April 21, 2023

Unveiling the UK Paranormal Society with Paul Hobday

Unveiling the UK Paranormal Society with Paul Hobday
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Haunted History Chronicles

Paul Hobday, an experienced paranormal enthusiast and paranormal investigator, who alongside other founders recently launched the UK Paranormal Society, a non-profit charity, to answer questions about the paranormal and promote ethical paranormal practices for the greater public good.

"We're not telling people what to do, we're just signposting what they should be looking out for."- Paul Hobday


In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Discover the creation process of the UK Paranormal Society and their focus on providing reliable and unbiased paranormal information.

  • Understand the relevance of ethical standards and scientific research in conducting paranormal investigations.

  • Explore the exclusive features and inclusivity of the Paranormal Charitable Trust UK website.

  • Learn about the core values driving the UK Paranormal Society: integrity, respect, inclusivity, competency, objectivity and compassion.

  • Recognise the crucial role of others organisations offer and how the UK Paranormal Society sits alongside other important groups within the paranormal field.

  • Discover how you can join and support the UK Paranormal Society as a volunteer to help protect the public and heritage locations from misinformation, malpractice, and exploitation relating to the paranormal.

  • Discover how you can follow the UK Paranormal Society on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay updated on their latest initiatives, resources, and news.

My special guest is Paul Hobday

Paul Hobday, a passionate paranormal enthusiast hailing from Bristol, England, has devoted years to exploring the unknown. Serving as an event host for a leading ghost hunting event company, event supervisor at Woodchester Mansion, and even appearing on paranormal TV shows, Paul's diverse background embodies his dedication to the field. Now, as the founder of the UK Paranormal Society, he aims to provide reliable, unbiased information to the public while promoting ethical standards within the paranormal community. With a mission to protect the public and heritage locations, Paul is driven by a desire to give back and foster genuine understanding of the paranormal.

"The quest for answers keeps my passion alive for the paranormal, and I guess it's the same for everyone else." - Paul Hobday


The Importance of Paranormal Research
The paranormal field has experienced continued growth and increased interest over the years, prompting a need for reliable, unbiased information. Paranormal research helps to make sense of unknown phenomena, fostering a better understanding of the paranormal world and its potential connections to our daily lives. It plays a crucial role in separating fact from fiction and ensuring that paranormal enthusiasts have access to genuinely useful and trustworthy resources. In the podcast, Paul Hobday discusses the importance of robust paranormal research, emphasizing that it is imperative to maintain ethical and objective practices. By sharing accurate and factual information, Paul and his team at the UK Paranormal Society hope to create a supportive environment for both newcomers and experienced investigators to learn and grow within the field.

"We wanted to do something that wasn't for personal gain; it's all about doing something for the good of everyone and through that, hopefully trying to progress some of the research as well into the paranormal and what's really going on."- Paul Hobday


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00:00:39 Hi everyone, and welcome back to Haunted History Chronicles. Before we introduce today's podcast or guest, if you like this podcast, please consider leaving a review. It costs nothing, but it helps share news, the podcast and guests I feature with others interested within the paranormal. It's a simple and easy way to help the podcast continue to grow and be a space for people to chat and come together. If you haven't already found us on the Haunted History Chronicles's website, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you can find links to all social media pages in any of the notes for an episode.


00:01:14 Come and join us to get involved and gain access to additional blogs, news and updates. And now, let's get started introducing today's episode.


00:01:33 Joining me today is Paul Hobday, the founder and Chair of the UK Paranormal Society, a brand new charity launched in October 2022 to help protect the public and heritage locations from misinformation, malpractice and exploitation relating to the paranormal. The charity aims to provide a freely accessible resource of reliable, factual, unbiased information and guidance, encourage good ethical standards and promote existing and future scientific research into the paranormal. Originally from Bristol in England, the paranormal has been Paul's passion for many years, having undertaken countless paranormal investigations across the UK and Europe. He's open minded to the various theories and beliefs behind the causes of paranormal activity and has experienced phenomena for himself, but is still in search of answers as to what the cause of that phenomena might be, whether that is science, psychology, the supernatural or something else. Over the years, Paul has worked as an event host for one of the UK's leading ghost hunting event companies.


00:02:43 An event supervisor at Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire, he's established and led a paranormal investigation team and has worked on various paranormal TV shows, the first being in 2010. He's best known for his role in the international TV series Ghost Chases. We're going to be exploring more about the UK Paranormal Society's aims and missions, sharing some of the valuable resources it hosts and lots more. So get comfortable because I think this website is going to be a fantastic resource and tool for anyone interested in the paranormal.


00:03:27 Hi, Paul, thank you so much for joining me this evening. Hi, Michelle, thank you for having me on. It's welcome to be on your show. Before we start talking about the main topic of the podcast tonight, do you want to just introduce yourself and tell everybody listening a little bit more about you and your background? Yeah, sure.


00:03:44 So my name is Paul Hobday and like a lot of people who are interested or actively involved in the paranormal, I've had that interest since childhood. As far back as I can remember, there was always that interest in spirits and ghosts and hauntings and UFOs and all those sort of mysterious things. And then as I got older, then along came the paranormal TV shows from Ghost Watch through to most haunted and all the ones that followed on from them. And that really started to fuel the interest even further. Now, going back a little bit to teenagers, we did have some interesting things happen in the family home that may be described as perhaps poltergeist activity, but at that time there wasn't that much accessible to me as a teenager to find out more.


00:04:33 But that then led to me trying to find those answers later in life. And then around about 2009, I then started getting more actively involved in the paranormal. So in 2009, I was working for one of the UK's leading ghost hunting event companies and event host. So I was lucky enough to be paid to go around the UK hosting ghost hunting events for members of the public in some of the most iconic locations around England, Wales, and also went up into Scotland as well. That then led me on to the next stage in my paranormal background, if you like.


00:05:14 So I decided to move away from the hosting of events after doing that for a few years and get more involved in the perhaps more serious side of investigation and research. So I had a paranormal investigation team at the time and I wanted to focus more on understanding what was really going on and going back to what was happening in the childhood home and the things I'd been seeing on TV, trying to find some answers rather than just doing the entertainment side of things. It was during this time then I linked up with a colleague at Woodchester Mansion. So I think you've had him on the show before Chris Howley. So I teamed up with Chris Howley and he became part of the paranormal team that I was running at the time.


