ScareFest! The festival/convention is hosted by ghost hunter and author Patti Starr, and features tons of vendors, paranormal lectures, celebrity panels, photo ops, autograph signings, costume contests/cosplay, and much, much more! 2016 marked a landmark event with ScareFest kicking off the first National Ghost Hunting Day by coordinating what may have been the world's largest ghost hunt.
I always have a really great time at ScareFest, although admittedly, this year's lineup of guests and celebrities just didn't seem as strong as it usually is. That may have been a blessing, though....the lines for celebrity meet and greets were actually quite short and for each lecture we attended, we were able to walk right in and get a good seat.
Since the lines were so short, I went ahead and got autographs from the Ghost Hunters, Jason Hawes and Steve Gonsalves. Tango was there, and I had my picture taken with him as well with the other two, but for some reason, his autograph was an extra $10 and I just didn't bother with it, lol. The woman taking the money for the autographs already thought that I hadn't paid for my other autographs, so I didn't want to confuse her any more than she already was, lol. I had met Grant before, but this was my first time meeting the other guys. They weren't rude or anything, but they weren't especially chatty or accommodating, either.
As for the lectures, we chose to go all paranormal this year. There were a few celebrity/movie panels, but nothing we were dying to see, so we went with:
1. Kyl T. Cobb: The Facts Behind the Exorcist---Kyl gave an impressive and really interesting account of the true story that inspired what many claim is the scariest movie of all time. Being a historical researcher myself, I found it very...satisfying...seeing how a little detective work resulted in finding the actual 'possessed' boy and the facts surrounding his case. The lecture included a brief discussion on demonic possession in general, with comparisons to demons in western vs. eastern cultures. The whole thing was very well done; Cobb was a great public speaker, has plenty of credentials, and shared some really interesting facts that I had never heard before.
2. Steve Kulls: Sasquatch: The Truth You've Been Told vs. Actuality---This was another great presentation on fact vs. fiction. The discussion included many aspects of Sasquatch lore, including a vocabulary lesson on where the terms 'Sasquatch' and 'Bigfoot' originated, but the main focus seemed to be on the Patterson-Gimlin footage. Digitally enhanced and stabilized footage was presented, as well as information about how the alleged confessions of a hoax didn't actually happen the way the media portrayed. Oddly enough, I had already seen most of the enhanced footage presented in a class I took last year, but it was still fun to watch.
3. Shannon Byers: How Not to be a Ghost Hunter---Known as the Paranormal Genealogist, Shannon Byers is one of my favorite researchers of the paranormal and we have eerily similar philosophies, lol. Seriously, almost every single thing she presented in this How Not to be a Ghost Hunter presentation was something that I've blogged about, have said in the past, or what I currently practice and preach, lol. So, unfortunately, I really didn't LEARN a whole lot, but it was very validating that others out there take the same approach as I do. Shannon had given a presentation on Friday, I believe, about the truth behind Pearl Bryan and the hauntings of Bobby Mackey's, and I'm REALLY disappointed that I missed that one---I've been preaching for years about all the misinformation that is spread about that place and our less-than-stellar investigation experience there back in 2007.
In addition to checking out the speakers, we spent plenty of time out in the vendors' area. I bought a stack of used books on the paranormal, a Ghostbusters t-shirt for my son, some novelty soap items, and even some items for mine and Aaron's Halloween costumes! It was fun walking around and seeing the way everyone was dressed...and there were plenty of people dressed as clowns. With the creepy clown panic going on throughout the tri-state area and down south, I thought that was pretty brave of them! We also got to enjoy a fairly good lunch in the Rupp food court. The best part was waiting in line for our Chinese food, and seeing Tom Savini waiting for HIS Chinese food, just like any other non-celebrity.
