Best Conventions and Conferences in 2019

According to these guys at the Den of Geek.

Paranormal Conventions 2019: Best UFO and Supernatural Conferences

Where can you meet likeminded UFO and paranormal enthusiasts from around the world? Check out these conventions.

Paranormal Conventions 2019

 

At most comic cons, and fan events, one expects to run into people dressed as supernatural entities, extraterrestrials, and mysterious creatures. But at paranormal, cryptozoology, and ufology events, fans are discussing the existence of them – and often gather to actively go looking for them.

And as much as I move about in the world of comic cons, for the past decade or so, I have spent weekends traveling the world to talk as a journalist and researcher about ghosts, demons, curses, aliens, UFO, and monsters. During the day, the world of paracons closely resembles most fan events, and there is quite a bit of cross-pollination between them. There are panels, vendor rooms, and signings by notable authors, television personalities, and occasionally actors from paranormal pop culture. But at night, the activities continue with a skywatch, ’squatch hunt, or ghost hunt in supposedly haunted houses (or asylums, penitentiaries, hospitals, and hotels).

Many paracon attendees skew towards the belief end of the spectrum, but most are an overwhelmingly curious balance of Mulders or later-season Scullys in the “I Want To Believe” or “The Truth is Out There” sense. While there are certainly eccentric characters, they are no more so than the most ardent comic con-goer – which is to say things can get delightfully weird. And though I could tell stories about times I was accused of being a reptilian from another planet, I rarely encounter tinfoil hats or (hardly ever) meet anyone possessed by the spirit of a dead president.

With that in mind, I wanted to offer a breakdown of some of the best paracons out there, worthy of a fantripping adventure. I have not attended all of these, but based my recommendations on reputation, location, or guest list. Whether you’re new to the scene, or the paranormal is an old haunt for you, give these a chance. Enter with an open mind, and an appetite for fun. And if you see me at any, come up and say, “Boo!”

MARCH

Paranormal

Bayou City Paranormal Symposium

Conroe, Texas

March 9-10, 2019

Click here for more info on the Bayou City Paranormal Symposium

Spirits of Hawaii

Strange Escapes: Spirits of Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

March 14-17, 2019

Click here for more info on Spirits of Hawaii

Hosted by Amy Bruni and Adam Berry of Travel Channel’s paranormal show Kindred Spirits, this four-day event is unique for its exploration of Hawaiian ghosts. Along with daytime lectures on the paranormal as it relates to Hawaii, the event includes a walking ghost tour of Honolulu, and evening tour/investigation of spiritual locales in Oahu. There is also a ghost hunt of Hawaii’s Plantation Village (as seen on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters), and a farewell luau. Look, I am all for dark and stormy nights in haunted prisons, or asylums, but sign me up any day for a paranormal/tiki mash-up vacay!

APRIL

Titanic Séance

Titanic Séance: A Night to Remember

Long Beach, California

April 13, 2019

Click here for more info on the Titanic Séance

Combine a historic (and allegedly famously haunted) ocean liner, with a theatrical séance led by an illusionist, and seven-course gourmet meal, and you have “A Night To Remember” upon the RMS Queen Mary. Master Magician and Apparitionist Aiden Sinclair (as seen on America’s Got Talent, and Penn & Teller: Fool Us), casts a striking presence as he utilizes antiques, and artifacts, in a Victorian séance. But is the haunting evening that ensues an illusion or something more … unexplained? This special black-tie affair will be dedicated to the memory of the Titanic, which sank April 15, 1912, and includes cigar rolling, whiskey flights, and a menu inspired by the final first-class meal served aboard the doomed ship. If you miss the event, it is still worthwhile checking out Sinclair’s “Illusions of the Passed” séance on the Queen Mary throughout the year.

