Okay, maybe the title is an exaggeration. Or maybe it's below the mark. I have no idea how many people attended last week's 2014 Paranormal and Psychic Expo in Moline, Illinois, but I suspect the number could reach the high hundreds, at least. And while maybe not everyone who attended sees ghosts, I'll bet an awful lot of them do.
Sylvia Shults, fellow supernatural writer and paranormal investigator, invited me to share a table with her at the Expo, thus giving me a chance to sell some of my own books and read a few palms. (I will always give someone who buys one of my books a free palm-reading, so if you ever meet me on the street and you've bought one of mine online, tell me I owe you one and I'll happily oblige.) I have never been to anything like this. Normally I attend author fests and litererary book signings, so this was a first for me. And I kinda hope it won't be my last. It was terrific.
The table to my immediate right was taken by a mother-daughter team who run a company that hand-sews, knits, and crochets stunning clothes. Their ability to take beautiful fabrics and yarns and turn them into wear-ables was amazing. I wound up buying skirts, the mother half of the duo knocked some off the price to get one of my books, and then I read her palm.
Across from me was a woman who had two tables' worth of jewelry. She was just down the row from the incense/herb people, and the energy worker who works on people's scalps. Scattered throughout the gathering were various tarot card readers, palm readers, psychics, and mediums. There were speakers scheduled throughout the event -Sylvia was speaking about the Peoria State Hospital, a mental institution that was opened in 1902 and shut down in 1973, and is haunted. Extremely haunted. Sylvia has been involved in numerous investigations into the defunct facility, and wrote a book about it called Fractured Spirits. It's a great read, by the way, if you want to freak yourself out some night.
Jim came along with me and did nice things like running out to pick up lunch (the event ran from 10 AM until 6 PM), holding down the table when Sylvia and I both needed to be absent at the same time, making change for customers, and generally being a friendly face. He absconded at one point to have his aura photographed and interpreted, but hey, he earned that!
But the highlight of all of this was the ghost stories. Since Sylvia and I are in the business of selling ghost stories, the people who stopped by were quite happy to swap stories with us. I was in pig heaven, listening to tales about orbs, family members who won't go away, and other spirited manifestations. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear the tales from a woman who grew up in Mississippi and knew a southern tubful of them, but I can catch up with that on Sylvia's podcast.
We ended the evening having dinner with Sylvia and two of her friends, and hearing still more ghost stories. Wow, I couldn't have asked for a better day. The moral of today's story is, if you get a chance to go to one of these things? Take it! I know I will.