An Interview with Bret and Gina Oldham: In Pursuit of the Paranormal, Bigfoot, and UFOs
By Brent Raynes
Bret and Gina Oldham, a pleasant married couple of Nashville, Tennessee, appear to be very friendly and outgoing and otherwise quite ordinary. She’s a legal assistant and he’s a musician, writer, designer, and entrepreneur. But you would not otherwise guess that they’re also very passionate and serious about paranormal and UFO phenomena, as well as cryptozoological anomalies like Bigfoot.
In this exclusive interview, you’ll read about intriguing case histories that they’ve personally investigated, as well as first-hand experiences that they’ve both had themselves with strange and unexplained phenomena! Bret recently produced an audio book entitled Ghost Stories of Las Vegas. More information about it can be obtained at: www.Haloparanormal.com.
For more information about the both of them, go to: http://www.myspace.com/haloparanormal.
Brent Raynes: Bret, please tell us a little about yourself, your various interests and hobbies, and how you became an investigator/researcher of things like haunted houses, Bigfoot, and UFOs, and please don't leave out the fact that you had your own personal Bigfoot encounter when you were just a young man, which must have had a pretty profound impact on you!
Bret Oldham: I'm an entrepreneur, a designer and I've been involved in the music business in one form or the other for years. I'm also a writer and just finished a new audio book "Ghost Stories of Las Vegas". I used my music background and combined it with my years of paranormal research to do the audio book. I wanted to do an audio book that was different so I added eerie background music, sound effects and guest actors to enhance the stories. If anyone is interested you can hear samples and/or order one at: www.haloparanormal.com
I had an extremely traumatic paranormal experience when I was only five years old that started me on this life long quest. As I got a little older and could understand more I began with a fascination with finding out everything I could about UFOs. From there I branched out into ghost research and anything to do with the supernatural. Funny enough I never really had that much interest in Cryptozoology until I had a very unexpected close up encounter with a Bigfoot when I was a teenager.
In the spring of 1976 two friends and I were looking for something to do after school. It was a beautiful spring day and we decided to go explore an old abandoned house that we had heard local ghost stories about. We lived in Carrol County, Ohio but the old house was close to Stark County but still just a few miles away from us so it was a short drive for us. We drove down Route 183 and turned off to the right before we got to Minerva, Ohio. I don't remember the name of the road we turned off on. The house set back deep in the woods off the main roads and we made another right onto a small dirt road that was suppose to lead up to the old house. We only got about 200 feet down the dirt road when we had to stop. A tree had fallen across the road completely blocking it. We tried to move the tree but it was too big so we just decided to hike the rest of the way. The dirt road was surrounded by woods and we were enjoying the scenery and the good weather and just talking as we hiked. We had been walking about 20 to 25 minutes when we heard a bunch of dogs barking from somewhere near us. We knew we weren't close to any other houses and we got concerned that the dogs may be wild dogs. We stood real still hoping they would go away but they just kept barking profusely. We decided we needed something to protect ourselves should the dogs come after us so we all broke off branches from some dead trees and made clubs to protect ourselves with. We hit the clubs we made from the branches against a tree to make sure they were sturdy. I didn't know the significance of that at the time. We didn't think it was a good idea to continue toward the house with all those dogs running around so we decided to head back toward the car. As we began walking back toward the car, the sound of the dogs barking seemed to change direction and be coming from up the dirt road ahead of us so in order to avoid them we got off the dirt road and started to loop around through the woods. It seemed to work as finally we couldn't hear the dogs anymore but by this time we had gotten turned around and were lost. It was getting late and the sun was beginning to set. We found a deer trail and started following it. We knew that there was water near the direction of the road we had turned on and that the deer probably used this trail to get to it. We were walking in single file along this deer trail. I was first in line. We came on a clearing in the woods with nothing but tall grass and that's when I noticed that the woods had gotten silent. I'd spent a lot of time in the woods and knew when it got quiet, something was not right. We stopped for a moment to listen but it was getting darker by the minute so we carried on. The last thing we wanted was to be stuck out