Over the weekend: Ghost hunting at the Spirits of Victor Paranormal Convention
I journeyed to Victor this past weekend wanting to believe. The old mining town sits near Cripple Creek, and though it's still partially inhabited, many of the old buildings are completely abandoned. In other words, it was the ideal setting for the first-ever Spirits of Victor Paranormal Convention, which brought experts from all sorts of supernatural fields together in one eerie ghost town for a day and night of spooky experiences. Armed with a camera, three friends and a Fox Mulder attitude, I went hunting for ghosts.
Robin Edwards Stephanie Waters, organizer of the Spirits of Victor Paranormal Convention.
I arrived just in time for Ghost Hunting 101, a workshop put on by Michelle Mayer, a member of the all-female ghost-hunting group Full Moon Explorations. Around twenty people had gathered to listen to Mayer explain her no-frills philosophy of hunting for ghosts, which she describes as "energy with attitude."
Robin Edwards Michelle Mayer describing orbs and apparitions.
At Full Moon Exploration, there's no pretension and no fancy equipment; according to Mayer, you don't need anything more than a flashlight, camera and recording device. She regaled us with tales from her twelve years of ghost-hunting, including stories of Stewie, the potty-mouthed miner ghost who had a crush on her, and how she let ghosts follow her home to piss off her now ex-husband. But she also offered some helpful tips, including treating ghosts like children by setting boundaries for them, and keeping a sense of humor about the whole experience, because ghosts are more likely to join the conversation if you're having fun.
She also taught us about the difference between primary evidence and secondary evidence (primary includes photographs, recordings and film, while secondary includes psychic readings and energy changes) and aware ghosts versus recorded events: Some supernatural experiences, she said, actually interact with us while others are recorded and just repeat over and over..
Mayer then passed around photos featuring light orbs that ghost hunters believe show the presence of supernatural entities in the room, and played EVPs (short for electronic voice phenomena, in which the tape recorder picks up ghost voices) that she'd recorded. While some were garbled and hard to make out, the most concrete (and creepiest) featured a male voice -- the ghost hunters were all female on that excursion -- whispering very clearly, "I'll let you meet Milton."
"Just because the voices sound creepy doesn't mean they're negative," Mayer advised. "If you hadn't spoken for fifty years, your voice would sound creepy, too!"
After the workshop, we checked into the Victor Hotel, where the spirit of a miner named Eddie, who fell down the elevator shaft, is said to haunt the halls. The elevator definitely felt spooky, partly because it was a very slow-moving birdcage elevator, and partly because it shocked me every time I pressed the buttons.
Robin Edwards The Ghoulie Gals pose after Ghost Hunting 101.
We got dinner at the only place open in town, a taxidermy-filled dive bar called Dirty Sally's that had karaoke that night. We attempted to summon the spirits of Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash by performing terrible renditions of their songs before heading over to the Elk's Club for a ghost hunt.