In this episode I am joined by my guest Tracey Royce, one of the 2 founding members of the paranormal investigation team The Quantum Foundation. Tracy was insanely supportive of me with my Phantom Files episodes in both helping me get some new stories as well as spreading the word about the episodes online. The success of these episodes wouldn't have been possible without Tracey's help. I brought Tracey on the show to talk about the origins of The Quantum Foundation as well as how their method of paranormal investigation differs from the typical "ghost hunter" type you see around a lot these days. It's a fascinating listen and I really enjoyed having the conversation.
If you'd like to know more about The Quantum Foundation, maybe you have a potentially paranormal situation you'd like them to investigate, visit quantumparanormalnz.com for more information.
Check them out on Facebook here or join their group Ghosts & The Paranormal NZ!
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Welcome everybody to episode 40 of Ruddle Me This. My word, are we at 40 episodes already? How does the time fly? I keep forgetting to talk about this, but I'll pop this in just before the interview as I'm recording these all kind of out of order. But the podcast got nominated in the New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards 2024. It was nominated for. the best online production I believe, which was really surprising to me because frankly, this was the only one that I didn't nominate myself for. So very heartwarming to see that my comedian colleagues are evidently aware of the podcast and liked the idea of it enough to throw me a bone and give me the nomination for that. So very, very grateful to whoever those who nominated for it. If you're a comedian, vote for me. I don't know what kind of a... I don't know what kind of a pitch I can get. I'll understand if you don't, but I'd really appreciate it if you do. Even just the nomination has been great for the credibility. I've had comics hitting me up to be on, so yeah, who knows what we could do if it was an award-winning podcast. That'd be fantastic. Alright, on with the show. Today is a bit of an interesting episode. We, as you could probably tell by the green podcast cover, it's not quite The Phantom Files. It's not quite Rattle Me This, but somewhere in between. It's another paranormal episode. Ooh. And as always, I am your host, the paramoron, Taylor Ruddle. In this episode, I am joined by Tracy Royce. Now, Tracy is kind of the driving force between a paranormal investigation group company. I'm not quite sure what the correct word is for them, but they are called the Quantum Foundation. And when I was looking to solicit ghost stories for my Phantom Files episodes, Tracy and the Quantum Foundation were just insanely supportive and helping me. find more stories and then also be reach people with the podcast. So needless to say, the success of the Phantom Files episodes would not have been possible without Tracy and the Quantum Foundation. What kind of drew me to the Quantum Foundation as well is that they are a... what's the word? They're a... I cannot even... they're not results focused but they are a very scientific, very thorough... Their approach to paranormal investigating is very scientific and very thorough. And from what I gathered from this interview, the main thing that they actually do is try and find explanations as to what could be causing these paranormal experiences that people are having in order to give people some kind of peace of mind, which I think is a very noble and very valuable service that people are offering. That's kind of the gist of the interview. We get into some of Tracy's history with Paranormal Investigating. I think we get into a little bit of how they got started, what they kind of do throughout the year, as well as what an actual investigation looks like, all the practical steps that they take to go through with an investigation. It was a really fun interview. I enjoyed it a lot when we were actually recording it. So I hope you enjoy listening to it too. So with that, let's welcome to the show from the Quantum Foundation, Tracy Royce, everybody. Hi Tracy, welcome to the podcast. Thank you for having me, Taylor. Very, it's the least I can do. You and your Quantum Foundation and your group on Facebook have been just super welcoming to the podcast and I'm sure I've gotten a few stories out of it from there so now it's very happy to have you on. Oh, that's really good to hear that they've been like that. I appreciate you saying so as well. I'm sure they will do. Yeah, I've actually been surprised as to how... It's funny, I used to listen to horror podcasts and people, as you say, the sort of horror community were very loving and welcoming. So it's been very much my experience with the ghost community as well. That's great. So you are a member of the Quantum Foundation. Did you want to give the listeners just a little bit of information about what that is? Sure. The Quantum Foundation was formed back in 2010. by myself and another lady who left another paranormal group and went out on our own. So we've been functioning from 2010, sometimes very quietly, sometimes not at all, but in the last sort of, probably the last four years, have been very active. Not all of our investigations are