Feel the Energy at the Stanley Hotel gets all the ghosts dancing with a paranormal house party
There are assumptions to be made prior to attending something billed as a "Paranormal House Party," assumptions to be made about the crowd, about what could be passed off as "evidence" supporting the existence of ghosts and what might be found lurking in the dark recesses of the Stanley Hotel's early 20th Century grandeur. But Feel the Energy, a seemingly impossible cultural mash-up combining a paranormal conference, ghost hunt and dance party proved those assumptions wrong.
Patrick Rodgers The Stanley is a spooky place at night.
While ghost stories have a tradition that stretches back centuries, the paranormal event industry is of a much more recent vintage. What had been a sub-niche of the travel market for most of human history experienced explosive growth in the wake of successful reality series like Ghost Hunters, which launched in 2004 and later inspired a bumper crop of similar shows like Ghost Lab, Ghost Adventures and Paranormal State, to name just a few.
Given a few years to flourish, that ever-expanding audience has spawned its own sub-culture, including tours, events, personalities, publications, merchandising and iPhone apps.
All of this growth means that the average attendee of a destination-weekend that includes a paranormal conference, late-night ghost hunt and dance party is not some androgynous character in heavy make-up who spent most of high school avoiding gym class, or any other off-beat stereotype one might jadedly drum up while trying to imagine the possibilities for peculiarity. These events -- like the one at the Stanley on March 9 and 10 -- have become a curious cross-section of America itself.
Young, old, rich, poor, curious and certain - there are hipsters, married couples, soccer moms, disaffected tweens and curious retirees who've all come searching for answers.
There's a retired couple armed with an arsenal of tools for measuring electro-magnetic frequency fluctuations, temperature changes and other variables used to track paranormal presence. There's a lady with the sandpaper voice of a lifelong chain smoker whose husband's death was foretold by celebrity medium Rosemary The Celtic Lady more than a decade earlier when they ran into one another at a local bar. There's a young guy in a fitted Coogi cap who is never without a can of Bud Light and says that he's looking for "an experience" to help him confirm his beliefs.
There is some debate amongst the old guard of paranormal researchers whether or not the TV shows harm the perception of the inexact science that is the backbone of the field, but no one can dispute that it's brought a new generation into the fold.
In just a few years, it's grown into a major attraction for historic properties like the Stanley, which is perhaps best known as Stephen King's muse for the Overlook Hotel in his book The Shining. According to the hotel's resident ghost hunter and Feel the Energy organizer Callea Sherrill, the Stanley has seen its paranormal business increase dramatically over the past few years. There are daily tours through the halls of the hotel that gives spook-seekers an opportunity to hear about the various hotel visitors who've never completely checked out.
Patrick Rodgers Channel 42 at the Stanley shows The Shining on repeat 24 hours per day.
The unspoken rule seems to be that no one is out to make converts of anyone else. Everyone has a story -- a childhood home that did more than creak at night, or an unexplainable run-in with something that defies logic -- but no one is here to turn skeptics into believers. They search instead for thrills or corroboration or companionship.