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Ghosts, UFOs and more discussed at recent Paracon gathering

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Cara Pershall with the Oklahoma Paranormal Association. And behind her, those creepy dolls.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Approaching the table where Paracon-OKC 2017 organizers were greeting and signing in participants of this five-year old paranormal convention, Red Dirt Report failed to notice three, well, unsettling dolls displayed on the table this past Saturday morning.

Yes, there was something decidedly creepy about these dolls. Two were identical, alabaster-white girl dolls of a late 19th century or early 20th century vintage. The other, displayed standing up and in a suit, with big, blonde hair, was another doll, this one a male. It too gave off a heebie-jeebie vibe. And apparently for good reason.

Two of the Oklahoma Paranormal Association volunteers explained how the two girl dolls made it clear that they did not like men (this man was left alone, thankfully) while the other doll, which Cara Pershall called a creepy, “David Bowie doppelganger” has been communicated with, with Pershall saying when the doll (which has holes in its nostrils to enable it to “breathe”), which was picked up at an antique shop in Jefferson, Texas, was asked if it was good or bad, the doll made it clear that it was “evil.”

Needless to say, we did not linger very long at the table, while checking to see if the doll’s eyes blinked or the head turned (they did not).

Such things should not be considered all that unusual at a convention celebrating the investigation into ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot (cryptids) and all things paranormal. And those who are interested in these subjects are not suit-wearing, X-Files-Fox-Mulder types. They are regular folks with regular jobs who have had unique experiences throughout their lives – along with an innate curiosity about the unknown. And they were here to discuss New Age card readings, reiki or hawk their latest book on ghost investigations.

Take Kale Epperson, for instance. An ordained minister, Epperson also runs the Paranormal Investigations of Oklahoma, telling Red Dirt Report that he has been drawn to the supernatural since he was very young, but did not officially jump into the field of paranormal investigations until 2009.

At his booth here at Paracon 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City, Epperson said his curiosity in ghosts and the paranormal led him to get involved in different “ghost hunting” groups in central Oklahoma, before splitting off with PIO.

Kale Epperson of Paranormal Investigations of Oklahoma, at Paracon-OKC 2017. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

Asked about some local “hot spots” for ghost hunting, Epperson noted the Gabriella’s Italian Grill and Pizzeria, along with the 45th Infantry Museum, both of which are on the city’s northeast side. He also noted the well-known Stone Lion Inn in Guthrie, which is reportedly haunted as well.

Asked what he personally thought about ghosts, and if they are real, Epperson admitted that he was on the “borderline of determining if they are real or they are something else.”

Are they spirits that have not yet “crossed over”? It’s possible, he said.

As a Christian minister, Epperson said he is aware of the existence of demonic entities and has been involved with some exorcisms.

“Demonic entities feed on fear or any weakness,” Epperson said, noting that when exorcisms are conducted, the demons “put up a fight” because it is his belief that the entity is “punished” for not fulfilling their duty in fully possessing a human victim.

Asked about the controversial subject of “orbs” and if they represent spirits or ghosts or something else altogether, Epperson said “most photos of ‘orbs’ are really dust particles.”

He added: “Trying to catch an orb on camera is very difficult.”


The night before, when Paracon-OKC 2017 really kicked off, there were two evening events for the hardcore paranormal-minded folks. There was an investigation into the historic Overholser Mansion in Mesta Park and a “ghost tour” of Oklahoma City, led by “farm kid turned college professor” Jeff Provine, author of the book Haunted Norman Oklahoma.

Ghost tour organizer and author Jeff Provine speaking at Paracon-OKC 2017. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

And it was Provine who was the first speaker to address the Paracon crowd. Provine explained that he started his ghost tours at the University of Oklahoma approximately eight years ago, after learning that OU had plenty of ghost stories, from the rollerskating mischief-maker ghost at Ellison Hall to a 1973 exorcism of a student – “Jack” - at the old Tri-Delta House. 


