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Green Park Paranormal Conference Report: 2008
The conference that inspired the novel
Speed Dating with the Dead
EVP file from the conference
By Scott NicholsonHall

About 100 people drifted into the Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock over the weekend, hoping to catch a glimpse of the unseen during the first-ever Green Park Paranormal Conference.

The conference brought ghost hunters out of the woodwork from across the South, featuring panels on equipment and techniques used by those seeking out the supernatural.

Joe Clemmer, an Appalachian State University student from Boone, had a casual interest in the paranormal, mostly due to television shows on the subject. He ended up renting Room 318, one of the most legendary haunted rooms at the inn.

“We just wanted to give it a shot and see what would happen this weekend,” Clemmer said.

Scott Rippy of Paranormal Scene Investigators looks at video footage taken by Zach Toler that reportedly shows the image of a young boy near a window.

Photo by Scott Nicholson

“When we first started hunting, nothing much happened. We had an anonymous call from nowhere.”

In the early-morning hours, Clemmer and his group had simultaneous experiences that they believe added up to a supernatural encounter with a young child.

“At the end of the night, around two-thirty or three o’clock, we had responses on a thermal-imaging camera, and the group before us had a medium who said there was definitely something in there. There were two people who heard a voice say ‘Daddy.’ We got a response by starting to ask questions like ‘Is there a little girl here?’ and ‘How old are you?’”

Clemmer said the group began recording electromagnetic-field fluctuations, and the group politely asked the entity to jump on the bed. About 10 seconds later, a thermal-imaging device showed a cool spot in the bed. One man, who couldn’t see the imaging device, felt a vibration and said “She’s here.”

A couple of minutes later, the cool thermal image reportedly dissipated over a five-second period, and the man said, “She’s gone.” Several of the group members also reported ringing of the ears just before the entity made its appearance.

After seeing the recording of the thermal image and discussing the experience with the others in the group, Clemmer said, “You can’t say there’s nothing there. I believe there’s something out there.”

Shannon Marie Krasel, who was with the group in 318 at the time, said the ringing in her ears were of a frequency she had never heard before.

“The little girl started communicating with us, and I said, ‘Could you touch me?’ and I got a tingling running up one arm. Tears were just coming out of my eyes and I wanted to feel the vibrations, so I sat on the floor. I asked if she would touch me and I felt like hands were touching my face,” Krasel said.

Three people took photographs at the same time, and as the flashes went off, Krasel saw the “see-through, light-colored” image of a girl with long hair looking at her. Krasel had the impression of a girl between the ages of 4 and 5 about three feet in front of her. “We were excited,” Krasel said. “The energy around all of us was incredible. She’d come back and I’d say ‘Hi, sweetheart.’”

One group who hunted 318 had an audio recording of what sounded like a young girl’s cry or laugh, though no young children were in the hotel at the time. According to the inn’s “ghost register” where guests record their experiences, laughing and running children are one of the most common phenomena experienced in the halls.

Olivia Church of Boone, a member of Ghostly Appalachian Paranormal Society, made her fifth visit to the inn. She has been interested in the paranormal since she was 12 and though she found little new evidence, she enjoyed the opportunity to explore the metaphysical frontiers with like-minded people.

“It’s wonderful having this many people want to study the paranormal here, because it (paranormal activity) is here,” Church said, noting she believed the inn had supernatural activity. She didn’t discover anything she would consider “evidence,” but she planned to review her video footage, digital information on three audio recorders, and images on two digital cameras and a 35 mm camera. She expects it will take about four days to review all the material.

“I’m looking for shadowy figures,” Church said. “I’ll just be looking for something out of the ordinary.”

Sarah T. Harrison, the founder and lead investigator of Asheville Paranormal Society, said her group attends many paranormal conferences. “I’ve just always been interested in it,” she said. “I was raised in South Carolina and I grew up on ghost stories. There are a lot of ghost stories in Asheville.

“It’s a new place and a chance to learn new stories and maybe get some great photographs,” Harrison said. She rated the inn at about “medium” on the scale of supernatural activity, based on other supposedly haunted locations she has investigated.

Tina McSwain, founder of the Charlotte Area Paranormal Society, said it was her first conference.

“We actually got a good bit of paranormal evidence and we’ll definitely be back next year,” She said. She considers electromagnetic levels, thermometer readings, images and other material to be corroborating evidence of the supernatural.

McSwain said her roommate had the bed covers yanked off in the night, so they decided to investigate their room as well as the more notorious rooms at the inn. She said the dining room was where her group experienced the most phenomena, with visual and personal experiences as well as impressions of an entity the group dubbed “The Waiter,” though she felt there was another, smaller shadow present as well.

She said her camera turned on and off by itself twice while in Room 318, and she also experienced unusual electromagnetic readings in the room. “I can’t wait to come back,” she said.

Joe Wright, head of
Paranormal Scene Investigators, had 16 video cameras recording non-stop during the conference and scheduled the hunting groups. PSI brought nine people to serve as crew, organizing the attendees into different hunting groups. He said it wasn’t an ideal hunting environment because of too much foot traffic and noise, but said solid evidence could appear in any situation.

Wright said it would be takes his crew weeks to sift through all of the video footage for anomalies or mysterious lights. “Class A evidence always stands out,” he said.

Like many investigators, he’s not necessarily seeking proof of spirits or the afterlife. Rather, he tries to scientifically explain the phenomena that some people may consider unusual.

“It’s more pieces to the puzzle,” Wright said. “Not that the puzzle will ever be complete, but the puzzle keeps getting bigger. It’s like working from the inside of a puzzle and you work out from the middle, but it never gets finished,” Wright said.

Chris Meeks, who drove from Gainesville, Fla. To attend the conference, said he’d conducted numerous investigations and was part of the Room 318 experiment. “I love ghost-hunting, obviously,” he said. “The inn’s definitely active, at least from the stuff I’ve captured. A couple of rooms, for certain.”

Meeks said he looked for any type of encounter, seeking out unusual places and pursuing the supernatural as a pastime and passion.

“I consider myself a skeptic, but I’m an open-minded skeptic,” he said. “If I never see it, how can I believe it? If I do see it, then I believe it.”

EVP File from the conference:

Reported EVP file recorded at approximately 2 a.m. in Room 201 on the Saturday night of the conference. According to Michael La Chiana of Raleigh Paranormal Society, who recorded the file, he, Mikey and the female were the only ones present in the room when the fourth (female) voice apparently says "That's a no, Scott":

"Mikey Gehri (of Paranormal Scene Investigators) was talking about the last group in that room seeing tissues in a box being moved by unseen hands....then a girl in our group asked a question...The last voice is the evp...That's a no Scott...pretty interesting stuff..."


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Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, four story collections, three comic book series, and six screenplays. Visit Scott at

--This article may be freely used and published as long as my byline and web address are included.


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