This past Sunday, I headed over to Summit, Illinois to attend The Chicago Paranormal Conference. This free event featured unique vendors, palm readers, and interesting speakers discussing ghosts, UFOs (now referred to as UAPs – Unidentified Aerial Phenomena), and Cryptozoology. I only learned of it the day before but, since it was only about thirty minutes from me, decided to check it out.
The event took place at the El Pescadon Restaurant and Banquet Hall. We arrived about 15 minutes before it began and the lot was already full. The event started at noon but nobody seemed to mind everyone walking in early. At this time, most of the vendors were still setting up and covering the restaurant’s main floor and upstairs balcony.
Ready or not, the sellers weren’t turning anyone away and I saw a palm reader engaged with a customer. It was apparent the woman seeking her fortune was not looking for laughs but consolement. She held a serious expression while a younger woman (presumably her daughter) stood behind; her hand resting on her mom’s shoulder in loving support. I have no idea what was being discussed, but I sure hope she found the comfort she was looking for.
Once everything seemed ready. I made my rounds.
There were quite a few people selling homemade candles which promised everything from romance to financial windfalls. I was tempted to buy a small money candle but its creator, a woman who claimed to be a spiritual empath, said it was $25. I decided to pass. If I had twenty-five bucks to drop on a money candle I wouldn’t need it in the first place.
Horror fans could also find unique collectibles here as well.
One vendor was selling “actual” dirt from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, and from John Wayne Gacy’s old house. There are several things I found troubling with this. As much as I love The Shining (1980), how can I be sure that dirt actually came from Estes Park and not the seller’s backyard? And even if it came with a Certificate of Authenticity (which these did not), even the most devout fan should pause before dropping $45 for a flask of soil. This item, however, didn’t bother me as much as the one from John Wayne Gacy’s place. So far as serial killers go, I do enjoy reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching documentaries dedicated to true crime. That being said, I would never celebrate them nor want anything physically associated with them near me. I have too much compassion for the victim’s families to celebrate their loved ones’ killers. You can keep John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, and the Green River Killer. I’ll stick with Freddy, Michael, and Jason.
If I was going to buy anything, it would have been some actual ghost hunting equipment I could go home and play with. After going on a ghost hunt in Chatanooga several years back, I really enjoyed having access to the same tools often used on paranormal TV shows. Here you could find all kinds of great stuff including used EMF readers for only five bucks!
The first speaker was Sam Maranto, director of the Illinois State chapter of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network). 2021 sucked but it was an interesting year for the UFO community. Members of the military admitted witnessing the unexplainable and, for the first time, the media covered their existence without big smirks on their faces.
Sam is best known for his research on the Tinley Parks Lights – a phenomenon similar to the much more notorious Phoenix Lights that took place about ten minutes from my apartment.
Next Tony Szabelski discussed Chicago ghosts. It was the perfect topic as Summit sits close to Justice, Illinois, home to one of the most famous ghosts, Resurrection Mary whom I’ve discussed before.
Wisconsin-based Barnaby Jones discussed Bigfoot, finishing off the event. For a free event, it was a fun-filled afternoon!