Paranormal Yakker with your host Stan Mallow

Click on Edd Scorpio photo below to view video Interview



Season 1 Episode 6

Edd Scorpio, Ghost Hunter.
Edd is a professional photographer, ghost hunter, paranormal investigator and indigenous healer. He often dresses as his alter ego, Pirate John Swallow. In his interview with Stan Mallow, the Paranormal Yakker, Edd reveals the back story that led up to him becoming John Swallow. He also shares with the Paranormal Yakker audience some excellent tips on how to go about photographing ghosts and other psychic phenomena. We learn how the fusion of diverse cultures that is his heritage has influenced who and what he is today. Further, Edd talks about some of his more memorable paranormal investigations;. This includes the unexplained phenomena he encountered while in haunted New Orleans.

Transcript of video Interview

Stan Mallow
Hi everyone, I'm Stan Mallow. Welcome to the Paranormal Yakker. My guest on today's show who I'll be yakking with is Edd Scorpio. He's a professional ghost photographer, paranormal investigator and indigenous healer. Without further ado, it's my pleasure to introduce you to Edd Scorpio who has honored us by coming to the Paranormal Yakker dressed as his alter ego, Captain John Swallow. I welcome you both to the show. Before going further with our interview, I would love for you to share with our audience the reason you chose Captain John Swallow to be your alter ego. I'm sure there's a great backstory to it, or at least I'm hoping there is.
Edd Scorpio
Well there's probably a couple of stories to that one.
Stan Mallow
Okay, good.
Edd Scorpio
As I had to explain to somebody the other day, I think more people know me as Captain John Swallow than they do as Edd Scorpio. He has much more of a presence, apparently. It's a pirate thing. I've kind of always been a pirate but the Captain John Swallow thing came about some many years ago now when there was a pirate festival that friends of ours created actually and we were involved with. One of the historians that was helping set things up for them, historically speaking, happened to also be one of the historians that helped set up the original Disney film for Pirates of the Caribbean.
Stan Mallow
Wow.
Edd Scorpio
And I was given the name Captain John Swallow, pardon me, as that was going to be the original name of a certain character who will remain unnamed, in said movies. So technically, I'm the original version.
Stan Mallow
The original.
Edd Scorpio
And as it happens, I'm also the older, better-looking version.
Stan Mallow
Yes, no disputing that, yes. And weren't there like pirates in your family history somewhere a long the way?
Edd Scorpio
Funnily enough, that's something that came about more recently. Both Seika and I have pirates in our background. Hers we knew about before, because they're a little more infamous I suppose. One of them sailed with Blackbeard and was his master gunner, so that was a more prominent one
Stan Mallow
Quite infamous, yes.
Edd Scorpio
My family history, because I never really knew much of my family history until recent note, probably in the last 15 or 20 years I suppose that I've been doing genealogy and finding out about my history. Neither side of my family ever really spoke about their background or spoke about their history. I like to say my mother's family didn't talk about it, my father's family lied about it. So they used to tell very few stories but the few stories they told were inherently incorrect for the most part. But there were convenient stories that the family had told for so long that I guess they believed them at that point. But I discovered a couple of relatives who were pirates or associated closely with pirates, one being Barthelemy Lafon who was a close associate of Jean Lafitte in Louisiana. And he's known more for being an architect than he is for being a pirate and the more I've researched him, turns out he must have made a pretty good pirate. Not so much sailing the sea and robbing ships and that sort of thing. But shortly after the war of 1812 when Jean Lafitte helped defeat the British in Louisiana, basically saved the Americans bacon so to speak, along with his men, of course. Lafon was put in charge, Lafitte had moved his his pirate headquarters, if you will, out of Louisiana at that point to off the coast of Texas. And Lafon, the architect, was put in charge of the pirates off the coast of Texas because Lafitte was busy arguing with the American government to try and get his property back in Louisiana that they took from him when they arrested him. So they had arrested him, they let him go because he said, "I can help you win this battle." And literally, they would not have lost that battle, Louisiana would have been British territory. Barthelemy Lafon, he's a very interesting character and he's probably also the reason one of the longest-running bogus stories about Jean Lafitte in Louisiana, in New Orleans specifically, about, "He owned a blacksmith's shop in the French Quarter" No, he didn't. It's a bar, it used to be a tinsmith shop once upon a time, or a portion of it did.
Stan Mallow
Mm-hmm.
