Paranormal Yakker with your host Stan Mallow

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Season 2 Episode 6

Elliott Van Dusen. Aulthor, Supernatural Encounters: True Paranormal Accounts From Law Enforcement.
Elliott Van Dusen is the author of Supernatural Encounters: True Paranormal Accounts from Law Enforcement. In his interview with Stan Mallow, the Paranormal Yakker, Elliott Van Dusen, who, after 15 years of service, retired as a Corporal with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police talks about a number of the supernatural encounters law enforcement personnel revealed to him. Elliott speaks about how he always had an interest in law enforcement and the paranormal. That all came together when he watched the TV series Unsolved Mysteries and the X-Files; both of which combined elements of the paranormal with law enforcement. Amongst the diverse paranormal incidents covered in his book are the following: There is an indigenous people who reside in the forests of the Canadian North West Territories who claim that a creature they call Bushman, who is akin to Bigfoot, has terrorized them and stolen their children. Elliott elaborates on that. He also speaks about a persistent story related for decades by locals from West Greenwich, Rhode Island that a woman named Nellie Vaughan, who is buried in a cemetery there, was a vampire. Elliott also shares his own paranormal encounter that he experienced at that cemetery. UFO sightings are discussed. This includes a sighting that is often referred to as Canada’s Roswell. He details the various hauntings and sightings of ghosts at the old courthouse in Halifax, Nova Scotia, He tells us the possible reasons for these hauntings and apparitions. Demonic possession is also covered in the interview. Stories of ghost ships have fascinated mankind for centuries. Elliot goes into detail about one such ghost ship, that being the USS Chesapeake. Further, witchcraft, paganism, voodoo, evil spirits and exorcism are all spoken about in the interview.

Transcript of video Interview

Paranormal Yakker
(eerie music) Alien footsteps
Stan Mallow
Hi everyone, I'm Stan Mallow. Welcome to "Paranormal Yakker." My guest on today's show is Elliott Van Dusen. I'll be talking with him about his book, "Supernatural Encounters: "True Paranormal Accounts From Law Enforcement." Elliott Van Dusen, welcome to "Paranormal Yakker."
Elliott Van Dusen
Thanks very much, Stan. And thanks for having me on the show.
Stan Mallow
After 15 years of service, Elliott, you retired as a corporal with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and you've been investigating the paranormal for over 20 years. So quite obviously your interest in the paranormal preceeds your career with law enforcement. What initially sparked your interest in the paranormal?
Elliott Van Dusen
It was television shows such as "Unsolved Mysteries" that kind of captured my attention. I always had an interest in law enforcement, and the paranormal, "Unsolved Mysteries" was a combination of both. It wasn't until probably, 1997 or so when the "X-Files" came out that got me interested in investigating the paranormal. I joined a local research team when I moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Got some practical experience. Went on to take some courses from Rhine Education Center, University Edinburgh, Nova Scotia Community College. I got some academic background in it. Then I joined the RCMP. I kinda came out of the limelight, I guess, while I was doing law enforcement, focused, you know, mostly on that. And then once I retired, kind of started coming back into the paranormal publicly, and yeah, I enjoy it and love talking about it.
Stan Mallow
I think that's great. Now, since people involved in law enforcement are trained to deal only in facts with what they can see, with what they can prove, how did those you interviewed for your book explain the reactions and feelings when confronted with cases that had paranormal aspects to them and cannot be verified using conventional methods?
Elliott Van Dusen
It's very true in law enforcement. Our job is to collect the facts and evidence, and present that to a way that the courts would understand it, almost taking like a messy story and massaging it, and getting it so that people can understand it. So with the paranormal, like you said, it goes against a lot of what police officers have been trained to do. When I was writing the book, I came across a lot of individuals that were reluctant to use their real name out of fear of being ridiculed by their colleagues. And I also came across individuals that would simply say, like, "I don't really believe in the paranormal, "but I also had this incident that I can't explain. "And here's my story," kind of thing. So it was, it was really interesting. It was really interesting to collect those stories from those types of witnesses.
