- by Amy Lassiter
Controversy. Wonder. Good. Evil. Unexplainable.
It’s just one word. But it is one word that certainly evokes a wide range of reactions and opinions. There are skeptics and there are believers, and even then, the believers and mediums use varying methods and have had different experiences.
Demonology. Ghost hunting. Investigations. Instrumental Transcommunication.
In its broadest sense, paranormal is a general term that designates experiences which lie outside the range of the norm or of scientific explanation. If you have ever witnessed or taken part in such an activity or are simply curious and want to learn more, you will not want to miss Paraskeví 13 on Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14. This two day paranormal event, held at the historic Friday Morning Musicale, is focused on Investigating the Paranormal and includes workshop sessions, guest speakers and visits to three historic Tampa locations.
Here’s a sneak peak at the guest speakers as well as an introduction to their paranormal specialties.
Father David Price
Father Price is both the Assistant Pastor for Saint Christopher Old Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky and a professional Paranormal Investigator. In addition to his day-to-day ministration requirements, he practices demonology, assists in exorcisms, performs home blessings, and is one of the founders of the Paranormal Clergy Institute. The mission of the Institute is to help home owners and paranormal groups directly involved with demonic infestation cases or who have questions regarding demonic infestation.
Raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and taught that there was no afterlife, Father Price converted to Catholicism at the age of 16 and was ordained as a Catholic Priest in 2007. The Old Catholic Church branched off from the Roman Catholic Church in the late 1800s over the declaration of papal infallibility in Vatican I. They believe that the pope is not infallible, meaning without error; therefore he is viewed as the Bishop of Rome but not as the head of the Church. Although the beliefs of the Old Catholic Church fall somewhere between liberalism and conservatism, the Roman Catholic Church does view it’s sacraments as valid. When Father Price converted to Catholicism, he began to volunteer at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, considered one of the most haunted locations in the world. His investigations here accelerated his interest in the paranormal, and demonology in particular, “something I was drawn to all along and know I was called to do.” The Institute defines a demonologist as one who ‘has accepted his/her calling to devote their lives to the study of demonology and may be appointed by Church leadership to investigate demonic cases.’
Father Price and the Paranormal Institute receive anywhere from 2 to 15 requests a day for help in identifying or expelling a demon from individuals, homes or businesses. Because of funding, the Institute cannot always make the trip to help those that are suffering, so they focus on education: what a demon is or is not, what signs may indicate that a demon has targeted an individual or home, an explanation of the three stages (infestation, oppression and possession), and how to stay strong and take control of the problem. Ninety percent of the cases they see involve the oppression stage which is when the demonic problem becomes personal and interacts with the victim, sometimes taking over the person’s thoughts for a time and beginning to cut him off from society.
According to Father Price, demonic cases can be resolved in days, weeks, or through a lifetime of counseling and prayer. He explained that there are two forms of exorcisms, Minor Right and Solemn Ritual and that he can perform the Minor Rite of Exorcism on a place, but not a person. If someone is allegedly possessed and the investigation, physical report and psychological evaluation confirm it, then the Bishop gets involved. Without spiritual help, the end result of all possessed people is suicide, which unfortunately is the ultimate goal of the demon.
For more information on Father Price, visit http://www.paranormalclergy.com/ or http://www.usocc.org/.
When Troy Taylor was young, he was fascinated by unsolved mysteries and the unknown. “I grew up around some gruesome things and spent endless hours dragging my friends around the town, making them listen to my stories, most of which were made up!” Today, however, Troy no longer deals with his own imagination. He is the author of 84 books on ghosts, haunting, the paranormal, history, crime, and the unexplained, and is the founder of the American Ghost Society and the owner of the Illinois and American Hauntings Tour companies.
Raised on the prairies of Illinois, Troy developed an interest in "things that go bump in the night" and as a young man, moved on to ghost tours and writing about haunts in Chicago and Central Illinois. His entire day to day life is now devoted to the paranormal, ghosts and haunting and he believes that “ghosts are part of everyone’s story, whether you want it to be or not.” He is fascinated by crime scenes and unsolved mysteries as both “almost always spawn ghost stories.” For example, he recently learned of a woman who owned a grocery store in the 1960s who was killed with her own meat grinder. While the reaction of most others is “gross,” Troy can’t help be but be fascinated and compelled to learn more.
Troy began his first book in 1989, which delved into the history and hauntings of Decatur, Illinois and has been researching and writing ever since. In 1996, he organized a group of ghost enthusiasts into an investigation team and the American Ghost Society was launched. It gained more than 600 members in the years that followed and continues today as one of America’s largest and most honored research groups. If that isn’t enough, Troy is also the founder of Whitechapel Press and Dark Haven Entertainment and is the principal owner of the haunted Avon Theater in Decatur. Avon Theater is also one of the only places that Troy has seen a ghost, despite his more than 25 years of experience in this field. “I was in my office, getting some work done, and there he was, a guy – a ghost – just sitting down next to me.”
