Chief Officer and Lab Technician at the Socorro Wastewater Treatment Plant Cody Polston has been working with the community for more than 15 years. An Air Force veteran of seven years, author, and well known Southwest Ghost Hunter, Polston welcomed El Defensor Chieftain into his office.
Question: How did you come about being in this current position?
Answer: At this facility I originally started here in production which is basically taking care of the well stations and when a position came open I decided to apply and got it.
Q: What are your responsibilities at this facility?
A: We are monitored by the EPA. With our water going into and out of the river we make sure that the correct federally mandated liquids are there. Making sure that we don’t kill fish or hurt the environment. Our major factor is making sure the oxygen levels are right, which we test weekly. The State of New Mexico has regulations to make sure operators are well educated.
Q: Are you born and raised in Socorro?
A: I was born in Amarillo, Texas. Raised all over. My family moved around a lot because my dad was in the restaurant business so we went to a lot of places.
Q: Have you always been in the wastewater field?
A: I started off after the military in Clovis and the only job I could find was working at a restaurant for minimum wage. So I knew I had to get out of there. I worked for a few years as an ordinance technician, basically blowing things up, over at EMRTC before being laid off. The stuff they do back there is amazing. Airplane hangar recreations, Mars mission simulation, to that show Myth Busters recreating actual events.
Q: What was your experience like in the military?
A: There was a challenge between being overseas versus stateside. Overseas there is a level of camaraderie whereas stateside you want to be promoted. My experience in the service here was more getting stabbed in the back by people trying to get rank. The other factor was that my job was explosives removal and at a certain point I had a family to think of so one question’s if playing around with explosives is the best thing to be doing.
Q: Talk about your books. What are they about?
A: A lot of them are centered around ghost hunting which has always fascinated me. I’m a sceptic but you hear these crazy stories and wonder what exactly happened. That mystery part of it. At first my books were about the initial experiences before it evolved into the history of stories that has last for say 20 to 30 years. Now I am working on my first fictional book which is a combination of horror and steampunk.
Q: What drew you towards the idea of ghost hunting?
A: I would equate it to a childhood event. There is a YMCA camp near Amarillo called Camp Christmas Tree. My brother and I would ride the bus there and on the way there was a very creepy looking house. We had this big event where we slept there and one of the counselors lead us to this so called haunted house. Of course we’re being told ghost stories along the trail. We get close to the house and there was this butchered cow right in front of us. The adults starting talking and decided they needed to call the police. What was really weird was being outside with our councilors waiting for the cops with their rifles and I saw a window move that revealed a man with this big fuzzy beard. Nobody would ever explain it to me or my brother. That is where the mystery part came in.
Q: Do you believe in ghosts?
A: Nothing has really scared me. A trip to the Santa Fe Old Maine Penitentiary where the famous riot happened was creepy. I was there with a local radio crew and a door opened which we could not explain. But overall a lot of it is explainable, which is the fun for me.
Q: A few random questions. What is your favorite movie?
A: What pops in my mind right now is ‘Return of the Living Dead’. I love horror and it engrains that genre with comedy so well. Combined with the special effects I can just watch it over and over.
Q: As an author, who is your favorite writer or book?
A: I really like Stephen Donaldson. The ‘Thomas Convenant’ series is great. His writing style captivates me. There was a moment years ago when I walked up to the Page One book Store in Albuquerque as a child and saw my book next to the writer I grew up idolizing and just thought wow.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: I’m a big Iron Maiden fan. In my generation, being the 80’s, we were called rockers or headbangers. Iron Maiden was by far the best.
Q: If you could live anywhere else other than New Mexico, where would it be.
A: Mauia. I went on a temporary duty assignment when I was stationed in Japan and the ambience of Hawaii is amazing. Laid back.
Q: If there was something you could change about Socorro County, what would it be?
A: One thing that we should do is take advantage of our amazing history. We haven’t done the best job of preserving it and if we had more of a tourism influx that would add more money to help the infrastructure. We’re sitting on a goldmine. You’ve got the Valverde Battlefield ten minutes down the road. Why are we not taking more advantage of that. Bottom line we need more tourist dollars here.
Centered around historically haunted areas in the Southwest, all of Cody’s novels are available to purchase online as well as to order in print form.