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Superstitious Times Article


Written by Brian Baker on August 13, 2023

Halifax is going to witness its first paranormal conference in 17 years, and it’s something planners want to make a historical repeater. Elliott Van Dusen, president of Paranormal Phenomena Research & Investigation (PPRI), is collaborating with Dr. Darryll Walsh, executive director of the Centre for Parapsychological Studies in Canada, on a one-day conference in October. The Halifax Paranormal Symposium is the culmination of a desire for a conference, as well as a follow-up to a dinner lecture held in October 2021. Van Dusen and Walsh co-hosted a dinner lecture, “Hauntings: Exploring Apparitions, Poltergeists and Demons,” in October 2021 at the Westin Nova Scotian. The two have a long-term goal of making the conference an annual event, so this year’s conference will be the first reading of the room. “I’m only looking at it like it’s going to be successful because I would like to host another one next year,” Van Dusen admitted, during a July Zoom conversation. “I have an idea in my head to have skeptics versus believers’ event.”

Elliott Van Dusen, PPRI president The last conference held in the Maritimes was in 2006 by the Parapsychological Association in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Van Dusen said he reached out to the president for some insight into how the event went, which helped him to decide to balance both the academic and entertainment aspect of the paranormal. “In the Maritimes, I just don’t think the highly academic lectures are of public interest,” he admitted. “You’re going to get more of the people that are watching TV ghost shows and things like that. “It’s a balance for me to try and have it professional and academic, but also tailored to just the regular person.” For Walsh, the symposium is an opportunity for him and Van Dusen to expand awareness of the paranormal in Canada. He recalled that the last conference he attended with a large turnout was in Toronto in 1987. “We hope to establish that the paranormal can be looked at seriously,” he said, during an August Zoom conversation. “With a little luck, we’ll keep it going because for some reason Canada has not been doing symposiums or meetings.” Walsh’s lecture will focus on whether ghosts have gone extinct. He said there’s been more emphasis on electronic voice phenomena, or EVP, and very little focus on apparitions. “If you want to find a ghost, you’ve got to see it. All that equipment is garbage,” he said, with a chuckle.

On topic

Joining Walsh on the lecture schedule are cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, psychiatrist and demonic possession researcher Dr. Richard Gallagher, paranormal investigator and “Haunted” host Kim Moser, as well as ufologist Chris Styles. Styles has previous experience with conferences, as he has been a part of the Shag Harbour Expo, which is running the week before the Halifax Paranormal Symposium. He’ll make the trip up to Halifax to share his recent findings on the 1960 Shelburne UFO case involving NATO officials. Sweep Clear 5: NATO’s UFO Encounter was published in May 2023, and he has seen interest in his investigation grow in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Especially given the fact that NATO declared Defcom 1, which is not known to public knowledge. “I’m finally unravelling cases like Shelburne,” he said, during a late July phone conversation. “You know how Shag Harbour had been forgotten, well one of the things I rediscovered was the log book from the HMCS Cape Scott, which was the command ship for the (Operation Sweep Clear 5) mission.” Styles learned that the discovery of an unidentified submerged object during a routine mine sweep caused members in the general quarters to panic and declare a state of Defcom 1. “There’s no mention of E.T., but when these things happen they don’t mention what,” Styles said, with a laugh. “I’m not saying the joint chiefs of staff in Washington or the president, or the Pentagon raised it to that, but commanders in the field can raise their level as need be when they confront something.” Styles admitted he’s only hammering away at a lot of Canada’s unknown brushes with UFOs part-time, but he said it has piqued his interest in what else has been hidden away. “It makes you wonder what else is out there that has slipped between the cracks and gone into the Dustin of history,” he said.

Kim Moser of Eastlink’s “Haunted” Another Canadian investigator of the paranormal looking forward to presenting at the symposium is Kim Moser, host of Eastlink’s TV series “Haunted”. “I was delighted that (Van Dusen) invited me to be part of the symposium,” the Lunenberg-area resident said, during a late July Zoom conversation. Between her work on “Haunted” and “Maritime Museums”, as well as working on the podcasts Boos and Bourbon, she was able to leave her career in marketing during the pandemic in favour of the paranormal. She’s looking forward to meeting people who have supported her transition from afar. “I’m excited to meet people that are within Nova Scotia,” she said. “Shaking the person’s hand that’s been following my journey and just personally thanking them, ‘Hey, thanks for tuning in,’ is going to be wonderful.” The pandemic allowed Moser to come to terms with her experiences with precognitive dreams, which she’ll open up about during her talk at the symposium, along with the unique folklore that makes the rounds in the Maritimes. “It has been a bit of a struggle … to be able to let all of my friends know I have had (paranormal) experiences for a long time,” she continued. “There’s such a stigma behind it.” The symposium runs on October 7 at the Halifax Tower Hotel & Conference Centre. Additionally, for those residing in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Van Dusen introduced a supplementary lecture titled “Hauntings: Exploring Apparitions, Poltergeists, and Demons” on September 8.

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