Hear Ghost Stories Galore at Halifax Paranormal Conference Happening Saturday

Saltwire - By Nicole Munro

It’s officially spooky season. So it’s fitting that Paranormal Phenomena Research and Investigation has ghost hunts, demonology courses and other offerings in October. To kick things off, the organization based in Sydney is launching its inaugural Halifax Paranormal Symposium on Saturday.

“The paranormal symposium is probably our biggest educational feat that we’ve undertaken to this day,” Elliott Van Dusen, director of Paranormal Phenomena Research and Investigation, said in an interview Thursday.

Van Dusen, who has been interested in investigating the paranormal since watching The X-Files in 1997, created Paranormal and Phenomena
Research and Investigation the same year to conduct parapsychological research and investigations. While he’s taken courses, read articles and collect stories over the
years, he realized there hasn’t been anything like the Halifax Paranormal Symposium in Nova Scotia for “quite a while.”

“They used to do an East Coast ParaConference down on the South Shore, but that hasn’t been done in a few years,” Van Dusen said. “Other than the Shag Harbour Expo, which is done every year and only specifically deals with UFOs, ours is a broad topic, where it could be UFOs, ghost hauntings, mediums, any thing like that.”

People who attend the conference will hear from five speakers:

  • Chris Styles, an unidentified flying object investigator;
  • Richard Gallagher, a psychiatrist and professor at Columbia University;
  • Loren Coleman, a cryptozoologist;
  • Kim Mosen, producer and host of Haunted; and
  • Darryll Walsh, writer and researcher on folklore and the supernatural.

Some of the speakers will share stories from Nova Scotia, such as Styles, who will talk about his findings in relation to an unidentified submerged object encounter in Shelburne.

“There was always a second part of the Shag Harbour story saying that after the UFO disappeared, it kind of went up the coast of Shelburne,” Van Dusen said. “And then there was a story of a second disk that had come down and helped it prepare itself and then they took off.

“Well, Chris was able to recently find some government documents like he always does. He’s a digger. And he managed to find out that it was actually a separate incident that happened seven years before Shag Harbour, so he will be speaking about his findings with that case.”

Van Dusen said he’s also very intrigued to hear Coleman’s presentation, Nova Scotia investigations: wendigos to kangaroos.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I haven’t had any reports come in about kangaroos, so I’ll be really interested to hear his speech about that,” he said.

Others will speak of their international experiences, such as Mosen, who will share her experiences from across Canada and the U.S., such as her visits to the Conjuring House and the Lizzie Borden house.

Van Dusen said a lot of people have expressed interest in the event, adding he believes people are more open-minded these days, “especially with the disclosure processes going on down in the United States with the UAPS or the unidentified aerial phenomena.”

“The government has now officially admitted there are UAPs or UFOs. They haven’t said that they’re extraterrestrial or not, but even that is a step so a lot of people have now come to accept that UFO sightings are real,” he said.

“But there’s always going to be people that are critical and skeptical, which is also good. That’s how you improve processes and things like that. And when you deal with the supernatural, none of it is scientifically proven, so rightfully so there should be some skepticism and criticalness.”

Tickets for the one-day event, which begins at 9 a.m. Halifax Tower Hotel and Conference Centre on Saturday, are still available online for $125.

Van Dusen acknowledged people may not be able to make it this year due to ticket prices during “rough times, especially in the Maritimes,” but said he hopes the Halifax Paranormal Symposium will become an annual recurring event.

“I’ve already kind of got an idea for next year to do a skeptics versus believers theme, where you’ll get some of the more critical investigators and the believers as well,” he said.

“I find people just love listening to stories of the supernatural, even the skeptics. Like when you start telling a ghost story, everyone gets quiet and they listen. They may not believe it, but certainly they have the attention to listen to it.”