Unearthly Encounters with Fiona Broome

Fiona Broome is many things - prolific author, popular public speaker, award-winning artist, Mensa member, Celtic historian, faerie expert and believer in parallel realities. But most of all, she's recognized for her work as a paranormal researcher, particularly as a ghost hunter. "I'm always looking for different research techniques that work, and I seem to find them," says Broome, a Portsmouth resident. "I don't copy ghost-related TV shows. In fact, some of them copy me." She's created a website, www.hollowhill.com, that has a ghost-hunting guide and a list of haunted places, some of them in New Hampshire. Should we be afraid? She says we shouldn't - "ghosts are people, just in a different physical form."

Is there any doubt in your mind that ghosts and faeries exist? There has to be some doubt or I've lost my objectivity. Unexplained things definitely occur, but - so far - I can't be 100 percent certain of the explanations.

What was your most memorable encounter with a ghost, a faerie? Each apparition I've seen in broad daylight is memorable. My favorites have included the woman wearing pearls at the Spalding Inn in Whitefield, N.H., and the hooded figure at Gilson Road Cemetery in Nashua, N.H.

What's the best place to see a ghost in N.H.? Gilson Road Cemetery may be the most reliably haunted location. However, most old, rural cemeteries can be nearly as good for research.

What do you say to skeptics? In this field healthy skepticism is a good thing, but when the demand for absolute proof gets in the way of objective research, the skeptic is missing the point.

You're said to be one of the world's top paragenealogists. What is that? I use historical and genealogical records to document why paranormal sites might be active. I look for real explanations in both the past and the present.

You believe in alternate history. What is that? Alternate history is a past that resonates with people more than what's in history books. Logical or not, that "other" history feels more familiar to them.

Isn't that fantasy? People who believe in dragons, Arthurian lore and Tolkien's stories will argue that they're very real. We may find important explanations in quantum science.

What's ahead for you? I'm documenting patterns of paranormal activity, not just hauntings but other anomalies, too. If you've seen what Artie does on "Warehouse 13," that's similar to my research.

What do you hope your work accomplishes? I hope it inspires others to search for answers, too, and develop more successful research techniques. That's the only way we'll discover the truth. As they used to say on "X-Files," the truth is out there.

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