Edd Scorpio
Never belonged to either of the Lafitte brothers or I should say any of the Lafitte brothers, 'cause there were three. But, Barthelemy Lafon owned a foundry, not in the French Quarter, not far from it but just down actually near the Mississippi River. He had a foundry where quite likely, they were making things other than drain pipes, being pirates. There may have been some small cannon involved and probably some cannonballs, being a foundry. But I think that's maybe where some of that story may have evolved from. It wasn't a blacksmith shop it was more obviously foundries, they were making larger things out of wire at the time. But it was a legitimate thing, it was part of our research we discovered that and that became another interesting part of the story. Another interesting, shall we say, family member via marriage. One of my cousin's married into the family, is a gentleman named Job Northrop, who's one of our favorite pirates of all time. He's colloquially known as the beloved Buccaneer of St. Catharines Ontario. And people go, "There were no pirates here." Well there were plenty of pirates on the Great Lakes. He wasn't one of them. He was a bona fide pirate of the Caribbean and an American originally. He started off in the Navy, as so many pirates did, and discovered that piracy was a much better paying job with much more room for advancement of course too because in the Navy, if you start as a Navy man and you're just a Navy man, you will always be just a Navy man, back in the 17 and 1800s especially. You never became an officer unless daddy was rich and bought you your commission and then you started as an officer and pretty much stayed that way. If somebody made donations to somebody or bribed somebody, you became a bigger officer. But there was there was a big disparity in between. As a pirate you could start as a regular guy on the ship and you could be captain tomorrow if the crew decided you were a better person to lead them than the guy who was currently the captain. He either got demoted or swam home. But Mr. Northrop, how his connection came to St. Catharines is rather curious. He moved his family up here, his wife and his young daughter at the time. Bought property in St. Catharines from the gentleman that came up with the idea for the Welland Canal. They became very close friends, and in fact Northrop was one of the financiers, one of the original financiers of the Welland Canal. It would not have existed without his backing because at the time, they couldn't get money from the government. The government wasn't big on putting a canal between the lakes for whatever reason, probably, they just didn't wanna spend the money. And so he helped finance it and in fact, historically, the first ship in the Welland Canal was his ship. They talked about two other ships that sailed up the Welland Canal. But the very first ship on the Welland Canal was Job Northrop's ship which was called the Welland Canal. Worst name probably ever, but it was before they really had a name for the canal. It was, we're building a canal between the lakes and we need to test it and see that it's going to work. So they basically sailed this ship up to what was the first lock at the time, loaded it with cargo, and then sailed it back to Lake Ontario. So they went, "Yeah, this is gonna work, we can do this." And the rest, I guess as they say, is history. But Northrop kind of disappeared. He was very well-known in St. Catharines he was known as a magnanimous person, he was known, as somebody put it, "For always returning home with much of the ready." He was one of the few pirates probably in history that actually saved money. When he was making money off of his raids or off of his piracy,
Stan Mallow
Mm-hmm.
Edd Scorpio
he was putting it in the bank in the Caribbean. And it was said at one point, in the mid-1800s, that he had somewhere upwards of $30,000 at the time in that bank.
Stan Mallow
For that time, that's incredible!
Edd Scorpio
That's an awful lot of money. So you can well see were helping to finance the Welland Canal and buying property in St. Catharines, moving his family here. And a lot of his other family, his extended family, Northrop family, moved up into upstate New York. They would say it was close enough to wave hi, but far enough away to go, "We don't really know him."
Stan Mallow
Wow. Now I find the fusion of diverse cultures, that is your heritage, fascinating. What with you being related on your mother's side to four First Nations and some of the first French in North America. And on your father's side to be of North African and Middle Eastern descent. How do you think that mosaic of cultures influenced who and what you are today.
Edd Scorpio
Well it's interesting, as I say, I didn't know specifically
Stan Mallow
Right.
Edd Scorpio
of a lot of it for a very long time, there were hints. My mother and my two aunts, or two stepsisters, had always said that my grandfather had spoken about indigenous people in the family but because he spoke French and they didn't that's about the only thing they remembered. He died when my mother was four so she never really knew him,
Stan Mallow
Oh no.