there all night. We walked out of the clearing and back into the woods still on the deer trail. I saw an opening in the trees and what looked like a field. There was a field on the other side of the road we had drove on to get to the dirt road so I thought we had found our way out and we were all relieved. We were only about 50 or 60 feet away from the opening in the trees when I saw something squatting down behind some brush right by the opening in the trees. I saw it first and stopped. I asked the others if they saw it. None of us could make out exactly what it was. At first we thought it might be a man except that it was all white. It looked to me to be trying to hide from us behind the brush and bushes. It was in a squatting position and had it arms inside it's legs much like you would sit around a campfire warming your hands. At this point we were all still trying to figure out what it was we were seeing. We were just standing there staring at it not sure what to do. It must have realized we saw it because it then reached over and grabbed the bushes it was attempting to hide behind and started violently shaking them. Even some of the small sapling trees by it were shaking. This is when the fear set in with me and I'm sure with my friends as well. Now we were too afraid to move. I can only assume that the creature saw that it's actions hadn't scared us off and so at this time it suddenly stood up and faced us. It just stood there looking at us. It never made a sound or any gesture of any kind. It just stood there facing us with it's arms at it's side. When it stood up we all got a good enough look at it to know it must be a Bigfoot. This is when the "fight or flight" kicked in. I knew I wasn't about to turn around and go back into the woods from where we came but the Bigfoot was standing right by the opening in the trees we had been walking towards and what we thought was the way to our car. To this day I don't believe I have ever been more afraid. I felt an adrenaline rush like never before! I was still holding my club from earlier. I screamed and I threw the club in the direction of the Bigfoot. I started running toward the opening in the trees to what I hoped was the open field and the road to our car. My friends also both screamed and followed right behind me. As I was running I could see the Bigfoot on my left side. It was only about 7 or 8 feet away from us as we ran by it. It made no attempt to harm us and I could see that it was turning away and heading the other direction as we passed by. As we went through the opening in the trees the ground under our feet came out from under us. We had all ran right out over a large ditch and landed right on the edge of the road. We picked ourselves up and ran as fast as we could to the dirt road where we had parked the car. We wouldn't even drive back to town the way we came as we didn't want to go in the direction of the Bigfoot. We were all high school basketball players and all over six feet tall but this thing was enormous. I'm 6'4" and I estimated the creature to be at least 8 and 1/2 to 9 feet tall. I never got a good look at it's face because it was too dark. It had very broad shoulders and really long arms. It didn't seem to have much of a neck and had a sort of cone shaped elongated head. We never reported the incident to anyone for fear of being ridiculed. I have since learned much more about them and I'm quite confident should I ever see another I would react in a much different manner than I did when I was a teenager but it is now very easy for me to understand why it would scare people even if it means us no harm.
So now Gina and I have an avid interest in all things Crypto. We recently went to Salk Fork Lake in Ohio and did hear screams similar to what many Bigfoot researchers claim is one of the communication methods of these creatures. I have to admit that I've never heard anything like it before. We're hoping to find Bigfoot cases here in Tennessee along with UFO and ghost cases.
Brent Raynes: Please share with us details of some of your own most interesting case investigations, in terms of what people reported to you and also anything that you might have experienced first-hand yourselves at the very scene of the activity.
Gina Oldham: It frequently happens that we will find evidence of what people report that is happening to them. Of course, that's not always the case as ghost activity will not always happen on cue but usually if there's something there we will find it. We never taunt and we always try to treat the spirits with respect. Bret has an unusually high energy field in his body. Dowsing rods will cross when they are pointed at him. We believe that because of this and our attitude that spirits are attracted to us. Almost like they are using the energy themselves. The evidence can run from residual energy left over from some highly emotional or tragic event that has left an imprint in time so to speak to actual intelligent haunting. One of the most fascinating things about cases is finding out who is haunting the location and why.
