Welcome to Michigan Paracon and Things That Go Bump in the Night!
Episode 12028th July 2023 • Total Michigan • Cliff Duvernois
00:00:00 00:35:51

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Every August, thousands of fans of the paranormal converge onto Sault Ste Marie for the annual MI-Paracon. This paranormal convention has become one of the top paranormal conventions in the US. In this episode, we interview the founders, Tim Ellis and Brad Blair. They share with us where the idea came from, how they used relationships to build this convention up, and what they have in store for us this year. This is a can't miss!

Links:

More information and Tickets: http://MIParacon.com/

Books: https://yoopernaturalhaunts.com/

Creaking Door Podcast: http://eagleradio951.com/creaking-door/

Speaking Tour for Tim Ellis: https://www.facebook.com/tim.ellis.9

Speaking Tour for Brad Blair: https://www.facebook.com/brad.blair.73

Transcripts

Brad Blair:

A certain amount of confidence and a audacity that we had

Brad Blair:

approaching this saying, if we're going to do it, we're going to do it right.

Tim Ellis:

I think that first year we maybe sold 700 tickets,

Tim Ellis:

but for us, That was amazing.

Tim Ellis:

it was a very powerful, magical moment where Brad and I were like, crap,

Tim Ellis:

we might be onto something here.

Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone and welcome back to Total Michigan, where we

Cliff Duvernois:

interview ordinary Michiganders, who are doing some pretty extraordinary things.

Cliff Duvernois:

I am your host Cliff DuVernois today.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today we're interviewing a couple people who actually explore extraordinary things.

Cliff Duvernois:

And actually they're doing some really cool things coming to Sault Ste.

Cliff Duvernois:

Marie.

Cliff Duvernois:

Normally I would save this type of episode for around Halloween time.

Cliff Duvernois:

But what these guys got happening is gonna be happening within a few

Cliff Duvernois:

weeks, so I wanna make sure that we spread the word throughout Michigan

Cliff Duvernois:

so you can take full advantage of it.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today I am joined by Tim Ellis and Brad Blair.

Cliff Duvernois:

They're the co-founders of the Upper Peninsula Paranormal Research Society,

Cliff Duvernois:

as well as the Michigan Para Con, the Para Paranormal Convention that

Cliff Duvernois:

has come in here in just a few weeks.

Cliff Duvernois:

So Tim, Brad, welcome to the show.

Tim Ellis:

Thanks for having us.

Tim Ellis:

Thank you.

Tim Ellis:

Appreciate it.

Cliff Duvernois:

So why don't you tell us what Paracon is?

Brad Blair:

Go ahead Brad, you can start.

Brad Blair:

That's a good question.

Brad Blair:

Yeah, it's a great question.

Brad Blair:

So Michigan Paranormal Convention, MI Paracon, is something Tim

Brad Blair:

and I came up with, the concept of 15 years ago now or so.

Brad Blair:

We were traveling around to different events and, paranormal events.

Brad Blair:

We'd been researching the paranormal for years and.

Brad Blair:

We had this idea, we were literally flying back, from Florida and sitting

Brad Blair:

next to each other on a flight.

Brad Blair:

We said, what if we tried to put on an event like this in Sault Ste.

Brad Blair:

Marie, Michigan?

Brad Blair:

We hemmed and hawed and went over the whole SWOT analysis and, what

Brad Blair:

would draw people in, what would we have to do to bring people in?

Brad Blair:

Because we're pretty much as far north as you go until you hit Canada.

Brad Blair:

And, we started kicking things around a little bit and, and.

Brad Blair:

We started developing this idea of bringing in authors, television

Brad Blair:

celebrities, heavy duty researchers that have been around for years and years to

Brad Blair:

just all come together and contribute to giving different presentations,

Brad Blair:

doing meet and greet with the fans and other paranormal celebrities.

Brad Blair:

all these kinds of people mixed together in one, in this big

Brad Blair:

paranormal potpourri of a melting pot, that happens at Kewadin Casino.

Tim Ellis:

It really was a matter of putting something together where as

Tim Ellis:

Brad and I were utilizing those types of events when we were traveling, it

Tim Ellis:

was to learn more for the team that we had just started with the Upper

Tim Ellis:

Peninsula Paranormal Research Society.