Overall, this wasn't the best year for ScareFest in terms of attendance or level of celebrity guests, but I still had a great time, and I'm glad that we concentrated on the paranormal lectures this time. As a paranormal investigator, I feel that it is REALLY important to attend educational events such as this in order to not only learn some new skills and learn what is currently happening in the field, but to also network with others. A paranormal investigator can never have too many resources to draw from, and ScareFest definitely provides an opportunity to meet and learn from some of the best in the field.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Monday, October 3, 2016
The photo above depicts a device known as a mortsafe. It was used in protection against grave robbers. Back in Victorian England, a couple of things were happening....
Before that time, medical students could only dissect and otherwise use cadavers 'donated' by criminals who had been sentenced to death. And, just about any offense could lead to hanging, lol. However, during the mid to late 1800s, social justice reform was leading to less offenses being punishable by death, and thus creating a huge shortage of corpses available to medical students. Medical science was making great strides throughout this time period, so a good supply of fresh corpses was EXTREMELY important. To help meet the demand, 'ressurectionists' would steal the bodies of the newly buried and then sell them to medical schools, generally with no questions asked.
As the practice became more and more of a threat, mortsafes and other devices were invented as a way to safeguard the bodies against theft.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
1. Name that Horror Movie Quiz: Each day in October, I'll be posting a picture from a different horror and/or Halloween movie. Test your knowledge and let me know if YOU know what movie the photo is from!
2. Daily Question: I want to hear from you! Each day throughout the month, I'll be posting a question for you to answer about various paranormal and Halloween related topics. Let your opinion be heard, and share your personal experiences. There are no wrong answers to these interactive questions, and you don't have to be an 'expert' in the paranormal field to answer them.
3. Late Night Frights: Are you a night owl? I know I am! Every night after midnight, I'll be posting about a different haunted location. Consider it a bedtime story!
4. Throwback Thursdays: Since its almost Halloween, every Thursday I'll be posting a vintage photo from my favorite holiday!
Today, I'll be at the annual ScareFest horror and paranormal convention in Lexington, Kentucky, but I'll see you tomorrow for plenty more spooky fun!
Friday, September 30, 2016
1. Michelle Belanger: You probably know Michelle from her work on Ryan Buell's show, Paranormal State. However, Michelle has quite a body of work on her own, separate from the affiliation with The Paranormal Research Society, especially in the realm of energy vampirism. She has some great videos on a variety of subjects, including Ouija Boards, hauntings, and of course, vampires.
2. MUFON: The Mutual UFO Network has a great channel featuring case profiles, investigator profiles, and even full lectures from conferences and symposiums. If you are interested in ufology, this is a channel you HAVE to bookmark.
3. One Candle Society: This group formed in 2014 and uploads educational content on paranormal topics and specific hauntings, as well as investigation footage. There isn't a ton of material on the channel yet, but what is there is of specific interest to those in the tri-state region!
4. Open Mind Productions: Another channel for those studying ufology, Open Minds uploads videos on current UFO sightings, historical documentation, interviews, and much more.
5. Paranormal Quest: This group of investigators seeks to find the answers to questions few dare to even ask...and most of their videos feature investigations, interviews, and historical background work on haunted locations in West Virginia and surrounding areas!
6. Paranormal Warehouse: A channel featuring videos on just about everything and anything paranormal! There are different types of videos of varying lengths, so you're sure to find something you're both interested in and have time to listen to/watch!
And there you have it---six more spooky YouTube channels to explore this weekend! If for some reason you don't see anything that is of particular interest to you, or you've already binge-watched all the available content and want more, never fear! You can always go back and check out my Spooky YouTube Subscriptions, Volume 1 blog...and of course, keep an eye out for Volume 3, due out on another wet and rainy boring day!
Thursday, September 29, 2016
September 29th is National Coffee Day! I'm actually NOT a coffee drinker myself, but I know many of you out there are...especially you paranormal investigators and ghost hunters! Often we have to put in a full day's work at a traditional job, take care of family and home...and THEN spend all night on high alert at a potentially haunted location. Coffee is an excellent source of caffeine, a stimulant that wards off drowsiness and makes you feel more alert. Being more alert is definitely useful during a paranormal investigation, but too much caffeine can be a very, very bad thing.