Stan Mallow
Now, in your book, Elliott, you relate a number of diverse paranormal incidents. I would now like to ask you about some of them, here goes. There is an indigenous people who reside in the forest of the Canadian Northwest Territories who claim that a creature they call Bushman, who seems to me is akin to Bigfoot, has terrorized them and stole their children. Could you elaborate on that?
Elliott Van Dusen
Yes, that is the local belief of the people in the community called Whati, which is in the Northwest Territories, Northern Canada, like you said. They basically believe that the Bushman who is a Bigfoot-type creature is responsible for children and also people that work in bush camps for going missing. There are a lot of missing people in the Northwest Territories. When I worked on the RCMP major crime unit, that was one of our mandates was to investigate missing people. And there was a high number of missing people in the Northwest Territory. Some of them could be explained obviously, as people that had gone hunting or fishing in the remote wilderness and got lost and you know, their bodies would show up at some point, but there was a few that were, you know, really strange. Like a tourist, for example, one missing case, a person case. It was a tourist that showed up in a community named Paulatuk and they showed up, and they got up out of their tour airplane or whatever, roam around the community, came time to leave and go back to Yellowknife. They never showed, never showed up. They were reported as missing. Search party was deployed and no one was ever found. They never did find the tourist kind of thing. So lots of different theories on what could happen. Obviously in Whati, they believed in the Bushman. My colleague that told me the story, never saw the Bushman himself, but he got called out multiple times during the night to investigate people that were calling at two, three in the morning, thinking that the Bushman was creeping around their property. Like he said, they weren't intoxicated or high on drugs or anything like that. Like they legitimately believed that there was some sort of creature roaming around. He never saw it himself, but certainly lots of stories about him.
Stan Mallow
To those people who did see it, were there similarities to what we know as Bigfoot or were there differences? Or how did they describe how this Bushman looks?
Elliott Van Dusen
Yeah, there was one fellow who was stuck on an island for a couple of days until the RCMP and the Coast Guard could come rescue him. He described it like a typical Bigfoot, you know, over six feet tall with long, furry, matted kinda hair. An awful smell that was described. Would like to lurk in the bushes. He felt that this thing was stocking him while he moved around the island waiting for help to come. He could hear like creeping through the bushes and stuff like that. He actually got so scared at one point that he swam to another island hoping that the creature couldn't swim. And it was when he got to this other island, eventually, like I said, the Coast Guard and RCMP found him and rescued him. And he was in the hospital for a couple of days like getting fluids and stuff like that.
Stan Mallow
For a number of decades, there has been a persistent story related by locals from West Greenwich, Rhode Island that a woman named Nellie Vaughn, who is buried at a cemetery there, was a vampire. Why was she considered to be a vampire?
Elliott Van Dusen
You know what? The vampire, vampire stuff for New England's really interesting. There was another popular girl as well, named Mercy Brown in Exeter, Rhode Island that they thought was a vampire as well. Her story is a little bit more clear though, because her family had tuberculosis and they were, you know, it wasn't, much wasn't really understood back then about tuberculosis. I think they called it the lung was its nickname 'cause the doctors just knew it had something to do with your lungs. And you know, they started to, the community started to feel that there was something supernatural going on because all her different family members were coming down with tuberculosis. As with Nellie Vaughn though, it's not really clear on why people thought she was vampire. She was, or she is buried there. But unfortunately her headstone has been stolen by vandals. And so it's not laid out like Mercy Brown where her headstone's there and people come and they leave gifts and stuff like that. I actually went to the cemetery where Nellie Vaughn's buried. I couldn't, like I said, I couldn't find a marker or anything. It wasn't as well-marked out like Mercy Brown was. But it was interesting on the way to the cemetery, about two minutes, two or three minutes before I got to the cemetery, the vehicle I was in, all of a sudden the wipers turned on automatically and it wasn't rainy and it wasn't moist at all. And we actually turned the wipers off from auto to off and they still continued to go. And it wasn't until we finally arrived at the cemetery where Nellie Vaughn is buried, parked the car. As soon as we parked the car, the wiper stopped moving. That was the only interesting thing that happened to me when I was out exploring that. Other people have said that they've seen like an apparition of a lady wearing a dress roaming the cemetery. Other people have reported being pushed or scratched. And they also have reported hearing somebody say they're fine and that they're not a vampire. How that story got to my attention was a couple of Halloweens ago now, I think two Halloweens ago, the Coventry Rhode Island Police Department actually had a call from somebody saying that there was a lady in a white dress running down the road, looked like she was in trouble, can you send the police? They dispatched a couple of police officers. They didn't find anything in the area. So they went on their Facebook page and just had mentioned that there's a lot of ghost stories in the area where the call had came from and that it could have been somebody in trouble. And if anyone has any information to contact the police department, but they also said it could have been Nellie Vaughn. who's like their local ghost or whatever, And I thought that was really interesting. They weren't doing it to make fun of anything. And they weren't, you know, they weren't mocking anything, like they were pretty serious in their response. And I thought that was really cool. And it forced me to wanna come see the cemetery myself and check it out.
