Whether you’re a skeptic or believer, the idea of paranormal existence has been a topic of debate and interest for thousands of years. Melbourne’s inner north has it’s fair share of activity, and we recently caught up with Ben Podger, the founder of Northern Melbourne Paranormal, to discover if those bumps and creaks in the night could be more than just squeaky floorboards or loud pipes.
Northern Melbourne Paranormal is a non-for-profit organisation, with the goal to help spirits cross over to the other side, as well as reassure and assist clients with any fear or problem of paranormal activity.
Inner Circle: What first made you interested in working with the paranormal?
Ben Podger: I have always had an interest with all aspects in the paranormal as I am a physic and have known I have had abilities to communicate with spirits. I see it as a hobby; helping people that needs help with spirits in their homes or workplace.
IC: How did you first start up your organisation/what inclined you to join?
BP: I used to be a member of the CFA, but when I left, I still had that desire to continue helping people. I established Northern Melbourne Paranormal with my co-founder and since then, a medium and two training psychics have joined the team to assist myself and other mediums.
IC: What’s involved in determining what the problem is? (i.e. how do you know if there’s a ghost, demon, spirit, etc. infesting someone’s house or business?)
BP: We firstly sit down with the client and discuss in detail what is happening within their home or workplace. Our mediums then conduct a walkthrough of the area to determine what is going on who what kind of entity we may be dealing with.
In my experience, dealing with demonic or negative energies is completely difference with ‘earth-bound’ spirits (spirits of people that haven’t crossed over after passing away.) There is a distinctly bizarre smell, that many people associate with rotting meat or egg, as well as a intense unwelcoming feeling when you walk into the area. On the contrary, earth-bound spirits (depending on what’s happening with them) are generally more welcoming and seeking help to cross over
IC: What happens if you do happen to find something paranormal? Mediums, exorcisms? Do you conduct these?
BP: We use mediums to cross over or forcefully remove entities. We do conduct exorcisms with a very well trained medium from another group, however they are very rare in Australia, popping up once every few years.
IC: Have you had any personal experiences with the unknown? Any stories to share?
BP: I was strangled by a spirit in an old mental asylum I’d been investigating, and have been pushed into walls and doors by demonic entities on other occasions. I also grew up and lived in a number of haunted houses throughout my life.
IC: Does it ever scare you?
BP: You always have to remain composed and mentally strong to not show fear. I once had to remove myself from the environment that involved a very menacing demonic spirit in order to regroup my thoughts before reentering the house to remove it.
IC: Do you consider rational judgments first (creaky floorboards, loud pipes, etc.) or explore the possibility of paranormal activity first?
BP: Yes, we do. We try to debunk all aspects whilst our investigation is being conducted. All mediums are in constant communication, discussing what’s going on with someone in the team at all times during the inspection.
IC: Have you investigated any places around the Inner North?
BP: My team have done a few investigations in the Brunswick area but I’m unable to discuss this as all of our clients are investigations are kept confidential to protect privacy.
As for the areas I’ve been, they are old and full of history. The Queen Vic market has a fair amount of paranormal activity, for example, as it was originally a cemetery and prison with a very violent history.
Some places in Melbourne are more active than others, depending on what has happened and the kind of people that have been within the area, (I.E. cults and satanic groups.)
IC: For people wanting to experience paranormal occurrences, is there somewhere that you recommend to go (tours, houses, haunted train stations, theatres, etc.)?
BP: I do recommend going with professional investigators on investigation nights at the old Geelong jail in Geelong, Mayday Hills mental asylum in Beechworth and Aradayle Mental Asylum in Ararat.
Mill Park Library also hold discussion groups every second Wednesday of the month, where you can talk to myself, my team, as well as other teams about all things paranormal.
IC: What advice do you have for any of our readers who think they may be experiencing paranormal activity in their homes?
BP: They can contact with us via our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NorthernMelbourneParanormal/
We will come and investigate what is going on, free of charge with confidentiality.
Please NEVER use Ouija boards, tarot cards or angel cards unless you are trained in its use – they’re not toys. There is a particular way to do things to open and close a ceremony, and takes many years to master the safety of what you’re doing.
And from us at Inner Circle Magazine, take caution with all things spooky and paranormal!