00:05:55 And in return, I supported him in looking after Winchester Mansion, in supervising events, and that's something I still do today as well. Those activities led me on to becoming members of some of the other organizations out there, like ASSAP, the SPR and Ghost Club, and just trying to find out as much information as I could about what was really going on, what people really were experiencing during that time. Back to the entertainment side of things, I have been involved in the TV side of the paranormal as well. So back in 2010, I did my first paranormal TV show, which was a live broadcast, and then the most significant or most well known show was Ghost Chasers, which we filmed back in 2016, but still being aired around the world and in the UK. It's on Discovery Plus.


00:06:45 Journey through the paranormal, really. And I think what's quite unique about where you started and where you are today is that you really have kind of seen it from every side of the field, really, for someone maybe who is just interested in putting their toe in the water and seeing what it's about to have that kind of aspect of, well, this is a fun night out, let's see what happens type thing. To then taking it more seriously going down that investigative route. You've really kind of had that experience from every side of the brush, if that makes sense. Yes, and I think it was the entertainment side that tends to be the avenue that draws people in, because it links in from seeing it on TV to then going on a ghost hunting event because that's the most accessible route in.


00:07:30 And then I was lucky enough to get a job with one of those event companies. And it does open your eyes up to a lot of things, but what it did for me is it raised more questions than answers, particularly around the psychology of the science, what's really going on. People are having these experiences, they're reporting them on a regular basis, they've been reporting them for as far back as records go, but what are they really experiencing? So it was that quest for answer that drew me to progressing with my own paranormal investigation team, but also linking in with the likes of ASSAP and the SPR and going on some of their training courses, going on conferences that they're holding and so on, just to try and get that other side of it and see if that gave me answers. And it gave some answers, but not all of them.


00:08:17 I think we're always in that position, isn't it? That however much we try, I think we always have more answers to kind of put out there. There's always something else that comes up, there's always another avenue to explore. And I think it's part of the beauty of the paranormal field, that it is this ever growing question, this ever growing concept of exploration, really, for a lot of people who really do get into it and really find it interesting and fascinating. It is, yeah.


00:08:43 I think, as you said, the more you learn about it, the more questions it seems to open up. There are certain things that you think back on your experiences of paranormal events or investigations, where you think, actually, maybe it was this, maybe it was psychology, my mind pin tricks on me. Maybe it was sleep induced hallucination, all those sorts of things that you start to learn about, but it still opens up lots of questions of maybe it wasn't or what about the things that haven't got an explanation for? And it's that quest for answers that keeps my passion alive for it. And I guess it's the same for everyone else.


00:09:18 Absolutely. So that kind of leads us to what we're going to be talking about tonight, which is the UK Paranormal Society, which is something that you have been working on behind the scenes for a number of years and has recently been launched and put out there for the mainstream public, if you like. Do you want to just start off by telling us what the motivation was in setting up this new charity, this organization. What was it that kind of started that desire to really put something like that together? Good question.


00:09:47 There were a number of things that led me to come up with the idea and the motivation to launch the UK Paranormal Society. I think first off is the background that I've had largely being within the entertainment side of things, such as hosting of the events and working on various TV shows. I realized that from doing that, that was having a big influence on the ever growing trend for paranormal investigation and that was seen as the go to of where to get the information for someone who's new to the paranormal, there are other organizations out there but what I realized that there's a significant gap. A gap in terms of if you're a new investigator into the paranormal or you're interested in it, or maybe you're experiencing something in your family home, where do you go for information to find out what's really going on? The TV shows are there but it's debatable in terms of the quality of information that you would get from that, depending on the shows that you watch.


00:10:47 But it's largely probably not going to get you the answers that you really need. So. And I wanted to do something that was going to try and fill that gap. Not to compete with the other organizations out there because I really like what they do and we want to support what they're doing. But to fill that gap and to try and provide a portal, an online portal that is a go to place to find useful, credible, factual information about the paranormal.


00:11:13 Information that can be trusted. So basically the idea was to give something back. The other reason is because linking into that I'd notice a massive decline in the ethics in the paranormal and by that I mean the practices that some were undertaking, particularly when it came to dealing with members of the public and heritage locations. So more and more there were cases of misinformation, poor practices, sometimes even exploitation of the venues or members of the public and that didn't sit well with me. And again, it's something I wanted to try and do something about because not only is it causing harm to those members of the public and to the heritage locations, it's also causing significant damage to the reputation of the paranormal field.


00:12:03 And it's something that I've been involved with for a good number of years now. And it was getting to a stage where it was starting to get a bit awkward. When someone asks what your interests are and you say you're into the paranormal or you're a paranormal investigator, but the reputational damage that's being caused change the reaction that you get from that rather from interest more to the things that they've seen more in the press about the poor practices that are happening. And we're still seeing it now. Even in the last few weeks, there have been some quite awful articles in the national press about paranormal investigators.


00:12:39 And just one piece of poor practice labels everyone in the field with that stigma, unfortunately. So the idea was to try and create something that would try and address that issue, multiple issues there that we're trying to address. But the idea was to set up a new organization to try and help give something back, something for the greater good, rather than for entertainment or for personal benefit. And I think that's really admirable because I do think there is a need for something like this for many different reasons. And I think you've rightly pointed out some gaps possibly that really do need attending to that it's not on other groups and their associations, aims and policy to do that.


00:13:22 It's not their place to do that. It's not what they're set up to do. And so what you have is something that suits people who are coming, who are interested in the paranormal, maybe just starting out, wanting to look at resources, look at some of the materials that you have up there, but also for teams, for investigators to look at. Well, how do I run something ethically? How do I run an event in an organization?


00:13:46 Am I doing right by the location that I'm in? And it kind of asks questions. It makes people stop and think. I think and think. The more we can collaborate together, the more we are sharing resources and sharing what we do and how we can do things better.


00:14:01 That in itself is a conversation that leads to better practice rather than people doing things in isolation, unsure if what they're doing is okay. Unsure if what they're doing is right. And taking a lot of that practice from what they see on the television, which is not true paranormal investigation. But it is what a lot of people perceive this field to be. And so that's what you see happening up and down the country with teams and investigators.


00:14:27 And here you've got something that allows people to see, well, actually there's a different side. Let's start asking the question of can we do better? Absolutely. And that was one of the reasons why we formed it as a registered charity. So it's a registered charity in England and Wales, which basically means that we have to abide by charity law.