Edd Scorpio
she didn't get to ask. And my grandmother never spoke of it. As it turns out, my grandmother's background was indigenous as well. So both my grandparents on my mother's side were indigenous from different places. My grandmother's family were Mi'kmaq from western Newfoundland and married into an English family. As I like to say, the only English family on the French coast of Newfoundland, for some bizarre reason. And I always thought that was odd, first of all, that they were English on literally the French coast. So the west coast of Newfoundland almost everybody there is of French heritage or Mi'kmaq heritage or both. And in the little town of Codroy that they came from, there are three official languages, English, French and Mi'kmaq. Which is a very unusual thing. In Newfoundland, there are not a lot of people who speak Mi'kmaq. There's a lot more in Nova Scotia, there's a lot more of the culture in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but there are pockets along the west coast of Newfoundland and south coast of Newfoundland. Not so much on the eastern coast but there are probably a few there, just given by how people travel around. And my grandfather, my maternal grandfather, his family were literally some of the first French to come here. He's my link to Barthelemy Lafon. When branches of his family were coming here they married into a lot of different indigenous groups the Algonquin along the St. Mark's, the Weskarini Algonquin, who were part of the founding of Trois Rivieres. Part of his family were the Boucher's who created Boucherville and who are also the great-grandparents of Louis Riel
Stan Mallow
Wow.
Edd Scorpio
So there was that connection, but a lot of the family moved further west a number of them were Dubois. they were never part of Hudson's Bay or the North West Company. They were independent and they stayed that way I think part of the reason they stayed that way was their involvement with the indigenous community. They didn't want to be part of the people who were essentially colonizing the country. They wanted their freedom, they wanted to keep their cultures. And they moved further west. Probably more than any other indigenous community, I probably have more Lakota relatives than anything. I have family in Pine Ridge, probably to this day I would assume. There's many branches of the family that went through South and North Dakota and were part of signing parties in some cases of some of the treaties down there.
Stan Mallow
As you know, we're both guest lecturers of the Southern Ontario Western New York Paranormal Convents.
Edd Scorpio
Yeah.
Stan Mallow
Which was held at the Bell Tower Community Arts & Entertainment Complex. I attended your lecture, and when I did, I was totally intrigued by you, I gotta tell you that.
Edd Scorpio
Thank you.
Stan Mallow
You were speaking about orbs, okay? Which I found fascinating. Now, since you have participated in many paranormal investigations I would like to know if you found certain places had more paranormal activity than others? And what paranormal phenomena are you most proud of being able to capture with your camera?
Edd Scorpio
Interesting questions! Probably another short answer. One of the reasons I was speaking about orbs is it seems to be everybody's favorite paranormal thing on film. Everybody and their cousin claims to have taken pictures of orbs somewhere, or at some point in time. And some of them are very obviously a mistake. It's usually because other people who were with them at the time went, "Oh no, you were smoking." Or "It was raining" or "It was snowing." Sort of obvious things that look like orbs on a camera. And of course now, unlike back in the day when you had to go out and buy a camera to have a camera, everybody's walking around with a portable camera and a computer in their pocket these days. There are certain anomalies with cellphones that, when you're taking pictures, especially in the dark, especially in darkened in places, whether you're in a building or you're outside somewhere, there are certain anomalies that will appear in a cell phone that may not appear on a full form camera, something that's specifically designed just to take pictures. So I've seen both, I've seen some that are either obviously bogus, in some cases they look like they've been manipulated and there's ways to tell that as well, where somebody who's placed an object into a photograph go, "Oh look what I saw, there's a whole body there!" And there's not. There are old pictures that we've researched, even back to tintypes, and people will go, "Oh, there's a face in the background of this!" Yes, because the photographer put it there because somebody asked him to put it there, it was the whole point of the photograph. Photographs were very expensive at that time so that when you had a picture done, that's how we end up with things like memento moris, you know, photographs of the family where one family member is deceased in the photograph. And we joke a little bit about it, respectfully of course, but sometimes it's, spot the dead guy. Figuring out which of the family members is deceased because some of those photos are so odd and people are so oddly posed, it's hard to tell the living from the not living. But there was a time when people would have the face of a loved one appear in a ghostly vision behind them as they were having a family photo taken. And it was simply multiple exposures or an exposure on top of an exposure that the photographer is creating. Now of course we have all sorts of wonderful software and digital cameras it's very easy to create things like that. For people who are taking pictures and just posting them directly up to social media sites or websites and going, "Look what I saw, what is that what? What do you see?" A lot of times it's, what do you want me to see? What is it I'm looking for? Then they'll go, "Don't you see the face in the corner, don't you see?" And people are going, "Yes, of course I see the face in the corner, "because you told me there's a face in the corner to see. "So I spent five minutes looking at it "till that face formed in that rose in the wallpaper." If that's the case. Doesn't mean to say that there are not photos of paranormal things. There are some that we've researched them and some that we've taken in fact and every scientific part of us looking at it trying to explain it away as, was it a light? Was it a fly that went through the camera lens? Can't explain it away.
