This Spring, I was asked to mentor a grade eight student who was attending the Waldorf School in Duncan. For those unfamiliar with the Waldorf system of education, it values imagination and creativity, but in a practical way. Since its creation in 1919, the Waldorf model has become a highly valued education system used around the world.
Savannah Heard was preparing a presentation on the paranormal. Her speech would include a visual board and a written report. As a mentor, I would teach Savannah some of what I’d learned while researching and writing The Haunting of Vancouver Island.
Savannah’s presentation was on May 14th. I wanted to share a couple images of the artistic component as I thought it was really cool.
In her visual presentation, Savannah focused primarily on the paranormal in popular culture. She ignored reality TV shows like Ghost Adventures and instead addressed the paranormal in movies and television, as can be seen in the photos above.
On the left-hand side (above image), Savannah began by defining paranormal activity. Beneath this, she gave an early example of a UFO report that took place in Egypt in 1450 BC. This was followed by the cryptozoology/urban legend example of Popobawa. At the bottom of the left side–beneath the Scooby Doo picture– there was an image of Savannah and me at the Nanaimo Mysteries exhibit. Unfortunately, this is cut off in the photo.
On the right-hand side (top image), Savannah shared a photo of the Beban House with a brief description. For those who don’t know, Beban House is one of Vancouver Island’s most famous hauntings. There have multiple credible reports, but the best-known accounts came from daycare students who reported to have seen a Chinese boy with a braid who was playing with a red ball.
Savannah included a paragraph about children and animals being able to see ghosts more clearly than adults can. This stated that children will sometimes dismiss the spirit as an imaginary friend.
Near the bottom of the right-hand side, Savannah said that headless and limbless spirits might only appear that way to a witness because they aren’t fully visible for some unknown reason–as a projection. This is a theory I talk about in my book, so I was proud Savannah included it.
I found Savannah’s artwork impressive too. She never mentioned that she drew ghosts and paranormal creatures so it came as a surprise. All of the drawings were good, similar to the one shown here that was on display when I took the photo.
The file with the transparent cover in the image (partially beneath Savannah’s art) is her written report. I arrived early enough that I was able to read the whole thing. It was thorough and each point was well thought out and articulated.
I told her teacher afterward, the thing that impressed me most was Savannah’s ability to take the information I’d given her and come up with her own conclusions. There were indications of this in her report especially.
It was nice to meet Savannah and her family and an honour to be her mentor. The whole experience was a good one, as it forced me to think critically about my own work and ways of thinking. I was able to pass along some of what I’ve learned about journalism and investigating especially. In the end, I believe it was a good opportunity for everyone and I would definitely do it again.