Interview With Pat Cooney
Q: Well Pat, what I want to do here is ask you what it is like living with someone who investigates the paranormal and I am also interested in hearing about your involvement in it and how you handle everything that comes with it. My first question is when did you find out that this is what Tom does?
A: The first time I began to wonder about it came about as we were driving to a store. I remember looking at this old, beautiful house. I said to Tom how much I liked that house. His response to me was: ďYou donít want to live there. That house is haunted.Ē I wondered why he said that so I asked him. His reply was that you could just tell. I didnít understand it but I just let it go.
Q: So when did he tell you about it?
A: On our honeymoon, somewhere between Florida and Mexico.
Q: How did the subject come up?
A: Well, we were having a terrible day. We almost missed our cruise because of circumstances beyond our control. The first thing we did once we made it was hit a bar for a drink to calm our nerves down. While we were talking, I mentioned a book I was reading by the psychic, James Van Praagh. I asked him what he thought about the subject and we started talking about it. Somewhere in that conversation, around the second drink, he mentioned that he had lived in a haunted house.
Q: So you really didnít know about that before? Didnít you wonder about all the books he had?
A: Well, he had said a thing or two here and there but I never really put two and two together. As for the books, I figured he just liked the subject. What I did notice
And what I mostly wondered about were the religious statues, the holy water in every room and a shrine he had in his hallway.
Q: Did you ask him about them?
A: I just thought he was very religious until I found out why he had all of those things.
Q: How did you feel when you found out?
A: It was a good thing we were on a ship because I was tempted to jump off.
Q: Were you frightened about the subject?
A: Maybe a little. I had never had a paranormal experience before and I suddenly find out that the man I married not only had been through a haunting but that he investigated other peopleís hauntings too. That scared me a little.
Q: Why did it scare you? Were you afraid that something might follow him home?
A: Yes, that was a big fear.
Q: Has anything ever followed him home?
A: Oh yeah, too many times. He told me about a time when he found blood splattered all over his bedroom. He told me how his mother and brother both came over and saw it and how he had pictures of it. The scary thing was that the incident happened with a 10 or 15-minute span when he was in his driveway. That was when I realized that the whole family knew about being haunted. We often have stuff happen at home now.
Q: What kind of stuff happens?
A: Sometimes it is minor stuff like a light going on or off when no one is near it. Sometimes things will move around or you will feel something sit on the bed when youíre in it. Weíve heard knocking, footsteps, that sort of thing.
Q: That has to be scary?
A: It was at first. It is not so bad now.
Q: Have you gotten used to it?
A: I donít think you can get used to it. It is just that now I know that human spirits really canít hurt you. The thing is that you cannot give them any power. I have learned to tell them to leave when something happens. I also look at Tom. When these things happen, they usually amuse him. One time not long ago, he was standing in the kitchen and one of the chairs shot out and hit him. The chair moved a good foot. Instead of being terrified, he said something like, ďCool, can you do that again?Ē
Q: Did it?
Q: What about the demonic spirits?
A: I donít think we have really had any in our house. But Tom has taught me that they are bullies and you have to treat them that way. Besides, our house is protected because we both pray a lot and we have all kinds of Blessed articles in our house.
Q: So you are saying that demonic spirits canít enter your house?
A: Oh no, I am sure they can. I just think that they would not want to stay around too long. For one thing, we keep holy water all around the house. Every room has a bottle in it and there are two in Tomís den.
Q: Why two?
A: One stays on his desk where he does a lot of his writing. The other stays on one of his bookcases.
Q: Why keep one on his bookcase?
A: He has some bad books in there. He has books on demonology and bad hauntings and some of them are frightening. He also has a crucifix on that bookcase. Itís there to protect the room in addition to one over his desk.
Q: I canít see how just having some books can cause a problem?
A: Maybe they canít; I donít know for sure. I do know that if you give spirits recognition, it attracts them. He has hard-core demonology books in there. I wouldnít want to attract anything like that in there. That room gives me the creeps.
Q: Has anything ever happened in that room?
A: A few things have. Sometimes the books will find their way to the floor. On time, a bookcase tipped over. There was one weird thing that happened with books. We were having a barbeque one time and our friend Michelle was over with her children. Michelle is a psychic, by the way. Well, Michelle was talking to Tom about a dream she had and she tried to describe what she thought was a demon or something. When she mentioned it, it sounded familiar to Tom so he went inside to get a couple of books. When he opened them and looked for the picture, Michelle shuddered a bit and told him to close the books because she felt something bad was around. Her son, Brendan, was in the living room and he immediately began crying and he never did that before. It was as if something was really frightening him. We had two cameras outside with us. They each had like three or four shots left and we wanted to use up the film. Well, we took a few pictures with each camera. When they were developed, there were all kinds of things in the pictures. There were orbs and most of them had what looked like red lights in them.
Q: Do you think it was the film?
A: No because we used two cameras and both picked up weird stuff. Add that to
Michelleís feelings and that was enough for me.
Q: Have you ever thought about getting good books; you know, maybe to counteract the bad ones?
A: Itís funny that you ask that because Michelle turned me on to Angels and I now have quite a collection of books on them. I wonít let Tom put them near his books though.
Q: Are you afraid that his books will corrupt them?
