Vancouver-based podcaster Mike Browne quotes the X-Files’ Fox Mulder casually one Sunday afternoon while on a Zoom call.
“I want to believe,” he says, with a chuckle, as he and paranormal researcher Morgan Knudsen play off of each other when explaining their new podcast series Supernatural Circumstances.
Browne, 52, confesses that he is the skeptic of the series. There’s a subtle hint he’s more on the fence, but given that his other podcast Dark Poutine focuses on Canadian true crime, there’s an air of pragmatism about him.
“I’m open to having experiences … I have had a lot of experience with that personally. There are just some other things I’m wondering, ‘Is this real? … Is it a hoax? Or is this something that needs a better look?”
What needs a better look, Knudsen adds, is where the study of parapsychology is now as opposed to 15 years ago.
“I see (the podcast) as a teaching platform,” the 37-year-old Edmonton native says of Supernatural Circumstances. “It’s almost like a classroom where I can present things for people to take a look at their own experiences and begin to open up their minds a little bit more.
“It’s a matter of making the information accessible, pulling it off of the white papers of Yale or Northampton University, which no one will read.”
The two address the zeitgeist of the paranormal, as well as some old favourites on their podcast. Browne and Knudsen kick off their bi-weekly series in October focusing on the Philip Experiment, which was conducted by the Toronto Society for Psychical Research and MENSA in 1972.
“I’m so excited about this subject, because, to me, this is the crux of so much paranormal activity and parapsychology information that doesn’t get talked about,” Knudsen says.
The organization wanted to prove whether or not consciousness was fundamental or emergent, so they conjured up an entity named Philip with a complete backstory.
Canadian content is a small portion of the show, however, the two will look at all things paranormal on a global scale. The concern for Browne, since Dark Poutine is focused on true crime in Canada.
“We can talk about something that happened in China or South Africa if we want to,” Browne says. “Those kinds of things are topics I have always wanted to explore.”
Additionally, the duo will explore how paranormal entertainment has skewed the perceptions of audiences when it comes to paranormal experiences.
“I find that way of storytelling interesting as well, and that’s what people think is the story,” Browne says. “They look at a Hollywood movie, but things are cut together for pacing.
“That’s why I like doing what I’m doing with Morgan. We get to stick to the facts,” he adds. “We have 45 minutes to tell a story, but we’re not doing it for pacing.”
What Browne and Knudsen are doing is providing as much factual information about a paranormal, parapsychological event that it stokes curiosity rather than fear, so it will “help dispel some of the myths that Hollywood intentionally or unintentionally creates.”
Above all the paranormal cases, whether they be rooted in true crime, or Hollywood or experimentation, the subject of what we believe as a culture and what we’re curious about is the impetus for the podcast.
“I want people to walk away with a genuine fascination and curiosity about not only the phenomenon but about themselves — about who we are at our core — and start looking at themselves, start doing some of that inner work and realize that this phenomenon … our universe is amazing,” Knudsen says. “When you can take the lid off of what people are taught, and you can start rewriting paradigms a little bit, it just opens up your world into something amazing.”
“At the same time, while learning stuff and having some fun, we can help people to think a little more critically about the thing that they may believe or disbelieve,” he says. “I mean, we’re in the era of what people are referring to as post-fact … Maybe a show that fosters more critical thinking may leak over into some other things.”
Supernatural Circumstances will be available through iTunes on Oct. 25.