Troy’s most recent book, The Ghost Hunter's Guidebook:The Common Sense Guide to Paranormal Research reveals what it really takes to be a credible paranormal researcher; offers detailed methods for investigating homes, buildings and graveyards; and includes guides for collecting evidence and photographs. For more information on Troy Taylor, visit http://www.prairieghosts.com/
April Slaughter began her journey into the unknown at the age of eight when her family moved into a home which was haunted. For twelve years April felt this presence and came to believe it would be best to educate herself on what might be happening. She began to study various phenomena, collecting books, doing research and spending much time in cemeteries and at the age of 21, she decided to pursue a full-time career in the paranormal field. Chris and Nancy Peterson of the Utah Ghost Hunters Society became her mentors and “took me under their wing.”
When April submitted an article to TAPS Paramagazine about a haunted hospital, she was asked to continue writing for the publication and had the opportunity to travel to various events, visit some of the most famous haunts in the country, and interact with others in the field. Although she gained a vast amount of knowledge, April grew tired of “hamster wheel ghost hunting, collecting evidence but not going beyond that. I wanted to learn from the people beyond and became interested in Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC), in other words, speaking to the dead.”
One vehicle for doing so is called Frank’s Box, “basically a hand-made, modified radio which constantly scans AM/FM and low band frequencies. The theory is that spirits can piece together voices through the frequencies and then send messages back.” When April first asked creator Frank Sumption for a box, he said no. After another year of ITC research, she approached him again and this time, received a favorable response. “Frank builds the boxes for people not when they ask him to, but when a box tells him to. Each is one of a kind and put together with various parts and thrift store finds. I have box numbers 37, 38 and 73 and after success with all three, others now send their boxes to me to work with.”
While she’s had incredible experience and success with Frank’s Box, April’s most impressive experience came from a device that does not use radio, but is based on a tool that electricians put up against a wall to find hotspots. There are only four of these out there and the device is beginning to work consistently for her. “The world is all about communication and I am communicating with something that I can’t see. When people die, they still check in and love us.”
At Paraskeví 13, you will see both devices and hear excerpts from April’s conversations with those beyond. “When I speak to the public, I bring emotion and my own experiences into it, showing that something positive and amazing can happen, but not indicating it as proof. This is what I believe, and if you don’t it is ok. This is just how I connect to the other side. We have a lot to learn from those beyond; they know I am listening, so they communicate with me.”
April is also the co-founder of www.paranormalsource.com and the author of Ghosthunting Texas, working on 3 additional. Visit http://www.aprilslaughter.com/ for more information.
Maureen Patrick is a 3rd generation Floridian and a Tampa native who holds an advanced degree in Cultural History and is a graveyard specialist. About 20 years ago, she became interested in the 19th Century Rural Cemetery phenomenon, “which is what happened when Americans let go of the baggage their Puritan ancestors saddled them with, which included a fire and brimstone view of the afterlife. The most common epitaph in the 18th century was ‘Stranger, pause and look at me; as I am now so you will be.’ To put that on a grave marker was a constant reminder that life is short and hard and the afterlife isn’t going to be much better.”In the mid-1800s, the view of death and everything connected with it began to change. Formal landscaped graveyards were featured as a part of urban planning.”The afterlife was viewed in the 19th century as a garden and cemetery design was intended to mirror that: to make people feel like they would enter that garden and be reunited with loved ones there. “People love old cemeteries for different reasons – the aesthetics, the design for comforting people, the historical stories connected with them. The dead live again through their epitaphs and grave art, and through the stories that their survivors inherit. Oaklawn Cemetery (founded 1850) in Downtown Tampa presents this all in quite a nice little package.”In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, Maureen also hosts ghost tours. “I am a classic example of no one being stronger in their belief then a convert. I can’t say I ever disbelieved; I think we often brush shoulders with the paranormal and just may not always be paying attention.” Maureen started out doing history tours in Ybor City and in 2002 began researching ghost walks. “When I started I had a thesis which was that if an area was haunted, it had to have certain things in common: original buildings that were still standing and in use, and a history of the unusual, the violent, or the bizarre. It’s important that the buildings remain ‘inhabited.’ There is something about the proximity to humans that keeps spirits active.”Learn more from Maureen about Oaklawn Cemetery and participate in one of her ghost walks. For more information about Maureen and her ghost walks: http://www.historicguides.com/ Learn more from Maureen about Oaklawn Cemetery and participate in one of her ghost walks during Paraskeví 13. Visit http://www.historicguides.com/, http://www.tampahistoricalsociety.org/, or http://www.theaterprep.com/ for additional information.
Everyone attending Paraskeví 13 will find something to be excited about! SPACE IS LIMITED. Advance Tickets are $75 Per Person for all events/ $100 Per Person After January 1. To purchase tickets, visit http://paraskevi13-2012.eventbrite.com/.