Horror-on-Sea interview with Paratheological and Metaphysyical Researcher Dennis Kneale for the documentary ‘Beyond the Void’
Starting the New Year with a very special interview exclusively on Blazing Minds, I got a chance to speak with Paratheological and Metaphysyical Researcher Dennis Kneale a few questions regarding the recently found documentary Beyond the Void
Q. How was the footage rediscovered in the archives?
It narrowly missed the skip! We were chucking out some old and dusty junk from the basement and came across boxes of VHS tapes. Most of them were unlabelled, but one had the Wessex TV logo and one of us suddenly remembered that live seance in ‘84. Once we’d watched the tape and realised what we’d got, we held on to the lot.
Q. When you discovered the footage had it already been previously edited to be aired or did you find the footage in its entirety?
There were two versions on the same tape. One is about 50 mins long and one edited to 30 mins for TV. You see a lot more of Dr Cross in the longer one, and some interviews with others as well, especially about his early life. But the 30-minute TV one gets most of the message across.
Q. Although you must have seen some unusual phenomenon’s over the years with the show this has to be the most impressive footage which has been released so far. What was your first thoughts when you reviewed the footage which you had found?
We were amazed that a copy existed! To see the doctor talking and alive after all this time was quite emotional. His views on the world and on science and religion were astounding, and to hear them again in the man’s own voice – incredible. Most of his output was thought wiped post-broadcast you see. This is including the Wessex Productions. The channel itself no longer exists and we wouldn’t know where most of the material rights would have wound up. There is a wealth of PMRI investigations on video and we thought most of the tapes would be those, so it was, you can imagine, a revelation!
Q. It has been difficult at time to make contact with people who were involved with the original programme, but can you give us any information regarding what happened to the crew from the now defunct Wessex TV Studios and members of the PMRI who were involved in the seanse?
What became of the Wessex crew, we really couldn’t say. Only Peter Cosgrove made the seance from the original PMRI … and we shouldn’t really add anything to what’s been released for the time being. There are some old PMRI people still alive and well, and we have been in touch privately.
Q. As a fan of the The Midnight Hour which ran for three series, I love the personality of Dr. Balden Cross in front of the camera but what was he like off screen?
Same as he was on TV. He became quieter and much more serious over the last few years but had always been rather intense. A brooding scientist one minute, the loud showman the next. But always so urbane – almost courtly in his manners. Had something other-worldly about him, as if he didn’t really fit in anywhere, and yet could be so down to earth at times too. He was, like the presenter on the documentary says, quite an enigma of a man. Magnetic though! People seemed to love to want to know him.
Q. Dr. Balden Cross ventured briefly into film with the cult classic horror A Coffin for Lady Dracula, where he played a Von Freud the vampire hunter. Being such a natural in front of the camera do you know why he decided not to participate in any films?
That film came out at the height of Dr. Cross’s popularity. He was very attracted to the role, it certainly added to his public persona. I’m almost certain he was offered more but this was also a man at the peak of his research into what would inevitably cause speculation after his death. I guess he just didn’t have time for a film career.
Q. Have there been any other attempts to repeat the experiments as requested by Dr. Balden Cross?
We have heard a story about another seance in the 1990’s by a group unconnected to the PMRI, but no one seems to think any contact was made. We have however, conducted several experiments of that ilk in regard to the PMRI in a much more abridged form – the institute has whittled down over the years as there simply isn’t as much money thrown into the cause as there used to be. We are still here though, just about. Flying the flag for old Dr. Cross.
Q. There are rumours that further unreleased footage featuring Dr. Balden Cross and other members of the PMRI has been found. Can you confirm whether this is correct?
Yes, there is quite a bit! There is the 20 minutes or so of the documentary that wasn’t aired, as well as a dozen fragments of Midnight Hour and Worlds Beyond shows featuring Dr Cross investigating or lecturing on various happenings and theories. There are other tapes we are still discovering which appear to have unseen footage of the man himself, so I’d say watch this space! We are very excited to discover what else he had been up to in his time.
Beyond the Void has been selected to play at Horror-on-Sea on Sunday 20th January 2019.
You can find out more about Dr. Balden Cross and The PMRI on the Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/ThePMRI
You can find out more about the feature films playing at Horror-on-Sea Film Festival and details of tickets on the website.