Stan Mallow
Those are the photos that we're interested in knowing about, the photos that you took, that there is that illogical explanation for it. It is in that paranormal psychic phenomena realm.
Edd Scorpio
Yeah. There's really only two that I've ever taken that I could say fall into that category for certain. And one of them's an orb, of all things., as much as we make fun of orbs being so easily something else. And we've taken some of those ourself, we've looked at them afterwards and go, "Oh, that was dust coming up from the carpet in an old building." One in particular, and it was in New Orleans, it involved an awful lot of pirates. There was a lot of people there for part of a pirate gathering. So they were dressed in their best pirate gear and interestingly enough it had rained that evening. So rain is one of those things that very often you'll see, whether it's water spots on the lens that look like an orb because the camera can't focus on it, or it's raining lightly and the light happens to hit a couple and, "Oh, there's a couple of orbs there." This happened, the rain had stopped, the rain had been stopped at that point for about a half an hour. So any orbs we picked up were from something else. And there were a few in some shots where there was many, many orbs and we sort of joked and went, "It's the old pirates coming to visit with the new pirates, they feel at home." One in particular though, and it wasn't a small orb, it was I'd say about the size of a football or I guess more like a rugby ball for those of you that know rugby.
Stan Mallow
Huge, mm-hmm.
Edd Scorpio
So a big size, kind of rounded and not up in the air like people often see them. It was down around this fellow's knee, about the height of his knee. Same guy, this friend of ours, Greg. Very nice pirate outfit. This orb showed up in the picture I took, a couple of pictures I took, but it also showed up in at least a half a dozen or more pictures that other people took. Different cameras, different times of day, different locations, at least one he wasn't even dressed as a pirate. The same order, the same size, and for the most part, around the same height, it always seemed to be around his kneecaps. One shot it was at his shoulder, but only because he was sitting down at the time. So it was still around the same height, and pretty much the same size and shape the whole time. So looking at an orb as a form of energy, as a spirit, if you will, being a form of energy. People talk about them manifesting has a whole body
Stan Mallow
Yes.
Edd Scorpio
Our research, we found out that happens a lot less often than something like an orb. It may be as much energy as it can form to form something. And this orb followed Greg around for an entire weekend. Wherever he was over the course of two and a half days, wherever somebody took a picture with a point-and-shoot or a professional camera, couple people I think had cell phones that were taking pictures at the time, this orb was in these pictures. There was no other explanation, he wasn't walking around with some weird fluffy thing attended to his knee. So, the only explanation we could figure is that it wasn't so much it was person, but it was maybe a dog. And maybe it was a dog that belonged to one of the pirates back in the day. This all started in Pirate's Alley, in New Orleans, which is the home of the old jail, so a lot of the pirates came and went there unless they were in and out of jail. And some of them came and went there as they were probably trading things with the priests at the church next door. So it may have been one of them, maybe it was a dog that went on an offship with one of the pirates. And perhaps Greg looked like him or there was some attraction there, and it followed Greg around for an entire weekend.
Stan Mallow
I don't think you realized what you just said, "That could be a dog." That gives confirmation to something a lot of people have wondered sometimes. Do animals, do pets, go into spirit as humans do? That would be pretty much confirmation that they do.
Edd Scorpio
Absolutely. My background as an indigenous person, everything has a spirit. People talk about inanimate objects, and really none of them are inanimate. Just the other day somebody was saying, "We believe even that the rocks and the stones have spirit, they're just a lot slower." But same as the trees have a spirit, they have an artery system where the sap runs, like our sap runs, or blood runs. They're just a lot slower, it takes a tree a lot longer to become the height of a person, than it does a person.
Stan Mallow
Now wait, when you go on a paranormal investigation, how do you determine which direction you focus your camera? Is it random, you just go different places see what happens? Or do you get a feeling, a psychic vibe, that you should point your camera in a specific direction? Or is there some other dynamic involved?
Edd Scorpio
A little bit of everything. Some of it's just a feeling of looking at dark corners I suppose, or places where you might expect movement to be, if it's in a building especially. Places like hallways, where you would expect people to be coming and going a lot, so there'd be residual energy there. A lot of it is directed by the other investigators. If they have psychic abilities and they have a feeling or they're feeling a presence in a certain room or in a certain area, the same thing outside as well. I mean, we've done investigations outdoors that pretty much work the same way. You have an area where there's a presence felt and I'll try and take pictures through that area. I'll scan the area with the camera, and take multiple rapid shots usually. Personally, I don't use video a lot. I know a lot of people do. It's certainly a big thing on a lot of paranormal shows they have video, they have still photos.
