Today I’m welcoming paranormal investigator, Elizabeth Saint from Destination America’s television series, Ghosts of Shepherdstown. Thank you, Elizabeth for stopping by!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a big daydreamer with a lot of imagination. As a child, I’d say the one way people would use to describe me was weird. And I was, but weird in a way I just want to make you smile kind of way. However, the response was often “Ewww!” or, again, “You’re weird.” I really thought I’d be an astronaut one day or astronomer, but I had my magician, geologist, and government spy period in there as well. Whenever we took trips to the library I was always reading about ghosts, dinosaurs or outer space. I’m a tomboy and played a lot of sports and video games growing up. However, as much as I was active and social, I was always a bit of a loner. The paranormal experiences I had as a child I think contributed to that even more so as I didn’t feel as if I had anyone to talk to about them. My very first computer was a Macintosh 512Ke. It had the black and white graphics with a floppy disk drive. I would definitely contribute that and those Coleco games from back in the 80s (like Pac Man and Football) to my beginning fascination of technology. To this day, I’m a lover of science, the unexplained and the arts. I can’t imagine my life without one of them.
You’re a model, a paranormal investigator, an electrical engineer and also an actress. How do you find time to balance everything? And how did all this get started for you?
It all started after High School. I never imagined my life would have simultaneously gone so many different ways. It was a classic case of not really knowing what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I started the college journey like most do. I was actually an Art major as I always had a strong background in graphic design, and it seemed like at least a good thing to start out with. About a month in, I received an opportunity to sign with a modeling agency in New York after taking a day trip with my roommate to Manhattan. With my parents blessing, I made the decision to withdrawal from classes that semester and take a chance on something I, quite frankly, wasn’t even sure I would be interested in. I remember going to my professors to have them sign off on my release, and what caught me by surprise was how emotional I was through the process. I knew I was about to start my adult life in a very unconventional way, and there was something scary yet refreshing about that. After a few years, I felt as though something was still missing in my life so I thought well maybe I should at least go back to school and see if that path is any better. I chose to enroll as a Computer Science major knowing it would be something I was good at. It was required as part of the curriculum to take an Introductory Electronic Circuits course, and after the first class I just fell in love with it! So, I immediately switched my major to pursue degrees in both Engineering and Electronic Engineering Technology. In that, I received a lot of wonderful professional opportunities in the field; even living out a lifelong dream I had working on a project at NASA via their reduced-gravity aircraft. Ultimately, I ended up taking a DoD Engineering job down in the DC area, and I’d say that is when a lot really changed for me. I began having a lot more paranormal experiences in the apartment I had just moved into to the point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I joined a paranormal team, Maryland Paranormal Research, which was definitely one of the best decisions I had made in my life as it helped opened up a part of me I had kept private for so many years. Short after, I started getting involved in local film projects, as a creative outlet, that quickly evolved to a part of my life I am very passionate about. Honestly, it’s always been a difficult thing to balance life between family and my passions. I’ve been guilty many times in the past of spreading myself too thin.
What’s it like being a paranormal investigator on Destination America’s television series, Ghosts of Shepherdstown?
Being an investigator for so many years prior to Ghosts of Shepherdstown, my favorite parts of being on the show would definitely be the history and collaboration. It’s rare on residential investigations to get the full picture of a haunting. You can do some research on the land and typically only get a night to investigate the location. Those nights are usually a hit or miss. On the show, we really immersed ourselves in the town for an extended period of time giving us lots of opportunities to collect really good evidence. With the help of Dana Mitchell, Chief Mike King, and Lorie Johnson, we were really able to paint a story of these spirits that we contacted during our investigations that helped create these beautiful period reenactments. Putting the show aside, it was a truly amazing experience to not only work with both Bill and Nick, but share the history of the people that once lived in Shepherdstown.
Tell us about Ghostly Gadgets and your engineered designs.
When we were filming Ghosts of Shepherdstown, Nick was talking to me about this show he would be filming that fall called Paranormal Lockdown. With my Engineering background, he asked if I’d be interested in making him something for the show. That something ended up being the E-Box they used on the Franklin Castle episode in Season 1. From there, I started making more designs, and that’s when Ghostly Gadgets was born. It’s been an incredible way to combine two of my passions in life, and hopefully contribute to moving the field forward in terms of utilizing technology to capture our subjective experiences.
Prior to conducting a paranormal investigation, how do you prepare yourself mentally for what you may encounter? Do you practice a certain routine?
It’s important throughout the process to remember why you are there. I find the desire to help someone, including spirits, with whatever is going on in their life or in their home trumps whatever feelings I might personally have on an investigation. So for me it was never really a mental thing. However, I have learned I do have to physically protect myself in preparing for an investigation. My best friend, who is a really talented artist, started making me protection bracelets years ago made of different stones that really help. When I didn’t do this, I found investigations left me very drained and, in extreme cases, would make me quite sick.
You’re also a sensitive. How would you describe that and when did you first realize that you had this ability?
My earliest memories of being visited by spirits go back to when I was about 4 years old. I think all kids experience these things to an extent. However, over time we are constantly told it doesn’t exist or just our imagination, and I think we just lose that part of ourselves. I wouldn’t say really it was any kind of an ability, but by not talking about it I believe, inevitably, those experiences just continued as I got older. I can’t tell you how many people, both friends and family, when the show came out said to me “I didn’t even know you were into the paranormal!” For me, I feel like a mutt in describing my experiences – a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Depending on the location, sometimes I can hear or see spirits, and other times I am just picking up on their mannerisms and emotions. Because of that, I think saying I’m sensitive to the paranormal makes more sense. A common misconception I think is that I’m some sort of psychic or medium. I know a lot of people would argue by saying, “Well, we can all say we are sensitive and have had sensitive experiences.” I absolutely agree! That’s why the majority of us have developed some interest in the field. After all the inexplainable phenomena I’ve experienced in my life, the true battle for myself is remaining open to receiving these experiences while combating the Engineer inside me constantly demanding scientific explanation or evidence. So much of science, however, is based off of observations rather than what we can physically see. I think if we keep that in mind, we can all get to a place where we are mentally willing enough to be “sensitive” on a more consistent basis.
As an actress, what kind of roles do you play and is there a favorite one so far?
They always tend to be rather dramatic roles. Not to sound extreme, but for some reason my characters are always either killing people or dying. My favorite role so far has been a recent one shot in England this past year for a horror film called “Howling” by Steven M. Smith to be released on Netflix in the spring. It was the first time I’ve had prosthetic work done to my face, and the transformation my character underwent both physically and emotionally was just an amazing experience.
Any upcoming projects?
Nothing I can announce yet, but it seems like 2017 is gearing up to be a busy year!
Where can fans follow you?
Any words of advice?
Love what you do. My father always stressed that to me over the years, and I’ve found that simple mantra has allowed me to not only discover but fully explore my true passions in life.