public knowledge. keep a lot of them very quiet because a lot of them are private residences. And we go by what our client says. If our client doesn't want any publicity, then we respect that. So you don't hear about a lot of our investigations that we do, but you do hear about the bigger ones that we do. The team is comprised of people actually from all around New Zealand. So They're not just where the base is. So I live in a very sleepy rural village just outside of Hamilton. And we have some people from Hamilton that are members. We have some people from Palmerston North area that are members. We have some people from Christchurch, Oamaru. our lead investigator is down in Aumaru. Oh yeah? And where else do we have some? We have some people in Pairoa. So we've got, we're kind of spread out. So if my understanding is correct, if someone feels like they've got a haunting, they can contact the Quantum Foundation and you can go and like investigate it to see if it is or not? Absolutely, yeah. And we do that at no charge. Like most groups do. Yes, we do that at no charge. I suppose in one respect, we are a little bit different in the fact that we are spread around. So it'll be a case of, if it's a residential property, we'll send however many investigators need to be seen based on the size of the location that we're attending, pretty much. And residential properties can take anywhere from depending on the size of the residential property, up to four people is normally what we do. Right, right. Investigator wise. So you were just talking off the air before about the difference between a ghost hunter and a paranormal investigator. Did you want to give the listeners a kind of overview on the difference between the two? I would love to. The floor is yours. There is a big difference between the two. I have to say that there is. And you will find that those that consider themselves to be paranormal researchers or paranormal investigators will distance themselves from the ghost hunters as such. As paranormal investigators, we'll talk a little bit about this. It's kind of boring because it's not running around. We're not running around looking for things. taking every bump and every noise as a paranormal occurrence. As investigators, we do exactly what the word investigator means. We seek out the truth of what is going on. So we eliminate every possible mundane explanation that we can come up with for what we've seen or what we've heard. Everything is scrutinized. We don't hear a noise, we don't get a voice on a recording and automatically assume that it's paranormal. We look at what we've got and then we try to recreate what we've captured. We then try to what we call debunk. We're great on debunking. And in regards to trying to figure out what it is, we're after... The truth of the matter, we're not out there to prove that the paranormal exists. Right. We're out there to actually find reasons for why people are experiencing what they're experiencing. Yeah. So would you say that's fairly rare in the space of paranormal investigators? Would that be like a selling point to the Quantum Foundation? I wouldn't. I would say that there's a lot of people that call themselves paranormal investigators that don't investigate. Oh, okay. Yeah. They go stunt. Yeah. I would say that there are paranormal investigators out there that do investigate, that actually do go out there. And that doesn't mean that we don't have experiences that at that particular point in time, we can't explain. Yeah, yeah, for sure. That doesn't mean it's not explainable though, however, by mundane methods, by non-paranormal reasoning. Yeah. And that just means that we haven't discovered what that explanation is at this particular point in time. Yeah. Do you also tend to look into cryptids as well as ghosts? We look into everything. We look into time slips. We look into mediumship. We look into everything at Quantum. The main... I think because it's so popular, the main thing that comes across our table is hauntings. And to be quite honest with you, 8 out of 10 of those hauntings can be very, very easily explained. Yeah, definitely. I have noticed that with collecting stories for the spooky episodes that I do, it's probably like a 90-10 split of ghosts versus anything else. Absolutely. And the other thing that I have to say is that we will never, we will, unless we get something on camera with multiple witnesses in real time, we will never say it's paranormal. We will just always say, look, we have no explanation for that. That's or that at this particular moment in time. Yeah. So I guess kind of what a little bit of what you would provide in the service would be maybe a bit of peace of mind for people. Would you say that to be true? Yeah, totally. Yeah. I guess there's a couple of different kind of investigations across our table, if you like. Yeah. Excuse me. You have the residential investigations, which nine times out of 10, we can find a logical explanation for why they are experiencing what they are experiencing. Yeah. Whether that be in. incredibly high EMFs coming off of wiring or alarm clock radios next to their bed or whatever the case may be. There is, as I say, there is that, as you said, 10% that you cannot explain. But then again, we have another situation where we go into locations that are public locations