Tim Ellis:

We wanted to learn more about the field and learn more from those who were

Tim Ellis:

actually in the field doing all the work and the research, and wanted to learn

Tim Ellis:

from the best as far as we were concerned.

Tim Ellis:

So that's what these events are all about.

Tim Ellis:

you either wanna learn more on a personal level just because

Tim Ellis:

you're interested in the topic.

Tim Ellis:

Or maybe you feel you live in a haunted house or whatever, or you

Tim Ellis:

wanna learn about it for a little bit more on a professional level if you're

Tim Ellis:

part of a team or a research group.

Tim Ellis:

So it really fits both niches.

Tim Ellis:

No matter what your need is to learn more.

Tim Ellis:

That's what these weekends are all about, just coming and learning and sharing.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

That was actually gonna be my next question was when you talk

Cliff Duvernois:

about weekends, is it two days?

Cliff Duvernois:

Is it three days?

Brad Blair:

Geez, it's gone beyond.

Brad Blair:

It's, we now start on Wednesday night with a pregame party that

Brad Blair:

we do at our host Kewadin Casinos.

Brad Blair:

We do it in the back bay or back bar, Rapids Lounge that they have.

Brad Blair:

And we bring in some of the celebrities that come in early.

Brad Blair:

We just hop up on stage and do a little bit of Q and A and it's just a lot of fun.

Brad Blair:

It's more laid back.

Brad Blair:

So that's Wednesday night and that's open to the public.

Brad Blair:

Then starting Thursday, all day Thursday, all day Friday, all day

Brad Blair:

Saturday, we have presentations going on.

Brad Blair:

We have, pay to play, ghost hunt of the Museum Ship Valley

Brad Blair:

Camp going on Thursday night.

Brad Blair:

we.

Brad Blair:

Special entertainment in the nighttime.

Brad Blair:

We have, psychic galleries, workshops on all kinds of paranormal topics.

Brad Blair:

You name it.

Brad Blair:

It's just, it's gotten to be such an all-inclusive weekend

Brad Blair:

as far as anything strange.

Brad Blair:

And out there goes.

Tim Ellis:

And what's really neat to look back on is when we first

Tim Ellis:

started this, our 14 years ago, our first event, ran about 14 years ago.

Tim Ellis:

It was, it literally started, I think we had three speakers on Friday night.

Tim Ellis:

Maybe five or six on Saturday, and that was it.

Tim Ellis:

And to watch it grow to where it is today has been pretty fascinating

Tim Ellis:

to step back and, and check it out.

Tim Ellis:

But as Brad said, it starts off Wednesday night with a party because, anyone who's

Tim Ellis:

been here knows that the party is just as much a part of the weekend as, as.

Tim Ellis:

The actual speakers and the lectres.

Tim Ellis:

So it's a great time.

Tim Ellis:

it's just nonstop from Wednesday, right till Sunday morning when everyone's

Tim Ellis:

walking around, wiping the sleepy out of their eyes and hugging everyone

Tim Ellis:

goodbye you've seen for another year.

Tim Ellis:

So it's pretty, it's a pretty special weekend.

Cliff Duvernois:

How many people typically attend one of your Paracons?

Brad Blair:

It's, in the range of 13 to 1500.

Brad Blair:

We have the nice, the upper level of, our cutoff is at 1500.

Brad Blair:

That's what the powers that be at Kewadin Casino felt they could

Brad Blair:

comfortably seat in their theater, for that length of time without people

Brad Blair:

being crunched in on each other.

Brad Blair:

so yeah, this year it looks like we're probably going to end up

Brad Blair:

hitting that sellout point The way ticket sales are right now.

Cliff Duvernois:

Nice.

Cliff Duvernois:

And we're definitely gonna talk about that, a little bit later in the show.

Cliff Duvernois:

What I would like to do is, I would like to dive into your backstory.

Cliff Duvernois:

'cause you said this is something that you have been interested in all your

Cliff Duvernois:

life, and that is just the paranormal.

Cliff Duvernois:

So talk to us about your beginning roots, in that area.

Cliff Duvernois:

When did this start?

Cliff Duvernois:

Is this something that happened at grade school?

Cliff Duvernois:

Was it high school?

Cliff Duvernois:

Was it college?

Cliff Duvernois:

Talk to us about that.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah, and it's a great question and it's one we're asked, quite a bit.

Tim Ellis:

How did we get started into this being, Brad's about to

Tim Ellis:

turn the big 50 and I'm 51.

