Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Pros of Paranormal Cons


I propose that the American Psychological Association should include a new diagnosis in its diagnostic manual: Post Paranormal Conference Blues (PPCB?). There's nothing like spending a weekend with friends and not only having fun but also learning something too. I just arrived home from Phenomacon 106 that took place in Gettysburg, PA and once again, I realize how fortunate I am to get to attend conferences and not only meet up with but speak to some truly interesting and genuine folks.

I asked my friend, Alli, to give me a quote about why she comes to paranormal conferences and her response mirrored the ones of those I just saw on the Phenomacon Facebook page. She said it was, "A great opportunity to connect and learn from other like-minded people." The range of guests goes from skeptics and scientists to psychics and healers. I went from speaking to Grady Mosby who is the author of "A Near Death Experience: I Died and Came Back from Hell" to discussing Bigfoot and the recent Rick Dyer hoax with Eric Altman, Director of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society. I attended paranormal researcher/psychic, Chris Fleming's panel on angels and left there much less skeptical and will definitely be keeping my eyes open. This was just on my first day.

On day two,  I enjoyed playing a new paranormal card game and on my first try at playing, kicked the co-creator's butt. I wrote a little something about it here. Thanks to my position here at Paranormal Pop Culture, that afternoon I had the privilege of representing our site on a panel hosted by Darkness Radio's, Dave Schrader and discussing how the paranormal has permeated Hollywood. Oh yeah, I got to sit next to John Zaffis...he's kind of a huge deal in this field.

Speaking of Hollywood, I interviewed Roger Perron and asked him some questions about what really happened to him and his family back in the early 70s. You may be familiar with his family's was the inspiration for "The Conjuring" and I learned quite a bit from this gentleman. Check back here shortly for my interview. To be clear, I did ask Mr. Perron for an interview but he gladly spoke to all patrons and was very approachable. All of the guests were and that's another very cool part of a paranormal conference, accessibility to the guests and their willingness to share their story and experiences. That's why they're there. Talk to them, they love to share!

Caught between Annabelle & a zombie
There's also the "after the vendor room has closed" part of cons but to label it as the social aspect, discounts the fact that really, the whole event is "social." Phenomacon had a "Ghoul Gala" where people dressed up as creatures from zombies to demons to anything in between. These event parties are quite popular at paranormal conferences and offer a way to express your glorious nerdiness to the extreme if you so desire. If you don't? Well that's okay too.

That's the overall appeal of a con...safely being in a place where you could truly be yourself and meet people who share what you love. Even if you don't agree with what they believe, be sure to listen, keep an open mind and be ready to not only learn, but to make new friends.  So if you've never been, or your friend is urging you to attend one for the first time, do it. Of course, like anything not everyone will have the same experience but if you go in with an open mind and a positive attitude, you may not only learn a thing or two but you may leave there with a friend or 20.