that have a long history of sighting. were phenomena or anomalies, if you want to call them anomalies, such as places like Lamac Castle, which I've investigated twice now. And where we hold our open investigations, the Waikino Tavern or Waikino Hotel. So there's places like that which are a little bit different. You're not going in there for peace of mind, or you're not going in there to... give the client peace of mind. You're going in there to have a little bit of an explorer and see what you can find and the client isn't really concerned one way or the other. So in a case like that, let's say you were going into like a historic building, what does that mean that you're sort of contacted by the, not necessarily the government, but something like a company rather than a person and they would, would it just be a kind of case of we have a lot of customers or a lot of visitors mentioned that they feel like there's something spooky going on. So can you come and check it out? Is that kind of how those would? Absolutely. We get that. And we also approach historical places to ask if we can come in because they have a history of it. Unfortunately in New Zealand, they're a little bit closed minded to that. Right. If you look at Australia, the UK. America, this is a huge business. This is a huge business. And people rent out their properties, excuse me, for teens to come in and see what they can find. Oh yep, I see. That leads to the point where the teams actually have to pay to go in there. Yeah, that makes sense. And we're not talking a hundred bucks. Yeah. You need deep pockets for that. They're totally like 500 bucks or 800 dollars or, you know, it's not cheap. No, because I can't think of any places in New Zealand that really promote the fact that they're haunted. Like there's a place in Christchurch called Reketan Bush. Have you heard of that one? I've heard of the Reketan Hotel. It might be the same one. It might be slightly different, but this seems to be a bit of like an urban... urban myth that everyone is kind of aware that it's supposedly haunted but you know depending on who you ask it could be a fact or fiction. Is it an outdoor location? Kind of. Or is it actually a building? Yeah it's a building. It was one of the first settled buildings in the area I think so just based on the fact of the age of it I suppose it's got all that kind of. Right. history and everything built up in that location. It's kind of like in the middle of it, I don't want to call it a nature reserve, but it is like a bush that you can go sort of tramping in and stuff, it's in the middle of the city. So it's not like, yeah. But just, yeah, growing up, because I sort of grew up in the area of Rickerton and like everyone's got a story about, you know, taking photos up on the banister and seeing people dressed in Victorian clothing showing up in the photos and all that sort of thing. Yeah. So that was one of our. urban legends I suppose? Out of what I actually really enjoy doing is the research side of things. So when we get a location or when we're going into a location I blanket the research and I don't just do that online. It's interesting to note what the research actually pulls up because it actually blows to pieces a lot of the urban legends that are around regarding a particular location. Oh really? How so? Absolutely. Because it negates it, literally. Like for instance, let me think of, there's two I can think of off the top of my head. One of them being Kālau House in Auckland, which is often referred to as the boys' home where there was a fire and 40 boys were burnt to death in. Yeah, there's no newspaper cluppings about that at all. Really? nothing. So I mean, if you can't find it in the newspaper, and you go back through newspapers from 1910 right through to 1970 or 80, then it obviously didn't happen, did it? Oh, so it's the case of just somehow word of mouth spread, and people just assume there was a fire there. But if you look back on it, there was actually no fire. It's just like a Exactly. The next one that springs to mind, which is a really good one, is Lana Castle. So the ballroom at Lana Castle is reputedly haunted, which I agree that there's some odd things that occur in the ballroom, having been there on two occasions and both of those occasions having had the same issues. Right. and seeing another team go there and they have the same anomalies that occur. But the ballroom was supposedly built by William Larnack for his favorite daughter, Kate, who died. Yeah. She was 29, I think, when she died, from memory. And it was built for her 21st birthday. When you look into the actual records, The building wasn't actually built until five years after Kate's 21st birthday. Oh right. So it could never have been given to her for her 21st birthday. No it couldn't. And then when you look further into the records, it actually states that it was given, or should I say it actually says that Colleen, the youngest daughter, had her 21st birthday in the ballroom. And it was at that point that Larnac got up and dedicated it to all the children. I see. That's actually been found in documents. That kind of negates the legend of Kate Haunts the Ballroom because it was given to her for her 21st birthday and she died of typhoid seven years or eight years later. Because it couldn't have been because