Patricia Coleman has shocking blue eyes. That was the first thing I noticed about a woman I would describe mostly as larger than life. She’s into her forties, but rather than seeming rough as some people tend to do when they reach that point in their life she just seems real, focused, especially when she’s talking about her craft.
Walking into her studio late Tuesday afternoon it was a soft, dark, industrial space, mostly because she had the front half set up as a photography studio. “Just take your shoes off so you don’t drag the mud in. I’m like Mr. Rogers in here,” she said with a hearty laugh that warmed me inside and out, immediately making me trust her. With her platinum blond hair and the electronic cigarette in her hand I’d never heard anything more incongruous and found myself laughing along. With me in my socked feet she lead me into the second half of her studio where she does her editing work for her ongoing documentary about the paranormal, amongst other things. It was a comfortable little area with a rug on the floor, book shelves, and black on black décor that seemed to pop against the white washed cement walls of her work space.
“So,” she said exhaling a stream of bubble gum smoke, pausing to take a sip of her energy drink, “what do you want to know?”
And that seems to be Patricia to the core. No bullshit. We talked for about three hours about “real” ghost hunters, politics surrounding ghost hunting shows, and she filled my head with more real information than I’d have ever found in three months of research. There are local haunted places I’d never heard of. I was moved to tears when we were talking about her ideas of what happens after you die (it’s very blissful, in her opinion) and while we talked about ghosts who are stuck here. How horrible for them, but some want to be here, apparently, often afraid to move on.
At one point in the conversation she stopped and told me about her friend and famed paranormal author Rosemary Ellen Guiley, showing me a fabulous old style boot decorated with gold pieces and black feathers that was a gift from her. I can see why she’d gift it to Patricia, because it fits her personality wonderfully, flamboyant and understated all at the same time. I didn’t know who the author was though, so this started a conversation on the history (fairly recent) of paranormal research and the personalities involved in American paranormal research, of which I was woefully uninformed. This lead into talk about other researchers/ghost hunters and Brian Cano. I didn’t know who he is either, to her surprise (I know now he was on the show The Haunted Collector), and thus began my crash course in every ghost show worth watching. Paranormal State was NOT on that list, which as an alum made me sad, then after some research made me angry if any of the allegations against the crew are true. After that she did indeed let me get a good look at the various cameras and equipment she takes into the field.
We rounded out a very intense conversation with a trip around the Erie Art Works building which is purportedly haunted hoping to capture EVP clips while I laughed nervously through the building. It was a great time and I can’t wait to see Patricia again, even though that night I dreamed of her intense blue eyes and was sure more than once I caught shadows moving in the corner of my eyes.