. This was increased greatly after I witnessed a possible apparition at a near by Manor House to where I lived. This experience led me to looking into the buildings history and even a group of friends and I attempting to investigate, but alas that team ran away Scooby-doo style!
Over the years the unknown and I were pretty much entwined, there was never much in my life that didn’t connect me to something paranormal. However from my teens to late twenties most was done through reading various books and conducting random pieces of research. It was only in my late twenties that I began to investigate overnight and quickly created a team, known back then as Farsight Paranormal Research Society. As I investigated with my team I wrote articles for a few paranormal magazines and began to blog on the subject.
After a few years I became more interested in investigating, researching and writing on the subject, so stopped my team in order to focus on my own work. It was at this point I joined the SPR and focused my research more. It was also when I became more serious about blogging. The blogging then began to take off and my readers grew quickly.
This has allowed me to investigate all around the UK and research various cases and locations. It has also allowed me to work with a few mediums which has helped me developed various theories too.
More recently as a member of the SPR, I have been given the fantastic opportunity to become the Events Reporter for the SPR, which means I get to attend all the SPR Lectures and Study Days then report on them for the SPR Magazine - Paranormal Review. This has helped my writing, but equally helped me to learn a great deal about other aspects of psychical research. The field is ridiculously vast believe me.
What do I do in the field ? Well I am a para-theorist, which means I like to come up with various ideas around the paranormal in order to help explain it. This has led to me creating a section of my blog called ‘Psi Theory’ so I can pretty much have a place to share such brain dumps. It has also meant that I have started to look at developing ideas and theories like my Telepathic Interaction Theory. This shows how to use ideograms like Feynman’s Diagrams to quickly outline an interaction. I am also a writer and a blogger too as I love writing about the topic greatly. Plus the more I learn the more I want to write and share the knowledge too. Im also a researcher and an investigator too, simply because I love a good mystery, bit of an Indiana Jones fan too.
How did you get started in the paranormal field?
I think it must have been a keen interest in looking into mysteries and the unknown, a thirst to figure stuff out. As I mentioned before I think that first experience of seeing an Apparition at age 11 probably sparked it, but I also had interactions with Mediumship (my cousin is a medium) and other elements from an early age. My mum even wrote a book for children once called ‘The Mouse with ESP’, so it was a done deal for me. My first overnight event also locked me in as during it, a digital camera vibrated by its own accord across a desk. Theres still no explanation for that.
What is it that draws you to the paranormal?
The thirst to know more about that which isn’t known. I know for many its about what may lay beyond life in after death, but actually I try not to make that assumption. The true understanding of consciousness or the possibility of a collective consciousness fascinates me far more than ghosts or spirits. The fact that spirit communication could be telepathic communication all draws me in every time. Its what I truly try to focus on.
Do any members of your family research/investigate the paranormal as well? (Does it run in the family?)
When I ran my own team Farsight PRS my sister joined us and she was in charge of filming the investigations/experiments in order to assist in documenting them. My cousin is a medium too and has joined me on a few investigations as well. So, I guess it does run in my family a little. They are all pretty much open minded about it too, which is really good.
What is your area of expertise in the paranormal?
I would never say I was an expert in t he paranormal as its not my day job really. However I am pretty good at organising and documenting investigations to ensure the data is captured as much as possible. That was why I wrote The Paranormal Investigators Journal, which is designed to be a simple journal with all the details to allow its owner to simply document their case. I am a stickler for gather data, which fits with my ability to design ideas for experiments I guess.
I am still learning, as are most of us. No matter how long you’ve investigated for and if you believe you have it nailed, theres still stuff to learn in my opinion.
As I mentioned I am looking into telepathy, but this is a vast subject too, so lots to learn still. I have also looked into mediumship and seances in detail, and the Scole Experiment. In fact the Scole Experiment and Cross-Correspondents are two particular areas that still hold my intrigue.
What do you believe a ‘ghost’ is? Do you believe in ghosts/spirits?
Obviously I know the assumption is that a ghost is a recording of someone that has passed, whilst a spirit is an intelligent communicative version perhaps demonstrating survival of consciousness. However the question is what do I believe. I have seen and witnessed some true oddities in my time, but as my knowledge of the subject grows my opinion has indeed evolved. These assumptions of ghost/spirit are based on what we want them to be, as we seek to prove an afterlife, but the true evidence should support this and to date its truly insufficient and the survival hypothesis remains unproven.
I believe that we still need to categorically comprehend what a ghost or spirit are. For example, that recording seen to be a ghost could be there because you walked into a room and that room sparked your mind to telepathically receive the information to show our ‘ghost’. Its not physically there, its like an overlay or augmented reality. Our minds (in my opinion) are like our smart phones, our memories are uploaded to the cloud to be accessed by others and when we arrive in different places its clever enough to tell us information about that location. If art imitates life, then surely our technology may equally imitate our psychic abilities? See para-theorist lol!
What approach do you take in researching/investigating the paranormal? Spiritual, technical, theoretical etc
Yes all of the above!! There should not be a one way to diving into this topic. We need to be open minded, but equally smart about our approach. I believe that unity of multiple approaches will bring together a better understanding of the subject. Our lives teach us to decouple the subject fields and seek to pick one. Is it psychology or is it physics? Is it philosophy or theology? Although its greatly complex using multiple streams to investigate, we are on the boarder of this being a reality. With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at our finger tips, not to mention Big Data, once we find the right way to feed this into the paranormal field we can start truly crunching the data and looking for patterns.