it wasn't actually built when she was 21. Wasn't built till five years after that. One of those interesting cases where, I don't know what the, when I was younger they would have called it Chinese whispers, but I don't think that's a very politically correct way to call it anymore. Let's just call it whispers, you know? Absolutely whispers. And there's so much of that with regards to hauntings. So another one is the Waitomo caves, the Waitomo hotel, should I say. Yeah. There is the Maori princess who was supposedly shot by the... century when she was going to visit her lover who was a British soldier. And she was mistaken for a raiding party and was shot. There's also the legend of a little boy who was the son of a worker there who used to get smuggled in after closing. And a big pot of boiling water falling on him and him dying there. There was also the case of the guest that committed suicide there, that haunts there. I've researched all of these and I cannot find anything in any newspaper from an expanse of about 70 years that actually has anything remotely mentioned to do with anyone dying at that hotel. It's wild how it happens, isn't it? It's almost a kind of, I suppose this comes into another topic I thought we could talk about a little bit as well with the idea of being a believer versus a non-believer. And a lot of people ask me because I run the podcast, like, so what do you think about ghosts and all that kind of thing? And my feeling on it is even that's a little bit weird to say it to me, it sort of doesn't really matter. What I find more interesting is the experience that the person had. And if they perceived that they had this experience with a ghost. you know, apparating in their living room or something, whether it did happen or it didn't happen, like to that person, it's very real. So these urban legends, it's almost like we kind of forget how powerful like almost gossip is, you know what I mean? Like these things, someone might've just overheard someone else. Oh, yeah, I heard someone killed themselves in that hotel. And then the next person said, yeah, no, someone told me. And then a hundred years later, the Waitama Hotel has this, all these grisly, Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I totally agree with you. And I think, I think the big thing here is there's a difference between doing paranormal investigating and talking to someone about their personal experiences. Oh yeah, big difference. A personal experience is incredibly subjective. It's a personal experience after all. Yeah. solidified within it. There's nothing that can be taken from it if you're a paranormal investigator. It's interesting to hear about, don't get me wrong. And you know what? That's great. And with our investigators, what we tend to do, and we tend to be a bit strict on this and always have been, is that the case manager, which is myself, and the lead investigator will know all the stories to do with the location, but the investigators themselves will know nothing. Yeah, that makes sense, because then people will start to hear things that they think they've overheard, like, oh, the footsteps going up the stairs, and then they'll hear. Exactly. That's quite smart, actually. And what we can do in that respect is we have some people who consider themselves to be sensitive, and I don't dismiss that in any way, shape or form. Sure. But... If I had turned around and said to them, in the lounge, this happens, or in the kitchen, this happens, the minute that they walk into that spot, I've already preconditioned them to experience something. Yeah, absolutely. So there's a huge psychological aspect that I'm incredibly mindful of when we hold investigations. Yeah, absolutely. Let's talk a little bit about... Are you allowed to talk about the process of investigating? I imagine you have a series of steps that you go through. Let's say you're doing a residential one, just because I'm really interested in practical steps or these kind of things. So maybe you could give us just a brief kind of like how you would do. Let's say I think my house is haunted and I say I need the Quantum Foundation to come and check it out. What would you do next? OK, so. Maybe because I'm a very process driven individual, that the group is a process driven group. Well, that sounds good. That sounds like I'm in the right place. There are procedures and processes for everything, including using radio transmitters. Right. Now there's a particular protocol that we follow as a group. Yeah. Excuse me. So if you contacted me and said, you know, we've got, we think we're haunted. The first thing I would do is I would have a really long chat to you via phone. I have a residential questionnaire that is filled out, which asks, it's four pages, so it asks a lot. Yeah. So that we can get some form of feel for what we're going into. Yeah, yeah. It asks a lot of personal questions as well, to be quite honest with you. Yeah. And I do say that if you don't want to answer these questions, it's perfectly fine. I have no problem with that. Yeah. And I will note down on the form, questions not wished to be answered. Yeah. But it does give us an indication of possible reasons for why the individual thinks that the, I mean, do people use drugs within the household? Is there anyone that's on psychological, you