PARACON 2015: A weekend of chills – and not just from the weather!

What a weekend!

2015 marked the second annual Paracon Australia and I honestly feel like I should have taken a few days off to recover. I’ve just spent the last two days shuffling around like a zombie and am currently at an average of 6 cups of coffee just to remain upright at my desk.

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This year’s Paracon was held at the beautiful Carrington Hotel at Katoomba, NSW. The building itself has been privy to more than a few paranormal occurrences in the last 130+ years of operation, and the elegant Victorian rooms were as much of a character at the con as the Guests and Speakers themselves.

This year – as always – there was a wide range of speakers both domestic and international; it was evident that Alex Cayas and his crafty little team of minions had been cooking this up for a while, not content to ride on the coat-tails of last year’s success at Maitland Gaol.

Of course – being Katoomba – one usually felt like one was walking into an open ice-chest as soon as you stepped into the open air to hurry from room to room for the seminars at the Katoomba Cultural Centre, Baroque Room at the historic Harp and Fiddle Bar and the Carrington itself.

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That being said, it didn’t stop the obvious signs that this year was a sold-out event. It wasn’t uncommon to see rooms packed to standing for a talk, leading to some incredibly engaging Q and A sessions once the initial talks had been presented.

I started my weekend by walking into the Baroque Room and was honestly taken aback at how jam-packed the opening-night event was! It was literally impossible to traverse from the stage to the photo-booth at the back of the hall without becoming uncomfortably closely acquainted (or re-acquainted) with at least a dozen people.

Being the wallflower that I am I ended giving up at the Candy Bar and consoling myself with several sticks of raspberry liquorice and a generous handful of jelly beans.

Worth it.

The speakers this year were outstanding in their subjects. We had talks on Mediumship, Paranormal Equipment, Extra-terrestrial abductions, Shadow People, Hoax Profiling, Practical Demonology and Shamanism; a veritable candy store for this over-excitable big kid.

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This year – for me personally – was a little different than last year as I’d offered my meagre public speaking skills to help host and introduce the speakers in the most amenable way I could muster… but I’ll have to admit that my nerves did a bit of Riverdancing when the conference room was packed to standing!

I still had time to catch different talks when I wasn’t hosting or helping out; I caught Andrea Kaldy’s seminar on Paranormal Mediumship – a topic I never grow tired of hearing her talk about – Paranormal Shamanism with Janette Donnellan, Demonic Possession: Possible alternative explanations with Beth Luscombe, The Search for Australia’s Bigfoot with Attila Kaldy, Tony Jinks’s seminar on disappearing, appearing, reappearing and replaced objects ( or ‘Jottles’), Spirit Communication with the Psychically Challenged with Anne and Rob from ESP, Shadow People; Fact, Folklore and Personal Experience with everyone’s favourite Kiwi – Mark Wallbank (sorry Craig ❤ !) as well as both of Dave Schrader’s talks on how to ghost hunt and investigate claims of the Paranormal and Paranormal Creatures and Folklore.

Like I said; I needed a few days to recover.

It wasn’t just the packed-out day-time activities that were on offer either. Firstly there was the screening of some of Moonlark Media’s newest content; Paranormal Investigators: In Tenebris and PI: Uncut.

Another shot of the Baroque room... LOOK AT THOSE LIGHT FIXTURES!

Another shot of the Baroque room… LOOK AT THOSE LIGHT FIXTURES!

Keep a track of Moonlark’s Facebook page as they keep releasing awesome home-grown content; what we caught a glimpse of looks amazing so far – and this year is going to get even better!

As well as special screenings of PI and APPI’s Ghosts of Casula (which was during the day on Sunday), much like last year there were several ‘After Dark’ activities that were on offer thanks to Blue Mountains local – Paranormal Pete.

Given the choice between a skywatch or an investigation in Little Hartley, I opted for what I envisioned would be the warmer of the two (the mercury dropped to 1C before the clock struck twelve) and participated in the round-robin investigation of Hartley’s historic buildings.

I won’t go too much into the details of how that went (honestly that’s a whole new blog post all of it’s own) but I can safely say – and I hope that those who attended can agree – that this years events definitely topped last year’s with style.

Though I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to open another mass Ouija portal to Hell this year 🙂

The best thing perhaps was the fact that this was a fantastic opportunity for those of us who chase the creepy crawlies that go bump in the night to get together and discuss our love-jobs freely and without judgement. There are so few chances for the Paranormal to be discussed in an open forum that events like these are doing amazing things for the Australian Paranormal field and the community that drives it.

If you didn’t get the chance to attend this year I have only two things to say; 1 – I’m very, very sorry that you missed out and you should definitely catch next year… and 2 – Bed up where you know that there is a group of Paracon-goers!

Some of the best moments from this weekend were late nights spent up talking with other guests and speakers and listening to stories that were outside the seminars. From toilet stories to creepy encounters on flights across the world, the “campfire” stories that come out late at night when you’re bundled under blankets and jackets in the mountain air are just as wonderful as the stories that our speakers shared.

It’s been so wonderful to see that I’m not the only person who had an absolute blast this year, and I cannot wait to see what Alex and the organisers have in store for next year!

Til’ 2016!

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