Salem Con

 

Salem Con

Salem, Massachussetts

April 5-6, 2019

Click here for more info on Salem Con

America’s Witch City is an excellent destination most times of the year, but Salem Con makes a visit in April especially alluring with its paranormal programming led by Grant Wilson of Syfy’s Ghost Hunters, and recently the host of the must-watch “What The Fetch?!” channel on YouTube. Joining Wilson is noted religious demonologist John Zaffis, who has been involved in countless tales of hauntings and other terrors that were later adapted into movies (and he is the nephew, and was investigative partner, of Ed and Lorraine Warren, made famous by The Conjuring, and The Amityville Horror). The setting for Salem Con is likewise of interest: The historic, and allegedly haunted, Hawthorne Hotel.

Related: The Best Haunted House Movies and Shows of All Time

MAY

ParaPsyCon

 

ParaPsyCon

Mansfield, Ohio

May 4-5, 2019

Click here for more info on ParaPsyCon

The 133-year-old Ohio State Reformatory is a historic prison with a striking exterior, and haunting interior. A combination of Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque, and Queen Anne styles of architecture, the facility was meant to inspire inmates to rediscover their spiritual sides. Instead, it has come to be known as one of the most haunted locales in America (though it should be noted that ghosts are notoriously reluctant to fill out surveys quantifying this). But I’ve been there numerous times, and it is an amazing location. ParaPsyCon taps into this history with a six-hour ghost hunt in the foreboding prison, as well as offering programming from psychic/medium Chip Coffey, Steve Gonsalves of Ghost Hunters, and Dalen Spratt of Ghost Brothers.

Ohio Bigfoot Conference

Salt Fork, Ohio

May 4, 2019

Click here for more info on the Ohio Bigfoot Conference

UFO Fest

McMinnville, Oregon

May 16-18, 2019

Click here for more info on UFO Fest 

Paraunity Expo

Woodbridge, New Jersey

May 17-18, 2019

Click here for more info on Paraunity Expo

Contact in the Desert Official Promo

Contact in the Desert

Indian Wells, California

May 31-June 3, 2019

Click here for more info on Contact in the Desert

The lineup for this UFO and Extraterrestrial Life event looks out of this world (pun very much intended). George Noory of Coast to Coast AM, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of Ancient Aliens, Ben Hansen of Syfy’s Fact or Faked, Erich von Daniken, author of Chariots of the Gods, and so many more heavy hitters from the E.T. community will gather to talk about crop circles, abductions, forbidden archaeology, and more. There will also be some epic sky watch opportunities at night.

Related: Aliens in America – A History of UFO Storytelling

JUNE

Alien Con

Alien Con

June 21-23, 2019

Click here for more info on Alien Con

JULY

Roswell UFO Festival

 

Roswell UFO Festival

Roswell, New Mexico

July 5-7, 2019

Click here for more info on the Roswell UFO Festival

Roswell is bucket list destination for anyone remotely interested in UFO, aliens, and government cover-ups. The town is inextricably linked with the 1947 incident involving a crashed “flying disc,” or surveillance balloon, according to some. The so-called UFO Capital of the World has responded by throwing an annual festival complete with alien parades, cosplay, and carnival rides. Along with the light-hearted fun, the UFO Festival includes lectures from Roswell investigators Donald Schmitt, and Thomas Carey, as well as notable figures in the community Stanton Friedman, and Travis Walton (whose UFO abduction story was the inspiration for Fire in the Sky).

Related: How Roswell, New Mexico Gained Its UFO Reputation

Pennhurst Paracon

Pennhurst Paracon

Spring City, Pennsylvania

July 19-21, 2019

Click here for more info on Pennhurst Paracon

The Pennhurst Paracon features well-known celebrity paranormal investigators you’ll see elsewhere on this list (John Zaffis, Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves, etc), but the main attraction is Pennhurst itself, the state school and hospital that operated from 1908-1987. The site is known for its infamous history of abuse, and neglect. Personally, I find it to be one of the saddest supposedly haunted locales I’ve visited. The event includes panels, and presentations, but the investigation opportunities in areas typically tightly controlled makes this event a must. If ghosts exists, it’s likely that they stalk the grounds of this massive compound.

