Admission to the expo is $6 for adults and $4 for City Recreation Center gym members, students with college ID and senior citizens. Children 12 and under are free. Attendees who bring a non-perishable food item will receive a $1 admission discount.
To purchase tickets or for vendor info, visit the Northern New York Paranormal Expo Web site, www.nnyprs.com/expo.htm.
PLATTSBURGH — Since founding the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society in 2001, Merrill McKee has looked for ways to present the paranormal world to the public in a fun and educational manner.
McKee will have the opportunity to do just that on Oct. 24 when the organization teams up with the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department to host the first Northern New York Paranormal Expo at the City Recreation Center.
"It's something I've wanted to do for years," he said. "We are gearing it toward the family fun aspect, and the parents might learn something new."
Based in Malone
The president of the Malone-based organization, McKee leads a team of investigators that has grown to about 20 members since its inception. The team investigates claims of paranormal activity, such as haunted homes and UFO sightings, occurring as far away as Albany and throughout the Champlain Valley and Northern New York regions.
McKee hopes that the expo, at the very least, will inspire participants to open their minds to some of the possibilities of paranormal activity.
"There are a lot of people who have experienced something that they can't explain, from the simple feeling of déjà vu to seeing a spirit in their house," McKee said. "The paranormal research that we do covers a gigantic realm of activity. A lot of people will place us as ghost hunters. But the research that my team does is much more than that. So many people have experienced something they cannot explain, and most of these people are normal, rational people."
It is for this reason that McKee and his team use a simple slogan: "Seek truth."
"I believe we need people like our group to look into these events and seek answers," he said. "Not every unusual occurrence has a paranormal explanation. A lot of suspected paranormal activity can be explained with normal causes. We are here to provide those answers and to help people understand these situations."
The expo, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will feature a vendor showcase with a range of paranormal products and services, such as books, tarot cards, psychic readings, herbal healings, massages, handmade jewelry, crystals, stones and reiki treatments — an ancient form of spiritual healing. There will also be games, prizes, Halloween treats and a haunted house.
Variety of speakers
Locally and internationally known speakers will give presentations on a variety of topics.
Gordy Little, locally known radio and TV personality, will discuss his new book, "Ghosts of Clinton County," and will share ghost stories with children.
Other speakers will include internationally recognized professional psychic medium Belle Salisbury; ghost whisperer Lindamarie Hill; UFO specialist Dan Lowenski; and Christopher and Shannon Nye, owners of the Nye Manor in Ft. Covington, which is known as an active haunted location.
Paranormal research teams from as far away as Michigan are expected to attend the expo, which organizers expect will become an annual event.
Dan Holroyd, president and founder of the Kalamazoo-based Southern Michigan Paranormals investigation team, is excited to connect with McKee and the Northern New York team after several years of networking. He is hopeful that he can make participants understand what he and his group do and how it benefits society.
"We try to get people to understand this as a science," Holroyd said. "Overall, we are people from every walk of life — police, doctors, lawyers — just trying to help understand one of life's biggest mysteries."
Many scientists are getting involved in paranormal research and investigations, Holroyd said. His group has used scientific equipment and theories in their investigations into reported paranormal activity.
"We use science to try to debunk what is happening, and then we try to explain what is left," he said. "We really help people, and that is the best feeling of all."
Salisbury, who lives in Massena, is hopeful that she can provide insight regarding the spirit world and alleviate what she calls the "fear factor."
"Over the ages, the paranormal area has been depicted as a frightening thing," she said. "We would like people to understand that this isn't a scary thing."
Humans are spiritual beings, according to Salisbury, and she hopes expo attendees will learn to embrace this aspect of their lives.
"It's a part of who we are," she said, adding that everyone has the ability to communicate with the spirit world. "It's important to realize what we are capable of doing."