Psychic readings and table-tipping, EVPs and tales of hauntings, and all things that set up an aura of the paranormal were particularly fitting for the haunted Lafayette Hotel, the gem of Marietta that played host to this year’s Paranormal Expo. The multitude of exciting things to do is outdone only by the diversity in events to enjoy and experiences to be had here in the Mid-Ohio Valley. This chilly weekend in what is commonly seen as the “off-season” in Marietta hosted a variety of activities, including the second annual Paranormal Expo, hosted by Hidden Marietta.

Locals and out of towners alike all came down to Front Street to investigate all things seen and unseen in the Grand Ballroom of the Lafayette. Tours of the hotel left periodically throughout the day, allowing over 300 expo guests to explore the haunted halls and the history inside the hotel’s walls. (These tours of the Lafayette are also available throughout the year, in case you happened to miss out this past weekend.)

Enthusiasts could browse everything from homemade balms and jewelry, scavenged bone knives and crystal wands, to books and prints of haunted sites all around the Appalachian area. More than 30 vendors peddled their wares at Saturday’s event, including The Enchanted Emporium and Bearded Lady Brand. This year was a first for Evon and Justin McKown, owners of Bearded Lady Brand, and they enjoyed the event just as much as the attendees.

“The attendance was a lot more than I expected,” Evon said, “I met many people from all over Ohio, West Virginia, and Michigan.” A successful business day, as well as lots of fun, means Bearded Lady Brand “can’t wait to return next year!”

Along with a slew of commodities to inspire and haunt, the Expo also hosted speakers and celebrities, such as Dalen Spratt of The Travel Channel’s Ghost Brothers. Melisa Farris, co-owner of Hidden Marietta Tour Co, organized the vendors and the celebrity appearances for this year’s expo. “So many people came to our event to see not only the very unique wares of our vendors but to have a one-on-one interaction with our celebrity ghost hunter from the hit TV show ‘Ghost Brothers’.”

I think events like this are great for Marietta. We get to explore the history, as well as the quirkier side of paranormal interests.

Farris, along with co-owners Jessica Wielitzka and Megan Keller, started the Paranormal Expo to better help people understand the paranormal. Combining the haunts and the history of the local area allows interested folks a comfortable place to explore what is too often considered “taboo.”

“This expo has been really great! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect before I walked in, but there are so many cool booths!” said Morgan Thompson, an Expo attendee from Woodsfield, Ohio. “I think events like this are great for Marietta. We get to explore the history, as well as the quirkier side of paranormal interests.”

Next year, the team hopes to add more celebrity guests and even more vendors and demos. The partnership with the Lafayette allows them to expand and change as needed to fit the interests of their supporters. This year has already seen an improvement over last year, seen clearly by the fun had by all. “The most memorable moment from the event I would have to say was making so many people happy”, Farris said. “No one left our event without a smile and a memory that will last for a very long time.”