00:14:49 And a big part of that charity law is that everything that we do has to be for the public benefit. It can't be for personal or private gain of me or any of the other trustees or volunteers, and it can't be for the personal or commercial gain for any other parties as well. It has to be about the greater good, about the public benefit and what we can do for the public and also linking into those heritage locations. And by registering as a charity, it means that we can't get paid for this. We're not allowed to be paid for what we do, so we're doing it all for free.


00:15:22 And eventually when I step down and the others step down, whoever takes over, it means that that model can't be changed either. As long as it stays as a registered charity, then it's always going to be for the public benefit and those involved can't personally benefit from it. And as you pointed out, that's one of the big issues that we spotted when we were doing our research in terms of what we want this to look like, the motivation for being involved in the paranormal tends to have switched to that personal benefit. More so than trying to progress research, trying to understand what's really going on, what are people really experiencing, what we're seeing is a lot more now about getting your likes and your followers on social media channels, trying to get the TV shows and those sorts of things. And having come from that background, then I can speak as someone who's been involved in that and been on the TV shows.


00:16:17 We wanted to do something that wasn't for that. It was something completely different where there wasn't going to be any personal gain at all. It's all about doing something for the good of everyone and through that, hopefully trying to progress some of the research as well into the paranormal and what's really going on. Because if we look back to 150 years or so and you look at what has changed since then, not an awful lot. And we're not really any further forward in terms of understanding.


00:16:42 There's been a few developments, but if you read about, say, Harry Price, the iconic investigator from back in the 1920s, and methods he was using haven't actually moved on an awful lot since then. And we're just repeating ourselves. So we wanted to try and put together a portal through the website, which is a place to go for the factual information about the history. So what was Harry Price doing back then? So what can we do differently?


00:17:10 What can we learn from what he's done and making it accessible to your average person who is interested in the paranormal, to paranormal investigators, medium, psychics and the like? Because there isn't that central place, I think, linking into what you said as well, then it's not just about the paranormal side of things and the historical side of things. There's also all the other elements that come along with the responsibility of calling yourself a paranormal investigator or a psychic or a medium or an event host, which anyone can do. Anyone can call themselves a paranormal investigator, anyone can set up an event company or run public events. But what isn't easily accessible is the information about what that means in terms of your responsibilities with regards to things like health and safety, safeguarding of vulnerable persons, trespass law, all those sorts of things.


00:17:59 So, again, we wanted to provide a useful website that had that information on, that's freely accessible, it's the place to go and it's a signpost where to find that information. So we're not advising on the law, we're just signposting to these are the laws, this is what it means in simple language and this is where you go to find out more information. We're not telling people what to do, we're just signposting what they should be looking out for. Again, I think considering that the site hasn't been up for that long, you can see the work that's been put into all of that, really, because the amount of resources and tools that are available on there and that are steadily growing is a real kind of testimony to the work that's been happening behind the scenes. And as we've kind of mentioned, it's resources and tools, not just for one side, one aspect of the paranormal.


00:18:48 It really is something that is readily available for anyone, whatever level of interest, level of experience, where they're coming from. When exploring the paranormal, there's something there for every single person who has whatever interest they have. Do you want to just kind of talk us through some of those tools and resources, some of the information that you are putting on there and that you have got on there, and what it is that people may be able to access that you've been working on and putting onto the website? Yeah, absolutely. So the website has a lot of information on there already.


00:19:22 The project to launch the charity and the website took three and a half years, so I can explain a bit later what was involved in that. But it's three and a half years to get to what you see on the website now. And on the website, we've split it into three key sections. So we've got a section on there for general guidance that's for anyone with an interest in the paranormal, it could be someone who's experiencing activity in their home, could be someone who's thinking about using a psychic medium or getting some spiritual therapy, such as healing and reiki and the like. Or maybe it's someone who's thinking about attending a public ghost hunting event.


00:20:01 So we've got a section there that gives them unbiased neutral information about what to look out for, what certain terms means, answering questions like are there qualifications or regulations for paranormal investigators? What protection is there if you think that you've been scammed or taken advantage of by a psychic or a medium? And it's those sorts of questions that we answer there, as well as how to spot potential fraudulent activity as well, then we've got a section for heritage location. So a part of our purpose as a charity is to support heritage locations. So this was another one of the big gaps that we saw, obviously, as those interested in the paranormal, the visiting of historic or heritage locations is a big part of what we all do and what most of us enjoy as well.


00:20:49 But if we look at it from the other angle and look at it from the manager or the representative of the historic location, where do they go for information about the paranormal, about what a paranormal investigator does, what a paranormal event would look like? What are the potential pros and cons of opening their venue up to? Paranormal Hire? That information wasn't readily available. So again, we've put together a suite of guidance on our website that answers those questions for those who've got a responsibility for looking after heritage locations.


00:21:24 And then we've got a section for practitioners. So, paranormal practitioners, that covers anyone and everyone who is actively involved in the paranormal. So, paranormal investigators, ghost hunters, psychics mediums, demonologists, whatever title people wish to use. As we've said, we're inclusive to all different beliefs and practices. And we're not telling people what to believe or what to do.


00:21:49 And we're still building the guidance on it now. But we've got things in there, like things to consider when running paranormal events, a guide to insurance for paranormal practitioners, even things like, what are the laws when it comes to finding a bat in a property? So, with those, we then dig down a bit deeper into some of the subjects. So when it comes to something like running paranormal events, then we've got lots of information about there things like what if you want to hold a film night, for example, and what are the laws on showing a film as part of your investigation? What do you have to do in terms of health and safety or data protection?


00:22:26 What are the consumer rights of your guests? Can you play music? It's those sorts of questions that you would have to look through lots of different websites and go searching around the government websites to find the answers to. Basically, we've done the work for you and we've put all that information in one place, so you don't have to go searching around for things like data protection laws, consumer right laws, fundraising laws, those sorts of things. We've put it all in that one place, part of the website, which seems to be everyone's favorite at the moment, and that's the paranormal timeline.


00:22:55 So this links back to what I was mentioning about Harry Price and some of the other key figures and key events in the paranormal. Again, it was trying to put things in one place where people can see, what the history of where we have been to get to where we are now in terms of paranormal investigation and research. So what we've done is we've put together a historical timeline of paranormal events and key events within the history that relate to the paranormal, dating right the way back to Roman times. So it all links into the UK. We've tried to avoid things outside of the UK just because it would get too big.