The next speakers were Dick and Marilyn Carlson who run the Oklahoma UFO Paranormal Team (word of warning - don't go to their website because of alleged malware issues), who spent approximately 45 minutes telling the Paracon attendees about their methods of "skywatching." And the duo showed examples of strange, fast-moving objects in the sky that they have caught on camera. 

Dick and Marilyn Carlson with Oklahoma UFO Paranormal Team. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

"You've got to be pretty dedicated," Dick Carlson noted, saying that watching for UFOs can take time and result in one spending lots of time in cold conditions.

Also, as Marilyn Carlson said, "a lot of things reported as UFOs are ours and not ET's." But the "secret space program" does test craft that are often mistaken for UFOs, she added.

"They did make contact with ET in the desert in New Mexico," continued Marilyn Carlson, noting that technology - and people - were exchanged between humans and aliens. The people, scientists with no familial ties, volunteered to go with the aliens, allegedly to Mars. 

"A secret space program does exist," she added. And if you hear about ET's at the Pentagon or in Nevada, "it may be true."

The Carlsons proceeded to share their reports on various investigations they did into UFO sightings in Oklahoma, including around the Stigler/Whitefield area in Haskell County, a pretty dramatic sighting near Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City - which the Carlsons discussed further by showing the eyewitnesses' detailed drawing of the craft.

Dick Carlson discusses the Penn Square Mall UFO sighting at Paracon-OKC 2017. (Andrew W. Griffin /Red Dirt Report)

Dick Carlson explained a Stephens County case a few years ago where a strange object passed in front of a vehicle on a lonely back road. The team went there and, with a Geiger counter (to check potential radiation readings) examined the area, but nothing substantial was discovered a month or so after the initial sighting.

Another photo discussed showed a spot in Haskell County where a green field had a round, dead spot in it. There had not been standing water there. Was it a fairy ring? Saucer nest? Or something simply natural. It was not entirely clear. Other examples offered by the Carlsons were videos taken near Heavener, while participating in the filming of the History Channel's Ancient Aliens series, showing a strange object. They also discussed a sighting they had while in Joshua Tree, California attending the Contact in the Desert paranormal gathering. 

"We may have witnessed some technology (a nearby Marine base) was testing," Marilyn Carlson said, adding with a smile, "Or they may have done something because they knew a UFO conference was going on nearby."

But really the most interesting part of the Carlsons discussion involved a case involving a man who approached them, saying he was dying of cancer and wanted to get something off his chest. The man, John, said that he had gone to a military base (again, not identified) for a conference and, after using the restroom, went to the wrong meeting. Instead, he witnessed a silvery, baseball-shaped orb hovering over a table, which was soon accompanied by a short, alien-looking creature. The military figures in the room nodded in agreement with what this humanoid (of "the Moren") was telling them, including that by the end of 2019 a fleet of UFOs will appear over Washington, Moscow, Jerusalem, Rome, London, Islamabad, Mecca, Berlin, New Delhi, Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul and that the war in the Middle East would end around this time. 

This would usher in a new age for humanity.

According to the information John gave the Carlsons, "The creature then said thank you for bringing together the future of Earth and this galaxy, and with the universe. It is time for the awakening that the Moren had put in place many millennia ago. The light once again will flood the minds and souls of all mankind." 

The Carlsons said that as this dying man told them what he had witnessed and experienced at this military base, he was "trembling, with tears in his eyes." They added that John was a Christian and before this encounter he was not interested in UFOs and ET.

The rest of Paracon-OKC included talks by Bigfoot investigators, psychic mediums, various investigators and photographers and even Tanya McCoy, the founder of Paracon, who told Red Dirt Report's Louis Fowler that "Paracon is growing more and more every year, and people enjoy coming out and sharing their experiences and learning more about the paranormal."

We certainly learned a lot at Paracon and look forward to attending again next year.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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