Popular TV series brings respectful approach to investigations
- Andréa Ledding | November 28, 2015
“The Other Side” is a popular tv series, soon heading into a third season on APTN, about paranormal exploration and the spirit world in western Canada. But it’s also about the four investigators who combine varied backgrounds and belief systems to bring about a respectful approach to investigations.
“I believe that that respect translates to the spirit world and they’re more apt to communicate,” noted Jeff Richards, an intuitive and team leader, adding that having their Elder, Tom Charles, involved also adds something special. “Because very few shows of this type use a cultural liaison or any type of person who is versed in spirituality.”
He thinks this approach of respect — versus featuring occultists and ouija boards — is the reason their show gets so much evidence, and furthermore it’s opened up a larger conversation about this type of spiritual activity of the spirit world - “..with people who are supposed to be comfortable with spirit, but maybe not - so how do you bridge that culturally, talk about that when it’s so engrained, spirit is all around us, but what do you do when you’re being visited and you’re not comfortable with that? So this is really opening up a conversation which is great.”
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“Respect is number one,” agrees Billy Connelly, who leads the technology investigations and grew up in an intergenerational funeral home, as a young boy witnessing a spirit looking down on its’ corpse which inspired him to seek proof of visitations. He adds that their different approaches, beliefs, and combined energies and experiences bring a lot of what they get in terms of investigation and evidence, “Because we have these four people from different backgrounds coming together it gives us an advantage, we’re not so one-minded...we do experience a lot more on this program than we would individually...because of the diversity that we have as a crew.”
Priscilla Wolf, an investigative journalist and the sole female member, agrees.
“The program is a reality show and all four of us come from different parts of Saskatchewan and even Alberta...we all respect each other’s beliefs and protect each other,” notes Wolf.
And Elder Tom Charles notes that having spiritual encounters is both a blessing and a burden, but the burden tends to come more from lateral violence when he is criticized for making spiritual matters public on television. It dawned on him after his first show, how were his own community members going to receive him and accept what he was doing? There are a lot of people who won’t accept it.
“But there are many Elders who have said yeah, go ahead, talk about it, because it deals not only with our group, but there’s other groups, other nationalities that deal with it in their own way, and they talk about it, let’s give our turn, our voice to talk about it,” Charles said. Bringing forth First Nations spirituality is a gift, but “the burden part is people saying stuff about you.”
In Saskatoon for a livestream investigation at the Senator Hotel, they did a storytelling and Q & A session before heading to the Senator. They warned those who might be interested in dabbling that it is very important to protect oneself and take it slowly as not all spirits are benevolent and some can cause harm.
Wally Start, one of the producers, later shared his favourite story in which a spirit was asked if there were any messages he wanted passed on. “Love more” was the beautiful answer from “The Other Side” — a message we can all take to heart.