00:23:34 But for now, we've got in there a whole series of events on a scrollable timeline. So it's interactive, you can scroll through it and you can go to something like the Demonology book published by King James in 1597. Click on the button there and it takes you to an article about the book that you wrote about Demonology within that timeline. We've also put in marker events as well. So things like when a particular castle was built or when was the Great Fire of London, those sorts of things.


00:24:04 To put a bit of context behind it. Because otherwise, if you just see the dates, it's difficult to perhaps imagine in your mind what that period of time was like. What was life like in Great Britain at that time? So we've tried to put a bit of context behind that, but hopefully we will find that people enjoy using that timeline. We've got good feedback on it so far, and as I said, it's a very interactive tool and it's a good way of seeing how far we've come and what's happened so far in the history of the paranormal.


00:24:32 I just think it's so exciting what you've done so far. I think it's so comprehensive, the thought behind it and the thinking behind it in terms of what information is it that this group within the paranormal access and may want, what is it that this group may need? What is it that this group may need? How can we create something that encompasses all of those things is not an easy thing to do, but you've done precisely that. You've come at this from a perspective of, this isn't just for one aspect of the paranormal field.


00:25:02 We're actually putting something together here for everybody, for the mass population of anyone interested, at whatever level. So how can we create a space for them that they can come and use as a resource and a tool? And it's so easy to navigate. And whoever has done the website and kind of put that together and thought about that kind of journey from one page to another and the ease of use, they've done a sterling job, really, because it's a very easy website to navigate around and you can very easily find a wealth of resources at your fingertips. And again, I think the more we put this information out there for people to use, to view, to learn from, to talk about, to question, is a really good thing.


00:25:48 I think it's been missing for a long time. Thank you. I really appreciate the kind feedback that you've given on the website there. It was a huge amount of work. We developed the website in house.


00:25:59 Everything that we've got on now has been done in house. So all of the article writing and the creation of the website, the social media management and all the great posts we've got on social media. Everything's been done in house and it's all largely been self taught. None of us have set up a charity before, or been charity trustees, or managed a social media account for a charity or even built up a website like this before. So the website was built by myself and another trustee and volunteer, Matt.


00:26:28 And we both, as part of this three year journey, went on a website building course to learn how to do it and then have built it from there. So it was very much kept in house as we did this, due to the funding involved. It costs a lot of money to build a website if we were to outsource it, and we didn't have any outside income coming in, so everything that we've created has been self funded, so we had to keep the cost down. But it was an exciting learning journey as part of that, learning how to build a website and set up a charity and all those sorts of things. So I know we all got a lot out of that as well.


00:27:04 Well, as I say, it's incredible. I mean, as I say, I just think it's something that is going to be useful for everybody and I don't think anybody listening to this should think, well, this is only going to be for someone who is looking at the paranormal from this viewpoint, this lens, it really is something for everyone. There is something on there that you will find interesting to take back with you to your practice, what you're doing as an investigator, as an events company, as a host, as someone who has a location that they might be thinking of using to hire out paranormal teams. If you're just somebody with some kind of experience that you're not sure of, then what can I do and how can I find help and support with what's happening for me and my family? I mean, there is literally something for everyone and no other site, I think, really kind of covers that very wide umbrella of need within the paranormal.


00:27:56 They are focusing on one area. You are kind of opening up and making something really for everyone and I think that's what's different and that's what is unique and why what you're doing sits really nicely as well alongside all these other organizations that we do have out there. Thank you. And that was very much the aim of what we were trying to do. We certainly didn't want to step on the toes or appear to be competing with ASSAP, the SPR, the SNU College of Psychic Studies or any of the other great charitable organizations out there.


00:28:28 We wanted to fill a gap and create this website that, as you said, is accessible to everyone. It's written in clear language, so it's understandable hopefully as well, but signposts to those other organizations as well to make people more aware of, for example, the Society for Psychical Research that have. Been around since the 1800s and are still going strong today. Let's make the new investigators, ghost hunters, psychics and mediums who are out there, who maybe aren't so familiar with the history there or the work of the SPR, make them more aware of the SPR. And the same with ASSAP and the SNU and others, whilst also still trying to fill that gap there of the information that isn't perhaps covered by those other organizations.


00:29:15 So, as we just talked about, some of the legalities, the ethics around what comes with calling yourself an investigator or psychic or running an event, so hopefully we've achieved that. It's still early days, we've got a long way to go, and we have reached out to each of those other organizations as well to look at how we can potentially collaborate.


00:29:45 We are about to celebrate hitting our 100th episode of Haunted History Chronicles on the last Friday of April 2023 to say thank you. For the months of May, June and July, there are going to be daily paranormal podcasts available to enjoy on all tiers over on Patreon, as well as the usual additional items available over there. Signing up now will gain you access to these as well as all previous archived content. For as little as £1, you could be getting hundreds of podcasts to enjoy and more and know that you're contributing and helping the podcast to put out another 100 episodes. You can find the link in the episode Description Notes as well as on the Haunted History Chronicles's website, along with other simple and great ways to support the podcast directly.


00:30:34 It's all truly very much appreciated. And now let's head back to the podcast.


00:30:49 So on the website, you have six core values. Do you want to just explain what those are and why those six were so important to you and why you put those out there so publicly? Those are the main things that you really want people to focus on. Yes, certainly. So the core values, if perhaps someone isn't familiar with that term, the core value is what we as an organization are founded around our beliefs, our values as an organization.


00:31:19 And you'll often get them in a business, the business will have its core values based on what that business is trying to achieve. As a charity, we wanted to have core values that really emphasize what it is we're trying to achieve as a paranormal related charity. So our six core values are integrity, respect, compassion, inclusivity, objectivity, and competency. And everything that we've built as a charity. And everything that you see on the website is based around those core values.


00:31:54 Those are the values that we're basing everything that we do on. And we're not certainly going to impose those on others, but we'd like to just bring attention to those as potential core values. And if people who are running event companies or investigation teams and so on want to use any of those. Obviously they're more than welcome to. But it's trying to highlight some of these keywords, things like integrity and respect, being respectful of one another, not just the living, but the dead as well.