Stan Mallow
I agree they were professionals about it. They didn't make any pre-judgements about it. Something was said, they went to follow through on it, wow. The old courthouse in Halifax, Nova Scotia is reportedly haunted.
Elliott Van Dusen
Yes.
Stan Mallow
And over the years there have been many sightings of ghosts and other spirit activity taking place there. Some people claim it stems from the storage of pieces of the old gallows within the building. Could you go into more detail about that and perhaps relate some of the paranormal experiences people had at the old courthouse?
Elliott Van Dusen
Yeah, absolutely. That was one of my favorite stories to research. A friend of mine that is a sheriff that worked there for six or seven years told me that story. It's the Provincial Courthouse on Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. They used to hang people there in the back of the courthouse and there was gallows. And once the wood kind of got through its lifespan of being used as the gallows, they would recycle everything back then. So they would use some of the wood from the gallows to make some amendments to the courthouse. And a lot of the wood from the gallows were used to help rebuild and refurbish the attic of the courthouse. There was a cleaner, he had passed away unfortunately, by the time I started researching the book, but he had witnessed an apparition himself up in the upstairs attic and really freaked him out. He told all the staff about it and didn't wanna go up and clean up there by himself. My colleague there that's the sheriff said anytime that they do renovations in the building, when they rip up floorboards or tear down walls and stuff, they find old leather shoes hidden throughout the courthouse. And he was told that it was to help ward off evil spirits. So I did some further research into that. And actually, archeologists have found that since the 1500s, people have been hiding stuff in their house, such as, you know, old leather shoes, one of them was dried up cat skulls, really strange things. But people would hide stuff in their house to help ward off evil spirits. Just like my colleague had told me about the shoes. And then I started thinking about it. And really, it's not much different than when you go to, say a Roman Catholic's house to do like a haunting investigation. They usually have medallions buried in the four corners of their home, or they've got crosses like on every doorway. So really it's not, if you think about it, it's stuff that we still do today. We might not put dried out cats in the wall, but you know, we still kind of have that superstition that exists. With all that, the other thing that happened at the courthouse when my buddy was working there, there were, there was three sheriffs and two cleaners, I believe. And they were each breaking up their tasks for the night. So he decided to go underneath the grand staircase. So when you walk into the Halifax Provincial Courthouse, there's this beautiful grand staircase. And underneath that there's a passageway that kind of leads down to the cell area and leads to the judges chambers and all that stuff that's not open to the public. He swiped his card to go in there to take a look. And as he was opening the door, all of a sudden it felt like somebody had grabbed the door handle and pulled it back from him, slammed the door shut. When that happened he thought, "Oh my God, there's a prisoner "or somebody on the loose there." He took his swipe card again, swiped it really quick, opened the door, ran into the corner. And it's just this long narrow hallway. And there was absolutely nobody there. So he feels, he feels that it was someone, someone that had grabbed the door from him because just the way that it happened, like he said, it wasn't like a breeze had taken the door or whatever. He literally felt someone grab that door handle and slammed it shut. So I thought, I thought that was interesting because it certainly comes with a lot of history that like, the wooden beams for example, that would have been used, you know, for the gallows would have a lot of residual energy left in them. So it would kind of make sense that if they did use parts of that for the renovation of the courthouse that you may have some strange things happen.
Stan Mallow
Do you come across stories of demonic possession? And if you did, I would love for you to elaborate on them.
