Monday, October 2, 2017

Scarefest 2017

Well, it's Sunday night and I'm still completely exhausted from yesterday's festivities! On Saturday, September 30th, my boyfriend and I drove down to Lexington, KY to attend the area's biggest Paranormal/Horror/Sci-Fi convention...The Scarefest!  While this was our fourth...or maybe fifth...time attending, 2017 actually marked the convention's 10th anniversary, and trust me; things have changed A LOT since we first attended back in 2008.

Once again, the convention was held at Lexington's Rupp Arena. We arrived about 15 minutes prior to the doors opening, which was a bit of a cluster fu...uh, you know. There was a HUGE line to get in that stretched back into the food court area of the arena, yet before you even got into that line, you had to go get in another line to purchase your tickets and receive your arm band. And once again, there was absolutely no one around pointing you in the right direction. Luckily, we noticed that the long line was NOT where we needed to be, at least not yet, so we didn't waste too much time standing around like idiots, lol.

When the doors finally did open, out of the several entryway doors available, people were only being herded into ONE set. Still, people were fairly polite and made it in pretty quickly. We needed to be quick this year, because the first speaker we wanted to see was scheduled for 11am. We went directly to the room where the speaker was to be but the doors were locked. We walked way onto the other side where there was another entry to the lecture rooms, and found that way blocked off. Upon asking how to get where we needed to be, we found that the volunteers had no idea. Since most of the other lectures were to start at 11:30, it was surmised that they just weren't ready yet. At this point, my back was already starting to hurt and I was ready to just leave, lol. We finally walked back to where we went first, yanked the door open, and barged in on a lecture already in progress.

The lecture I had chosen for our first of the day was Ken Boggle's Paranormal Hangover. At this point, I have to make a confession---I had no idea who Ken Boggle was. However, I was intrigued at the title of his lecture, as the phenomenon of the investigation "hangover" is one I've been studying for awhile. As it turns out, the lecture had absolutely nothing to do with the energy drain and sickness that tends to plague paranormal investigators after an investigation. Instead, the lecture was more of a gossip session with Ken, who not only was at the convention as a speaker and tarot reader, but who had been a sponsor for several years.

Because of his work with Scarefest, he has had the opportunity to meet and hang out with a LOT of the paranormal and horror celebrities that come each year. And he was HILARIOUS! I swear, I have never laughed as hard in my life as he told tales of Corey Feldman's weird behavior and demands, getting into fights with festival organizer, Patti Starr, and Zak Bagans' legendary demeanor. I'm pretty sure I had met the male version of me and was quite disappointed that I didn't get to go back and get my cards read by him. Please go check out his website, Tarot by Ken, and give him some love!

I was in a much better mood after seeing Ken, and since we had a few minutes before our next lecture, we took a short stroll around the front section of the vendor's floor. Aaron immediately made a beeline to the table for the Kentucky Browncoats, a group that apparently does all sorts of really cool activities devoted to Firefly. Again, a confession: I have never watched that show and have no idea about anything pertaining to it...but everyone at the table was really, really nice and Aaron seemed to be in absolute Heaven, lol.

Soon, I reached my own state of ecstasy when I stumbled upon the booth selling tons and tons of paranormal non-fiction $2 a piece! There were lots of other great deals on ghost hunting equipment, home decor, DVDs and shirts, but I'm a book nerd, so I walked away with $20 worth. Apparently, Patti Starr is closing her physical shop or something, and was liquidating. She was stopping by to check on the booth while I was dragging my huge bag of books out, and was very kind. She thanked me several times for the purchase.

By that time, it was getting close to our next stop of the day...the Mystery Science Theater 3K panel!  Unfortunately, Joel had to cancel, but Bill and Mary Jo put on a really great question and answer session. I absolutely love MST3K AND Rifftrax, but since I was kind of young when the show was in its heyday, I never really knew a whole lot about its early years. So, the panel discussion was hilarious AND pretty informative for me. Bill was especially hilarious, especially when discussing the learning curve for controlling the Crow puppet.

Next up was a lecture by Adam Bonnett, otherwise known as Glider. Adam Bonnett is a former employee of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, and has really made a name for himself by being one of very few paranormal investigators in a wheel chair. His talk, The Paralytic Paranormal Affect, focused on not letting physical limitations stop you from doing what you want to do. He also talked about how being in a wheelchair made him somewhat of a 'rolling trigger object,' and that his mere presence seemed to draw out activity at times. It was an interesting talk, especially since I've been to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum enough times to be able to relate to his experiences there.

After Adam's talk, we made a difficult decision---instead of going to another lecture right away, we had to take a lunch break. The Rupp arena has a few places in its food court, but in years past, we never had a great meal there, lol. This year was better, but still not great. We both got subs at Subway, and while we were waiting, ran into our friend Matt and his son, Ryan. We talked a bit as we ate, then made plans to meet up later that evening for dinner....because Aaron and I had to run back over to the lecture section for our next speaker!

Last year, we had seen Kyl Cobb give a talk about the real facts behind the case used as the basis of The Exorcist. We were both really impressed by the amount of research and fact that was presented, so we were thrilled to see Kyl back this year. Kyl was scheduled to give several talks this year, and we chose the one entitled The Exorcism of David Glatzel and The Devil Made Me Do It Murders. Holy cow! I wasn't super familiar with this case...another of the Warrens' fraudulent debacles...and I really learned a ton of really interesting information. Kyl Cobb is one of the best researchers I've ever come across and I cannot recommend him enough. If you never get a chance to see him in person, definitely pick up one of his books. As a disclaimer...if you're a huge fan of the Warrens and their work, you MIGHT not necessarily agree with Kyl's views, no matter how much evidence he provides, lol.

Speaking of great researchers, our final speaker we saw Saturday was Shannon Byers, the Paranormal Genealogist. She gave an excellent presentation on the real facts concerning Waverly Hills Sanitorium. As you probably know, there has been a lot of misinformation passed around as fact about this favorite spot for ghost hunters. Shannon did a great job breaking down her research and showing how things like the estimated 63,000 deaths just couldn't be true. She also shared some fascinating facts, such as why the 'death tunnel' stopped being used as such prior to 1945, an air show disaster that took place on the grounds, and the story of a murdered orderly that many people tend to overlook in favor of the less than truthful tales.

As a weird side note, during the talk, the lights in the room kept going off or dimming. Within seconds of a volunteer turning them back on, they'd lower, flicker, or completely turn off again. It was comical and kind of spooky...but was nothing more than the people in the adjoining room turning the lights off to show a film. Since the rooms were actually one big room, divided by a dividing wall, the lights were on the same system, lol.

We rounded out the evening by hitting the vendor floor one more time, making the full rounds this go-around. I'm really proud of myself---I kept my spending under control, buying only books. It wasn't because there wasn't anything I wanted to buy, though! This year, the vendors seemed to really outdo themselves. There were tons of great artisan pieces, as well as vintage toys, apparel, books, etc. I could have easily spent a thousand dollars. I think one of the things holding me back was just sheer exhaustion. We crammed in as much as we could this year, seeing lectures almost straight between 11am and 7pm. The day flew by and we capped it off with a fun dinner at Red Robin with our buddies.

I was left completely exhausted, but I wouldn't change it for anything. We got an opportunity to see some great speakers, visit with out-of-town friends, and get an excellent kick-off for the Halloween season! If you were at this year's event, check me out on Facebook, and let me know what your favorite part was!

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