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I used to be a con virgin. Never had anyone else's opinions on a particular topic thrust upon me like a wave in a freak storm. Sure, I read all the books, and yes, I am probably the only girl you will ever find in a haunted house, in the dead of night not breaking a sweat. But no, I never went to a convention. The whole idea of it seemed a little, well---contrite. So when I heard about the Mass Monster Mash, at first I thought, "Nice!" And then I thought, " Cool!" (Seriously, I usually think in one word exclamations). I even pondered going. I considered the ramifications and the impact on my reputation...as a non-Con-goer, but something about the enthusiasm in Binnall's voice as he heckled me for going to the Hockamock Swamp without an entourage, while at the same time praising the awesomeness that is Loren Coleman, made me reconsider.

So I went. I saw. I did not conquer.

We got there an hour and a half early, my best friend Marisol and I. We scoped out the territory. The Hibernian Hall was a simple building set into the back drop of trees, in a place that was devoid of a Dunkin Donuts, which to me was perplexing beyond explanation. We spotted an open door in the back and Loren Coleman talking candidly with other guests. Loren Coleman. Loren Coleman. Loren Coleman. I don't even know how to fill in a sentence with the appropriate words that would fully realize just what it is that can be said for a man of such awesomeness. So maybe repeating his name a zillion times will get the point across.

He was brilliant as always, and he was *open* which is important. You can ask Loren Coleman questions, and you get the sense that if he doesn't know the answer his curiosity has been peaked and someday soon he'll get that answer, for you, himself and anyone else who wants it. It's comforting to know that someone of that caliber is doing the work that he does.

We greeted him first, just because. He spoke of his days working in Charlestown, and even though we hardly know him, we felt that going to High School in the same town Loren Coleman worked in upped our coolness factor by .05 percent...but I digress.

I bought another copy of Loren Coleman's MYSTERIOUS AMERICA and discovered that I was one of the few people who actually owned the hardback edition. I kicked myself silently when I realized I could have had the man himself sign it. Maybe next time.

All around, tables were full of people in deep discussions about topics ranging from Bigfoot, to haunted places to Shag Harbor. Chris Styles was by far one of the most intriguing people of the night. I asked him whether the Shag Harbour incident should even be considered a crash, and just as onemight expect from such an engaging and thoughtful researcher, he explained that because of the eye-witness testimony regarding lights and other effects congruent with a possible crash, it was hard to say either way, but he would consider it. (Chris if I misquoted, please let me know).

At one point in the presentation, Chris came up to the podium and recounted a recent story regarding the Shag Harbour ufo incident and it was enthralling to say the least. This particular case is far from shut. He referred to a couple who saw extraterrestrials (possibly from the same object seen crashing into the harbour...or perhaps the opposition...we may never know), coming up the road, on foot...as the couple looked on.

I asked him to sign my copy of DARK OBJECT, and then was prompted by a lovely woman (thank you Ma'am), to ask Don Ledger to sign my book as well, which he did. I had wanted to talk extensively to Don Ledger, but apparently, so did everyone else, so needless to say, I never got my chance.

But I did get to speak with James Boyd. We had a very interesting and captivating conversation regarding my werewolf sighting some years back. Mr. Boyd listened to my story, despite the fact that retelling it gave me chills and I could barely get the story out without shaking. We talked about the possibility of my sighting being akin to that of the trickster, or some entity popping into our dimension, for a time, just for the sake of taking a look around. The fact that I happened to be at the right place at the right time was just how it worked out.

He talked to me extensively about a number of sightings in the similar vein, of beings that are not of this dimension, and he even shared one of his own experiences. We parted for the night with him promising to tell me about another case, but alas, after the convention I left...because my best friend and I had a bus to catch. Thank you Mr. Boyd for your ample examination of my experience and I hope to speak to you again.

The night kicked off with Loren Coleman's presentation on the Dover Demon. For anyone not familiar with the case, here is a good place to start: Dover Demon @ Cryptomundo

Hearing Loren Coleman run through the minute details of the case gave me goosebumps. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the case, but I was wrong. Seeing the eye-witness sketches was far more intriguing than one would suspect. One witness went on to become a brilliant artist. I was simply floored after Coleman's presentation. I was prompted to head tothe library a few days later to do some extra-linear research on the topic.

The next presenter to catch my eye was Don Keating and his footage of the White Bigfoot. It was very intriguing indeed. Mostly, I found myself thinking, if humans can come in all colors, shapes and sizes, and the Bigfoot is humanoid in appearance, than why not an albino or just plain snow white bigfoot? I have heard eyewitness testimony of grey, brown, blond and even red-haired bigfoots. It didn't seem like much of a stretch to me, and the footage was amazing. I can sit in a room and listen to a person wax on for hours and not even flinch, but show me pictures or a video and I'm pretty malleable at that point.

Jeff Belanger spoke candidly about the paranormal. My best friend and I sat up in our seats, hoping to reflect on the many experiences we'd had over the years, investigating ghosts, hauntings and the like. It's apparent just hearing Belanger talk that he loves what he does and is wholely immersed in the subject. We should hope to find more researchers as thoroughly engaged in their particular field of study.

The spookiest moment of the night, which you wouldn't expect at a Convention aimed at Cryptozoology and its counterparts, was Karen Mossey and her EVP presentation. Mossey has amassed a treasure trove of Electronic Voice Phenomena, and I was honestly creeped out by what I heard. I took notice of the other people in the room; all sitting at the edge of their seats, and all completely involved in the presentation. It made me think of all the odd voices I've picked up occasionally on various devices, from my cellphone to my HP pocketpc. I've always erased them, thinking nothing much of the apparent, probable, moanings and sighs and now I am kicking myself thinking, "What have I done?"

None of this would have been possible however, without the incredible Mr. John Horrigan, who is more than a great voice. He emceed with precision and it was apparent from the get-go that he was interested in the esoteric and had no problem with it. He respected the people he presented which says a lot. He was as much a guest as a he was the host, asking questions, engaging in dialogue and basically showing us that it's one thing to go to a gathering like this and see someone balk into a microphone, "Next." And it's a totally different, far more beneficial thing, to see someone compliment and encourage their guest with the enthusiasm of a fan. Thank you Mr. Horrigan. I will be there next year.

So, I went to my first Esoterically oriented Convention, and I liked it. And that is a bad thing...because I will continue to show up, buy books, ask questions and ponder on the great unknown, only this time, when I can't quite grasp where a particular person is coming from, I won't emailyou...I'll just wait till I see you in person, and honestly...if you've ever heard me talk, that's not a good thing. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

*Note: Congratulations to Tim for amassing, not one...but TWO plaques in recognition of his inimitable involvement in the Esoteric.

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