When Kiri Langvad launched her ghost-hunting operation, she soon found trouble – and not just of a supernatural kind.
The Palmerston North woman discovered her 171kg frame was one of the biggest obstacles when trying to find evidence of life after death. After investigations, she became so drained she had to put her feet up for two days.
She eventually decided to have radical surgery in a bid to lose her excess weight and become more nimble. “I struggled to unroll cable to set up our equipment or go up and down stairs,” she says.
“You need quick reactions if you pick up a signal and I wasn’t moving fast enough for my liking. I was too tired. I was getting snappy and that’s not fair on anyone.
“I had times when I had to sleep for the next two days because I was exhausted.”
Not sick enough to qualify for government funding, the hardware store worker, who at her heaviest tipped the scales at 177kg, put an extra $30,000 on the house mortgage to pay for the stomach reduction surgery, which took place at Wellington Hospital eight months ago.
Kiri’s now 65kg smaller and has 15kg to go to reach her goal weight. Now much lighter on her feet, she has more energy to invest in Core Paranormal NZ, a business she and husband Ralph set up with another couple last year.
Kiri’s been fascinated by the paranormal since she was 14 and says she saw her grandmother’s ghost when she was 20. “I was going to the bathroom in the middle of the night and there was a figure and I knew it was her. I blinked and she didn’t disappear,” she says.
“It would have probably been 20 seconds and then she was gone. My mum thought she had come to say goodbye.”
Since starting her ghostbusting business, Kiri has visited several properties believed to be haunted. At one private property in the Hawke’s Bay, she photographed a ghostly figure walking down the fence line.
Kiri also got spooked at the Tavistock Hotel in Waipukurau, which is believed to be haunted by a ghost known as Ma Bartram, who was a hotelier there. Kiri says staff have seen the woman at the bar, but when they’ve got up to serve her, she’s disappeared.
When the Core Paranormal NZ team entered Ma Bartram’s bedroom, Kiri and co-founder George Shiels heard the words, “Get out!”
Kiri says Core Paranormal NZ is not a money-making venture, just an avenue to help them research the unexplained.
“I want to understand,” she explains. “I want to know that our loved ones may always be around – that death isn’t just a black door being slammed on you.”