Tim Ellis:

we've been doing this for a long time and why and where and we always get asked,

Tim Ellis:

did you grow up in a haunted house?

Tim Ellis:

and the answer is no.

Tim Ellis:

Neither of us grew up in a, what you would call a haunted house that a lot of

Tim Ellis:

people feel they live in or grew up in.

Tim Ellis:

We had a lot of weird experiences as we were kids.

Tim Ellis:

But it's because we're out looking for them.

Tim Ellis:

And Brad and I, and actually the third founding member of our team, the

Tim Ellis:

Upper Peninsula Paranormal Research Society, Steve Laplonte, the three of

Tim Ellis:

us literally met in first grade Lincoln Elementary School, Miss Smith's class.

Tim Ellis:

And we were, we gravitated to each other because we were the weird

Tim Ellis:

kids, the wonderfully weird kids.

Tim Ellis:

And we were okay with that.

Tim Ellis:

We were the ones who loved the scary stories and the ghost

Tim Ellis:

stories and the spooky movies.

Tim Ellis:

And at that age, a lot of kids aren't really into that stuff 'cause it does

Tim Ellis:

still freak 'em out a little bit too much.

Tim Ellis:

But, the three of us were.

Tim Ellis:

And we found each other immediately.

Tim Ellis:

and since first grade man, We have grown up and grown together and, and

Tim Ellis:

have lived and loved like a family.

Tim Ellis:

And, here we are all these years later, but it really wasn't from an

Tim Ellis:

incident or a moment that happened.

Tim Ellis:

It was just a, an attraction to whatever the weirdness is that's out there in

Tim Ellis:

this world that surrounds us and we haven't stopped loving it even as adults.

Brad Blair:

Yeah.

Brad Blair:

We fed off of each other's passion for the paranormal from the early days.

Brad Blair:

It was, did you hear about this house down on the corner that there's

Brad Blair:

a baby crying in the basement?

Brad Blair:

And it's empty and we'd just, we'd bring different, of course most of them

Brad Blair:

were completely fictitious or things that we'd heard from older siblings or

Brad Blair:

neighbors or friends, but we just kept playing along and passing along the,

Brad Blair:

this great folklore and tales of the paranormal, the spooky, everything from

Brad Blair:

UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts obviously have been our passion in the center of it all.

Brad Blair:

But yeah, I mean it just, anything that was outside the bounds of

Brad Blair:

normalcy, we were really interested in.

Brad Blair:

and of course back in those days you had to wait, us keeping the stories going

Brad Blair:

throughout the year, what was a novelty.

Brad Blair:

Because back then you had to wait until the month of October for

Brad Blair:

anything to be in the media on ghosts, vampires, hauntings, any of that,

Brad Blair:

all came around in Halloween time.

Brad Blair:

And we'd see people like Dr.

Brad Blair:

Hans Holes, or Ed Lorraine Warren, showing up on like Phil Donahue

Brad Blair:

or these daytime talk shows.

Brad Blair:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

Have that holy week, that last week of October leading to Halloween.

Brad Blair:

Where every network had their Halloween specials on.

Brad Blair:

And we lived for that.

Brad Blair:

But then November 1st rolled around and it was gone for another 11 months.

Tim Ellis:

Not for us, but for everyone else.

Tim Ellis:

No, we just, we never let it go.

Tim Ellis:

We never let it go.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, so obviously, so this is something you guys have been

Cliff Duvernois:

chasing since you were kids and you had a curiosity about it since you were kids.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, at what point did you decide to form the Upper paranormal, upper

Cliff Duvernois:

Peninsula Paranormal Research Society?

Cliff Duvernois:

It's a mouthful.

Cliff Duvernois:

Make it easy for you to say,

Tim Ellis:

It really was after college.

Tim Ellis:

we all through high school, we spent a lot of our weekends doing what we

Tim Ellis:

called spooking, which is where we would get in the vehicles and we would

Tim Ellis:

drive to the abandoned houses or the old cemeteries and do the things to scare

Tim Ellis:

ourselves and the friends that came along with us, and we did that through

Tim Ellis:

high school and then we all graduated and went off our own ways for college.

Tim Ellis:

And as fate would have it and life would have it, we ended up back

Tim Ellis:

in our hometown, after graduating and working in our careers.

Tim Ellis:

And we realized at that point that we didn't outgrow of this.