00:32:24 Integrity is all about honesty and acting fairly and ethically and so on. And they're really important to us. We think they're the key things that should be publicized and recognized within the paranormal field. Hopefully there's nothing in there that stands out as being a bit sort of too out there. We'd like to think that everyone agrees with those as core values relating to the paranormal.


00:32:50 And what we've done is use those to then also create a first draft of a code of ethics. So the code of ethics is something we've put on the website under the Practitioners section, which is there as a voluntary code of ethics for paranormal teams, psychics, mediums and so on to follow if they wish to. We're not going to afford it. We're not a governing body, we're certainly not the paranormal police. But again, we thought it was important to start to talk about what ethics look like in the paranormal?


00:33:27 What would a code of ethics look like? And we've put out our first draft of it. We've gone out to social media asking for feedback on it, and we're now collating that feedback and we will then hone that code of ethics. It's never going to be mandatory because, as said, we're not a governing body, it won't be optional. But there's ways that we can help make awareness of what good ethics looks like.


00:33:49 So we can promote that code of ethics. We can do all sorts of things to try and raise the awareness around it through the hearts and minds approach rather than the enforcement approach. Again, I just think it's very exciting what you're doing and just taking that time and that care and that attention to think about those six key words, really, and what that means. And again putting it out there and enabling people to ask themselves the same thing. Because it can be so easy for us to think what we're doing is fine and to not question what we're doing because it seems to be okay and it seems to run okay.


00:34:27 But sometimes it takes another perspective to just make you stop and reflect a little bit more. And just thinking of one of those areas in particular, that word inclusivity. I think most people running events, for example, just from that kind of perspective, would think that they are creating an event that is inclusive, that's accessible for the public to enjoy. But could it be better is a question and something that I know that your charity, the website you as all the individuals involved with it, are thinking about. And I know I've seen recently that Jayne Mortimer's been brought in and is going to be volunteering and helping.


00:35:07 And that's something that she's been really passionate and interested about. And it's something that she's been doing recently, looking at inclusivity for those who are very much interested in the paranormal, but maybe feel that they can't access some of the things that happen because of disabilities that they have. And she's looking at how that can be changed, what people can do to change some of that so that it becomes more inclusive. That word, it's no longer just a word, there's action behind it. And so I think, again, just coming back to those six words, having them there creates that conversation, it creates that starting point to really think about what we're all doing and can we do better, is there more that we can do to make this a better organization?


00:35:55 Absolutely. Even for myself, thinking back over the years that I've been a paranormal investigator, event host and the TV work and so on. Looking back now and there's things when I think actually what I did then was probably not the right thing to do at the time or the right thing to say, whether it's going to a location, for example, or the way things are done. Looking at it now, with hindsight, you can realize that actually, that probably wasn't the right thing to do at the time. But what we can all do is we can learn from these things and we can learn from the experience of others.


00:36:31 We can talk about these things. And by talking about these things, that's how you learn. And you open your eyes up to some of these things like respect and integrity and inclusivity and so on. And so that's why we've built those keywords around the logo. So on the profile image, on each of our social media accounts, those keywords are built around that logo to try and keep that message at the forefront of our minds and also those that are following our channels as well.


00:37:00 And again, I just happened to see something recently, I think it was on Twitter, where there is this incredible young group who are interested in the paranormal and they've done podcasts and they do investigations and they do research and they put writing into a magazine and so on. And they were commenting on the information, the ethics that you'd put out for kind of feedback and that group was getting involved. And it was just so exciting to see someone like that, young children, this young group, kind of starting off their paranormal journey, really coming at it and thinking, yeah, no, we completely agree with what you're putting out there. These are the things that we kind of think about and we take to heart as well. And so it was just really refreshing to see this kind of range of people really getting involved and giving that feedback on social media and so on and so forth, to what it is that you're putting out there and you're starting to do, which is great, it's so encouraging.


00:38:01 I think it's a very positive step. I think that's great to hear because we've certainly got members who've got children who have got an interest in the paranormal and there's that whole ethical debate about what age is it right to start talking about or getting involved with the paranormal. We're not going to target the website for children for those very reasons. We have to be very careful. As a charity, however, it's a website that's open to everyone and we've made sure that the content on there is not doing anything that could potentially be seen as perhaps scary to a child.


00:38:44 But for those who have got an interest, if they happen to find the website, then hopefully it provides a platform to find out some of the pros and cons of getting involved with it, if that's something they were interested in doing and also how to do things in the right way and how to spot the wrong side of things as well. Otherwise, as the next generation of ghost hunters start to reach the age where they're allowed to go out doing ghost hunts and hiring venues and that all they'll have is other social media accounts and the TV shows to follow as their template of what to do. When I started out, there wasn't really anywhere to go for that information. So we're trying to again fill that gap and provide somewhere where they can go for information. So when it's the right time for them to start getting involved, then they've got hopefully a useful guide for them to follow and hopefully then we'll start to see a bit of change and ethics heading in the right direction in the paranormal field.


00:39:38 Absolutely. It really does kind of signpost people, I think, to the right kind of information, a wealth of different information. And again, just the amount of hard work involved in doing that is no small feat. It's a lot of dedication and a lot of effort that has gone on for a lengthy period of time from several different people.


00:40:03 That kind of really is something that you should all take a path on the back because that's not that's not a small piece of something that you've just thrown together and put up to, you know, put up for people to view. It's a lot of thought, it's a lot of effort, it's time, it's learning new skills. I mean, it's just so many different things. Do you want to just kind of talk a bit more about that kind of process, that journey to launching? I know it's something you've touched upon briefly, but it really was a long journey to get to where you are and a lot of steps along the way.


00:40:36 Do you want to just kind of unpick some of that for people listening? Yeah, certainly. As you've highlighted there, it was a lengthy process. It was three and a half years to build the charity to what you see now, or it's over four years since we first started and basically it started back in January 2019. So the idea of creating the society, I didn't even have a name for it back then, but the idea of the organization came to me back in late 2018 and then January 2019 is when I started the project and started looking for people to get on board to help me with this.


00:41:14 And it was that group of people that became the founding members for the three and a half years. It took from January 2019 to October last year to create and launch the charity. We were all under nondisclosure agreements as well, so we couldn't tell anyone what we were doing. And having gone from the TV side of things with Ghost Chasers, which were still on TV at the time, to suddenly disappearing, doing nothing at all, it was all kept secret. I was getting questions from people saying, where are you?