AUGUST

Michigan Paranormal Con

Michigan Paranormal Convention

Sault Ste Marie

Aug. 22-24, 2019

Click here for more info on Michigan Paranormal Convention

Celebrating its tenth year in 2019, the Michigan Paranormal Convention has earned a reputation for its top-notch roster of guest speakers from all manner of paranormal fields. This is a veritable who’s who of paranormal celebrities from Ghost Hunters, The Dead Files, Kindred Spirits, Ghost Adventures, Finding Bigfoot, and more. The Michigan Paracon is notable for not placing focus on a ghost hunt, but instead for its presentations, and a social scene where attendees mingle with the speakers at the Kewadin Casino.

Related: Politicians Support Congressional Hearings on UFOs

Dragon Con

Dragon Con

Atlanta, Georgia

August 29-Sept 2, 2019

Click here for more info on Dragon Con

Dragon Con is first and foremost known as a Nerdy Burning Man event, where parties and cosplay reign. But in addition to those, and the traditional convention trappings of celebrity signings and vendor floors, the Atlanta event has a healthy paranormal programming track. The event draws notable TV personalities and researchers from the ghost hunting and ufology.   

SEPTEMBER

International UFO Congress

 

International UFO Congress

Phoenix Arizona

Sept 4-8, 2019

Click here for more info on the International UFO Congress

This one is something of a family affair at Den of Geek as contributor Alejandro Rojas is one of the organizers, and yours truly has spoken there. But the Congress also bears the distinction for holding the Guinness World Record for largest UFO conference. The guests are still coming together for the event, but it’s guaranteed to be a great one.

Cryptid Con

Cryptid Con

Lexington, Kentucky

Sept 7-8, 2019

Click here for more info on Cryptid Con

Cryptid Con combines ghostly pursuits and cryptozoology with a comic con-style format that welcomes both the casual fan, the movie nerd, and the die-hard researcher. This year’s event is still being assembled, but it already boasts James “Bobo” Fay and Cliff Barackman from Finding Bigfoot, Nick Groff of Paranormal Lockdown, Ouija board historian Robert Murch, and a lot of other notable names. The event also looks like a lot of fun because of the wild assortment of crypto-crazy vendors.

The Scarefest

Lexington, Kentucky

Sept 12-15, 2019

Click here for more info on The Scarefest

Mothman Festival

 

Mothman Festival

Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Sept 21-22, 2019

Click here for more info on Mothman Festival

This annual festival commemorates the 1966-67 sightings of a red-eyed, winged creature (was it a cryptid? Alien? Interdimensional being?), and other supernatural happenings that led up to the collapse of the Silver Bridge. The events are a part of folklore, but the stories of the Mothman don’t end there. While the schedule is still coming together for this event, it is a slice of Americana, complete with speakers, entertainment, tours of the sighting areas, and of course photo ops at the Mothman statue.

OCTOBER

Parafest

 

Little Traverse Bay Parafest

Petoskey, Michigan

Oct 11-12, 2019

Click here for more info on Little Traverse Bay Parafest

NOVEMBER

Sage Paracon

 

Sage Paracon

Coventry, United Kingdom

Nov 7-10, 2019

Click here for more info on Sage Paracon

Before the year ends, it is certainly worth taking a jaunt across the pond for Sage Paracon at the historic Coombe Abbey in Coventry, England. In the interest of full disclosure, I did speak at last year’s event, but I can recommend Sage with a clean conscience. Coombe Abbey is a gorgeous setting, and the 11th century abbey – since modernized into a luxury hotel on 500 acres of scenic parkland. The location alone is worth a trip, and that’s before you consider the ghost stories, and tales of a murdered monk. In addition to a paranormal investigation of the grounds, organizer MJ Dickson offers a medieval banquet and voodoo party at night, with a group of diverse guests giving presentations during the day.