On one investigation the female homeowner reported objects being moved and hearing footsteps and strange noises but the thing that caught our attention was that she had also reported being attacked in bed early one morning after her husband had left for work. She stated that she felt an entity get into bed with her and climb on top of her holding her down as if it was attempting to rape her. She repeatedly screamed out to God for help and it finally released her. While we were there Bret witnessed the family dog acting peculiar. This had also been reported. The dog started growling at something that Bret couldn't see but we always pay attention to what animals pick up. Bret then witnessed footsteps making impressions in the carpet and walking right past him and out the closed door. We brought in a friend of ours to help cleanse the house and thank God it worked. The activity stopped.
A recent investigation was loaded with activity that backed up the numerous reports about the place. There were several different spirits reported in the location. The house was a historic home with a long history. One of the reports was that of a little girl being seen wearing a white dress. During our EVP session we attempted to contact the little girl and spoke to her as we would any child. After hearing footsteps that sounded very much like they could be from a child we asked her if she would like to play a game. Nothing happened at that point but when we asked if she wanted to try again we got a clear EVP "yes" response. We then asked her if she would sing us a song. After about 15 seconds of silence we caught another EVP of the voice of a little girl either humming or giggling. She really seemed to be enjoying our company! We later caught a full body apparition of her and just as the reports had said she was wearing a long white dress. Although it's rare to capture full body apparitions we have been lucky enough to capture several over the years.
Bret Oldham: In the same location a former female owner of the house had been seen many times. It was said that the house had been her dream house and she died after only spending a short time in it which explains her attachment to the property and why she has refused to move on. While investigating in her bedroom we were asking for a sign of her presence. We will sometimes ask to be touched and this spirit obliged. Gina was touched first. As we were conducting an EVP session Gina had her jacket strongly tugged and pulled out to the side. We caught numerous EVP's of this same woman. We asked her to touch one of us again and we caught an EVP of a woman's voice saying "Yes, it's so much fun"! I was also touched twice on the hand like a soft stroking motion. We know she was trying to manifest as I saw a white swirling mist in the corner of the room. I told Gina to start photographing the area and she said "OK". As she did we caught an EVP mimicking her and also saying "OK". I again told her what I saw and she again said "OK". Once again we caught another EVP repeating what Gina had said "OK" followed by the spirit saying "I'll try harder".
Those are the cases that you just can't deny that something is happening. Real time intelligent conversations backed by photographic and physical evidence.
Brent Raynes: Bret, you lived out in Las Vegas for awhile and met well-known UFO researcher John Lear. Can you share with us what must have been some real adventures out there and, by the way, did you ever run into country singer and entertainer Johnny Sands, who claimed a UFO contact experience just outside Las Vegas back around 1976?
I interviewed him a few months back for this magazine. He tells a really interesting story.
Bret Oldham: Yes, I did indeed have some adventures living in Las Vegas. Met lots of people too but never met Johnny Sands. I have heard of him and know of his story. I will tell you that I have heard lots of stories about the area he had his encounter. Mile markers 14, 15 and 16 on Blue Diamond Road were a real hot spot for sightings for a very long time. I don't know of any recent sightings. It has really grown around there now and there are lots of houses where there used to be desert. My brother and I once saw a very large black triangular shaped craft in that same area just floating above a ranch house. Extremely low and not making a sound. We pulled off the main road into the drive of the house which set back off the road a bit and turned off the car. Watched it for about 7 or 8 minutes and then it took off north across the desert and at a very high speed and was quickly gone. Art Bell, who lives down that road in Pahrump, had a similar sighting of what sounded like the same craft. You may have heard him talk about it on his show before. Can't say it was an alien craft or not but it was impressive.