00:41:43 What are you doing? Have you given up on the paranormal? But I couldn't say what I was doing. And it's not until now, then it's become more apparent. But even so, we're still making it very much about the charity.


00:41:55 So you won't have seen anywhere on social media where it's about Paul, the person who came up with the idea, or Leanne as the Vice Chair, or anyone else within the charity, it's about the charity as a whole. So in terms of what was involved, well, there was all that decision making. In terms of what is the organization going to look like, what sort of legal structure do we go to if we're going to be a charity, what's involved? How do we register as a charity? What does it mean?


00:42:22 We then had to do things like decide on the name. We had to get permission to use the name. So we had to ask the government for permission because of the words used in that certain words you have to get permission to use if you're going to have it as a registered business or charity. So things like UK and Society, you have to get permission for. So we had to apply and we got permission for that.


00:42:43 We had to go through the trademarking process and go through the whole process of applying for a trademark and explaining what we're trying to do there. Then you've got the securing of things like the domain names for the website, the social media accounts, designing of the logo. So the logo was designed in house. I mentioned Leanne just now. Our vice chair.


00:43:03 So Leanne assisted in the creation of that logo and it's something that we came up with together within the society to basically try and represent what we were aiming to achieve. So when you look at the website or our social media account, there's a logo right in the center, which may not make an awful lot of sense when you first look at it, it may just look like a symbol, but it's actually got quite a lot of meaning behind it. So you've got three circles connected by a larger circle. Basically in the top circle you've got a simplified symbol of an atom and that is there to represent the sciences. If we go round, we've then got another symbol which looks like a bit of a fork type of symbol, and that's a Greek letter and it's a symbol for PSI, PSI, which is another word for parapsychology, and that side of things.


00:43:57 And then the other small circle that we've got is of a star or pentagram, and that represents the more spiritual side, because we wanted the society to be all inclusive of all beliefs and backgrounds and interests, whether it's science or the parapsychology side of things or the spiritual side of things. So the outer circle is the one that links them all together. So even that one logo, as you can hopefully imagine, there was a huge amount of thought and discussion and drafting that went into creating that even in terms of what color we go with, we've gone with gold or what shade of gold do we pick? And it was all those sorts of conversations that we had to have and this is still in the sort of the initial phases then it comes to registering the charity and we had to understand what we had to do to register as a charity, read up on charity law and what it meant to be a trustee and how we could apply. And in England and Wales.


00:44:53 And the same is in Scotland and Northern Ireland. To become a charity is not easy. I suspect if it was, there'll be more paranormal related charities out there. It was very, very difficult. To become a charity, you have to fit within certain criteria, certain categories of what is deemed legally to be charitable, and it's all about that public benefit element, but they have certain categories, so things like education, scientific research, those sorts of categories, animal welfare and so on.


00:45:25 As you can imagine, the paranormal was not listed within those set categories that they have. So we had to try and explain as best as we could what we were trying to achieve, why it was worthy of becoming a charity, and trying to explain that to a regulatory body who perhaps may not have much knowledge or interest of what goes on in the paranormal was very difficult. So we went through that process several times. We didn't make it through the first time we applied, but we reapplied and made it through the second time. This was happening during the period of COVID as well, during which time the charity commission had a huge backlog, as you can imagine, because of everything that was happening at the time.


00:46:08 So that took up quite a lot of our time as well. Then came all the market research as well. So researching what is already out there, what can we do differently, making sure we're not treading on any toes and we're filling a gap rather than competing. So we went through that process and then we went through that process of trying to build up the website, learning how to create the website and creating it and writing all of the content that's on there. And it takes a long time to create one of these articles.


00:46:36 So to write an article, it starts with the idea we then have one or more people write the framework of that article and then it gets honed by more people. It goes through quality checking, we fact check it, proofread it, making sure that everything that we put out there is factually correct. So that process takes a long time to fill the amount of information that's already on the website. And then we've got things like the recruitment processes, internal training, all of those things that we had to do, as well as a charity, a professional organization, all of that was self funded, so we weren't getting any external funds in at this time. We all were donating into a charity bank account on a monthly basis to fund all of this.


00:47:22 As I said, we can't get anything back out of it, so it's just a donation. And it was all done under the nondisclosure agreements as well. So it was three and a half years of working secretly on this without being able to tell anyone what we were doing. It must have been so exciting when you get to that point of all of that work and all of that effort to have that moment when it's ready, when you're ready to put it out there and to start sharing what you've been doing. That must have been so worth all that blood, sweat and tears to that point.


00:47:50 Because again, it's no small thing that you were doing behind the scenes. It's a lot of work. And I think hearing you kind of describe that journey, I think people can really appreciate just the sheer amount of hard work that has gone into every single aspect from the logo through setting up the domain, setting up all the information fact checking, making clear evidence, data reports so that there isn't misinformation crossing every t and dotting every I mean, it's just so evident that hard work that's been involved. Thank you. I'm glad that it does come across because just seeing a website doesn't necessarily convey all the blood, sweat and tears that went into that journey, that three and a half year journey and it was a huge amount of work.


00:48:39 And this wasn't just sporadic work. Some of us were working on this almost daily throughout that three and a half year period. Weekly meetings, daily work on it. It was just constant. It was like having another job on top of your day job.


00:48:55 So all of us have day jobs or outside commitments whether it's as a full time parent or a full time job. So it was trying to fit it around that as I said, and it was doing it unpaid and we're getting nothing from it as well. We're doing it for the greater good. But the excitement, absolutely when it came to launching it then, huge amount of excitement, but also nervousness as well. And we had a bit of a delay as well.


00:49:24 So we were due to launch the Society in September of last year. Sadly, that is when the Queen passed away. And she passed away just as we were about to launch and we absolutely did not want to launch during that period. It was just not right to be launching a paranormal charity during a time of public morning and so we delayed it another month. But when it came to that actual day, when we knew we're going to go live tonight, there was a huge amount of excitement, but also a huge amount of nervousness as well.


00:49:53 Because we were about to put out there in the public domain something we've been working on for three and a half years and just did not know how it was going to be perceived. So far, what we've seen seems to be positive, which was great. Hopefully people see that we're not here to govern or be the paranormal police or tell people what to do. Hopefully it's seen as a useful resource. I think it's certainly what I've seen echoed in people's comments and feedback and just the response to it, the attitude of it, simply sharing something that's been posted, reposting something, talking about it.


