Lesley Marden – Interview with the Author

For several years, Lesley Marden — the author of Medium, Rarehas been among my closest friends and research associates.
Lesley Marden's book, Medium RareIn December 2011, I decided to start interviewing interesting people involved in paranormal research of all kinds.  Lesley was my first subject.  The following is a transcript of our conversation.
Let’s start with the basics. What areas of the paranormal do you investigate?
Lesley Marden: I have worked with various paranormal groups as a psychic investigator on home hauntings and in historic locations.
When did you develop an interest in paranormal research?
Lesley Marden: I have been aware of paranormal and spiritual activity for as long as I can remember. My earliest recollections are from when I was 3 years old.
Throughout my life I have had encounters with spirit and experienced strange and unusual happenings.  After being blamed of making up stories and lies, I decided to keep my encounters to myself and tried to stifle them all together.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I decided that it was okay to be me, and sensing the spirit world is part of who I am. That is when I started to allow myself to be open once again to what came naturally.
As a psychic, do you prefer to know nothing about the site ahead of time, or do you want to know all the details?
Lesley Marden: When going into an investigation it is imperative for me to know nothing at all.
I do not want to compromise the information that I receive psychically by having prior knowledge that could prejudice my mind.
When I am hearing, sensing or seeing things in my head on location, I sometimes get obscure information that I would dismiss if I had prior knowledge and it didn’t fit “the story” of the property.
It is within those little details,that seem to make no sense when they present themselves, that end up being the big connection that complete the puzzle.
Obviously, you believe in ghosts. What about other entities? I’m thinking about UFOs, cryptozoology, faeries, and parallel worlds?
Lesley Marden: I believe that every one of these is possible.
Have I ever seen aliens or Bigfoot? No, but if you close your mind to the possibility that these beings exist, you are missing the potential opportunity to experience them.
I would love to be “that person” who discovers the portal to a parallel universe, but if I am not using my mind openly and fully in a positive way to seek out and understand new ideas or prospects, I never will.
I am always keeping my eyes and ears open. I don’t want to miss out on anything!
Do you work alone or with a team? Why?
Lesley Marden: I will go out on field trips to interesting haunted locations with a few trusted colleagues for fun, or by myself to collect information. I’ll also choose a small group of friends if new equipment piques my interest and I want to test its legitimacy.
For formal investigations I work with a team.
I am currently a member of The New England Ghost Project. I really enjoy working with the NEGP. Everyone on the team is knowledgeable, experienced and a pleasure to work with.
What tools do you use for your research, and what’s your favorite?
Lesley Marden: EMF Meters, Dowsing Rods, Digital Voice Recorder, Digital Camera, Pendulum, and my intuition.
I love photography, and I have captured some very interesting photographs while on investigations, so I would have to say my camera is my favorite piece of equipment.
Do you think paranormal TV shows and paranormal books are helpful?
Lesley Marden: I think the most important thing that people can learn from paranormal books and from paranormal TV shows is that although some people may have more experience, no one is an expert.
We are all trying to understand the hows and whys of the spirit world. I have had experiences throughout my life and I am still learning.
We all are still searching for the answers that have been asked for centuries. If anyone tells you they are an expert, please be wary.
Another important thing to learn is that when people are nasty in life, they don’t change magically and become nice when they die.
Some spirits are mean and malicious and CAN hurt you. ALWAYS protect yourself before conducting any sort of investigation or opening yourself up to encountering spirits.
Good advice. Before we end this interview, describe your recent book.
Lesley Marden: My book, Medium, Rare; A firsthand account of growing up experiencing the paranormal, is about my journey growing up with a heightened awareness of the spiritual world around me.
It starts when I am 3 years old and chronicles though my life into my 40’s. It is a story of self acceptance and hopefully it will help those out there who have experiences know that they are not crazy and they are not alone.
It is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and at my website, LesleyMarden.com.
Thank you, Lesley!

American Idol House, CA – Haunted or Not?

