You may recall a blog not too long ago where I mentioned a paranormal pal of mine was launching Fun with Donna, a paranormal party business? Well I thought it’d be fun to interview Donna, so without further ado here’s our Q&A exchange.
Courtney Mroch: How long have you been a sensitive/psychic? (Or whatever you prefer to call yourself. I wasn’t quite sure which term to use.)
Donna Marsh: I don’t really consider myself a psychic because that word makes folks think you can foresee the future, and I can’t always do that. What I see now is if all things remain the same, and things can change in an instant, which, of course, changes the future. I do know I’m sensitive, and I can’t ever remember not being. I’ve seen and interacted with spirits all of my life.
CM: To help those who don’t know you get better acquainted, can you tell me a little about yourself? Your paranormal background and whatever else you may care to share?
DM: Because of my abilities, and the fact that I lived in a haunted house as a child, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the paranormal, and I read anything I could find in our small, local library, fiction and non-fiction, with the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series of books being among my childhood favorites. True ghost stories absolutely mesmerized me — they helped me to understand myself in some ways, and that interest remains, so I guess I’ve been researching the paranormal all of my life. After my family moved to Tennessee back in the mid 70s my interests turned local, and I started checking out suspected haunted locations. I joined a group of other enthusiasts after my move to Nashville in ’97, and now I have the American Paranormal Society. In a way, I guess I’ve been investigating the paranormal all of my life.
CM: Speaking of the American Paranormal Society, I noticed you’re working on a cookbook for them. Care to talk about both the APS and the cookbook?
DM: The American Paranormal Society was formed in 2003, and we’ve been quite active over the last 6 years, traveling as far as Iowa in order to investigate the Villisca Axe Murder House and speak at a local festival there. We love visiting Savannah, Georgia, and try to make it there every other year or so. On the local front, we offer free investigations and assistance to anyone dealing with a spirit presence, as well as teach ghost hunting classes and seminars in the area.
The APS is a non-profit group — everyone pays their own way, so we naturally try to find ways to raise funds whenever possible. Our current project is our cookbook, 101 Ways to Dispose of a Dead Body. While it’s definitely being written with humor, the recipes are all APS favorites. When you spend the night in an old abandoned house with no heat/air, running water, facilities, etc., you get quite close to your fellow investigators. That closeness carries on outside of the paranormal world, and we sometimes get together for covered dish dinners and things like that. We at the APS love to eat, and the organization is filled with some really great cooks, so we thought we’d use those skills to raise some money for the group. Thus, the cookbook!
CM: The APS sounds like a blast, and I love to eat and cook too. I’ll keep an eye out for the book! Now let me ask you…for your Fun with Donna ghost hunting parties, do you provide equipment? If so what kind? If not, is it BYOE and what kind do you recommend people bringing?
DM: For a Fun With Donna ghost hunting party, I tell everyone to bring anything they’ve got — flashlight, camera, digital voice recorder, video recorder, compass. I’ll show them how to make the most of them when it comes to ghost hunting. I also have, however, thermometers, electromagnetic field detectors and things like that, and everyone will get a chance to use them as well.
CM: I saw on your site that some of your other Fun with Donna paranormal parties include seances, psychic and medium readings, and spell crafting but you don’t use a Ouija board. Do you use anything else? (Like Tarot cards or the proverbial crystal ball?)
DM: You’re right, I don’t use a Quija board. Most folks find them frightening, and, to be honest, they just don’t work for me. I’ve only been able to get them to work with one ghost hunting partner. Other than that, the darned planchette just sits there.
I do use Tarot cards at times, but only as a tool to help me focus. I do best with runes and a pendulum, and I can teach anyone to use a pendulum for their own psychic work.
I also work with touch. I can sometimes tell more about a person by holding their hand then either they or I want to know. Touch can also help me tune in to their spirit guides.
CM: What kind of suggestions can you give someone who’d like to throw a Fun with Donna paranormal party for making it a success? Any tips or tricks?
DM: Host/Hostess suggestions — excellent question! First, a host/hostess just shouldn’t stress over the event. It’s about having a good time. If you want 10 people at your event, invite 30 or more. Be sure to remind everyone a day or two before the event. Keep refreshments simple — chips and dip are fine. If you serve alcohol, do so AFTER the party. (One of the worst parties I ever did was with a drunken hostess and guests. They’d started partying hours before I arrived, and they were plastered. They had a good time, but it was a waste of mine.) And, if you have questions or concerns, voice them. My job is to help everyone have fun.
CM: If people are interested in ghost hunting off site (meaning not in their own home) do you arrange that, or should they?
DM: Off-site ghost hunting can be arranged by either me or the host. If they have a place in mind, I’ll be more than happy to help them set everything up. Otherwise, I can find us a good site. Plus, some of the best ghost hunting can be done in your own home. Spirits are all around us, and we can communicate with them.
CM: I already think I know the answer to this, but where is your favorite place to ghost hunt?
DM: Ah, I may have you fooled on this one! My favorite place to ghost hunt is at home! Honestly, I interact with spirits daily, so there’s always something going on around here. Locally, I just LOVE the Thomas House in Red Boiling Springs. That place is chock full of wonderful spirits, and they never disappoint me when I visit. Plus, Ms. Evelyn and the folks there can REALLY feed you well!
Outside of Tennessee, I love Savannah, Georgia. What an incredible place! My dream hunt would be a month-long tour of the British Isles. There are so many places there I’d love to check out!
CM: Aw! You did have me fooled! I thought for sure you’d say the Thomas House would be your fave. Got me! And your idea of a dream hunt and mine are quite similar! Hey, now let me ask you about products. Do you sell anything besides your services at your paranormal parties? (Like books, or Tarot cards, etc…)
DM: I do have items available and for order at all of my Fun With Donna events. I have EMF detectors, thermometers, items to aid with spirit communication, books and more. And if I don’t have it, I can find it for you.
CM: Donna, this has been a real pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions!