Disco fright night
Paul Dale Roberts
Paul Dale Roberts might just have a leg up on The Most Interesting Man in the World. A state worker by day and a paranormal investigator with Haunted & Paranormal Investigations International by night, Roberts has seen it all. He was once a criminal investigator in the military, where his job was buying drugs in Germany and testifying in court-martial cases. He quit a job as a California firefighter because he was bored, and moved on to publishing comic books such as The Legendary Dark Silhouette. Then there was the stint when he earned a Guinness World Record by dancing 205 hours straight to disco tunes. SN&R chatted with Roberts inside his dark and smoky Elk Grove home about ghosts, demons and the death of disco.
You once had the world record for 205 hours of continuous disco dancing?
I danced 205 hours, eight-and-a-half days. I had five-minute breaks every hour. What was kind of interesting was I had to have witnesses. If I had to use the restroom just to urinate or whatever, I actually had witnesses watching me as I urinated and I had to keep my feet moving. So I was dancing and urinating at the same time. (Laughs.)
Did you get sleep deprivation or pull a muscle?
There were some people who were actually trying to compete with me to achieve that world record. One lady went into convulsions. Another lady, her legs became like elephant legs, they just blew up [from swelling]. Another guy, he … just fell on his face. So they had an emergency crew there, and they rushed him to the hospital.
You must’ve had a lot of hot girlfriends as a result of your crown, right?
I actually had an entourage of people that would follow me around. But, in 1979, disco died, and people were wearing “Disco Sucks” [clothing]. So my last performance, I was booed off stage, because disco died and I didn’t realize it. I was stunned, and I knew my disco career had ended.
I remember reading there was a whole record-burning thing at a baseball game, too.
Even though I was … disco king … people shunned me. It was like going from someone who was very popular, [but] now that disco sucked, disco was dead, everybody … didn’t even want to talk to me anymore, because I represented disco.
You’re a writer, paranormal investigator, comic-book author and dancer. That’s all?
Every investigation I go to, I write an article [for Jazma Online forum]. Even if we debunk it. Yesterday, I went to Arbuckle, and it was [supposed to be] a demonic case. But it was more or less something that was coming out of her mind. I would consider her as mentally ill, but I’m going to still write an article. I’m going to do it in such a positive way not to reflect negativity upon her.
And a state job, too?
I work for the government. I don’t think they want their name in it. My co-workers, when I go to a meeting, we’re talking about business, and they ask about my ghost hunts. It seems like a lot of people are fascinated by the paranormal.
What’s one of the biggest misconceptions people have about ghosts?
They think there are ghosts because of unusual experiences they have. They think it’s demonic, but it’s not. Ghosts are just like people, so if you have a character [that’s] somewhat mischievous, he’s going to continue to be mischievous in the afterlife. Other ghosts, I call them Casper hauntings, they don’t really bother you. They’re benevolent.
Best place in Sacramento to scare your friends?
Well, one of the places that is popular, and you get a lot of anomalies … is the Martinez house [in Midtown]. We’ve actually captured EVPs—electronic voice phenomena—at the Martinez house. And that’s on the outside perimeters. … When you take pictures of the house, you will actually capture anomalies. You get strange orbs, strange mist and everything else.
Your favorite moment in your career?
We recently came back from Area 51, and we actually went through the back gate and saw all the videos and the sound enhancers. They can hear you walking, talking. We got to interview the people and everything else. It was very impressive and I’m very glad I went there. That and Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. Skinwalker Ranch, a lot of people believe, is a portal to the unknown. Bigfoots have been seen there, UFOs have been seen there, ghosts have been seen there, poltergeist activities, shadow people, a bulletproof wolf. … To actually go there and accomplish that is a good feeling.
What’s one paranormal thing or a ghost that you’d like to encounter, but you haven’t yet?
I have not proved the existence of a doppelgänger. But I’ve had clients who told me that they actually witnessed a doppelgänger. One of the cases was this lady … and we tried to prove some validity to what she was saying, but we were unable.