Elliott Van Dusen
The one... The one demonic possession case that involved law enforcement that I had come across was the one with Maurice Theriault, he was also called Frenchie. And he is based in the Hollywood movies, "The Conjuring." He plays, there's a scene with Ed and Lorraine Warren giving a lecture at the University of Connecticut and they show an exorcism video involving Maurice Theriault. There really is an exorcism video you can find on YouTube with Maurice Theriault on there. So that one was really interesting. And the police chief of Warren, Massachusetts, and a state trooper friend of his had witnessed multiple things with Maurice. They went into his house one time and he was bleeding from his tear ducts, blood. He went into the, they went into the washroom, found like blood smeared all over the place. They could see a cross appearing through his skin on his back. And they were there as well when Ed and Lorraine Warren got called down to assist in trying to investigate this demonic possession.
Stan Mallow
Stories of ghost ships have fascinated mankind for centuries. You included such a story in your book. Could you tell me about it?
Elliott Van Dusen
Yes, there's a lot. There's actually lots of ghosts because Nova Scotia's, you know, Eastern Atlantic province. So we're surrounded by the ocean. So there's lots of ghost ship stories of around here. One that I mentioned in the book is actually about the USS Chesapeake, which was involved in having prisoners taken from it and brought to Halifax. And some of them were executed and buried in Halifax. And so every so often there's a park downtown Halifax called Point Pleasant Park. And people say that when they're walking there in the evening, they've seen the USS Chesapeake appear bay there. Yeah, so that's, I mean, it's a, it's a quick and dirty ghost ship story, you know, wasn't a whole lotta information on it, just that multiple people have seen the USS Chesapeake at Point Pleasant Park.
Stan Mallow
I always find that fascinating that for centuries and centuries people at sea and it's so much lore involved in the sea and what goes on. I always find that fascinating I think. I thank you for sharing that. Now, amongst the various paranormal events you cover, you have included UFO sightings, and I'm glad about that. One such sighting took place in Nova Scotia. Can you go into detail about that sighting?
Elliott Van Dusen
Actually, the book has a lot of UFO sightings in Nova Scotia. Is the big one you're thinkin' of the Shag Harbour UFO crash?
Stan Mallow
Please, yes.
Elliott Van Dusen
Yeah, yeah, so in October of 1967, there were multiple people from all across Nova Scotia that were reporting strange lights in the sky down in a very, very small community fishing village on the Southwestern part of Nova Scotia called Shag Harbour. There were multiple teenage witnesses that saw what they thought was an airplane descending at a strange altitude, and all of a sudden crashed into the ocean. So they called the local RCMP detachment and told them that they thought that a plane just went down in the harbor. First they thought, they knew who the kids were, one of them was kind of like a local troublemaker kind of guy so they thought, they thought maybe he was calling in a prank. But then as he was talking to him on the phone, they started getting multiple other phone calls from other residences saying that something just went down in the water. So that prompted the police response. So they went down to the water. When they got there, they saw a dim yellow light underneath the water. And so they got some of the local fishermen to get their fishing boats ready and take the police out to where this light was. As they were going out into the water, there was this mysterious yellow golden foam on top of the water as well, which fishermen weren't sure what it was. They clearly knew it wasn't sea foam, and there's no better people to ask than fishermen, they know the ocean, they're there on the water. They didn't know what it was. They eventually followed the light for a little bit until it just kind of disappeared. So at that point, the RCMP assisted or requested the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard to come out and help. The Americans also were interested in this as well, since they didn't know what it was. And there was no record of an airliner that had gone down. So the U.S. Navy actually had assisted in the investigation as well. They spent several weeks looking for wreckage or bodies or luggage or anything, and they absolutely could not, could not find anything. Then there is a second story that kind of branches off from that, that was investigated by a friend of mine, Chris Styles. He did a lot of the initial research on Shag Harbour and dug up all the documents from the National Archives, because the only difference with this one and Roswell, 'cause they call this Canada's Roswell, is that this one was really well-documented by all the government agencies, 'cause you had the RCMP respond. You had the Canadian Coast Guard respond. So a lot of those records were sent to the National Archives and you can request them through Freedom of Information Act. The second story says that the UFO traveled to Shelburne, which is a neighboring community, where it was a met by a second disk. Apparently witnesses say a second disc had come and gone underwater, did some sort of repair to the first disc. And then they both did this, got up from the ocean and took off. That's kind of like the second story that's not as well-documented. I know Chris Styles is still investigating it to this day. He's had a few people from the Navy talk to him kind of off the record about that story. So that one is, like I said, it's not as, not as like solid as the first one. That's kind of the second part of the story, but it's still a really cool story.
