Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Last weekend us Ghost Gals spent a day in Lynchburg attending a paranormal conference called ParaQuest hosted by the Seven Hills Paranormal group. It was a full day event filled with speakers focusing on different elements of the paranormal.
The first session I attended was entitled "Near Death Experiences" with Debbie Carvelli.
For over a decade a friend of mine kept telling me I simply MUST meet Debbie who is an intuitive. At that time she was a teacher at VWCC. I never contacted her and she eventually moved to Williamsburg and my friend moved to Florida. So naturally as soon as I saw her I introduced myself and told her what my friend had said. She held my hand and told me someone had told her that there was someone she had to meet that day. If I was the person, I don't know why because I didn't "feel" anything when I held her hand. Her session was quite interesting and I did come away with the title of my next book which is going to be about the paranormal.
Next up was Pat Bussard speaking about "Death and Burial Customs in the Victorian Era." I found the practice many folks of that time had of propping up their dead loved ones and posing them for a family portrait pretty gruesome. Some of the superstitions she mentioned are ones that I was taught such as grabbing a button and holding it until the funeral procession passes. Why? I still don't know. I just continue to do it.
A very entertaining speaker was Alpheus Chewning who runs a ghost tour in Virginia Beach.
I should have known he would be good just by the top hat he was wearing. He spoke of how people faked spirit photos in the early days reusing the glass negatives and superimposing a new photo with it. Even Mrs. Lincoln was fooled and swore Abe was looking over her shoulder. PT Barnum debunked the practice but some folks will believe what they want to believe so ignored him.
I'm sure you all heard of the Fox Sisters and their ability to communicate with the dead via rapping. They became famous but oddly enough when they were strapped to chairs and restrained they weren't able to communicate. They said it was because the spirits were angry but of course it was really because they were using their toes to make a snapping noise. Eventually one of the sisters admitted their hoax but again, people didn't want to believe it.
Mike St. Clair from VIPER, a local paranormal group, covered modern "Hoaxes and Fakes."
Lord knows there are plenty of those -- just Youtube poltergeist activity and a bunch will pop up. Mike debunked a couple and even created his own "poltergeist" video. Good stuff there, haha! Unfortunately some folks fake activity so they could become "popular" which makes it bad for the rest of us who truly do capture legit evidence. One word to the wise, if any group offers to investigate your premises for a fee, and/or promises to rid you of the activity, run!
By far the most interesting session of the day was hosted by Beth Brown and entitled "Civil War Ghosts of Virginia." Beth lives in Richmond, has a couple of books out, and has investigated many Civil War sites. She introduced us to locations this Yankee had never heard of before, but now wants to explore. You can investigate national park spots during the day free, but if you want to go after hours you must get permission and be prepared to pay a hefty overtime fee for the park ranger who will accompany you. Beth showed a video of Cold Harbor where she captured the 1:00am "mist" which is supposed to be soldiers walking through the forests. I couldn't find it on-line but it was quite eerie. If you don't want to pay big bucks to explore battlefields Beth recommended going as soon as the parks open so you will avoid the crowds.
Beth relayed a story how one spirit answered, "now or then?" when asked what year it was. When I told her my personal experience of a spirit in my house who answered, "This year!" to the investigator's question of what year was it, her eyes widened and she asked me, "Why in your own house?" Because I have too, was my response. She and others will understand when the book is finished...after the mystery is solved.
All in all it was an informative and fun day. I met some interesting people that I share common interests with and I look forward to next year's event. One friend of mine posted on Facebook saying he thought it sounded interesting, but he would be skeptical. My response was, "We're all skeptics, until we're not..."