A: No, because Angels are more powerful than demons. I just donít want those ugly demon books near mine. I am glad he keeps them in his den. Like I said before, I try to stay out of that room. Thatís where he keeps his case files too and some of them, I donít even want to see, let alone read.
Q: Well, donít you think that maybe theyíre just books. I mean, how can you know if any of that stuff is real? Most people donít even believe in demons and ghosts and the like.
A: That stuff is real; I know that. I have gone on a few cases with Tom and things happen that cannot be explained.
Q: Okay, hold that thought because I want to get back to that. Has anything positive ever happened that was paranormal?
A: Yes, I have a great collection of statues of the Blessed Mother and I keep candles by them. One night, we had gone to bed. Tom was saying his Rosary and I was saying some prayers. Anyway, the room lit up and when I looked, the candles by the statues lit up.
Q: By themselves?
A: Yes, we were both in bed. The candles just lit by themselves.
Q: That must have been a great experience?
A: It was and it says a lot about prayers and the power they have.
Q: Iíll say. Okay, letís go back to something you said before. What kind of things have you experienced on cases?
A: One time, we were in this really bad house. We had heard terrible things about it. Whatever was in that house was evil. Anyway, we were in the basement setting up some of the equipment and something grunted right in between the two of us. It was like, humph! It was deep and guttural and frightening. But something else happened that was neat. We were talking and I mentioned something religious and the Gauss meter started to register. When we changed the subject, the machine returned to normal. Once we realized that, I started singing religious songs. Whenever I did that, the meter went crazy; when I stopped, it returned to normal. We ended up saying prayers just to annoy the thing.
Q: Isnít that dangerous?
A: I wouldnít do that alone! Tom was going to say some cleansing prayers to try to get rid of whatever it was so this was like letting it know that we were going to go after it.
Q: Did he do the cleansing prayers?
A: Yes, he did a four-corner blessing in every room of the house.
Q: Did that get rid of it?
A: Tom did not think so. He believed that what was there was very strong and would need a lot of prayers and work to get rid of it. It calmed things down for a while but we knew it wasnít gone.
Q: Did you go back in to finish the job?
A: No, the owner sold the house. She wanted Tom to clear it out before the new person moved in. Tom still wants to get back in there. That house haunts him. He knows it is still there.
Q: There really is nothing you can do about that.
A: No, there isnít, unless the new owner wants us to come back.
Q: Has he had any problems?
A: I donít talk to the original owner anymore, so I donít know how things are. I heard from a mutual friend that he wants to get rid of it too but I donít know first hand.
Q: Do you go on a lot of cases with Tom?
A: Some. I donít have his passion for it and a lot of it scares me. I wonít let him go in any house alone. If he is not bringing anyone else with him, I will go, whether he likes it or not. Sometimes I go to help him with the case. I wonít investigate but what I will do is talk to the children, if there are any involved or Iíll talk with the people who asked for help so that Tom is able to do his work.
Q: Do you like to work cases?
A: Not really. Sometimes they are fun and we have met some great people but sometimes the cases are very sad. Sometimes the people are a real pain in theÖ I shouldnít say that but we did one case where the person who called Tom in was, Iím being polite here, difficult to deal with. She liked Tom but she seemed to hate everybody else that worked the case. We did not hit it off at all.
Q: Did Tom stay on the case?
A: Of course but I wouldnít go back. If you treat me like garbage, Iím history. That house was a three-hour drive from us. I was glad to stay out of that one.
Q: Would you go on more cases?
A: I would if Tom needed me to. Like I said before, I wonít let him go to a bad house alone. His partner, Amy, is really good so if she is going with him, I donít have to worry.
Q: Is it a protection thing?
A: Not protection. He wonít back down and I think he sometimes puts himself in a bad position. I just hate the idea of his being alone in case he gets hurt or something. As long as somebody is in the house with him, I know heís okay because they carry two-way radios. If anything bad happens, you can call for help.
Q: Is the work that dangerous?
A: No, only if there are demons involved and they are very rare. However, you are never sure what is really there until you get in there and see. Ghost hunting by itself isnít dangerous but Tom does work the cases where there is possible demonic activity. Not all ghost hunters do. The thing is, he has assisted at a couple of exorcisms and to him, itís all in a days work. I worry about it more than he does. Besides, and heíll hate me for saying this, but he is a klutz. Even if the ghost does nothing to him, he can hurt himself.
Q: Are you sorry that he does this stuff.
A: Absolutely not! This is his life, itís not his livelihood, God knows; but it is what he loves to do. It is what he is and I would never want to stifle that. He supports me in the things I love and I support him in the things he loves. I have learned so much and I am beginning to understand why he loves it but there are elements of it that I want no part of.
Q: Does it bother you that he works a lot with Amy?
A: Not at all. She shares his passion for the field and they work great together. Her husband, Davey, also doesnít share her passion for the field. We both love art and things like that. It works out great because if they are off on a case or something, Davey and I will do things together; visit museums or art galleries or whatever.
Q: There are no jealousy issues?
A: Not at all. Maybe weíre too old for that, I donít know. It is just a matter of sharing mutual interests. Believe me, it works out well for all of us. When we visit each other, Tom and Amy go off to discuss cases, or make plans for trips. Davey and I sit and discuss the things we like. It really works out well for us.
Q: Okay, Pat. I want to thank you for the interview. I hope it will help give people an idea of what it is like to live with a ghost hunter.
A: You are more than welcome.