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Who ya gonna call? Paranormal enthusiasts descend on Shreveport

Kate Archer Kent

Shreveport’s Downtown Development Authority is putting on the city’s first Paranormal Festival that gets under way today and is expected to draw hundreds of professional ghost hunters and curious first-timers who want to cross it off their bucket list.

The festival has a full slate of panel discussions and tours by day. By night, seasoned ghost hunters will lead expeditions into several sites in downtown Shreveport for $50 a ticket. Louisiana Spirits research director John Combs said his organization conducts paranormal investigations statewide. He said the festival’s ghost hunting sites are active. His advice:

“Get your ticket. Then, go to your closet. Dig out your serious ghost hunting equipment. Put brand new batteries in every single piece of equipment! Battery drain is a known symptom of paranormal activity. Energy has to come from somewhere," Combs advised.

Author Deonna Kelli Sayed, of Greensboro, N.C., studies America’s fascination with paranormal reality TV. She’ll give practical advice to homeowners who suspect they have a ghost. She concedes, ghost stories can come off as cliché. But, she feels they serve as an important vehicle to learn about history and ponder otherworldly questions.

“It really is an important way to talk about larger issues facing our society: What we believe about life after death, the role of scientific inquiry in phenomena we don’t understand, the role of faith and religion in talking about events that we don’t really have a language for," Sayed said.

The festival begins at artspace in downtown Shreveport with lectures and a paranormal trolley tour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The tour promises  an overview of the city’s most storied haunts. The festival wraps up Sunday.

Combs said the festival is expected to be very successful and planning has already begun for next year's event.

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