know, anti-depressant medication, is there anyone that's on medication? Has anyone used Ouija boards? All sorts of questions that we ask. Yeah, yeah, totally. Is there anyone that drinks excessively in the house? You know, it's no good telling me as a drunk person when you got home at 4am in the morning that this happened. I'm going to note it down. I'm going to take down everything you said. Yeah. But when you've had 14 whiskey and dries, how can I actually, do you know what I mean? How can I take that as at face value? So there is a process, definitely. And there very definitely is a process as a group, as a team that we go through. When we hold our open investigations, where we invite members of the public, that is very different and we don't follow our normal investigation processes. But normally, excuse me, we, as I said to you earlier, we normally don't let the investigators know what they're going into. We may give them a little bit of information, but we won't give them locations of what happens where. We attempt, and believe you me, this is incredibly difficult to do, but we attempt to control the environment as much as... humanly possible. You're never going to get a controlled environment unless you're in a laboratory, let's face it. And looking into hauntings, you're not in a laboratory when you're doing it, you're on location. So we attempt to lock down the location as much as we possibly can. So that means that we will go through the whole building, we will ensure that all the windows are shut, all the doors are shut, that doors close properly. and they're secure so that if there is a squeak later on in the night, it'll be reported back. We have a control unit. We normally have someone sitting there watching all our infrared cameras. And everything is timed. So we know exactly where all our investigators are at any particular moment. It's not a free for all people. Don't walk around doing whatever they do. They are told who they are going with, where they are going, what room they're going to, and how long they're going to be there. If it's a large location, we will use ATI's walkie talkies, but we make sure that the equipment that we're using are not affected by those walkie talkies because a lot of equipment are or is affected. We're not into an amazing amount of gadgets. Yeah. Yeah, we're not. We're just not. We've got our basics and that's what we run with pretty much. What would the basics be? Just to someone who doesn't know. Yep, absolutely. The basics would be a really good voice recorder. As I said, we do have CCTV setup. We have normally a minimum of 12 CCTV cameras set up in various locations that are fed back to a what we call our control unit. Yeah. Where someone's sitting there watching them constantly and noting things down that they see. Yep. and possibly directing investigators to move from one room to another. Yeah. We ensure that, as I said, if that equipment is affected by any means, we make sure that those means are not used, i.e. radio transmission. Phones even, like phones need to be turned off. It's no good putting them on flight mode because they still will emit a certain amount of EMF. So to eliminate the EMF completely, we need all your phones to end off. That's a done deal. Yeah. And the equipment that we use, we will work with the CC, the night vision CCTVs. We also use, which are called static, if you like. Yeah. Cameras. We also use roaming night vision cameras as well. And so that will be an investigator walking around with one. Yeah. We do use EMF. detectors, but we're very selective on which ones we use because a lot of them are prone to what is called false positives. So they'll give off a reading, but the reason why they're giving off a reading has got nothing to do with anything other than another piece of equipment interfering with it. I'll just stop you there for one second. So EMF, for people that don't know about anything with ghosts, it's electromagnetic frequency. Fields. Electromagnetic fields, yeah. Yeah, and so the belief is that ghosts generate a field. Is that kind of why they're used? No, that's not why the Quantum Foundation uses them. The Quantum Foundation uses them to eliminate mundane electromagnetic fields. So we use them to make sure that your wiring isn't giving off an incredible amount of EMF or your... alarm clock by your bed is not giving off an incredible amount of EMF. Electromagnetic fields or electromagnetic frequencies have been found to possibly interfere with this firing synapses of the brain. Oh, so they can make you smell things. If there's high EMF, you can be seeing things. Yeah. And it's not down to actually an apparition that's present. it's down to the fact that your brain is being like light switch is being flicked and scott-woodworth if you like by the high electromagnetic fields that are coming up we which reminds me of an investigation we did oh 10 years ago 12 years ago um we got called to I asked her where she saw these supposed ghosts and she told me it was always when she was in the kitchen cooking. And I said, cooking where? By the microwave or? And she goes, no, in front of my stove. So I went over and took a reading off her stove and the reading was 180. It was just off the charts. And her stove was from the 1970s. They would explain it then wouldn't they? Yeah. So I said to