00:50:25 The discussion that's already been taking place around some of those different concepts and values that we've kind of touched upon again, has just been really refreshing and I think a really good start and long may it continue, really. Thank you. That's what we hope. We're hoping it's there to stay. Things like the logo, the name we were thinking about, future proofing it as we went, knowing that at some point we're all going to step down, someone else is going to take over.


00:50:53 Hopefully it's going to go on for generations. And we wanted to make sure we were setting things off on the right foot for that to happen. So in terms of the structure and the organization, I think if you look at the website, you can really see that there was a range of people that were involved in this process along the way and still very much involved in what's happening now. Was it intentional to try and have people from different areas and backgrounds of the paranormal as part of that group, as part of the founders, if you like, and the volunteers? Was it intentional to have that array of different people specifically to kind of bring in their expertise, their experience?


00:51:33 Or was it just luck? Yeah, good question. It was absolutely intentional right from the very start. Inclusivity was a big thing for us, and I've talked quite a lot about filling that gap. One of the gaps we wanted to fill is to have a charitable organization related to the paranormal that was completely inclusive to everyone of all beliefs.


00:51:57 So if we're going to be putting out guidance about things like working as a psychic medium, for that guidance to be written by a skeptical paranormal investigator is less likely to have the effect that we want it to than if, for example, we had a practicing psychic medium write that guidance. And we wanted to be fully inclusive. So the people we brought on board were people that we felt helped us with that inclusivity. So we had everyone from Skeptics through to we had two psychic mediums on there. So Bill and Sian, two of our founding members, practicing psychic mediums.


00:52:35 I've known them for many years and used to work with them at that events company that I worked for back in 2009, 2010. And I knew their ethics and I knew that they were of the same sort of mindset that I was in terms of wanting to see change in the paranormal field. So it was a deliberate and conscious decision to bring them on board to represent the spiritual psychic medium size. And they then helped us create the guidance relating to use of psychic mediums, use of spiritual therapies, those sorts of things, and they continue to do so. I think what you've got is a group of people that represents your logo.


00:53:15 Actually, you've got people from each of those three aspects that you've got there embodied in the artwork. And again, I think it's very clever. I think it's very smart, it's very reflective. And I think it just shows like you were mentioning, it shows just how inclusive you're trying to make this so that anyone coming, wanting whatever information that they need, there is that place for them, kind of a network of tools, resources, different things that they can then have at their fingertips. And I echo what you were saying.


00:53:46 I think you've got people on board who really do represent those values that you've got at the heart of what you've been trying to do. And again, I just think it's very clever that you've got that range of different people alongside to help do that and to keep it going, really, to keep that momentum and that impetus of what you're doing, growing and growing and growing for however long. However long, a long time. I hope that the charity keeps going, really. Thank you.


00:54:16 Again, it's something that we've worked hard to do. It was very difficult trying to recruit during that initial founding member phase, if you like. Those three and a half years because of the NDAs. And we were sort of looking out for people who would meet the gaps that we had within our own structure and the needs we had in terms of knowledge and experience. And background, but also the beliefs as well, to try and keep it balanced and trying to find those right people to approach, but without publicly giving away what we were trying to do and trying to approach them.


00:54:48 It's a bit like trying to recruit a spy, isn't it? It's trying to find someone and have that conversation with them without them telling others what it is that we're doing. And that was a difficult process, but we were very lucky. We found a fantastic group of people to help us. And as you said, I hadn't thought of it this way before, but I think they do represent the logo perfectly and it was a very balanced, rounded group of people that we've got on board.


00:55:11 We're now in the process now we've gone live where we're able to now more openly recruit, so we're now putting out more active recruitment ads through our website. So there is a Vacancies page on there, but we're still sticking with that same ethos of trying to keep it inclusive and balanced, so that we've got a broad range of different beliefs represented in those who are creating the content for the website and social media and so on. And this was something I was going to come on to next. How is it that people can help? One of those is, I think, looking at the posts that have been put out on your social media and that have gone up on the website to kind of highlight areas of if you're interested and you want to be involved, this is where we're looking for people.


00:56:00 If you're interested, look at what we're asking for and get in touch. And I think that's one thing that people really could get behind. If they are so inclined as a charity, though, there are other ways that people can help. Do you want to just highlight what for anybody that really is behind what you're doing here? How is it that we can help you as a charity?


00:56:21 Thank you. Yeah, I think that the key one, first of all, and the easiest one, is to follow our social media accounts. As is life these days, it's all about how many followers you get so that you get the influence. So if you're interested in what we're doing, if you'd like to follow what we're doing, please follow our social media accounts. We're on each of the main platforms.


00:56:43 So Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn. You should be able to easily find us there. Just type in UK Paranormal Society and follow the pages there. As you mentioned, Michelle, sharing of our content, whether that's sharing and reposting of our social media posts, or if there's something you see on the website, feel free to grab the link and share it and put up your own post about that. There is the Get Involved page on our website, so we've got a nice big gold button at the top of our.


00:57:12 Website which says get involved. If you'd like to be more actively involved in terms of either helping to promote society or get involved as a content writer or an active volunteer, even if you wanted to be involved as a trustee, then we do have vacancies. We do open up recruitment on a regular basis. So keep an eye on that or message us. And we certainly are open to offers of help as a charity then.


00:57:40 We don't receive much in the way of income. Everything that we've done so far has been self funded, as I mentioned earlier, so we're just all paying into a bank account on a monthly basis. If people do want to donate, there's a button on the website where you can do that. Conscious that we're in a difficult economic period at the moment though, so we've not been pushing that at all, we're still just self funding for now. The other thing is send us your ideas.


00:58:04 If there's something you'd like to see on our website, contact us. We've got a contact us page on the website or contact us through social media. We're open to all ideas, any constructive feedback, let us know what you'd like to see from us. The way we see it is that by creating and launching the charity we've laid the foundations so that three and a half year period was building the foundations for this organization. What we now need is everyone's help and that's everyone is the paranormal field heritage organizations, the general public with an interest in the paranormal.


00:58:39 We need your help to help us build the structure, the house, if you like, that is on top of that foundation. What's that going to look like? What do you want it to look like? We're restricted in terms of what we can do and that's where we come in with the trustees and the volunteers to make sure we stay within our charitable purposes. That legally we can do.


