Jason Hewlett’s cryptozoological mission into the wilds of British Columbia’s interior yielded some fascinating discoveries, including a ghostly side quest.
The former crime reporter turned paranormal investigator shared his team’s discoveries on the Bonaparte Plateau, as well as in Shuswap and Barriere in the latter half of 2020 on the YouTube The Paranormal Network.
The “We Want to Believe” search was for the elusive cryptid, Sasquatch, but they made an unexpected discovery when they fired up their spirit box in the middle of nowhere. All of which, can be witnessed on Youtube.
Now, the former crime reporter of 10 years has transitioned from journalist to paranormal investigator. It all stemmed from an experience he had when he was 5-years-old, witnessing the image of a person with a facial deformity staring back at him from the back window of his mother’s hatchback.
His first official investigation, however, was as a journalism student and he investigated Tranquille Sanatorium in 2002.
Hewlett met colleague Peter Renn in 2017 when they were both at a Vancouver Paranormal Society event for members. Sarah Meints, the third member of the investigative team, also joined the field study.
“Over the years, he’s always been approached about doing TV, but he has turned down every offer because most of the TV shows become very much about stage stuff,” the 49-year-old said. “You can’t believe what’s going on.”
Initially, Hewlett and Renn were going to do a podcast at first, but then, at the suggestion of a friend who knew about JoBlo.com, they turned their focus to YouTube.
“We had the freedom to show them in the way we wanted to show them — the meat and potatoes of the work — show what it’s like to go on these cases,” Hewlett said.
The results of their work have manifested themselves in the aforementioned spirit box contact with an alleged spirit they suspected as being named Robert. What started as a “Help me,” turned into further investigative work.
Circling back, and consulting with the University of Turku and the University of Eastern Finland researcher Richard Tortorella, they learned more about what could have been simple interference.
They did discover a roadside grave marker with the name Robert on it.
“That kind of confirmed it, so we went back up there again a couple of weeks later,” Hewlett said, adding that they interviewed Mike Ritcey of the Kamloops Search and Rescue to determine what just happened to Robert.
“There are a lot of people that do go missing, and some of them are found and some of them aren’t,” he added. “We wanted it to unravel as we were discovering things.”
Another a-ha moment for the team was when they were on the Bonaparte Plateau, just northwest of Kamloops, and explored a lake where a witness, Mike, had experienced a strange knocking.
“As we’re going back to where we launched, Shawn, who was left behind is like, ‘Did you hear the knocks?’ I’m like, ‘Well, no,” Hewlett said. “He recorded the knocks on his phone … that was the closest that we got to an a-ha moment with the Sasquatch thing.”
The second episode of “We Want to Believe: The Woods” is set to air on Youtube later in February.
Photo of lead investigator Peter Renn, investigator Sarah Meints
and writer-director Jason Hewlett courtesy of Jason Hewlett