You’ll be intrigued by our guest today – he’s a photojournalist for more than 25 years for provincial, national and international media by day, a paranormal investigator by night, and he is a survivalist trainer and instructor to cadets in the police and defence forces. Some refer to him as the Irish Bear Grylls.
It's a perfect mix where Radio Espial combines our true crime features with paranormal explores and survivalist techniques. We will also demystify the mainstream belief that every trained survivalist is a crazy 'prepper' living in a log cabin in the woods, complete with 200 cans of beans and an underground concrete bunker, ready for the next zombie apocalypse.
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From Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland, Shayne Phelan has had a life-long interest in Survival and some in the field would consider him an expert and somewhat of a father figure in Survival training in Ireland. He has served as a trainer and consultant for media outlets such as radio, TV, magazines and newspapers as well as his photojournalism work for them.
At an even higher level, Shayne has also taught staff from the Irish firebrigade service, members of An Garda Siochana, and the Irish Defence Forces in the requirements of staying alive in the wilderness. To quote Shayne Phelan:
I guess I was practicing survival skills before I knew it was survival — fishing, hunting, falconry, and ferreting was part of daily life. I suppose the eureka moment was 1986 when a 14-year-old stumbled across a book just out, the SAS Survival Handbook by the legendary “Lofty” Wiseman. That book was devoured with the same appetite for knowledge that a survivalist would have for food after coming off an island. I started practising shelter-building and primitive fire-lighting techniques.
Even then I knew the importance of skill-based fire rather than product-based fire. Survival is a huge mental task, and I always say survival is from the neck up. But it certainly helps if everything from the neck down works well. The greatest fear I have is the trust people put in authority. You see this globally with flash floods and other disasters — good, honest people think someone is going to come and save them, but authorities are so stretched they never come.
We have a personal and family responsibility to be less passive in our chance of survival. I always preach that survival is going to happen when you aren't anticipating such scenarios. You could be just gone on a day hike or fishing, hunting, etc.
Shayne Phelan is a Master in martial arts and teaches Hapkido and Kick Boxing to those that are interested in the self-defence rather than the element of sport. This is how he connected martial arts to Survival. He was recently promoted to a Gold belt which is Master level in Hapkido from Grandmaster Massan Ghorbani. He established Eagle Ridge Survival School. The name derives from his activities as one of the few in Ireland who flies and hunts with a golden eagle (Thor).
Outside of his photojournalism and survival training, along with his wife Natalie, he spends many a weekend videoing, photographing and documenting their paranormal investigative visits to locations across Ireland. Shayne and Natalie run Haunted Eire and continue to share their explore experiences over many years. I could also talk about motorbikes and crime scenes, and a lot more Shayne does in his daily life… but maybe it’s just best to hear from the man himself.