KENT: Jeri Holland heard her grandfather come into the house, walk down the hall and close the door to his bedroom.
Only trouble was, her grandmother had taken the door off the bedroom — and her grandfather was dead.
Holland was among the authors who staffed booths at the Kent Paranormal Festival in Kent on Saturday.
Psychics, vendors, astrologers, dream interpreters and the like offered attendees a chance to peer into the other side for $10 a day or $15 for both days of the new event, which continues today.
Co-organizer Richele Charlton said the event came together when the agent for medium and author James Van Praagh contacted them. They booked him as the weekend headliner for 7 tonight. Tickets start at $35.
He “bridges the gap between two planes of existence, that of the living and that of the dead by providing evidential proof of life after death via detailed messages,” according to his website.
Charlton and fellow Kent Stage owner Tom Simpson filled in the rest of the two-day schedule with a cornucopia of events to appeal to many tastes.
“For a first year, I’m pretty pleased about attendance,” with about 100 buying pre-event tickets to the festival, she said.
Today, for example, Sonja Horstman, billed as a Native American psychic medium and paranormal researcher, will discuss “Investigating and Banishing” at 10:40 a.m. Laura Lyn, an event co-organizer and psychic medium, will explore “Past Life Experiences” at 2:30 p.m.
Like many at the festival, Lyn said she tapped into her abilities as a child when she saw an angel in her bedroom and Native Americans in her backyard — later to learn that some of the latter actually were buried there.
“It’s absolutely real,” she said.
While presenters discuss connecting with dead loved ones, spirit guides and more in the theater, 10 psychics, tarot card readers and astrologers offer individual 15-minute readings at $20 each in the back of the room.
Matt Gacura of Kent volunteered Saturday to shepherd those who had purchased readings to the right reader for their interviews.
He said he was taught to keep an open mind, but really showed at the festival because his girlfriend was working there. He is a graduate student in ecology at Kent State.
For Holland, her interest in the paranormal led her to write Haunted Akron, which was published by the History Press in Charleston, S.C., in 2011. She has since written two other books, with a third, Cuyahoga Falls: River of Memories, coming out on April 15.
She explores the other world as an organizer with the Cuyahoga Valley Paranormals, a group that looks into unanswered questions on the Ohio and Erie Canal, amusement parks and the like.
The Kent Paranormal Weekend runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Kent Stage in downtown Kent. Tickets are available for the festival and for Van Praagh’s presentation at www.thekentstage.com or call 330-677-5005.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3729.