I met John Lear in 1987. He was giving lectures around Las Vegas. I went to one and there must have been 300 to 400 people there. He was taking questions from the audience after his presentation and it was very difficult to hear the audience questions. I had a band at the time and a nice sound system so after the event was over I introduced myself. After chatting for a bit I gave him my number and told him that I would bring in my sound system at any future speaking engagements if he wanted to use it. He called me and we hit it off. I spent quite a lot of time with him and found him to be very passionate and sincere in his research. I really think that John helped to bring a lot of theories to the forefront that had been swept under the rug by various agencies and people. When the Bob Lazar thing broke, things started getting a little out of control. George Knapp, who I have the utmost respect for, got involved and the story just blew up. At the time I know that John believed Bob Lazar's story. I'm not sure if he still feels that way or not now. John taught me a lot. He was able to get evidence that most researchers couldn't and formed many of his opinions from that and from people that would come forth to speak to him about what they knew. There were things that happened to him during that time that the general public doesn't know about and I'm not comfortable putting in print but they wouldn't have happened unless he was on to something. John is a world class pilot and still holds several aviation records. To my knowledge, he was never in the CIA but he did fly missions for them at one time. Unfortunately that came back to haunt him as many in the UFO research field started saying that he was still with the CIA and was spreading disinformation which is quite a common thing as you well know. Lots of people turned on John at that time and I know for sure it really bothered him. I'm sure that's why he sort of dropped off the radar for awhile. I've recently seen him on UFO Hunters and a couple of other shows and know he's doing radio interviews again too. I'm glad he's getting back out there. I may not agree with everything he says but he's very intelligent and far from crazy and certainly not doing it for money. He's looking for the truth just like the rest of us. It's just that with the religious, political and economical ramifications of that truth maybe some things should be left where they are. But where do you draw the line? That's something that John, you, me and all of us have to decide.
Brent Raynes: What sort of important points or conclusions have you reached about these unexplained occurrences, and do you feel that some of these phenomena, like the cryptozoological beasties such as Mothman and Bigfoot could overlap and be related to the UFOs, as well as various other paranormal activities?
Bret Oldham: Most spirit activity is either residual as mentioned in the previous question or the ghost is attached to a place, a person or an object for various reasons. We also believe that some people who met with an untimely death simply don't realize they are dead and then there are those who because of the kind of life they lived are perhaps afraid to cross over and face judgment stemming from their religious beliefs.
Gina and I somewhat differ on our opinions of whether certain cryptozoological creatures have a connection to UFOs and could be of an alien nature. We both believe it is a distinct possibility but Gina believes that Bigfoot could have an alien connection and I don't. Although we both don't dismiss the hypothesis that some of these creatures could be inter-dimensional. We are especially intrigued by the Mothman being an inter-dimensional creature due to the way it is seen and the related occurrences connected with sightings of the creature. I'm sure that our planet is being visited by more alien races than just the Greys. This could explain some of the unusual creatures that are sometimes reported as we have no way of knowing what kinds of aliens are out there or what they look like.
Brent Raynes: What future directions do you hope to see the fields of paranormal/ufo/cryptozoological studies move in? And, alas, are you optimistic or pessimistic about that future?
Bret Oldham: We would like to see the technological advances continue. There is more and more new equipment coming out to scientifically document and prove these paranormal events. We would also like to continue to see more acceptance of the field in general. People are starting to have a more open mind about all these various unexplained phenomena because you can't argue with documented proof and there is much less ridicule than there used to be. Before, almost all ghost sightings were blamed on the work of the devil or you were considered unstable. That's not so much the case now as people are better understanding what is really happening.
