When it comes to paranormal encounters experienced by law enforcement, who better to capture the stories than a former officer.
Halifax’s Elliott Van Dusen spent 15 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, starting in Penticton for four years, then moving on to Yellowknife to be a homicide detective before returning to his home province of Nova Scotia in Chester.
It’s only until more recently that the 37-year-old has dived deep into his passion for the paranormal. Although he has been investigating the inexplicable for over 20 years and is the corporate director of Paranormal Phenomena Research and Investigation (PPRI), he kept his interest in the paranormal on the Q-T while working in law enforcement.
“I looked into things on my own time and kept up with the literature, whereas before the RCMP and afterwards I was doing some lectures at the local libraries around Halifax,” he said, during a September Skype interview.
During that time, he published his first book, Evil in Exeter, and has just published his most recent volume, Supernatural Encounters: True Paranormal Accounts from Law Enforcement in September.
Van Dusen said his family comes from a long line of police officers. His one uncle was an investigator with Ottawa Major Crimes. His aunt was a constable in Ottawa as well. He had another uncle who was with Toronto Police Services, and his interest in police work stemmed from a steady diet of “Unsolved Mysteries”.
Robert Stack’s old haunt also piqued Van Dusen’s interest in the paranormal, as did “The X-Files”, sowing the seeds in the inexplicable, to be exhumed at a later date.
He also admitted he was cautious about publishing a book about law enforcement’s brushes with UFOs, nàhgą (Tlicho Sasquatch), Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick and Halifax’s provincial courthouses due to the current social climate.
“I was a little worried that a law enforcement book coming out right now would not be great,” Van Dusen said. “(But) most people are focusing on the supernatural aspect of it.”
There’s been positive feedback from his collection of anecdotes via social media, and it has spurred him on to write another book with fiancée Sarah Crawley.
And the subject matter is bound to receive a few raised eyebrows: sexual encounters with the paranormal.
But he approaches with the finesse and decorum of a seasoned investigator.
“It would be easy to set out to write an article to make someone sound crazy, like a tabloid,” he said. “Our goal here is to look into the background. We’re looking into the history of the incubus and succubus, sleep paralysis and some of the psychological reasons for why this happens.”
Well studied in the field of parapsychology, with courses taken at the University of Ottawa, the Rhine Education Center in Durham, N.C. and the University of Edinburgh.
Once the pandemic is over, he’ll get back to investigating local haunts, such as the Red Stag in Halifax, as well as organizing a paranormal symposium in 2022.
On the speakers’ list, he hopes, is Paul Kingsbury from Simon Fraser University, Loyd Auerbach and Tony Spera.
“We had to bump back to 2022 because a lot of the businesses are scrapped due to COVID,” he admitted, adding the PPRI team wants to make it a world-class event. “We want to take the proper time to do it.”
Supernatural Encounters: True Paranormal Accounts from Law Enforcement is available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, as well as Chapters-Indigo.