Stan Mallow
Did you find certain areas experienced more paranormal activity than others? If so, where are these areas located and why do you think they are so strong in paranormal activity?
Elliott Van Dusen
I do find the Eastern United States and Eastern Atlantic Canada seems to have a lot of paranormal activity or a lot of ghost stories reported to it. I think it has to do with our culture. We were settled by Europeans who also have a very rich history of folklore and ghost stories. And you can actually see, for example, in a part of Nova Scotia called Cape Breton Island, there's a little community called Inverness. It's named after Inverness, Scotland. People believe that they've seen fairies over there in Inverness, but if you look at the history too, Scottish and Irish folklore also have fairies as well. So it's kind of interesting to see how same community named after the old country also has some of the same beliefs kind of thing. And when I took a witchcraft course at the University of Ottawa, they kind of explained how paganism and all that kind of spread as well. And they talked about, especially with voodoo. So the voodoo religion kind of stemmed from Africa. And when colonists had taken slaves over and dropped them off to different islands, like Haiti and stuff like that, the slaves still had the same religious beliefs. So you can see like a pocket of the same beliefs scattered throughout these islands where the people were enslaved and dropped off there, but you could see that they kept their culture, even though I'm sure they were probably forced to believe in something else, but you could see they still had their same beliefs and stuff like that. So I do think that part of the hotspots, I think has like a sociological aspect to it for sure. I just noticed a trend, you know, the Eastern Atlantic United States and Canada, because that's the area that I'm from. So, I mean, that's the area that most people are probably telling me the stories from. Whereas I have, I do have colleagues, you know, out West, like in BC, for example, in British Columbia, it's a UFO hotspot, but it's also a Bigfoot hotspot as well because of the dense forest and stuff like that. So I think, I think a part of it is probably where you're entrenched as well, the sociological aspect, and then where you're entrenched. And then who's telling you the stories.
Stan Mallow
And I'd like to ask you this, of all the supernatural encounters you researched, did any of them scare you more than the others and cause you to have sleepless nights?
Elliott Van Dusen
The worst case that I investigated, which wasn't, it wasn't in "Supernatural Encounters." It was in my first book that I wrote, which was called "Evil in Exeter," I actually have a copy right on my desk there. So "Evil in Exeter." And this fella here was seen by my co-author Hayley when she was a teenager. And this entity has always followed her around since she was a little, little child. So when I started talking to her, she knew I was into the paranormal. So she felt comfortable talking to me. And she said like, you know, her family has grown up around spirits and they've had lots of strange things happen. And that she's got this entity that follows her. And this entity doesn't seem to like other male figures that are in that house. Like, so any boyfriends or any that she had. So the first time that I went down to stay at the house, she was like, "Are you sure you wanna stay at the house? "Like every time someone stays here, "crazy stuff happens, this and that." And I'm like, oh yeah, like, you know, thinking like, 'cause I, you know, I've investigated lots of hauntings and stuff like that. And it's never bothered me. After staying there a few times, there was some crazy stuff that was happening. Her daughter didn't sleep once for like four or five days straight. The daughter kept hearing scratches on the bedroom wall. I'd go upstairs to take a look. There was nothing there. I even went outside because you know, I'm a trained police officer. So I'm thinking like, okay, well let's make sure the branches aren't scratching on the window, or it's not a squirrel on the window sill or whatever. There was like, no trees near the window. Like no animals out there. Toys would be manipulated, like they'd talk by themselves. Fire alarms would go off on their own. And they would only turn off individually if sprayed with Holy water. There was flies. There was like house flies just appearing outta nowhere. And we actually had to go out and buy a bunch of those strips to capture them. And each strip had like 30 dead flies on it. And like, you couldn't see where they're coming from. They're literally just appearing outta nowhere. There was strange smells that would appear, not like your typical, like in a demonic possession case, normal people report like the smell of rotting flesh