About

I am a historian and writer who likes to talk to both scholars and the public. I study extraordinary experiences and things, past and present. I am very interested in how multimedia can be used to disseminate ideas and research.

Introduction

In general terms, I am a historian of religion, science, environment, and society in twentieth-century Britain, the U.S., and Canada.  I am particularly interested in how humans interact with non-humans – bringing about a transformation in people’s way of being.

When not busy on other projects, I curate Extraordinarium, a website that includes articles and interviews. I am also a writer and have a background working in journalism, broadcasting, and media administration. My articles, interviews, and reviews are published in various magazines and journals. I also work with Kristofir Dean on the YouTube video series Vegiterra. I returned to Canada in June 2013 after having lived in Bali, Indonesia, for a year and a half where I launched into the work on my PhD dissertation. I travel extensively to experience different cultures and conduct research, having visited many places in all but two of the world’s continents over the past dozen years.

I am a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society for Environmental History, and the Society for Psychical Research (since 2008).  I have consulted for media projects and am actively involved in presenting at academic conferences as well as public speaking.

Below are details on my scholarly studies, social media work, talks, media experience, creative projects, and some links. A full CV is available upon request.

 

Alongside my own research projects, I consult or work on projects regarding my research topic of the history of the supernatural, extraordinary experiences, and human potential. I am also available for interviews with media.                  

In terms of my expertise, I am well-versed in a wide variety of topics pertaining to the extraordinary and the supernatural in North America and Europe. I am most knowledgeable on the following:

  • the study of extraordinary experiences,
  • the poltergeist phenomenon,
  • psychokinesis,
  • apparitions,
  • hauntings,
  • premonitions, and
  • survival after death.

I occasionally write on innovative, groundbreaking, or avant-garde music, film, design, and visual art.

Freelance Work: While I am doing a PhD degree, as time permits, I may take on projects that are relevant to my expertise and experience. For writing samples, see my portfolio (available by contacting me). My writing style, including scholarly work, aims to be accessible to a wide audience. Over the past few years, I have undertaken consulting work with two film production companies, one in Singapore, the other in Canada, as well as writing numerous articles, chapters, and reviews published in journals and magazines.

Among the projects I may undertake for scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, film production, broadcast media, social media, and websites:

  • writing articles on topics pertaining to the extraordinary, the supernatural, and culture – past and present
  • writing reviews or overviews of current and past books, films, or other relevant projects
  • collaboration and consultation on any number of projects, including:
    • project development and research for multimedia including books, film, television, exhibitions, and conferences
    • editing and constructive criticism on book manuscripts (non-fiction and fiction), screenplays (documentary and fiction), project proposals, and other text-based media

I am currently expanding my work as the Editor & Curator of Extraordinarium Digital Press.

Interviews with Media: I am available for interviews with print, broadcast and online media pertaining to my research.  I have conducted English-language interviews for numerous media on national and local levels, including CBC Radio, Radio-Canada, radio news programs, newspapers, and student media.

Public Speaking: I am also pleased to consider the opportunity to speak on my research at public venues including scholarly conferences and thematic conventions, to the general public and special interest groups, as well as to enthusiasts of the topic.  If I can not speak in person, I may be able to speak with satellite conferencing or online technology, for example Skype or FaceTime.

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Scholarly Background

Present: PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

My historical research looks at how people have encountered and attempted to explain the supernatural in the twentieth century, and I am broadening this research into extraordinary experiences and things.  My PhD dissertation in progress, Mischievous Forces, analyses how explanations about the poltergeist phenomenon shifted in the decades following the Second World War, especially from around 1958 to 1985.  Please see my page on my PhD research, Reimagining the Poltergeist in Twentieth-Century America and Britain, for more information.  My PhD advisor is Dr. Joy Dixon, author of Divine Feminine (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), and my committee is comprised of Dr. Robert Brain, Dr. Carla Nappi, and Dr. Leslie Paris.

My dissertation research travels took me to North Carolina, Georgia, and England in August and September 2012, and there I presented at Exploring the Extraordinary 4 in York, England, on the historical reconstruction of a poltergeist case in Seaford, New York, in which the term “recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis” (RSPK) was coined; at the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) conference on which I spoke on psychical researchers’ historical approaches to distress among experients of anomalous phenomena and mental health issues; and an expanded version of that paper to the Centre for the History for Psychological Disciplines at University College London. I worked in the archives of Duke University, the University of West Georgia, Cambridge University, Senate House Library at the University of London, and the library of the SPR, and also attended the Parapsychological Association convention in Durham, North Carolina. Since 2014, I have been working through how consciousness and imagination are related to extraordinary experiences at the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory and Research in Big Sur, California.

In addition to my scholarly work, I organized Multimedia Histories, a four-part seminar series at the University of British Columbia in February and March 2011 that explored alternate media through which scholars disseminate their research.  I compiled content for an online resource, Careers for Historians, for historians, those studying history, and those interested in history to see the wide range of career opportunities available to them.

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2009: MA, History, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada

For my Master’s degree research (under the guidance of Dr. Sofie Lachapelle and Dr. Tara Abraham), I studied the concept of spirit possession and xenoglossy in historical context, which resulted in a major paper that I presented in Ireland in 2010.  The paper was on a case from the 1930s of a Hungarian girl who spontaneously began speaking Spanish – a language she had not learned before.  Her personality completely transformed into a woman who claimed to have died in Madrid several years earlier.  My MA research also looked at a variety of topics, including historical origins and social context of the novel and film The Exorcist (under the guidance of Dr. Jacqueline Murray).

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Prior Education

  • 2008: BA (Fourth-Year Equivalent), History, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 2007: BA (General), History (minor Political Science), Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • 1993: Diploma, Journalism, Grant MacEwan College, Edmonton, Alberta

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Past Media Work

I have over fifteen years of experience working in the media, including as a consultant, newspaper reporter, photographer, radio producer, and media administrator.  With this experience, my aim is to produce intermedia works based on my scholarly research that brings the analytical skills I have gained studying the craft of history together with my journalistic background and interests in anthropology, visual and film arts, and storytelling.

My media career really began in my bedroom in rural Alberta in the late 1980s, discovering late night CBC Radio broadcasts that inspired me to start an underground magazine that had readership worldwide. Thereafter, I completed a diploma in journalism, worked at the Creston Valley Advance newspaper in southeastern British Columbia, and then moved to Ottawa where I created and produced a radio comedy program called Remote Planet (1999-2004) and enjoyed a year as the program director at Carleton University’s radio station, CKCU 93.1 FM (2003-2004).  From 2004 to 2007, I worked with the North American Broadcasters Association in Toronto, where I helped organize broadcasting conferences.  In those years, I also freelance produced radio comedy sketches and a radio pilot for CBC Radio.

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Further Links & CV

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