Stan Mallow
Mm-hmm.
Edd Scorpio
Thermal camera, I've used. I have a thermal camera that fits in my pocket it's part of my phone. So I've used that on occasion, and it's it's occasionally picked up things that were anomalous. Things where you'll see a heat signature on the wall where there is no heat in that wall, so there's no pipes running through it or there's not electrical wires running through it 'cause that's obviously the first thing we look for. But taking pictures with the camera, occasionally it's been one of those things where I've pointed it in a direction and taken a bunch of shots in a row and then looked at it afterwards and went, "Oh look, there is something there. Or there was something there for six of those 12 frames."
Stan Mallow
I was always curious about dynamics of that. Now, do you have any advice for the paranormal active viewers who would want to try capturing orbs or other psychic phenomena with their own cameras?
Edd Scorpio
Well, it's tough to depend on your phone camera, unfortunately.
Stan Mallow
Mm-hmm.
Edd Scorpio
Doesn't mean it doesn't work though. Part of the trick, especially with phone cameras, is keeping them still. As as still as you think you can hold your phone in your hand and snap a photo, you're either moving your thumb to press that button, or you're pressing a button on the side, it's gonna move. So if can put it on some kind of a tripod. Selfie sticks not so much, because they tend to wiggle even more than you holding the phone.
Stan Mallow
Yes.
Edd Scorpio
But you can get little tripods, and there's all kinds of them now for cellphones that you can clamp your cell phone in and point it somewhere. And if you can set it to record video, that's one place video's really convenient because it's a lot easier to let your your phone record video and run for a time than taking time to take multiple shots with it, if you have to stand there and press it. If you can get a remote control for your phone, even better. You can stick it in a little tripod and have a Bluetooth remote for it they're pretty cheap.
Stan Mallow
Now, in addition to being a professional photographer and paranormal investigator, you are an indigenous healer. Now, to my knowledge, the term "indigenous" has been used primarily in anthropology and social sciences to reflect customs or people who are native to a specific region. Does your healing reflect a specific people or region?
Edd Scorpio
I think my knowledge, what little I have, it's one of those things that I'm always learning. I guess it certainly relates to my culture. I can't say that it relates to any specific region, some of it does. Some of the medicines I use are from specific regions more than others but through trade and through mixing of Nations for various reasons, a lot of it has been traded. People tend to talk about indigenous people as a whole and that's very hard to do. In North and South America alone, there are over 800 indigenous nations. These are sovereign nations, whether they're recognized as that or not by the colonial governments is another story. But, of all those nations, we have different cultures between them. some of them share similar cultures, certainly in what we call Canada now there are large groups of indigenous people who share similar culture because they share a similar background, they share a similar language base which is always part of the culture. So their stories, their medicines, their healings are often very similar. Where you get further South, my Lakota relatives have different methods for doing things and different medicines to some degree than my Algonquin relatives would have. There are some things they have in common. There are certain things that they would use as medicines that they have in common. A lot of it, certainly a lot of healing much like a lot of what people would call praying I guess, for lack of another term, is in your intention. It's, what is your intention, what are you trying to heal that person from and trying to have it not only in your intention, but also in the intention of the person you're trying to heal.
Stan Mallow
So intention, very, very important.
Edd Scorpio
Is a lot of it, I think, in any culture really, whether it's my indigenous culture here or whether it's the culture of my father's ancestors in North Africa, would be very similar, would be very much the same from that perspective.
Stan Mallow
Now, if any of our viewers would like to utilize your expertise in photography and video editing, which I know you do, especially as it relates to the paranormal community, how did they contact you?
Edd Scorpio
Well, specifically for my photography, I have a website called eddshots.com and that's Edd with two D's. As we say, it's not short for anything, it's long for Ed. Good So E-D-D-S-H-O-T-S dot com. I don't have any paranormal shots up there particularly, but there's a lot of my other photography up there and there's a contact form if people have questions they can certainly contact me through that and also, halfpennydreadfuls.com, where we do a lot of paranormal work and paranormal research and lots of other fantastic things, that as I know you know, they can they can contact me through there as well.
Stan Mallow
'Cause I want to encourage it, that's why I wanted you to give out your contact information. That's great, now I want to thank you Edd Scorpio and John Swallow, for an insightful, informative interview. It's been an absolute pleasure yakking with you.
Edd Scorpio
Always a pleasure, Stan.
Stan Mallow
Thank you.