When there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, call Brennan. (He’s probably heard it already.) Ghost stories abound in Revelstoke—ask Brennan Storr. His book Strange Little Place is a collection of some of the eeriest examples of paranormal history in our fair town. He is also host of the show Largely the Truth on StokeFM (Sundays at 8 p.m.) and co-hosts The Ghost Guys, a podcast launched last year that now gets over 3,000 downloads each episode. Reved made the grave error of reaching him right before I went to bed.
RQ What was it like growing up in Revelstoke—did you always find it a mysterious place?
BS Nah, not really. Growing up, I was a pretty boring kid, riding bikes around in fields and didn’t have a head for this stuff. If you don’t have a frame of reference, you filter it out of memory. I didn’t have a ton of shit happen. It wasn’t like I grew up in Stranger Things. But a couple of weird little things did happen that I completely forgot about until I started researching.
RQ Let’s play a game called “Yes, No, Maybe” about the existence of a few paranormal-type things …
BS See, none of these are going to work; they’re all paragraph answers. Aliens. Um. The universe is a huge place. I think it would be stupid to rule out the idea of things living elsewhere. What that might look like who [expletive] knows. Do I think they’re visiting us in metal flying saucers? No. I think that’s stupid.
BS Ugh. [Long sigh…] I think it’s possible that people are seeing something they think is Sasquatch. I don’t think it’s some undiscovered species of wood ape.
BS You want a one-word answer? Maybe. Do I think it’s possible for consciousness to survive the point of physical death. Sure, why not? I have no proof either way. I have seen some emerging research to suggest that consciousness may not originate in the brain but rather be concentrated there, which raises the question of where consciousness originates. Maybe what we call consciousness is what other people call the soul, and the brain is how it acts on the world.
RQ So, you don’t buy the old, standard ghost story that someone dies and their spirit lingers around?
BS I think that’s just us telling stories to make sense of the world around us. I mean, If you accept even a portion of this paranormal shit that is happening, you have to then acknowledge swaths of the world we don’t understand. And that’s terrifying. And if you accept that, then you have to accept that there is a really good chance that these things are not what we think they are. We understand so little about how the world works. I think what a lot of people think are ghosts are just breakdowns in how time works. Every natural system has flaws that correct themselves. Who’s to say time is any different?
RQ How scientifically do you dig into things people tell you?
BS There’s always a million different ways you could go, from ghosts to maybe some kind of common subconscious hallucination, or some sort of brain sub-mutate that makes you see girls in blue dresses, I don’t know. I’d say I rely on a combination of reading and talking to people. I had no interest in this shit until 2012, when I started writing Strange (Little Place). I think I just started reading and letting my common sense and skepticism determine what sounded right. I’ve got a pretty good bullshit detector. Once you read enough, you start seeing patterns. The most important thing I’ve done is talk to people who are smarter than I am. I’ve heard so many bullshit stories over the years, so I’m pretty hardwired. I can be pretty skeptical; there’s so much bullshit out there. This field attracts a certain type of person.
RQ You must be a magnet for weird.
BS I have an attraction that pulls me towards strange shit. I don’t even know how to explain that. I was in Los Angeles in 2015, and in the span of two weeks, was in the presence of three shootings.
RQ Maybe, that’s just the US.
BS There’s that. But I realized I had dreamed about one beforehand. It could be a coincidence, but I find myself ending up where violence or strangeness is happening.
RQ By diving into the reasons behind these strange events — whether it’s a blip in natural time or toying with dimensions or something along those lines — do you feel like you’re more susceptible or tuned in? Have your analyzed yourself that way?
BS I think part of it is if you’re pursuing this stuff, there is the danger that you’re convincing yourself that things are happening. You’re always on the lookout. But once you power through that, if you have a genuine interest, you realize the more you open up to this stuff, the more you are aware of it. It’s like when you learn something about a city that not many other people know. You know what to look for when someone’s selling drugs under the counter at the store. Suddenly you know what to look for, and if you tell someone who doesn’t see how many places are compromised in that way, they’re going to say, oh, you’re making shit up. But no, you know what to look for. Nothing has changed. You’re just more aware, and I think that’s a big part of it.
RQ Do you think Revelstoke is different at a metaphysical level?
BS Oh yeah, I do think so. Two years ago, the danger of me telling you that was that you’d say I was just trying to sell my book. Now I don’t give a shit. I think there are places that have certain qualities that I don’t have an explanation for. I think the river has something to do with it, the Columbia, specifically.
RQ So, people who visit Revelstoke and think it’s special are right?
BS If you take paranormal things, Revelstoke usually has at least one example. I think there are other places like it. But yes, I think Revelstoke is different.
RQ How high is your Crazy Bar?
BS [Here, Brennan explains two of the scariest stories I’ve ever heard about encountering opaque shadow people. Unfortunately, they were too long and scary for Reved…] I remember feeling this wave of panic because I had no frame of reference for what I was seeing. I really forced myself to say “nope, nope, nope.” That’s sort of my bar. When a shadow man falls across you on a bright May morning when there’s sunlight everywhere, it changes how you see the world. It convinced me that what I thought I knew about how the world worked was wrong.
RQ What advice do you have for someone currently going down such a rabbit hole?
BS You look at someone who’s had a UFO experience and it never goes right. It has never improved their life in any way.
RQ Do you still get scared?
BS There’s only a couple of things that scare me about this shit. The shadow things bother me because they seem to have consciousness and agency, and I don’t know what the [expletive] that is.
RQ Can I go now? I’m scared.
This interview was chopped and edited by Peter Worden.