her, listen, you need to get an electrician in here and you need to get yourself a new stove. Yeah. Have you seen these shadows anywhere else? And she goes, no, only when I'm standing in front of my stove. There you go. However, in saying that, I got proved wrong later in the night because two of my investigators actually saw a full-bodied apparition standing on the stairs. And both of them saw it at the same time. Wow. So I kind of got proved wrong. We kind of debunked something and then we got something else trying on us, you know? So the Zoom call's got about six minutes left. Excuse me, I can't talk today. Anything else you want to cover in this sort of last five minutes that people should know or anything like that? Just that what you see on TV is not what we do. What you see on YouTube is not what we do. Paranormal investigating, as paranormal investigating is incredibly boring. It's a lot of hours sitting around in the dark, being quiet and doing nothing. Yeah, you pretty much almost exactly follow the scientific method, don't you? Like it's a very regimented process of eliminating things, isn't it? Yes, our process is very regimented, yeah, and that's probably because I'm very regimented. We do stray from that from time to time, but what we find is that we can't corroborate anything when we do. So we do continue to follow that process. And I wouldn't like to say it's scientific because this is not a scientific process. Paranormal investigating isn't a science. It's not even a pseudoscience. We're all trying to find our way and all the theories are just theories. and nothing more, nothing's been proven. But then again, nothing's been disproven. And that's why we keep going out there. People are still, people still got stories, haven't they? So it's not like, you know, it's not a layer of stuff. Apart from orbs, orbs have been disproven. Oh, okay, right. Like those glowing, glowing. Camera artifacts, airborne dust, airborne fragments. Moisture in the air. That's not great. Auntie Maud coming back to say hi. I'm sorry, but it's not. So we don't dilute ourselves, and we'll be quite straight up with others. This has been proven time and time again. And even the camera manufacturers have said the same thing. Yeah. Well, I appreciate your time chatting to us and to the listeners out there if you think you've got a haunting or something unexplained going on. And. you feel like it would give you some peace of mind to have some very thorough investigators come and check it out, go and look up the Quantum Foundation, you have a website presumably? We do, yeah, it's quantumfoundationnz.com. We also have a Facebook page, Quantum Foundation, and then we have our Facebook group, Ghosts in the Paranormal in New Zealand. And I can highly recommend joining that, as they've been super welcoming to me and all of my... Spooky podcasts get shared there, so I'm very appreciative. Yeah, well, I guess we'll wrap it up there. So thanks very much for your time. And maybe we'll have you back and we can chat about something else spooky in the future. That sounds great. And hey, thanks for having me, Taylor. I've really enjoyed it. My pleasure. Welcome back, hope you enjoyed that lesson, I sure did. If you would like to follow up with the Quantum Foundation or check out what they've been up to, you can visit their website, which I believe is quantumfoundationnz.com. I'll chuck that out and all of their relevant links into the show notes, especially their Facebook page, which is very active, and then the Facebook group that you can join if you've had paranormal experiences yourself and you want to. maybe have someone help you debunk them or if you're just like me and you're into ghost stories I recommend joining and you'll see some interesting stuff that people from around New Zealand have been posting. They also do these really cool overnight sort of public open to the public investigations where you can go along to an allegedly haunted place and you spend the night there you get to go through an investigation with them it's all sort of like accommodation and that is covered with the price so you can find out more about those on their website as well definitely go check that out if it's something you'd be interested in to join an investigation sometime. I was supposed to be going along with them on one of these but due to my let's just say financial status I was unable to make it up to I think it was Hamilton somewhere up in the North Island. I couldn't make it up but you never know. I may still one day be able to join them on one of these so you never know. You might see the paramour on himself at one of these if you sign up. So once again, thank you for listening. As always, I'm on all the social media platforms at TaylorOttoComedy. Follow Can Do Comedy on Facebook to see what events we've got coming up. Quiz on Tuesdays at Brighties Bar and Bistro. Quiz on Wednesdays at Moi Moi. Comedy show at the Austin Club on Thursdays. Or Sprigganford Merrivel on the last Thursday of the month. Leave a review on your favorite podcasting platform. Really helps me out to climb the ranks. Let's eventually get this podcast to the moon. All right, well that's enough out of me. Appreciate you listening. catch up with you next week for the next episode of Rattle Me This. We'll see you next time. Ruddler out.