The same holds true with cryptozoological sightings with more and more evidence of the existence of some of these creatures accumulating. We feel it's only a matter of time before some of these creatures are found. We feel very optimistic about both of those fields of research but not so much so with UFO research. That is a much more complex and intricate subject. Hollywood has been priming us for a long time to accept the premise that we are not alone in the universe but I don't think man's ego has gotten to that point yet to accept it. When you consider the kinds of consequences associated with mankind finding out that we are but one of many species in the universe I just don't see it happening any time soon. We really believe that the only way that the public is going to truly believe will be when one of the alien species decides to make themselves known in a big way and does. For centuries there has been documented evidence of aliens visiting our planet. Ancient carvings, mentions in the Bible, tens of thousands of eye witness reports, photographs, videos, close encounters of the fourth kind and yet with all that most people still don't want to accept the belief that UFOs and the beings in them exist. Of course, that won't stop us and others like us from continuing to search for the truth.
Brent Raynes: Gina, please describe your childhood poltergeist experiences, and how might that have influenced you and pushed you into the field of paranormal research and investigations?
Gina Oldham: My poltergeist experience started shortly after moving into a house when I was 10 years old. We lived in this house until I was about 13. The house was not an old house and I remember being quite excited because it was a large house and the house was located in a nice subdivision with lots of children in the neighborhood.
We (meaning myself & my 3 older siblings) began noticing that when you were on the bottom level of the house (the house had 3 levels) you could hear someone on the top level walking from room to room and crossing the hallway as it did so. The footsteps were so distinct. When we first became aware of this we all thought an intruder was in our home. The footsteps on the upper level became a frequent happening. We told our parents about the footsteps that we were hearing but we were told that we were just imagining things, until they heard the footsteps upstairs one day and they too thought an intruder was in the house.
There were other phenomena that would happen in the house like objects being moved, more noises, and feelings of being watched.
One night while my parents were having a party and the house was full of guests and everyone was located in the middle level of the house in the living room, my sister and myself saw a three foot tall rolling gray mist float past us. We were so startled. We just looked at each other and said "Did you see that?" The mist resembled smoke but we had no explanation for this manifestation.
The scariest event at this house took place late one afternoon. My mother and myself were the only family members at home. My mother had arrived home from work and was not feeling well so she laid down to take a nap. I was probably around 12 at this time and I remember being in the bathroom which was located on the top level of the house, with the door shut, combing my hair and just primping as young girls will do. The house was very quiet and I was trying to be quiet as I new my Mom was asleep. Then, out of nowhere, I heard this loud banging that was in the hallway. It sounded as if two people were fighting and slamming each other into the wall and fighting all the way down the hallway. I could then hear a tumble down the stairs and I distinctly heard our front door open and slam shut. At this time I was terrified and crying. I didn't know what to think and I was so scared that I was too afraid to open the bathroom door. Just then the phone rang and woke my mother up. My Mom came to the bathroom door and told me that a friend in the neighborhood was on the phone for me. My Mom looked at me and could tell I had been crying and asked me what was wrong. I told her about the noises I heard in the hallway and I asked her "Didn't you hear it?” My Mom looked at me as if I were crazy and said no, she hadn't heard anything until the phone rang and woke her up.
Looking back on these experiences now I would love to know the history of the house and maybe the land the neighborhood was built on. The cause of the haunting is still a mystery to me.
This experience at such a young age fueled my desire to investigate the paranormal
Brent Raynes: Most often in a marriage, where there is an interest in the paranormal, it is either the husband or the wife that is interested enough to actively research and investigate these phenomena. Not both of them. In fact, quite often you'll have couples where one believes and the other one is skeptical. But in your case you're both passionately on the same side of the fence, are you not? So is this completely a positive thing, or are there pros and cons?
Bret Oldham: It is mostly a positive thing. We both feel that it would be difficult to have one or the other of us a being a skeptic. We've learned from each other and we can bounce ideas and opinions off each other. We don't always agree on everything and we accept that. I have my paranormal specialties or areas of interest that I'm more actively involved in and Gina has hers too. We both have learned from each other the aspects of those particular interests that we might not have learned otherwise. As with everything in this field, it's simply a matter of listening with an open mind.