Washington State has a lot of paranormal investigative teams, but A.P.A.R.T. (Auburn Paranormal Activities Research Team) of WA stands out for their approach to investigations.
About Regan's Team
Founded by intuitive Regan Vacknitz and her husband David, APART of WA concentrates on bringing together the field of paranormal research with their site, Paranormal Science and Assistance.
Recently, Regan was kind enough to share her thoughts on being an intuitive paranormal investigator with LoveToKnow Paranormal.
Becoming a Paranormal Investigator
What led to your interest in the paranormal?
I have been a "sensitive" person since childhood; however, my active interest didn't begin until my late twenties. I've lived as a psychic medium for as long as I can remember. In the last ten or so years of my life, I have become more stable with the idea of what my gifts are, more mature in acceptance and stronger in self-protection against hostility. So my interest began from a more personal endeavor - predating the popularity of paranormal television programs.
Why did you decide to become a paranormal investigator?
It started out as a "dare you" type of ordeal between my husband and me. I saw an ad on Craigslist looking for paranormal investigators, and he dared me to answer it. I did, and it opened a huge door and an opportunity. We met with the team, worked with them briefly and decided that their approach was not what we envisioned. We left the group and began listing what we wanted to achieve, our mission and our approach to the living and earthbound. We eventually came up with Auburn Paranormal Activities Research Team (APART of WA).
Approach to Investigation
Can you tell us a little bit about your team?
APART was started in October of 2005 by my husband and me. We took on one team member. It remained the three of us for quite some time. We sought out other teams, asking if we could apprentice with them. We worked with three other teams before flying solo. Since the departure from these other teams, we have grown. We have worked both businesses and private residences. We are the first team in Washington State to establish a well-written post investigation protocol; following the families for up to a year or longer if needed. We are constantly checking our team, making adjustments and growing with the theories, equipment and community.
Talk about your approach to paranormal investigation.
Our approach is simple: Client, Client, Client. Not enough teams out there actually pay attention to the client's needs. This, besides paranormal television, is the biggest thorn in our side. We get a call to assess the situation, and then move forward. We don't investigate with the idea we're going to "debunk" or disprove anything. We go in, whole-heartedly, with the client's mental status forefront. APART takes the situation(s) very seriously, but we do have a funny side as well. We enjoy investigating; it's a passion.
Details from the Field
Are you ever afraid during investigations?I think there's always an underlying fear while investigating; no matter how brave you appear. There's always an element of "What's next?" I'm not totally afraid. Since I've had visits with the other side a good portion of my life, it all comes "naturally" to me. There have been occasions where something completely out of the ordinary has caused me to re-evaluate my abilities.
Once, we were assisting another team, the family and the coroner's office with a cold case from our state. While we were there, I made contact with a nasty member of the family who had recently passed away. I normally have good control over my body, visions and those giving them to me. However, this hostile entity was stronger than my abilities. He ended up talking through me twice. That was the most uncomfortable, intrusive feeling I've ever experienced.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I do not believe in "ghosts." To me, that word sounds like Scooby Doo or Casper. However, I do believe in earthbound spirits, energies and souls. Although there are a substantial amount of skeptics out there who will question everything our team does, I know that there are spirits. I cannot prove it, I cannot make the skeptical community believe it and I'm fine with that. I believe in them because of my ability to communicate with spirits. I don't claim 100% accuracy. I don't claim the ability to move them into the proverbial "light". I do claim to have had experiences with the living that confirmed messages received from an earthbound individual. I'm here to convince myself and those who have the message I am to deliver.
Where is the most haunted place you have ever investigated?
No one really has the right to declare a place "haunted" or "not haunted". Considering the paranormal field is mainly made up of inconclusive theories and ideas. My experience on an investigation may totally differ from the person standing next to me. With that, I may find the place has more activity because of my experiences. That doesn't mean it is haunted, it just means I was able to sense, feel and determine differently. With that said, I can go off a list of the most "proposed" haunted locations or I could give my personal feelings on a location.
I feel that one of the most active locations we've investigated was the Old Montana State Prison. Evidence-wise we didn't receive much. However, there was a plethora of personal experiences that night. We had disembodied voices, physical contact, sounds, echoes, images and overall feelings throughout the entire compound.
Evidence of the Paranormal
What types of things do you consider as evidence of a haunting?
I believe that one of the most important pieces of evidence is cross occurrence. This is when two teams, at different dates and times, pick up the very same piece of evidence (whether EVP, video, photo, etc.) in the same location. This is why it is imperative that teams begin discussing their evidence with one another. This is why teams need to begin keeping their evidence open for peer review. If we can begin documenting situations like this, creating a thorough database to cover all questions and incidents, we can begin being taken more seriously by science, society and skeptics (the three S's).
Is there a single piece of evidence that you feel is the most compelling you have ever come across?
There is a single piece of evidence caught by our team. This piece of evidence is so very important to me alone because it not only confirms the abilities that I have, but it has a total creepy factor to it.
We were investigating the story behind the Black-Eyed Kid at Pt. Defiance 5 Mile Drive. We were moving about the area, hopping from one "hot spot" to the next throughout the five miles of park. We all got into our cars to go to the next spot when I had a visitor in my backseat. I was talking to her psychically. My teammate and I were sitting in the front and I was behind the wheel. I had a digital recorder turned on, sitting on my teammate's lap, with an external microphone draped over the rearview mirror. I was talking aloud so the digital recorder could pick up my questions and inquiries, but I was hoping that the answers would be picked up as well. I was shocked upon evidence review to find not only had the spirit's answers been picked up, but the entire conversation I was having with her. Every sound, every whimper, every emotion is heard in a three minute EVP.
Are there any locations that make your dream list for investigation?
- Harvard Exit Theater, Seattle, WA
- Wah Mee Massacre Site
- Pike Place Market?
- Kinnitty Castle, Ireland
- Vlad the Tempest's Castle
- Elizabet Bathory's Castle
Advice for New Investigators
Do you have any advice for new investigators or those who want to become paranormal investigators?
My biggest advice I could give to any person who wishes to venture out and "hunt ghosts" is to research, apprentice and work with other teams. There are so many theories and ideas out there; you would totally be robbing yourself of a new avenue, venue or venture. Be open, not closed off.
The only way we're going to advance further is if we learn to put the aggressive, self-centered, territorial behaviors behind us. Learn, and always be open to learning. This is key for growth and advancement.