Tim Ellis:

So we realized we had to take it to that next step now because at that

Tim Ellis:

point, as 22 and 23 year olds, if we're running around through abandoned

Tim Ellis:

houses, we're gonna get arrested.

Tim Ellis:

Now.

Tim Ellis:

We don't want to be arrested.

Tim Ellis:

So we figured we had to do it the legit way, which was actually create a research

Tim Ellis:

society to start to get serious about this and really start to look at what

Tim Ellis:

this thing is this feeling, is this energy is that we've loved since we were kids.

Tim Ellis:

So that's where it really started when we started to explore,

Tim Ellis:

taking it to a professional level.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, at what point in time did you guys think?

Cliff Duvernois:

'cause what, obviously when we talk about investigating the paranormal,

Cliff Duvernois:

the one thing that always comes up, of course is the equipment.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I can't help but to go back to like my earliest experience with that,

Cliff Duvernois:

which was during the movie Poltergeist.

Cliff Duvernois:

And the people showed up in the house, they were investigating, they had

Cliff Duvernois:

cameras rolling and all this other stuff.

Cliff Duvernois:

So at what point in time did you say to yourself, Hey, if we're gonna be

Cliff Duvernois:

official, we need to actually have decent gear in order to do that.

Cliff Duvernois:

It's like the cameras I could see in the dark or the E V P

Cliff Duvernois:

recorders or, hate the spirit box.

Cliff Duvernois:

But even that, yeah, you

Brad Blair:

Our first official investigation as the U P R S of the ERs.

Brad Blair:

We were borrowing equipment.

Brad Blair:

We had the old cassette reporters that, pushed the two big buttons in,

Brad Blair:

let that s for a half hour, flip the cassette over, record that stuff.

Brad Blair:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

and I still have in our archives, boxes and boxes of these old 60 minute Maxwell

Brad Blair:

cassettes that we were trying to record e v p electronic voice phenomena on.

Brad Blair:

We were borrowing the big old cameras that you'd put the v h s

Brad Blair:

tape into to go around and record.

Brad Blair:

it was quite the endeavor back then.

Brad Blair:

Not to mention film.

Brad Blair:

Kids cameras today versus the yesteryear when we started this.

Brad Blair:

Not the same.

Brad Blair:

We had to go through and if we really wanted to see results

Brad Blair:

and we thought we had something.

Brad Blair:

We'd fork over the extra money to get one hour film processing.

Brad Blair:

That'd be fancy.

Brad Blair:

Otherwise, you sent it away and you had to wait a week for

Brad Blair:

your pictures to come back.

Brad Blair:

Yeah.

Brad Blair:

So you know that, that age of the clunky gear versus, sleek

Brad Blair:

down modern days, night and day.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah, because remember when we, Cliff, when we first

Tim Ellis:

started, it was late nineties.

Tim Ellis:

We're talking 97, 98 when we started to talk about starting a team or

Tim Ellis:

where do we even start to have a team?

Tim Ellis:

And then it was late nineties in the early two thousands before we even

Tim Ellis:

actually started to do what we do now.

Tim Ellis:

So the TV shows weren't Ghost Hunters wasn't even out yet on sci-fi channels?

Tim Ellis:

No.

Tim Ellis:

So the TV shows weren't out there.

Tim Ellis:

The fancy gadgets weren't out there.

Tim Ellis:

We were trying to work off of what we knew from Hans Holzer and the TV shows

Tim Ellis:

that we saw and maybe Poltergeist or something where it was just the big

Tim Ellis:

audio recorders and the big cameras.

Tim Ellis:

and you had a notepad and a pen and you just took in, what happened around you.

Tim Ellis:

So that's where we started.

Tim Ellis:

That's where we cut our teeth.

Tim Ellis:

And then as the years and the decades rolled on, that's when all the

Tim Ellis:

fancy fun stuff used to come out.

Tim Ellis:

And before we knew it, we had totes full of gear that we still have the, yeah.

Tim Ellis:

That we don't even, we barely even touch now because we got caught up in that craze

Tim Ellis:

of wanting the next blinky gadget and the one that made sounds and we would buy 'em.

Tim Ellis:

And then it's really come full circle for us.

Tim Ellis:

Because we started very basic.

Tim Ellis:

We bought all the gear and we still have it, and it's just not all of it,

Tim Ellis:

but most of it's just sitting there.