A 2011 study conducted by researchers at Australia's La Trobe University actually found evidence that too much caffeine can cause auditory hallucinations. In other words, the same stuff that makes you feel alert and awake can also cause you to hear things that aren't really there. Obviously, hearing things during a paranormal investigation that aren't really there isn't exactly conducive to a successful, scientific-based endeavor.
But just how much caffeine does one have to consume to start hearing things? Well, that amount is slightly different for everyone, but the study notes that even five cups a day led to a significant increase in the test subject having the auditory hallucinations. I don't know about you, but I've definitely seen people consume that much and more. When you factor in energy drinks and highly caffeinated sodas as well, its pretty easy for one person to reach that threshold.
However, one doesn't have to completely give up on coffee on other caffeinated drinks before or during an investigation. Like with many other things, moderation is key. Too much caffeine, in addition to potentially causing auditory hallucinations, can also cause one to feel jittery, anxious, have a racing heart beat, and since its a diuretic, cause one to have to use the restroom often (and any investigator knows that clean, working restrooms aren't always readily available during a ghost hunt!).
Just know your own body and what it can and cannot handle. If you regularly consume large amounts of caffeine, you can probably handle it better than someone who normally would have a small caffeine intake, but downs shot after shot of energy drink right before heading out into the field. Also, instead of relying solely on caffeine, try a few different approaches to maximize alertness and ward off sleepiness. If you know an investigation is coming up, try to get sufficient rest beforehand. Take snack breaks featuring healthy choices of proteins and carbs. Stay hydrated. And, most importantly, know when to say no. If you don't feel alert or in top shape, it may be time to head on home.
Friday, September 23, 2016
I haven't done a Friday Night Funny for awhile and when I saw this picture on Facebook recently, I knew I wanted to share it, lol. I love this lil' guy. He's definitely sassy! Although, his feet are a little on the small side for a Sasquatch....
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Authors: Norma Elizabeth and Bruce Roberts
Published: 1999 by Crane Hill Publishers
Amazon Purchase Information
First off, I have to give a big 'THANK YOU!' to a wonderful reader named Louise who gifted me this book, which I immediately read, even if it has taken me awhile to get a review out, lol. Louise, thank you so much! I really appreciate your kindness and generosity; this title is now quite at home within my paranormal library.
And, its a welcomed addition for good reason---who doesn't love a haunted lighthouse tale! I swear, I think just about every single lighthouse in the nation has at least one ghost story attached to it. The authors include a wonderful introduction explaining the historical dedication that lighthouse keepers had for their occupation, and the dangers associated with such work, both huge factors in why many believe the majority of these structures continue to have that haunted reputation today.
While there are many haunted lighthouses out there, this book focuses on thirteen of the strongest, most documented tales, including the lighthouse at St. Augustine, Florida and at Heceta Head, Oregon, which I posted about last year. Both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are represented, as well as several selections from the Great Lakes. Each chapter focuses on a different lighthouse, its history, its hauntings, and some brief information on when and how to visit the lighthouse property for yourself. Since the book was published in 1999, there are VERY few websites included for more information, but each chapter does have a beautiful black and white photograph of the lighthouse in question, which makes up for it!
I really enjoyed this book! It's a relatively short book at only 119 pages, but its packed with legends, recent (well, recent as of 1999) experiences, and history. There's just enough of history and hauntings to give the reader a nice overview without being too tedious and straying too far off topic. Combined with the length, the large font makes this a really quick read, and also a perfect read for a younger paranormal enthusiast...or someone like me with a rather short attention span. I pretty much read this one straight through one evening, but the format is perfect for those who just want a quick story or two at a time.
With such a huge geographical range covered, despite the rather niche topic of lighthouses only, I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a good ghost story, or who loves the unique history of our nation's coastal safety. Pick up a copy today and tell me what YOU think of it, or head over to Theresa's Haunted History's Facebook and let me know about YOUR favorite haunted lighthouse!
Fun Fact: Did you know that landlocked West Virginia has its own lighthouse? It's not a real, operational lighthouse, but a recycled wind turbine. You can visit and tour the structure at Summersville Lake!