Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure - An Intense Event... In Tents

As I expressed last week, I love conferences. This year I am attending upwards of 13 different events and those that are later this year have some fierce competition as to my favorite event of the year. I couldn't have had a better time at the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Adventure.

When I arrived at Benner's Meadow Run Campgrounds Friday it was sprinkling slightly. I helped set up my tent and then headed down to the pavilion where the event was being held. I saw that the infamous Legend of Boggy Creek was showing (and I had never gotten to view the movie before) so I grabbed my chair and watched it with my father. I was quite entertained by the movie and can see why so many cryptozoologists find it so significant in their upbring as a researcher. After that, I crawled into my warm (and dry) sleeping bag and went to sleep.

Saturday arrived with the thunder of raindrops pounding on my tent's roof. Aw Crap, I thought to myself as I got dressed and looked at the time: 6 a.m. Double Crap, the event didn't start until 10:30. I had to wait four hours before I could really begin my Bigfoot adventure. So, I did what any good cryptozoologist would do with four hours of free time on his hands in the middle of a supposed Bigfoot-infested camp grounds: I sat in the car with the heat on and read books.

Finally 9:30 rolled around and I glanced outside and saw Stan Gordon arriving. I jumped out of the car (rain coming down in buckets) and helped Stan and his wife, Deb, set up their table and canopy, all while getting wet and muddy in the process. After that most of the other vendors had arrived and the talks were about to start so I braved the elements for the short walk down to the pavilion to check out everything.

The rest of the day was pretty standard: talks went on all day and for the most part I wandered around the vendors catching up with friends and making new acquaintances. I got to meet Steve Kulls (The Sasquatch Detective), Jay Bachochin (of the WPI Hunts the Truth), Kenny Biddle (from Geeks and Ghosts), the lovely hosts of One Bizarre Podcast, Lon Strickler (Phantoms and Monsters), and John Sabol (The Ghost Excavator). I also got to catch up with some good friends of mine: David Weatherly and Dave Spinks (Society of the Supernatural), Ronald Murphy (The Crypto-Guru), Brian D. Parsons (Paranormal News Insider), Stan Gordon, and of course the one and only Eric Altman.

Later that night there was an auction where I got a couple New England Legends DVDs, which is a program that Jeff Belanger does. I got to meet Jeff last week at the Kent Paranormal Weekend and he is an awesome guy. After that we ended up staying at a hotel because the relentless rain caused our tent to leak. I only stayed for half of Sunday's events because I needed to get home. It operated the same as Saturday's except with different speakers.

I have to give Eric an enormous thank you and shout out because without him this event wouldn't have happened. I had such a wonderful time, despite the unendting torrential downpour. Eric said that this year will be the last of the event's for a while. He needs a break from the unending stress that putting together such an event creates. I respect that and respect him for doing such an awesome job at this event. When the PA Bigfoot Camping Adventure returns, though, I am getting tickets immeditately. I honestly can't explain how great I thought this event was. Thank you, Eric, for putting together the event and I look forward to the next one whenever it happens!

Image may contain: text and outdoor

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Small Town Monster's The Mothman of Point Pleasant Review

The Mothman is the gold standard of monster stories. Its extensive and detailed legend includes not just nighttime encounters with an unidentified creature of some sort, but it also includes UFO sightings, Men in Black, Native American curses, and even a mutated sandhill crane. But what makes the Mothman so alluring is that opposed to many monster legends... people actually saw the thing. Something was actually there. Over 100 witnesses claim to have encountered a flying humanoid weirdo of a creature.

The Mothman is also not a new story. It began in 1966 and has been retold in numerous mediums, from John Keel's seminal Mothman Prophecies to the movie of the same name; documentaries, novels, video games, and even comic books have all attempted at relaying the chillingly true tale of the Mothman.

I am personally an enormous Mothman fan. While I am a researcher of the weird and wonderful, I do not consider myself a researcher into the Mothman phenomenon. That story has been told and retold in numerous ways. I honestly feel that I couldn't contribute anything productive to the study, but I've hungrily consumed any and all Mothman related media I could get my paws on and still greedily want more. Now, though, I think I have found something that might hold off that hunger for a little while: The Mothman of Point Pleasant.

