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Fortune native following lifelong paranormal interests

There is a house in Fortune many think may be haunted. Brad Mavin knows it well.

Fortune native Brad Mavin (far right) is the founder of Paranormal Researchers of Ontario, or Proo(f). Team members also include (from left): Rob Di Venanzo, Ben Stacey, Mavin’s wife, Katie, and Paul Silliphant. The group recently filmed two paranormal investigations for Space’s flagship “InnerSPACE” program and another to air on CTV. — Submitted photo

It once belonged to his grandmother, and he spent many hours there growing up, witnessing numerous strange occurrences in the home.

As kids, he and a friend were camping out overnight in another small shed on the property when they heard repeated banging on one of the walls. They looked outside where two ghostly men were sawing wood and throwing the pieces up against the building.

One of the men looked at the two boys and nodded. Then, suddenly they were gone.

Mavin said the unexplained events at his grandmother’s weren’t talked about very often for worry of what other family members might think.

More recently, however, a cousin told him he, too, had some bizarre experiences in the house and thought something out of the ordinary was going on.

“I think we all kind of knew something strange was happening in the house.”

For Mavin, chasing after the paranormal — that which is beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation — is now a regular occurrence.

It’s something he’s been doing for years.

In his early 20s, Mavin founded Dimensions of the North Atlantic with a group of like-minded friends in Halifax.

He admitted while the late night woodcutting encounter was freaky, it ranks second among the most mind-boggling experiences of his life.

During a paranormal investigation in Prince Edward Island, Mavin said he once saw a lamp floating in mid-air abruptly slam to the ground.

The 32-year-old, who now lives just outside Toronto and works as a financial advisor by day, leads Paranormal Researchers of Ontario, or Proo(f), which includes his wife, Katie, and three other team members.

Mavin said many of the countless groups that have popped up all over the place in recent years, with the rise in interest in the paranormal, are just looking for a fun time with their friends, but his team treats its work seriously.

An intrigued skeptic, he is open to the possibility of the existence of the supernatural, but aware there may be more earthly answers to the unexplained.

“I’m not one of those guys that would say anything one way or another.”

He’s not a fan of using the word haunted to describe a location the group is investigating. He explained it carries too many connotations, noting the group would say there’s a “possibility of paranormal activity.”

“For me, it’s about trying to help people understand what’s going on. It about kind of being almost diplomatic about things and making sure that you’re there to help and not make them feel bad or make them feel like they’re stupid.”

Mavin has a diploma in parapsychology, defined as the study of mental phenomena that are excluded from or inexplicable by orthodox scientific psychology such as telepathy — communication through means other than the senses.

He said there’s a popular belief a “haunting” may actually be related to some internal psychic ability.

“It’s the idea that maybe it’s not a dead person that’s passed on that’s a ghost. Maybe it’s just energies, that we can’t explain, that are either emitted from our own self or just around us and we don’t have the tools to understand more thoroughly.”

Mavin has made several television appearances related to the paranormal in the past, and the Proo(f) team recently shot a pair of investigations that originally aired on Space’s nightly flagship “InnerSPACE” program, Thursday and Friday last week, and will repeat on MTV Canada.

The team visited an abandoned asylum in southern Ontario for one and a pub for the other.

They also recently filmed another piece for CTV Television at the Scugog Shores Museum Village in Port Perry, Ont. to air in the coming days.

“It really is like walking back and trying to pick up ghosts of the past.”

Ultimately, Mavin acknowledged the Proo(f) team would like their own show, suggesting, thus far, Canadian-made shows in the genre have been too safe and methodical.

He said Proo(f) has the tools, abilities and stories he feels could create a Canadian equivalent of top notch programs like “Ghost Hunters” or “Ghost Adventures” produced in the United States.

“That’s my goal. There’s no Canadian content out there like it.”

The Southern Gazette

Organizations: CTV Television

Geographic location: North Atlantic, Prince Edward Island, Toronto Ontario Southern Ontario Scugog Shores Museum Village Port Perry United States

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