In a residential tower overlooking Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener, I met up with a couple of eccentric ghost hunters who are proudly attempting to unite an unlikely pairing – homosexuality and the paranormal. They self-describe as the “first openly gay paranormal team” in Ontario’s history.
Mark Larocque and Trevor Bishop, the duo that run the Ontario Gay Paranormal Society, are both in their late 30s and are in tune with one another enough to often finish each other’s sentences. They are the sole members of the society.
Though their beliefs in the supernatural developed at different points in their separate lives, their mutual venture into the mystic began in 2010 when they were known as the DA Guys Paranormal Team.
The duo has done television, radio, live Internet events, seminars, psychic fairs and a “ton of investigating in the three years that we’ve been together.” Concerned mystic believers hire the pair to investigate hauntings on premises. They do not charge clientele for any of their investigations.
Their December 2013 name change to include sexual orientation was made “in order to incorporate everything we do.”
They’ve received criticism over their upfront, sexually-oriented approach to business. “Someone living down in London tried to bash us across Facebook,” Larocque said. “… but we removed that,” Bishop said. “Just block and delete,” it’s the best way to handle it, they said.
“A lot of people look at us and say, ‘you’re gay, you shouldn’t be doing this.’ Inside the paranormal industry they’re saying, ‘we don’t fully support you.’”
They insist the sudden name change is accepted by the majority of their recurring clientele, but a few outliers have rejected their approach totally. “One of my friends said it’s going to take a little bit of getting used to but the majority of people are saying it’s way better.”
“Our group is open to everybody, not just the gay community,” said Bishop. “…open-minded compared to how Russia is right now,” quipped Larocque.
Larocque, who is the “head leader” and founder of OGPS, is the son of a pastor and wore a black T-shirt with the word “Pagan” printed across the front; he has bright blue hair and a black cat who sat beside him, purring throughout our interview. In videos posted of the duo, Larocque usually wears a black cape.
According to the OGPS’s website, Larocque is a medium who can channel spirits. As a child, “family members, in spirit, would visit (Larocque) and let him know they passed away before anyone else knew.”
Bishop, the second in command, is the technologist of the team but also claims to have an innate ability to “hear spirits” and other things outside of the normal range of perception. According to the OGPS’s website, “child spirits are especially drawn to him.”
The team’s equipment is mostly supplied to them through various sponsorships.
Among Bishop’s many tools is a “Frank’s Box,” a device that quickly scans all known AM radio frequencies forwards and backwards, selecting split-second sound bites. “It’s like a normal radio but it doesn’t stop, it keeps going and going,” Bishop said, “you can hear real-time voices coming through there.”
The unlikely pairing of homosexuality and the paranormal helps the members of the OGPS to manage the passions of their lives which just so happen to be controversial issues. After all, “We are a gay couple and we’re just trying to break down the walls.”
To learn more about this eccentric duo go to www.ontariogayparanormalsociety.ca