Friday, May 9, 2014

Paranormal History: The Importance of 'Preserving the Haunt'

It’s sometimes easy to forget a key element when it comes to the paranormal and that’s history. Ghosts, spirits, hauntings…whatever you label them as, all stem from a point in history whether recent or in the distant past. During the weekend of May 2-4, I had the honor of representing Paranormal Pop Culture at Para History Con 2 held at historic Fort William Henry in Lake George, NY. It was presented by Glory Haunt Hounds and the hard work and dedication of John Tobin and Cathy Chabot as well as countless volunteers.

I’ve recommended attending paranormal conferences in the past and this “Preserving the Haunt” event really drove home the importance of not only maintaining the integrity of some of our most treasured historical sites, but honoring the spirits that may still reside in them.

A staple at any good paranormal event is the panels that inform patrons and inspire them to keep searching. This event featured some esteemed guests that included: Brian Cano and Chris Mancuso - From “SCARED!;” Mike Zohn, Evan Michelson and Ryan Matthew Cohn (from Science Chanel's “Oddities”); and, Jay Wasley (“Ghost Adventures,” Sun House Films), Frank Cinelli (TAPS Paramagazine), Patrick Burns (“Haunted Evidence”) and Marley Gibson (Writer, Author of the “Ghost Huntress” series). It was also the first convention appearance for Amy Allan and Steve DiSchiavi from Travel Channel’s “Dead Files.”

Vendor tables of course lined the conference center and offered even more opportunities to interact with guests, as well as purchase clothing, jewelry, DVDs and get psychic readings. Obviously the VIP and after hunt parties were not only fun, but they also provided the opportunity to meet and talk with the celebrity guests.

Saturday ended with a ghost hunt at the nearby restored Fort William Henry, which was the inspiration for James Fenimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans.” A little history taken from a lobby brochure...you know, the lazy girl’s version of a history book:

In August 1757, the French General Marquis de Montcalm began the bombardment of the English at Fort William Henry under Colonel George Munro. After six days, and the loss of many lives, Colonel Munro surrendered the fort to the French. 

Sunday featured a Mini Film Fest and for a small fee, guests were able to screen films from SCARED! (“Haunted Snug Harbor”) and Deftone Pictures (“Ombis: Alien Invasion”). These film festivals are always a nice perk of these events. Not only do you get to see some cool docs and films but artists get to share their vision and hard work with the public.

Have I stressed enough that I highly recommend attending a paranormal event? Patrick Burns mentioned in the panel on Paranormal History that we should be in this for ourselves. We need to keep searching to find the answer as to what happens after we die to satisfy our own knowledge and to not make it a competition of whose evidence is better, etc. Sure, go for the fun and to meet up with friends, but make sure you leave with at least one more piece of knowledge or inspiration than what you came in with. See you at the next event!

-Larissa Mrykalo

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