Paranormal Celebrities from “Ghost Adventures”, “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files”, “Haunted Collector”, “Ghost Hunters Academy”, “Paranormal Challenge” and more attend the 1st annual Las Vegas Paracon at Historic Bonnie Springs Ranch
September 3, 2012- Las Vegas, Nevada
Article and photos copyright Suzanne Philips
Labor Day Weekend 2012 welcomed the first annual Las Vegas Paracon to historic Bonnie Springs Ranch just outside Las Vegas, Nevada. Bonnie Springs Ranch is found on the site of an old stop on the Spanish Trail where travelers would stop to buy water on their way to California. Many of the buildings in this re-created town were relocated to Bonnie Springs from various destinations and are said by many to be haunted. What better place to bring together a host of Paranormal Celebrities and Investigators from all over the world to talk about the Paranormal and discuss new equipment and techniques?
The 2012 Las Vegas Paracon began on Friday, August 31st with a meet and greet and an opportunity to peruse the tables in the vendor hall and pick up some new equipment or get an autograph from a favorite Paranormal celeb. Held in the Bonnie Springs Ranch Saloon, stars like “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files”‘s Ben Hansen and “Ghost Hunters Academy”‘s Rosalyn Bown and Heathyr Hoffman mingled with fans and old friends. Michael and Lindsay Knight of the well-known radio show “The Paranormal and Beyond” provided music for the meet and greet and kept everything running smoothly on the electronic front. Attendees relished the opportunity to pick up their commemorative shirts and memorabilia and to get some ideas on new equipment and new ways to investigate. Bonnie Springs Ranch provided food and beverages for sale and the entire evening had a very relaxed and inviting feel.
Actor David Dossett who you have seen in numerous television shows and who is a member of the TAPS West Coast Team, was a big fan favorite at the meet and greet. David is a serious investigator and attendees lined up to talk to him and get a photo or an autograph and discuss the Paranormal with him.
Saturday saw the first day of September and a jam-packed day at the 2012 Las Vegas Paracon. Paracon Organizers Brian, Linda and David Purdy took to the stage to welcome all the guests. Ben Hansen also made a short introduction and made way for the day’s festivities to begin. “Angry” Joe Tasso, who visitors will most likely remember from the “Ghost Adventures”episode that was filmed at Bonnie Springs took to the stage and gave attendees a detailed history of the property.
“The Paranormal and Beyond’s” Hosts Michael and Lindsay Knight discussed their show and a project that is near and dear to their hearts, The Sisterhood and Brotherhood of Paranormal Alliance. The Alliance is composed of several paranormal investigative groups in Nevada, Texas and Kentucky and is quickly spreading to other states. The Alliance works on Paranormal projects and is hoping to help groups be able to combine to investigate places they might not normally be able to afford or have access to. One of the projects that they are currently working on is saving Goldfield, Nevada, which was discussed in detail by guest Justin Cimock of GTOPS (Ghost Town Operations). (For more information on the Alliance or The Paranormal and Beyond, check out KnightsParanormalResearchSociety.com)
Most people who are interested in the Paranormal are familiar with Goldfield. For investigators, it is a sacred place and has been featured on many shows such as “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Hunters”. Once a booming mining town, Goldfield has fallen into disrepair and the buildings are falling down on their foundations. GTOPS in conjunction with the Goldfield Historic District is currently working on an effort to save the town and they are starting with the Goldfield High School. Through innovative programs such as their popular “Dinner With A Ghost” (which allows attendees to enjoy a gourmet dinner in the Schoolhouse and a Paranormal Investigation after) and their buy a brick program, the group is seeking to raise funds by the end of 2012 to remodel the school. They are also putting on a “Paranormous” weekend October 27th and 28th which will feature food, drinks, Paranormal Investigations in numerous locations throughout the town and a huge costume ball just in time for Halloween. (For more information on the effort to save Goldfield, check out Goldfieldhistoricdistrict.org).
After a short break to grab a bite to eat, the forums continued in the Saloon. Internet and You Tube superstar Dakota Laden was a huge favorite and one of the speakers that people wanted to see most. Dakota shot to fame after becoming a You Tube sensation with his self-produced videos and short films, his most popular being his spoofs of “Ghost Adventures”. One of these videos caught the eye of Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin , the Ghost Adventures Crew, and led to Dakota winning the “Ghost Adventures Mashup Contest”. As the winner, Dakota and his father were invited to come and investigate with the crew at the Old Charleston Jail in Charleston, South Carolina. Dakota produced a video montage just for the 2012 Las Vegas Paracon and the audience was loving it. Dakota has a huge Twitter and Facebook following and two of his fans showed up just to get a chance to meet the teen sensation. Organizer Linda Purdy saw how much they were hoping to meet Dakota and comped them tickets to get into the vendor hall and introduced them to Laden, much to their delight!
