Anybody out there watch the TV show, Ghosthunters? Familiar with the acronym TAPS? (The Atlantic Paranormal Society, which is the ghosthunting group behind the show.) Well, a couple of weeks ago I found out that a local landmark hotel called the Belleview Biltmore (reputedly haunted), was going to be the site of TAPSCON 2008, a paranormal convention involving members of the show and all things weird, complete with a midnight taping of a future Ghosthunters episode. Yes, for the cost of a VIP ticket, you could participate in an actual ghost hunt of the Belleview Biltmore with the TAPS crew! Did I do it? Nah, I'm too chicken. :-)
But I DID call up my ghoulfriend Stefani and ask if she wanted to go over for the day. Neither one of us had any idea what to expect, but we were both game for a little weekend weirdness.
Here's a shot of the Belleview Biltmore hotel from the outside:
The Belleview has long been rumored to be haunted: ghostly apparitions stalking the hallways, banging noises, smoky figures caught on film. It's been featured on the TV show Weird Travels, and offers regular weekend ghost tours for the locals at (I believe) $75.00 a pop.
We arrived and checked in, then went straight to the convention floor to see what kind of paranormal paraphenalia we could find, and we found plenty! There were a lot of people in the requisite black t-shirts, lots of books on ghosthunting and haunted places, booths where you could buy souvenirs (I got a cool black t-shirt of my own, with a little glow-in-the-dark ghostie on it), psychics available for readings, and some very strange (supposedly supernatural) artifacts.
Here's one of my favorites, a crystal skull carved from a single chunk of quartz which is rumored to be more than two thousand years old. It looks blue because it was lit from beneath, the better to see. The idea was that you place both hands on the skull, and concentrate on something important to you. Touching the skull is supposed to ground you and help you find "synergy", so here's a picture of me doing just that.
I honestly can't say whether I found synergy or not. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that it was a little warm, but that could've come from the hands of all the people who were touching it before me. It was cool, though!
There was another artifact there that completely creeped me out, so much so that I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of it. Robert the Doll, which I blogged about last week. There was a sign taped to Robert's glass case that said, "Please ask Robert's permission before taking his picture." Seriously.
My friend Stefani and I had a great time at the booth where you could have a picture of your "aura" taken and interpreted by the woman who took the photo, but that experience deserves a blog all its own, which I will do tomorrow. :-)She also got some portable dowsing rods, which were pretty interesting, too.
As for the TAPS crew, I did see one of the ghosthunters themselves, Dustin Pari, who was standing in the hallway, posing for photos with convention goers. He's really tall!! But I didn't get a picture - there were too many people clustered around him, and when I went back by, he was gone.
All in all, no ghosts, no hair-raising moments, but definitely a fun, weird way to spend the day!