Friday, 21 November 2014

Paranormal Is The New Normal Investigators Fans Gather In South Bend
"BY DAVE STEPHENS""SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER""11:48 P.M. EDT, OCTOBER 2, 2011"SOUTH BEND - The zombie, smoking a cigarette by the conference center's front door, should have been a clue.The girl wearing fairy wings, or the guy walking around with photos of his "encounter," could have been another.But if there was any doubt Sunday that a person walking into the Hilton Garden Inn was about to experience something outside the realm of "normal" human experience, all he had to do was look for the sign.Michiana Paranormal Expo 2011.Para, the prefix, meaning "going beyond." Normal, meaning "conforming with the or constituting an accepted standard, model or pattern."In other words, an exposition for those seeking experiences beyond the accepted parameters of modern society, or modern science.Ghost hunters. Psychics. UFO investigators. Magicians."Paranormal is the new normal," said Chris Schultz, one of the expo's founders. "It's only becoming more popular."Schultz said the idea to start a local paranormal event came after traveling to similar events - some that attract thousands of visitors - across the country."We tried to bring the best part from each one to what we are doing here," Schultz said.And by doing so, also help show the local members of the paranormal community that they are not alone (not as in haunted by ghosts, but surrounded by like-minded people).For Erick Hardy, Michiana chapter director for the Indiana Ghost Trackers, the expo was a chance for him and other members to explain what they do and why."Our goal is to prove their existence," Hardy said, and members do so by using digital audio recorders to record the voices of ghosts in old buildings and cemeteries.Hardy said his chapter has about 52 members and meets monthly. He joined three years ago, but has been curious about ghosts and the paranormal for years.Its a common theme.Stewart Hill is the director of Indianas chapter of the Mutual UFO Network, a group that records and tracks reports of unidentified flying object activity.Hill, who said hes had a lifelong interest in aliens, said his group receives reports of more than 200 UFO sightings or experiences a year. Trained investigators within the organization are then sent to check out the claims.Nationally the cases keep going up, Hill said. It makes you wonder if theres something going on.But if something is going on, no one at Sundays event was admittedly 100 percent sure what.Aliens? Ghosts? Other world spirits?Ken Age, director of the SyFy networks Spooked, spoke at the expo about his ghost-hunting experience, much of which was documented on the TV show.But Age said he wanted to make it clear that no one really knows for sure if what they are finding is actually a ghost.Theres people who will passionately disagree with me, Age said, but what Im saying is that something is happening to them, we just dont know what it is for sure.That skepticism, Age said, is needed as the paranormal community grows and seeks larger legitimacy.Thirty years ago, if you said you saw a ghost, youd have guys in white suits asking you questions, Age said. Now, people are starting to take you seriously.Staff writer Dave Stephens:dstephens@sbtinfo.com574-235-6209Source article:,0,5722409.story

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