00:58:58 But we're open to all ideas, so send them in. Let us know what you'd like to see from us. And if we can do it, then we'll look at how we can do it. And I would imagine some of that really is kind of part of the goals going forward, those next steps. Are there any other kind of key things that for the next several months, the next year is something that you're trying to work on and to help put out there in terms of where you want to go with it?


00:59:25 Is there anything specifically that you know that you want to have up and running and there shortly or for the kind of the more immediate future? Yeah, I think I suppose there's three main goals that we've got. There's features that we're hopefully going to be able to add to our website in the not too distant future. I can't disclose those at this time but there'll be some exciting new sort of content features going on the website. What we really wanted to be doing, though, over the coming months, certainly for this year, is building our online presence.


01:00:01 That's a social media following. It's all about how much influence an account has now in terms of how well the posts get shared. Now, if we're a charity that's trying to influence good practice and change and so on, it's important for our posts to be seen. So we need to try and build that presence. That's one of our goals.


01:00:20 We want to build our team of volunteers as well, and our trustees. So getting in trusted people who have the same drive and passion as we have to make positive change within the paranormal field, doing it for the greater good rather than for personal benefit and have some skills to add. So that's where the recruitment side comes in and the big one for us is trying to build trust and buy in from the paranormal field and the heritage sector so that we are seen as a helpful, friendly, support resource. Because at the moment we're a bit of an unknown and I think there's probably people who are watching or waiting to see where we're going and what's this all about, don't really know who's behind it and so on. And hopefully over time that trust will be built and people will see that we are there for the greater good, we're not there for other means such as for personal benefit or commercial gain or anything like that.


01:01:19 And we have got quite a lot more content to go on the website, so there's a lot more content that's going to be going on to provide useful guidance for practitioners and so on. We're also going to be putting an updated page on soon which says who's currently involved. So now we've started to recruit, we've got new members in, so it's not just those founding members anymore, we've got some really exciting new volunteers on board. You mentioned Jayne Mortimer earlier from Wheelie Haunted, so Jayne is one of our new volunteers and we got others as well, which we're really excited to have as part of the society. And we want to be able to showcase them as well and say who they are and what skills they're bringing to us.


01:01:56 And I'll make sure to include all of the different social media pages and your website in the podcast description notes, as well as going up on the website itself for the podcast so that people can easily find you, they can easily be signposted to the different accounts that you've got. And I would just kind of reiterate something that I've said more than once, this is for everyone. And yes, there's a lot of content on there that's specifically aimed at the UK, UK laws and regulations and things that you have to be mindful of. But I think this is something that anyone around the world with an interest in the paranormal can really look at and use as a talking point, as a starting point, to have a think and to collaborate and to really see and reflect what it is that we're all doing wherever we are in the world, what we are bringing to the field, and whether or not we can do better. So the more we share, the more we talk about it, the more people come to the site, to the website, the more we share what you're doing and putting it out there, I think the better.


01:02:58 So I kind of encourage anybody who's listening to really do take that step of looking you up, seeing what's on there and playing your part, if that's something that you believe in too. We're all part of that kind of wheel of change, aren't we? And it can just take one small step, but it makes such a big difference. And so I really do hope people listen. If you really care about the paranormal, let's really care and let's be part of that process of change too.


01:03:26 Thank you, Michelle. I completely agree that the paranormal is one of those fields which to some degree is not regulated. As we said earlier, anyone can call themselves a paranormal investigator or a psychic or a medium. There are some rules and regulations out there in the UK, things like consumer protection and advertising standards for psychic practices and those sorts of things, but largely it's unregulated. It's down to us as a field to make sure we're doing the right thing and making sure we're not causing harm to members of the public or damaging heritage locations, or destroying the history of a location through putting out misinformation.


01:04:03 It's down to us to make sure we're doing the right thing and hopefully trying to push forward the field and do what we should be doing. And that's trying to uncover what the real causes are of this phenomena, trying to push forward the research. It's been so interesting to talk to you about this all tonight and I really do appreciate you giving up the time to share more about the concept and the idea and that process that's involved and your aims and all of the things that we've touched upon. I think it's incredible what you've been doing for the length of time that you have and what you're now doing, and I'm just so appreciative that you've come along to share some of that to everyone that's listening. So thank you so much.


01:04:47 It's been honestly so informative, so interesting and I just think keep going, please. Thank you, Shell. Really appreciated coming on today, so thank you for having me on your show. This is the first podcast that we've done since launching. We chose yours for that, so thank you for having us on, honestly, it was a pleasure.


01:05:10 Thank you so much. And I'll say goodbye to everybody listening. Bye, everybody.


01:05:24 If you've made it to the very end of the podcast and value what content and guests I try to put out. Please could you help take part in the following challenge to help celebrate our 100th podcast episode? I need your help. If you listen on Apple or have never listened to the podcast over there but are able to, please head on over, listen to an episode or several, and please leave a review over the month of April to celebrate our 100 episodes. I'm hoping we can achieve 100 reviews on the Apple platform.


01:05:55 If we do, then I'm looking to set up some live question and answer calls along with some other events to help celebrate us achieving this target Haunted History Chronicles podcasts needs you. Thank you.


Paul Hobday Profile Photo

Paul Hobday

Founder & Chair of the UK Paranormal Society

Paul Hobday is the founder and chair of the UK Paranormal Society – a brand-new charity launched in October 2022 to help protect the public and heritage locations from misinformation, malpractice and exploitation relating to the paranormal. The charity aims to provide a freely accessible resource of reliable, factual, unbiased information and guidance; encourage good ethical standards; and promote existing and future scientific research into the paranormal.

Originally from Bristol, England, the paranormal has been Paul's passion for many years, having undertaken countless paranormal investigations across the UK and Europe. He is open-minded to the various theories and beliefs behind the causes of paranormal activity, and has experienced phenomena for himself, but is still in search of answers as to what the cause of that phenomena might be - whether that is science, psychology, the supernatural, or something else.

Over the years, Paul has worked as an event host for one of the UK’s leading ghost hunting event companies, an event supervisor at Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire, established and led a paranormal investigation team, and has worked on various paranormal TV shows – the first being in 2010. He is best known for his role in the international TV series Ghost Chasers.