Syd Schultz who has been seen on shows such as “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures” presented a Paranormal Bootcamp and despite some technical glitches, attendees learned a lot from his informative presentation. Schultz also helped lead part of the night’s Paranormal investigation and offered helpful insights into techniques for investigating and shared his vast experience with guests. If you get a chance to investigate with Schulz, don’t miss out! You will certainly learn something new and find out the best ways to use equipment you already have.
Many will remember Rosalyn Bown from “Ghost Hunters Academy”, but few people have an idea what a great investigator she truly is. Bown was a huge supporter of the Paracon and jumped in all weekend to help out wherever she was needed. Not only did she give a fantastic talk, she also helped lead one of the nighttime investigations and was helping out attendees with advice on how to use their equipment most effectively and tips for investigating.
One of the great things about the Paranormal community is that you never know what to expect and the 2012 Las Vegas Paracon was no exception. Attendees were thrilled when “Ghost Adventures” stars Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin stopped by to visit with friends like Dakota Laden and Julie Krystina from Paranormal Hot Squad. The guys spent over an hour visiting with attendees, posing for photos and checking out the great items offered by all of the vendors. Zak and Aaron were very down to earth and relaxed and offered a special unexpected treat to everyone at the Paracon.
“Haunted Collector” star Jason Gates was also gracious enough to come to the Paracon and sign autographs for fans and lead an amazing Paranormal Investigation on the property. He and girlfriend Amanda Lynn Hill, who is also an amazing investigator, stayed up investigating until well into the night, to delight of the fans in attendance.
Jason Musgrove from Outer Edge Paranormal also mingled with attendees and discussed some new Paranormal Equipment as well as discussing his upcoming show, in which he investigates by himself in haunted locations.
When the panels resumed, author Jeff Mudgett spoke to a packed house about his new book “Bloodstains”. The book, about Mudgett’s Great, Great Grandfather H.H. Holmes (Herman Mudgett) who is credited as being the country’s first serial killer. Holmes murdered hundreds of young women during the Worlds Fair in Chicago and owned the notorious “Murder Castle”. Mudgett’s book explains how he found out that he was related to such a man and evidence he uncovered that may prove that Holmes was indeed Jack the Ripper. Mudgett sold copies of his book and talked about upcoming film and television projects to look out for in the future.
“Ghost Hunters Academy” star Heathyr Hoffman was busy during the Paracon. Not only did she give a great discussion, she was also selling some handmade jewelry, signing autographs and doing Tarot Card Readings! Heathyr also made time to lead one of the nighttime Paranormal investigations in the wax museum at Bonnie Springs, which is said to be one of the most haunted locations on the property.
“Psychic Kids” star Travis Michael Hill not only gave a discussion but was completely booked up with psychic readings during the event. Travis is an amazing human being and attendees raved about his accuracy in his readings. One of the most positive people you could hope to meet, Travis is currently working on “The Travis Hill Project” and CFM will have more details for you soon so check back with us for all of the details!
Keynote Speaker Ben Hansen wrapped up the days panels with a fantastic talk on his Syfy show “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files”, UFO’s, Paranormal investigating and much more. Ben was very engaging and captivated the audience from start to finish. His panel was certainly the best way to end the event and left all of the guests wanting more.
After a short break, guests were able to bid on great singed items and Paranormal equipment before the nighttime investigations began. Groups rotated through several locations at Bonnie Springs Ranch including the Opera House, the Wax Museum, the Saloon, the Schoolhouse and the Museum with one of the great celebrity guests. Both newcomers and season investigators mingled together to see what evidence they could get from this awesome location and investigation went on late into Sunday morning.
The 2012 Las Vegas Paracon was definitely the best of what the Paranormal field has to offer. Groups of people from around the world, like Beth who came all the way from Australia!, mingled with each other, shared knowledge had a good time and investigated together without egos or prejudices. Throw in all of the Paranormal Celebrities who showed up and showed their support, and you know that Organizers David, Linda and Brian Purdy are definitely doing something right.
If you missed the 2012 Las Vegas Paracon, don’t worry – plans are already underway for next year’s event. Keep in touch with all of the news on Facebook at The Las Vegas Paracon and keep checking back with CFM for more updates as they are released!