An internationally celebrated expert on paranormal research, Joshua P. Warren has carved out an illustrious niche in the paranormal community writing books, conducting field research, appearing on numerous big-name TV shows and working as a radio personality. Writing his first published book at age 13, Warren has since published 12 more books over the course of his career including a regional best-seller, "Haunted Ashville". The first to investigate the Pink Lady apparition at the famous Grove Park Inn Resort and celebrated for capturing the first known footage of the Brown Mountain Lights, Warren is no stranger to the world of the paranormal.
With appearances on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel, Sci-Fi, Animal Planet and several affiliate networks of NPR, ABC, NBC and CBS, he also works as a radio host for Clear Channel and is a frequent contributor on “Coast to Coast AM”. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Appearing on smash hit TV shows like “Ghost Adventures,” “Superhumans” and “Weird, True & Freaky,” Warren’s most recent endeavor as a reporter on Travel Channel’s “Paranormal Paparazzi” (on Friday nights at 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST) has once again landed him squarely on the main stage of paranormal inquiry. This prompted HalloweenCostumes.com to ask him a few questions about the show and his incredible career in all-things-unknown.
Joshua P. Warren has more than 20 years experience in the field of paranormal activity
Please tell us about your newest endeavor on Travel Channel’s “Paranormal Paparazzi”. What made your experience on this show stand out? And without spoiling anything, can you share an experience or tidbit that surprised you?
Paranormal Paparazzi is a fast-paced news show that's light, fun and diverse. For example, one minute we're in the field hunting a "skunk ape," the next we're ambushing a celeb on the streets of LA for a ghost story, then we're at a horror convention talking to special effects guys. It's really about capturing the pop culture aspect of the paranormal, aside from merely investigating like all the other "paranormal" shows.
I shot a LOT of material that has been whittled down, so there's a bunch on the cutting room floor. But my favorite segment was shot in Transylvania, in Romania. I spent two weeks investigating castles dominated by Vlad the Impaler. I shot a segment at the ruins of his primary fortress, atop a steep mountain with breathtaking views. I literally had chills just standing there. But that segment was shot late in the production, so it may not make season one. That's why I'm hoping so much for a season two!
A glimpse inside "Paranormal Paparazzi"
On ABC you said “Paranormal Paparazzi” is “sort of like a TV tabloid for the paranormal, and I must say we have a sense of humor about things.” Can you expand on that?
After 20 years in this field, I can honestly say there's no way you can fully appreciate the paranormal without understanding the inherent absurdity of it all. That in no way diminishes its reality, but helps us capture its entertainment value. The idea of being probed by aliens, kidnapped by Bigfoot, or going "naked ghost hunting," is naturally comedic fodder. And we realize a lot of non-paranormalists think of the field without a personal-experience connection.
Therefore, we address these subjects by tackling all the entertainment value. Though paranormal enthusiasts love the show, a lot of our fans are people who do not usually watch "paranormal" shows. The raw entertainment aspect is what draws them in.
What are some of the locations around the country and world we can look forward to seeing on “Paranormal Paparazzi” this season?
I am one of six reporters on the show, and betwixt us all, the covered the entire country and then some! We probably have something from every major city, and a LOT of small towns. I especially enjoyed some of my adventures in New Orleans and remote parts of Texas.
Since you are in every episode of “Paranormal Paparazzi,” what episode are you most excited to see air?
The premiere episode, with the Lizard Man story, was a fun one for me. But I'm still waiting to see some of the crazy stuff I shot in the night sky at the West Texas/Mexico border. And the weird "booms" shaking houses, waking up people, and instilling widespread panic in Western North Carolina is a fascinating one. I think there may be some strange new secret technology being used by the military.
What is the most convincing evidence for the existence of the paranormal you’ve ever captured? Where and when did it happen?
I've had a series of experiences, over many years, that one-by-one confirmed the reality of different paranormal aspects. It took me 6 years of serious investigation before I ever actually saw a ghost. It was a misty form swirling in an attic in Asheville, North Carolina. On another occasion, a colleague and I witnessed objects flying off the walls in a house in South Carolina. But a truly profound experience was spending a night alone at Myrtle's Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana. During the night, something kept banging on my walls. It would do so on-command, whenever I asked it to. This demonstrated something intelligent, conscious and interactive. Since that night, I've had no doubt that there are intelligent entities in realms aside from our normal one.
