Kit Grier is the co-creator of weekly comedy podcast This Paranormal Life. Kit Grier also tours and produces UK pop acts Albuquerque and teamRKT. This Paranormal Life launched in 2017 and has been downloaded 380,000+ times across 50+ countries. From Portstewart Northern Ireland, Kit Grier is based in New Cross, London. I’m a big fan of This Paranormal Life and was very excited to talk books with Kit and learn more about how the podcast came to be. Please enjoy my interview with Kit Grier.
Can you please introduce yourself and your podcast, This Paranormal Life.
I’m Kit, co-creator of This Paranormal Life – a comedy podcast in which every week we investigate a different paranormal case!
Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson. Someone told me he was like Terence McKenna but more intelligent and that was all I needed to know.
How did you and Rory come up with the concept for This Paranormal Life?
We figured everyone loves ghost stories and conspiracies. As it happens for every plausible paranormal tale there are 10 totally outrageous ones. It’s really funny to explore those! It sort of works like a game show – one of us pitches a case to the other and together we determine whether it is true or not!
Can you remember the first book you read by yourself?
Oh wow. I do remember loving Horrible Histories books by Terry Deary as a kid. Even now it’s hard to imagine the astonishment of learning about ancient Egypt for the first time!
Talk us through the process of making an episode of This Paranormal Life.
We start by taking a paranormal event or phenomenon and researching as much as we can on the topic. Researching the paranormal is fun because it’s very chaotic. There is not a high standard of journalism. Information, evidence, leads, and tangents can turn up anywhere! Next, I present my case on the podcast as a story. There are quotes, accents, and improvisation. It’s pretty dramatic! This is usually met with ridicule, but sometimes there are really inexplicable elements! We try to come to a conclusion about the story’s veracity. Finally, we add sound effects to make it feel like you’re in the story! Whether that’s being chased by a Sasquatch or driving around Loch Ness looking for its monster.
Are you a page folder or a bookmarker?
Neither – I try to memorise the page number and paragraph. I often fail.
When did you fall in love with reading?
When I learned about existentialism in my teens. I realised I was starving for philosophy! That’s still what motivates me. Everything I read must relate somehow to The Great Mystery.
What has been your favourite episode of the podcast so far, and why?
Episodes #29 & #30 cover the case of a haunted computer in 1985. A man received correspondence from the 16th century and the 22nd century simultaneously. He wrote a book about it called The Vertical Plane. The book itself is extremely rare and has a cult following! It was a perfectly bizarre premise for our podcast!
What are perfect reading conditions for you?
Truth be told, I mostly listen to audiobooks. I love listening while cooking, cleaning, or travelling.
If someone is starting a podcast, what three tips would you give them?
1. Launch with several episodes at once, then commit to a release schedule. This gives you the best chance of listeners finding you on platforms like iTunes. Additionally, your show will become an important part of your listener’s week!
2. Talk to your listeners! When we started This Paranormal Life I underestimated how much open dialogue we would have with our listeners. Talking to our audience via email and social media has become a daily activity for us. People don’t passively consume media today; they want to get involved and talk to like-minded people.
3. Be passionate about it! Like anything creative – podcasting takes work. If you love your theme and co-hosts you’ll love spending time on your podcast, and it will show!
If you could invite 5 authors (dead or alive) to a dinner party – who would they be and why?
I would invite Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Terence McKenna, Ram Dass, and Alan Watts. I would put on a feast, shut my mouth, and be a fly on the wall! McKenna, Ram Dass, and Watts all achieved an incredible sort of extra-terrestrial perspective on existence that was totally undogmatic. They all assumed the role of a modern shaman – they brought information from the inner-world into the outer-world. Additionally, they were all fantastic communicators! That is why I would invite them.
What was the last book you purchased, and why did you buy it?
The Psychedelic Gospels by Jerry B. Brown and Julie M. Brown. I’m interested in the Entheogenic roots of world religions. But it’s still on the reading list!
What is your favourite thing about reading?
Like Seth Godin said “A book is a screaming bargain. You pay $15-20 and you have something that may change your life. You have something that reminds you 20 years later where you were when you read it.”
Can books be haunted?
Absolutely! In fact, books have probably killed more people than anything else!
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
Autobiography Of A Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. It’s a beautiful description of the spiritual path, from birth until death. Suspend what you think about Indian guru culture and just get absorbed by it!
If you could insert yourself into any book, which would you pick and why?
I don’t read much fiction, so I’d have to go full fantasy! So The Lord Of The Rings world.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is mandatory reading for life on earth. It’s a brief history of humanity. I like it a lot because it talks objectively and candidly about issues that are important to me such as the effects of agriculture on humanity, as well as the ethical problem of eating animals.
Should our readers be more concerned about Robert cursed dolls or a re-release of the BBC Microcomputer?
Probably a cursed doll. That being said, after covering the case of Robert the cursed doll, one of our listeners has placed a legitimate voodoo curse on Rory, my co-host. So far his life seems unaffected! But time will tell.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life? What impact did it have?
Be Here Now by Ram Dass was very impactful for me. He perfectly distils the psychedelic experience and its implications into words. In the words of McKenna; “I don’t know what news you were waiting for but this is the news I was waiting for!”
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
I recently enjoyed Reality Is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli. It takes you from the birthplace of ancient physics to the quantum theories of today. Not many books cause you to look at your kitchen to try and perceive it’s 3D-ness, suspecting your kitchen may possess multidimensional qualities you’re not privy to. But this book might.
Which book sat on your shelf are you most excited about reading next and why?
I picked up The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley recently. I have not read any Huxley yet but I understand he had wild ideas! That’s what I’m looking for.