I was fortunate enough to be allowed to view a pre-release review copy of the movie, courtesy of Seth Breedlove, the movie's director. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect before I watched the movie. I am a fan of Small Town Monster's work but the previous movies they had done were all focused on smaller scale Bigfoot sighting flaps. I was skeptical of whether or not they would be able to cover the vast information connected to the Mothman. After viewing, I can thankfully say that they passed with flying colors.

The movie opens with some shots of the TNT area, where numerous sightings were reported, with Lyle Blackburn's creepy, Texas-twanged narration. I immediately got chills and knew I was in for one heck of a ride. Mothman covered the history of the Mothman phenomenon chronologically, from the Battle of Point Pleasant to the Silver Bridge collapse, and all the cryptid goodness in between. Breedlove and crew leave no stone unturned in their examination of the creature, interviewing key witnesses, well-known authorities on the events, and even just some of Point Pleasant's natives from the time of the events.

I actually did learn of a few cases I hadn't heard before and enjoyed hearing some familiar cases being told in a visual way. As much as I loved the great information and tales, I honestly think that the highlight of the movie was easily the visuals. Seth and company employed the use of aerial drones for awesome landscape shots, used numerous gorgeous photos of the TNT igloos and the area that surrounds them, and absolutely stunning digital animation. Honestly, my jaw dropped when I saw the animation segments, which showed the visuals of a story as the witness described what happened.

I cannot recommend this movie enough. If you have even a passing interest in the Mothman or strange stories, you will love The Mothman of Point Pleasant.

The Mothman of Point Pleasant, the fourth Small Town Monsters film, will be released on DVD and digitally on June 2, 2017. You can watch the trailer for the movie here You can also find more about Small Town Monsters and their documentaries at their website

Monday, May 1, 2017

Kent Paranormal Weekend

Conference season is a favorite of mine. I love going to events because I get to meet the researchers and authors I grew up watching on television and reading their books. I also get to hang out with some of the friends I have made like Ken Gerhard, Nick Redfern, Stan Gordon, and Ron Murphy. It is always a good time so needless to say I was excited as the first conference of the year was coming up.

I live just 15 minutes outside of Kent, Ohio. Kent is a college town, housing the fairly well-known Kent State University. Kent is also known in the paranormal circles for being a haunted hotspot. I was glancing through some of my ghost books before the event and when discussing haunted areas in Ohio, Kent took up a good portion of nearly every Ohio focused chapter.

The conference, simply called the Kent Paranormal Weekend, was held at the infamously haunted Kent Stage - a theater that supposedly boasts several ghosts. I was surprised to find out about it because before this year, I had never heard of the event, despite this being its third year.

Some of the speakers on this year's lineup included Nick Redfern (author of dozens of books about nearly every weird topic under the sun), Jeff Belanger (incredibly awesome ghost researcher that always has a smile on his face), Jim Harold (host of one of the best podcasts on the strange: The Paranormal Podcast), the Ohio Bigfoot Hunters (local group of like-minded individuals who are very nice), and the Haunted Housewives (two lovely ladies who spend their time ghost hunting and leading ghost walks).

I had a great time. I was wondering if I would go to many of the talks simply because I am slightly less interested in ghosts, which was the main topic of discussion, but I did attend quite a few of the talks and panel discussions and found them quite enjoyable.

I was also extremely excited to meet Jim Harold and Jeff Belanger for the first time. I love Jim's podcasts and have looked up to Jeff as a researcher for a long time. I wasn't disappointed. Jeff and Jim couldn't have been nicer. We talked quite a bit throughout the weekend about ghosts, cryptids, and pretty much anything weird and I feel like I came out of it with quite a bit of newfound knowledge.

I also have to give a shoutout to the people at the Kent Stage for hosting such a fantastic conference and running it so smoothly. I will definitely be attending next year and would recommend it to anyone else in the area!