or garbage or whatever. But this was like a smell, I smelled it a couple of times, but it was a smell of like, almost like ammonia or bleach would kind of appear upstairs. Just so many like strange things. And your energy would be drained. Like you'd be at the house and you'd be so tired. If you drove away to the house or went out to a restaurant for a bite to eat or a lunch or whatever, just to get out of the house, you'd get your energy back, feel so much better. Another crazy thing that happened is Hayley's iPhone. One day she went downstairs to feed her cat. And when she came back up, she saw that the iPhone light was on. So she thought someone sent her a text. So she went and looked at it and somebody had spoken to Siri. And it said, "Hey, Siri," what, what does, it said, I think it said, "Hey, hey Siri, Malik, "dirty girl" or something like that. It didn't quite make sense what it said. So, so I'm trying to break it down. I'm like, okay. Well, Malik, what's Malik or whatever. Like that's kind of weird, that's a strange name. And so we started like doing some digging into it, actually found a demon named Malik, both in the Koran and also in the Bible itself. The demon Malik apparently is like this higher-ranking demon that is in charge of other demons. And his job is to kind of like stir the pot of Hell. And he like tortures souls and stuff like that. And that same day that that happened, Hayley's son had given her a drawing. It was a stick figure. And he had like all these like swirls around him. So she's like, "Oh, what's this a picture of?" And he said, "Oh, that's the boy I always see "in the toy room that likes to play in the fire." And she's like, "What?" And she's like, "Yeah, he's always in the toy room. "And he says he likes to play in the fire or whatever. "So I drew this picture of him." And that was the same day that the message had shown up on the iPhone and that we found out that Malik is like the stirrer of the pot down there. And then that same day when she went upstairs to get, 'cause her youngest daughter went to school first thing in the morning, her son only did half days, so he went in the afternoon. So when she went upstairs in the afternoon to get his clothes ready for school, she always kept the Virgin Mary statue up on the kids' armoire. I mean, it's totally possible the kids could have bumped into it and it fell over. But this was the only time that we had found it not in its place, it was actually facedown on the floor. And that's the only time that that's ever happened, was the day that all that stuff was going on. So whether or not it was a coincidence or not, I don't know. But all those events kind of, kind of, which occurred over several months, did bother me. Like when I would come back to Canada, I was kind of glad that I was back for a little bit to kind of be, and it's funny, you know, I think a paranormal investigator wants to see this all the time, but it was actually kind of nice to have a bit of a break from it, just because, like I said, it was so draining when you were at the house, and just so many things happening. That was probably, that was probably the craziest experience.
Stan Mallow
Sure, it sounds like it would be, and I don't know if something psychic is going on here or not, but what you just spoke about and said is a perfect sedgeway to my next question I have for you. So here goes. Should any of my viewers want to order your book, "Supernatural Encounters: "True Paranormal Accounts From Law Enforcement" or your other book, "Evil in Exeter," which is based on a true story involving the haunting of a Rhode Island family, how do they go about doing that?
Elliott Van Dusen
Yeah, there's several different ways you can do it. amazon.ca and amazon.com both have both of the books. If you're down in the United States, you can also order it online at Barnes and Noble. And if you were in Canada, then you can order it online Chapters Indigo Coles. And in the Halifax regional municipality area where I live, all the stores have hard copies of both books there as well. Those are pretty much, yeah, pretty much the ways that you can go about getting them.
Stan Mallow
Great, Elliot Van Dusen, I thank you for being my guest on "Paranormal Yakker." Talking with you has been most informative and I very much look forward to interviewing you again when you author other books.
Elliott Van Dusen
Possible, thank you very much for having me, I really appreciate it.
Stan Mallow
Hi everyone, I'm Stan Mallow, the "Paranormal Yakker." I hope you enjoyed the interview you just watched. It is my goal, my pledge to always bring viewers of the show a great cross-section of guests from the vast body, mind, spirit, metaphysical, and paranormal worlds. To be sure you don't miss any interviews on my free YouTube channel, all you have to do is press the subscribe button on your screen.