The weekend before Halloween, Ghostly Activities went to Port Gamble, Washington for the 2017 Ghost Conference. Get the scoop on the classes, panelists, investigations and more.
Port Gamble Ghost Conference Background
Ghostly Activities packed the ghost mobile full of gadgets and headed to Kitsap Peninsula for the 2017 Ghost Conference in Port Gamble, Washington.
We bought our tickets to classes and investigations online, so we just needed to get our badges to attend the events. It was well-organized, and the staff had the right tickets and right number of events we’d attend.
The conference lasted 3 days, starting on Friday, Oct. 27th and ending on the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 29th. Each day had a series of panels and classes to attend, but investigations happened on Friday and Saturday.
The panels consisted of 4-6 well-known investigators. A moderator had a series of questions to ask and the crowd was encouraged to ask a few, too. Speakers gave lectures, but also took questions from the audience. And then we have the special case of the psychic gallery reading, which I’ll write about under Day 2 Events.
Day 1 Events
The first night consisted of a panel, speaker and walking tour. All were great intros to the upcoming sessions.
Panel: Paranormal Investigations: What Constitutes Evidence?
In this session, there was a group of top paranormal researchers giving tips on what makes compelling evidence. They also talked about their own experiences with the paranormal. Most panelists are members of Oregon Paranormal and Olympic Peninsula Paranormal. Many of these panelists also ran, or lectured, in later sessions.
Overall, not bad. It was definitely more for newbie paranormal researchers, but the panel knew their shit, so no faults on them. It was a good intro to the classes on Day 2.
Speaker: Karen Frazier on Dream Interpretation
Immediately after the panel, Karen Frazier took the floor and gave a thorough presentation (as much as you could squeeze into 50 minutes) on dream symbols and meanings. She also took questions from the crowd. Karen’s very knowledgeable and engaging.
This is one session that could be longer and have sections for beginners and advanced training.
Ghost Walk: Pete Orbea’s Tour of Port Gamble and Its Haunts
I really enjoyed this part. Pete Orbea, who coordinated the event, took the attendees around Port Gamble. He stopped at the most haunted sites and gave us a bit of their history. It was an excellent intro to the different places you could investigate during the conference. It also tied in with the historic research class on Day 2 (although, this wasn’t a direct link to the class).
Day 2 Events
On Saturday, Ghostly Activities went to the cemetery to shoot video about the most haunted hotspots in Buena Vista Cemetery. We recorded at the Keller and Englebrecht gravesites, and where the woman-in-white manifests. We also stopped by a geocache (a big tree) on the west side of the cemetery. Our equipment didn’t pick up any readings of note.
Class: EVP 1
This class is the first of a two-part series. We met the instructor in the Walker-Ames house. He went over EVP history, the equipment, how to process audio, and played clips from previous ghost hunts.
It was worthwhile, but the second session on Day 3 is more suited for experienced ghost hunters. This session was solid for newbies.
Class: How to Use the Tarot for Personal Guidance
Erin, an associate member of Ghostly Activities, was dying to take this class. It covered some basic Yes/No-type readings, spreads, and how to read the cards. It accomplished its goal, but it could have been a longer session. If anything, it could have had an advanced session for more experienced tarot card readers. Erin & I did enjoy the material, but it was very much for beginners.
Class: Historical Research
This was my second favorite class of the conference. Oregon Paranormal and Nicole Strickland gave a lecture on resources to use for historic research. They also talked about their experiences at haunts and how the research played into evidence collection.
I would like to see them have the attendees use their smartphones to access some research sites during the class. Not bad, but it only scratched the surface of paranormal research.
Panel: Tech Panel – Devices and Uses
This was an interesting session. The panel went through the popular ghost hunting gadgets and gave their opinions. The K2 meter received a lot of negative feedback (Ed. Note: I agree with that sentiment). In all, only the audio recording equipment seemed to fair well under scrutiny. Fun panelists and it was worth attending.
Event: Psychic Gallery Reading
Erin was more interested in this session, but I attended as well. For those readers not familiar with a gallery reading, a medium pulls in spirits who want to communicate with someone in the audience.
The medium, Ankasha Amenti, connected with a few spirits, and audience members told her if they had a link to the spirit. Then, Ankasha would ask deeper questions to both the spirit and the audience member to confirm their relationship.
Investigation: Walker-Ames House
This investigation was listed as a beginner’s level hunt, and that was the case. Sixteen people entered the house and then the organizers broke the group into smaller teams. Each team of 4 went to a different floor (basement, main floor, second floor and attic).
There were different experiments happening on each level. The most interesting to me was the Kinect study in the attic. In the basement, the experiment used a stool with coins on it to see if the spirit would move them.
Since there were so many people moving around and talking, we had to toss out any audio hits we collected. Our full spectrum camcorder didn’t collect any apparitions, either.
But we did have experiences on the second floor. To me, it felt like something pressed on my temples, and I had constricted breathing. Erin reported she started to get a headache and she felt nauseous. We had our experiences at the same place; a hallway in the middle of the floor that had stairs to the attic.
Most people had left the conference by the time classes started. This let the remaining attendees get more attention and access to the haunts.
On Sunday morning, we went back to the Walker-Ames house for the last of our classes. Mary Bethune of Olympic Peninsula Paranormal gave a lecture on using ITC to communicate with ghosts.
I spoke with her about why Ghostly Activities doesn’t use spirit boxes any more, but she gave a legitimate counter to our experiences with the device. She played a disembodied voice collected through a SB7.
She also covered the history of ITC, the different devices, and best practices.
Anyway, I guessed it worked. When I got home, I ordered an SB11.
Class: EVP 2
This was my favorite class of the conference. The instructor, Tomasz Kordowski, showed us how he uses his audio recorder to capture ghost voices. Then, he let us roam the Walker-Ames house to conduct our own sessions. When time ended, we played back our recordings, trying to find EVP.
My favorite part was learning to use noise reduction and compression to make the EVPs stronger. It was an ideal session for intermediate-to-advanced paranormal researchers.
Ghostly Activities’ Take
Is it worth your hard-earned cash? Yes, I think it is. The panelist quality was high as were the speakers. All the instructors knew their ghost-hunting craft, and everyone in town was happy to see the attendees.
To make it better, I’d have fewer people on the investigations, or have advanced-level investigations. I’d also recommend that the classes spend more time with gadgets and to have students learn how to use the audio/video/image software.
In all, it was a good time and I’d go next year.
Jacob ‘Jake’ Rice has always loved ghosts and scary stories. When he’s not being a tech nerd for work, he’s the gadget guy on the team. He hunts ghosts, spirits and other paranormal entities in Seattle and the Puget Sound area.