American Idol house… haunted? Probably not.

Season 10 of American Idol was hosted in a house that some contestants felt was haunted.

They complained of the following phenomena:

  • Flickering lights in the house. (Could be a wiring issue.)
  • An infestation of spiders. (I’ve lived in Hollywood. It’d be an anomaly if a Southern California home didn’t have spiders now & then.)
  • A door that blew open, even when blocked with a chair, and leaves flew into the house. (I’d start by checking weather reports for that evening. If they didn’t reveal an explanation, I’d suspect a prank.)
  • A sheet that moved on its own, and possibly flew down a corridor by itself. (This definitely sounds like a prank.)

There was only one event that sounds like something potentially paranormal. According to a report in OK! magazine (USA), some of the American Idol contestants were watching a horror movie. Contestant James Durbin decided to follow-up with a prank.

According to his report, “”I opened the door to the garage – I was trying to freak out Pia [Toscano] – and it freaked me out because something white that looked like an arm that kind of came down.”

Later, another contestant described it as a hand that fell from the ceiling.

That could be something normal, but it’s far more consistent with paranormal activity than anything else mentioned.

Supposedly, the contestants immediately moved out of the house and were given alternate housing.

Since only one incident sounded even remotely paranormal, I’m not sure why this was news. Personally, I wouldn’t investigate a house just because someone thought they saw an arm or a hand appear when a garage door was open.

It seems like at least some of the cast quickly came to their senses, too.

Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures suggested a crossover show, where his team would investigate the house and use the American Idol finalists as triggers for activity. He was turned down.

Since that could have been a ratings bonanza for Ghost Adventures while attracting more attention to American Idol, being turned down increases the likelihood that the whole thing was a prank.

Floating sheets, spiders, and flickering lights sound like something out of a very bad “scare” show on MTV.

AmericanIdolHouseGhostsThe real test will be whether the house’s new owner, Munchkin, Inc. millionaire Steven B. Dunn, encounters anything odd in the house.

Personally, I don’t think he has anything to worry about. He’s a clever entrepreneur with an MBA from Harvard and a noted art collection, so I expect the spectacular views (seen at right) were more important to Dunn that the American Idol connection or the house’s possible ghosts.

The selling price of the house also suggests that it’s not haunted. According to reports, Dunn paid over $11 million for the American Idol house.

For a 15k square foot house on two acres in Bel Air, where houses sell for about $480/square foot, $11 million is a good price in today’s market.

So, I’m not seeing any of the usual indications of a distressed, haunted property.

I’m not sure if the floating sheets and flickering lights (etc.) were a very amateurish effort at faking a haunted house. Surely, the producers could have found some bargain-basement SFX guys from actual ghost “reality” shows…?

If someone is looking for a spectacular haunted house in or near Hollywood, these are better choices:

  • Harry Houdini widow’s former residence at 2435 Laurel Canyon Boulevard. (Not #2398, as some erroneously report.) [More info.]
  • 1005 Rexford Drive, former home of several personalities including opera star Grace Moore and actor Clifton Webb, both of whom are supposed to haunt the house.
  • 1822 Camino Palermo, where Ozzie & Harriet and their family lived. Apparently, Ozzie is still haunting the house. [More info.]
  • 1579 Benedict Canyon Drive was the home of TV’s Superman, George Reeves. His death was declared a suicide, but most people close to Reeves are sure it was murder. [More info.]

For more Hollywood haunts like these, you’ll find plenty of lists online. One of the most complete is at Haunted-Places.com, but since they have the wrong Houdini address, it’s smart to fact-check any address (and story) on their long, detailed list.

I don’t think we’ll hear anything more about ghosts at that American Idol house. Except for Durbin’s report – the only one with credibility – I don’t see any reason to suspect paranormal energy at the Season 10 house.

However, the ghost reports at the Season 8 house could be more serious. Apparitions and unexplained growls are far more credible, at least among “reality” shows like this.