Paul Hobday at Castle Menzies in Scotland, September 2018
With the introduction of ghost hunting television shows like Most Haunted, businesses started to spring up that allowed members of the public the opportunity to go on ghost hunts at locations that were normally out of bounds. I started attending these, going on ghost walks, ghost tours, and overnight ghost hunts; whatever was available and affordable. I also began to carry out my own investigations of haunted locations, started meeting others who were interested in the paranormal, and speaking to witnesses of paranormal phenomena. My research wasn't limited to just ghosts either, my interests were in all areas of the supernatural - UFOs, alien encounters, psi abilities, cryptozoology, etc.
Then, in 2009, after having attended a number of their events, I was asked to work for one of the UK's largest ghost hunting events companies: Haunted Happenings. I spent several years working for them as an Event Host, touring the UK leading ghost hunts with the public at some of the UK's most haunted locations - and getting paid to do it! It was the dream job for a paranormal enthusiast, and fitted in perfectly with my self-employed day job running a consultancy business.
LIVING TV - PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION: LIVE
Whilst working for Haunted Happenings, I was approached by producers from STV, who had attended one of the ghost hunting events I had hosted. They asked me to audition for a brand new television show that they had planned: a live show that was to be broadcast at Halloween weekend in 2010, and to bring a friend to audition with. My friend since school and fellow paranormal investigator, Anthony Hughes, worked at Haunted Happenings with me, so we auditioned together. After several auditions, we were successfully chosen for the show and asked to bring in two female friends to join us, so we picked our friends Ola Semenova and Chloe Hodder to create our team. We then needed a team name and Team IMPACT was born, with 'IMPACT' standing for Investigators of Mysterious & Paranormal Activity.
Ola, Paul, Chloe and Anthony on Living TV's Paranormal Investigation: Live (October 2010)
After 'Paranormal Investigation: Live', I decided to leave Haunted Happenings to pursue a more serious path in paranormal research and establish Team IMPACT as a credible team of paranormal investigators. Running ghost hunting events is very much an entertainment business, and I wanted real answers to my questions about the paranormal. Ola and Chloe left the team shortly after the TV show, in favour of other adventures. Various other people came and went over the years, with Anthony eventually leaving the team in 2016 to focus on his career. I remained as the team leader throughout, focusing the team on the ethical, analytical investigation of phenomena, and driving the team forwards in its search for answers. Team IMPACT eventually closed in 2019, so that its members could focus on other projects and areas of interest.
During my time at Haunted Happenings I became friends with Chris Howley who was the resident paranormal investigator at Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire. Woodchester Mansion is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in the world and Chris has been investigating it continuously for the last 13 years, having spent literally hundreds of nights there. When we first became friends, Chris was a member of another investigation team, GPRG, but when that team disbanded Chris joined Team IMPACT. As a result, I started to work alongside Chris at Woodchester Mansion, and Team IMPACT became the resident paranormal research group there, supervising all of the ghost hunting events companies and groups of paranormal investigators who visit in the hope of experiencing paranormal activity - an interesting parapsychological study in itself. We remain as the resident paranormal investigators at Woodchester Mansion to this day. This supervisory role provides a unique insight into the methods and techniques used by the vast array of different ghost hunting event companies and amateur paranormal investigation groups that are now out there.
Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire, UK. Photo copyright © 2015 Paul Hobday
In 2011, my quest for answers about paranormal phenomena led to me joining the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP). ASSAP has provided me with education from leading academics, researchers and parapsychologists in all manner of alleged phenomena, from ghosts and hauntings to alien encounters and cryptozoology. Over the years I've attended a variety of training courses and seminars, including by eminent figures in the field such as Professor Chris French and Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe.
Through the education and training with ASSAP, I became one of the first paranormal investigators in the world to become registered with the National Register of Professional Investigators (NRPI). This included online training, exams, two-days of classroom-based training, and background checks. I passed the exams with distinction.
Following on from this, I continued my studies in parapsychology and the investigation of phenomena. This included an 11-week certified course in Parapsychology with the University of Edinburgh in Spring/Summer 2015.
Through my professional career, and supplemented with further training from ASSAP, I have been trained to an advanced level in investigation techniques, incident analysis, and the interviewing of witnesses.
INTERVIEWS AND PRESENTATIONS
I have been a guest speaker on the subject of the paranormal on various internet and terrestrial radio stations, including BBC Radio.
In 2014, I was a speaker at the ASSAP 'Seriously Spooked' educational conference at Aston University, delivering a 1-hour talk on the subject of 'The impact of paranormal television shows and public ghost hunting events on the advancement of research into ghosts' to an audience of over 150 paranormal researchers, academics, psychologists and enthusiasts.
In April 2017, myself and Chris Howley were guest speakers at the ASSAP 'Seriously Investigated' conference at the University of the West of England, being interviewed live on stage about the making of Ghost Chasers.
Dr Ciarán O'Keeffe and Paul Hobday at the ASSAP Seriously Investigated conference.
In late 2015, I was contacted by one of the UK's top television producers, asking if I would like to take part in a brand new paranormal TV show. After a meeting in London to discuss the show concept, I accepted the offer to be one of the on-screen paranormal investigators, alongside my friend and fellow investigator Chris Howley, psychic medium Ian Lawman and presenter Kay Nambiar. My role on the team was to be the sceptical voice of reason. Filming for Ghost Chasers took place in early 2016 and the series launched on TV in the UK in 2017. Ghost Chasers continues to be broadcast around the world on various channels/networks. Further details about the series can be found here: Ghost Chasers
Ghost Chasers: Ian Lawman, Kay Nambiar, Paul Hobday and Chris Howley
FURTHER TV WORK
Following the success of Ghost Chasers, I have been involved in a number of other live-broadcast and pre-recorded paranormal TV shows and projects. Find out more here: TV SHOWS
Born and raised in Bristol, UK, I've had a fascination with the paranormal since a young age, with my favourite TV shows as a child always being those which featured ghosts and anything spooky. As I got older, I started to read material about real life cases, borrowing books and magazines like the Fortean Times from my Dad. Then, during my teenage years, weird things started to happen in the family home. Poltergeist-type activity, audible phenomena, the pet dogs reacting to things that weren't there (or at least not visible to us!). This fuelled the interest further, and led to me completing an A-Level in Psychology, purely for the fact that there was a module on parapsychology. Although I never got to the bottom of what happened in that house, my search for answers and fascination with the paranormal has continued to this day.