Out of all the instruments in your paranormal tool belt, what is the one tool, instrument or technique you simply cannot do without?
There isn't one, singular "ghost meter," and I like to use a bunch of different devices together in conjunction. But if I could only select one, I'd pick a Trifield Natural EM Meter Model 2, with coil antenna.
A look at Warren's lab
You published your first book at age 13, which is quite astounding by any standards. But when did your life with the paranormal begin? Has it been a lifelong fascination?
My family, on both sides, has been in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the oldest in North America, for centuries. I grew up in Asheville hearing fantastic legends and stories passed down through generations.
A lot of weird stuff affected my mother's side of the family. In the 1930s, my great uncle, Claude Calloway, literally vanished in mid-conversation on a summer afternoon. He was never seen again. That was a personal tragedy from which my family never fully recovered.
It's been eerie, as an adult, to go back and research his paper trail, and see it all simply END one day, when he was in his early 30s. A month before, a photograph of him was taken. When it developed, his head was missing. His fate was foretold in this phantasmal photo. As long as I can remember, that sort of thing has been a reality for me.
I wanted to know more, and separate fact from fiction. That's why I started so young and have never stopped.
Out of your many books, if you would like your fans to read just one, which would it be and why?
I would recommend “The Secret Wisdom of Kukulkan”. It's subtitled "Inter-dimensional Contact in a Holosentient Universe." Though it's only 100 pages, it concisely gives a huge overview regarding aliens, spirits, cryptids, ESP and the relationship to you. This book has it all!
What was the main reason you started the Warren Institute for Paranormal Studies? How many graduates have you inducted into the world of the paranormal?
For years I've gotten tons of requests from people who want to seriously study the paranormal and learn how I've made a living doing it. However, this field is so complex, I've been extremely selective about the students I choose and the time I can devote, especially given my travel schedule. I spend a lot of personal, one-on-one time with each student. To date, we have had eight graduates, but I will be teaching a new class November, 2012.
Warren discussing the paranormal
In your eyes, if the existence of a paranormal force or entity was to be proven tomorrow beyond a shadow of a doubt, what stands the greatest chance: ghosts, psychic phenomenon, Bigfoot and other famous cryptids or aliens and UFOs? What makes the chances of solving this mystery better?
I think psychic phenomena have the greatest chances of being proven. That's because we have vast, stable access to the subjects–humans. These other entities are fleeting and extremely unpredictable. But given the proper test scenarios, I think we will soon validate some kind of "sixth sense." I think most people have had at least one "psychic" experience that boggles the mind, or at least know a good story related to a trusted friend or family member.
Between your novels, time on TV, radio and working in the field, what is your favorite use of your time and where do you think you make the biggest difference for the paranormal community in general?
My favorite time is spent researching in Puerto Rico. It's a hotspot for everything! I think the island of Puerto has the greatest amount of paranormal activity condensed into the smallest space. I absolutely love spending time there. But I think the most valuable things I can contribute come from my experiments in the lab. Field data is inevitably full of chaos and contamination. What I've learned in the lab has produced the clearest hypotheses and explanations for what we're studying.
What is your proudest moment in the realm of the paranormal?
In 2004, my team and I made the cover of a science journal, “Electric Spacecraft”, for our extensive work reproducing a plasma phenomenon, similar to the mysterious Brown Mountain Lights, on a miniature scale in the lab. It's pretty darn rare for a "paranormal" team to make the cover of a science/engineering publication. I think of that as the highest honor for me.
What are your plans for Halloween this year? Anything paranormal in the works?
Yes! There is an EXTREMELY haunted house in my area that I've only recently learned about. It's a private property, but I think I may take a select group of investigators with me to do a special Halloween night investigation. I make that sort of thing available from time to time, so please visit JoshuaPWarren.com to stay updated on everything!