FortFest (or WF?Fest) is an event that is the first of it’s kind. Unlike your normal paranormal events, WF?Fest encourages participation at the very base level. Not only is it an event that you can attend, but it’s an event that you help plan. Rather than be talked at by a marginally famous paranormal celebrity who has been paid thousands of dollars to speak, you’re given an opportunity to have open forum discussions with other individuals who are just as interested in being there as you are. It’s an un-conference, if you will.
Our first foray into the world of paranormal conference hosting was a story rife with espionage, theft, sabotage, psychic curses, legal threats, werewolf sightings, and lots and lots of fun. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
So what are the details for the next FortFest? We can only tell you this much: It will be a completely different experience.
Highlights from FortFestOne:
The very first event was held at the historic Scutt Mansion in Joliet, Illinois, on March 13th of 2010. In retrospect, we probably picked one of the worst dates possible for an event in the greater Chicagoland area: St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Despite this fact, friends and readers from all over the country gathered together for a completely free day of videos, interactive lectures, roundtable discussions, and even a bit of casino hopping.
We started the day off by hugging old friends and meeting new ones with a meet and greet, then rolled right into a roundtable discussion on motives in the paranormal community. We won’t give you the full transcript (we might have a an audio/video upload of the whole thing soon), but the consensus seems to be that everyone is fairly unhappy with the state of affairs.
Next up were presentations on the methodology of fraudulent psychics and the extraordinary power of the human brain, by the Strange Frequencies radio crew and Paranormal Interest Radio team respectively. If you ever wanted to know the skills of the best astrologers or how to heal an aneurism, these were the talks for you.
Continuing right along, we brought Jeff Rezman, instrumental transdimensional communication specialist, to the stage for a demonstration of conversing with the afterlife via.. a radio. He’d provided a very interesting demonstration to us just a few months prior at the Chicago Ghost Conference, so we were eager to have him talk to us in a little more depth about what exactly it took to contact dear old grandad on the am airwaves.
This weird display gave way to an impromptu test of the allegedly present spirit’s powers of observation. Several rhine cards and a few laughs later, we had our answer. What, you think we were going to tell you the outcome?
After a quick lunch break and a bit of stretch time, everyone settled back in for a screening of “The Beast of Connecticut Hill”, Who Forted’s never before released outing with legendary New York Sasquatch hunter Tim Holmes, followed by a selection of our best videos, for the first time, in their uncut entirety. Basically, the stuff that we can’t show on the website because we’d have our pants sued off.
Wrapping up the evening was a round table discussion on the ethics and future of the paranormal community; where it stood, where it was headed, where we’d all like it to be, and how we can get it there. This roundtable is now widely believed to be the most important discussion about the paranormal to happen in the last decade.*
Day two gave us THE ROAD TRIP OF DEATH: a break-neck tour of Illinois’ most bizarre attractions and best kept secrets, hosted by the man, the myth, the legend himself, ChasingMidnight. ‘Lo and behold, this was free as well.
So tell us, folks, how is it that every year, dozens of paranormally-themed conferences are charging upwards two-hundred smackers for nothing more than glorified campfire stories told by dusty old guys who were on television five years ago, when you can hold a groundbreaking, crowdsourced event that is not only doubly entertaining and thought provoking, but free? Think about that the next time you’re planning to hand over your hard-earned cash to a huckster.
We’ll see you at FortFestTwo!
*according to us, anyway.