And for the record, there is a tonne of data, information, cases, experiences and more out there. Both historically speaking and occurring now weekend after weekend worldwide. Imagine if every team or individual worldwide investigating in the next month logged all of their investigations using the same format. Just that would generate something we could really look at. It would be something that would allow us to comprehend many elements from geographical location, time, team, experiences, measurements taken, the lot. I get a little excited by data, as I think thats where the answer will truly lay for this field.
What inspired you to start writing your blog?
Honestly it was the urge to share my investigations with the world so that they could use what I experienced / done to plan their own investigations. One thing that annoyed me whilst researching the locations for investigations was the lack of good structured detailed investigation reports. So, over the years I posted mine on my website and this was the beginnings of my blog. I wanted to share with the hope of the same occurring. However over the years I have still found few willing to document well online for others to access for free.
How do you come with the topics you discuss in your blog?
I actually take inspiration from all parts of my life. It could be an investigation write up, it could be something one of my children have said. For example, I wrote about how the Back to the Future Delorean should travel in Space and Time, because my daughter told me if it went back in time it would be in space as the planets move. On another occasion I wrote about Lucid Dreaming and the online game Fortnite, thanks to my son talking in his sleep about it.
There are of course hot topics that can’t be avoided sometimes, like Zak Bagans Demon House or a horror film. Perhaps even a topic doing the rounds that I feel I want to write my opinion on. I also read quite a bit which inspires the odd blog post too.
What makes your blog different to a lot of the other paranormal blogs and webpages out there?
I like to think I keep my blog quite honest. Sure sometimes I may write about a topic because its trending using a catching google friendly title, but the content is still honest and me. The Psi Theory section I think is quite good and has often had some excellent feedback, as it helps to get the old grey matter going. I think its important to look at things differently, spin them on their head, zoom out, have a little fun with it, but thats what has made some of my posts quite successful I think. I have also included lots of other information on there as I wanted it to be something I was looking for when I first started, which was informative, guiding and generally helpful where possible. I also wanted to include book reviews and interviews too. I have also wanted it to appeal to all walks of the field, it doesn’t matter if you’re a parapsychologist or a ghost hunter, I hope there is something there for everyone.
Also, I feel the blog often evolves as I do whilst on my own paranormal journey.
Do you have a favourite article you have written or topic you like writing about?
Tough one! I think I really like the psi theory pieces because they are often not ones I research so to speak they are written off the cuff from an idea, which is a really enjoyable way to write. Close second would be those in depth researched pieces and book reviews, as they require me to learn, research and read a heck of a lot first. So, they are an achievement once completed.
Do you believe research is an important part of investigating?
Research is the foundation of an investigation in my opinion. Sure you can go in blind to begin with if you like, but then your investigation often lacks structured planning and controls. Research doesn’t just mean historical either, I often look at experiment and tech to fit too.
At the end of the day its seen by many as a preference, but in order to present a fully covered and detailed investigation you need to do that research. As that research will provide you with questions to answer during your investigation.
How often do you investigate out in the field?
I used to investigate on a regular basis, paying to access public locations. However more recently I have reduced this somewhat and focus on smaller ones or ad-hoc public investigations. Moving forward I would prefer to concentrate on smaller investigations with more controls and focus on gathering data. They may not be seen as exciting to others, but I think they may provide more to go on in the long run.
What sort of equipment do you like to use on an investigation?
Notepad and Pen first, to document everything. Then I am quite fond of devices that allow us to record lots of data on various aspects like a data logger. I have been known to manually log this on a form or laptop too. Theres so much more to learn in this area in order to develop an encompassing piece of kit I think.
If you retired from the field tomorrow, what legacy would you want to be remembered for? (Achievement, Tours, theory, experiments, attitude etc)
I would hope I would be remembered for my theories/ideas on a wide range of normally accepted elements of the paranormal, the fact I like to question everything and look at things in a different way. I would also hope that I would be seen as someone that worked well with most in the field scientific, sceptic, spiritualist alike.
Hopefully all that I have written too would be remembered; my mini-books, blogs, website and the Journal to try help others document their own investigations. Plus of course the articles in the Paranormal Review for the SPR and the few items in the Journal of the SPR.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?
Read a lot. Learn from many. Join the SPR. Seek Experience.Formulate your own ideas. Write it down. Share with others.
If you could educate your peers or pass on knowledge, what would it be?
To find a way to teach people to present their ‘evidence’ effectively for peer review and for those peers to then review that ‘evidence’ alone without making it personal. Over the years I taught myself to write in a way to communicate my ideas to various people in different situations. This identified to me that to communicate ideas to the likes of the SPR or scientific community requires a well balanced and structured paper. I am no expert in writing papers, but I am getting there in order to do just that. If anything discovered is to be justified we need to present it in the right way. A foggy video, blurry photo or muffled audio isn’t going to cut it. Hence my passion for gathering data, something which I think everyone serious about progressing the field should think about.
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If you like the paranormal and have an open mind then you’ll find something for you at ...
My website is www.ashleyknibb.com
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Each week I will be publishing an interview with a different individual from the paranormal field. This is to not only highlight the work they are doing in the field, but also to show how diverse the field is and that no two people are the same in their research and journey within the paranormal field.
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