Tim Ellis:

And now we're back to more of the basic science of investigating, which is

Tim Ellis:

trusting your gut and your senses and your sight and reporting your experiences.

Tim Ellis:

But still having better cameras and better audio recorders

Tim Ellis:

than we did back in the day.

Tim Ellis:

And the ghost box.

Tim Ellis:

And the ghost box, which we love so much.

Cliff Duvernois:

Oh, I hate that thing.

Cliff Duvernois:

for our audience, we're gonna take a quick break to thank our sponsors.

Cliff Duvernois:

When we come back, we're gonna talk a lot more about Paracon and what

Cliff Duvernois:

you can expect from this year, 2023.

Cliff Duvernois:

We'll see you after the break.

Cliff Duvernois:

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Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Total Michigan.

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm your host, Cliff DuVernois.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today we're talking with Tim and Brad from the Upper Paranormal, Upper Peninsula

Cliff Duvernois:

Paranormal Research Society ERs group.

Cliff Duvernois:

And, we're talking about all things now, Paracon.

Cliff Duvernois:

And an exciting event that's happening, just within a few weeks actually

Cliff Duvernois:

as we're having this conversation.

Cliff Duvernois:

Brad, before you were talking about how you and Tim were on an air airline,

Cliff Duvernois:

you're flying side by side and you're like, Hey, why don't we put on one

Cliff Duvernois:

of these conventions ourselves?

Cliff Duvernois:

I guess the question to you is whenever these things start and

Cliff Duvernois:

it's something I like to explore.

Cliff Duvernois:

What made you think that you could actually pull this off?

Brad Blair:

I don't,

Brad Blair:

we were drinking a made you that day.

Cliff Duvernois:

Ah, okay.

Cliff Duvernois:

that could solve the riddle, that's for sure.

Cliff Duvernois:

but what made you think that you could like actually pull this off

Cliff Duvernois:

and start to get speakers to come in and get people to show up?

Cliff Duvernois:

What made you think you could do that?

Brad Blair:

You know, we took off on a wing and a prayer.

Brad Blair:

And I guess just, A certain amount of confidence and a audacity that we had

Brad Blair:

approaching this saying, if we're going to do it, we're going to do it right.

Brad Blair:

We're not going to be one of these little sideshows that, pops in, Hey, we're

Brad Blair:

gonna do this, and then doesn't deliver.

Brad Blair:

We wanted to make sure we had the right people at the right place.

Brad Blair:

location was a big issue.

Brad Blair:

that was honestly, probably the biggest thing.

Brad Blair:

And if you've never been to Sault Ste.

Brad Blair:

Marie, we're at the end of I 75 right on the Canadian border.

Brad Blair:

We're a great tourist town.

Brad Blair:

The summers are very busy.

Brad Blair:

Winter is a completely different story.

Brad Blair:

We're busy but with a different crowd.

Brad Blair:

It's a lot of hockey, snowmobiles, you're winter sports people, but

Brad Blair:

we said, how are we going to draw from a major market because we're

Brad Blair:

not near anything near major market.

Brad Blair:

and that's where it came down to, We need the right people.

Brad Blair:

We need people that are going to draw the fans and the curious and the

Brad Blair:

bystanders in to buy these tickets.

Brad Blair:

And come and attend and meet these people and listen to the lectures.

Brad Blair:

we, it, it was, I guess the circumstance at the time was perfect.

Brad Blair:

Kewadin Casino here in Sault Ste.

Brad Blair:

Marie was looking to expand on their entertainment options.

Brad Blair:

they did a lot of, older country stars, the occasional touring group.

Brad Blair:

but they wanted to do something different.

Brad Blair:

And the manager of entertainment at the time happened to be a fan of

Brad Blair:

the developing paranormal reality genre that overtook Oh, nice.

Brad Blair:

Channel and sci-fi and all of these other cable networks.

Brad Blair:

upon approaching him, he was wide open to the idea, and then it was, gimme some

Brad Blair:

ideas of what you guys think you want.

Brad Blair:

Who do you wanna bring in?

Brad Blair:

When should we set this up?

Brad Blair:

and again, It's one of those things we knew you couldn't just rush in, hop in,

Brad Blair:

put this together and have it next month.

Brad Blair:

So our planning was close to a year on the first one.

Tim Ellis:

Yep.

Tim Ellis:

and it's never, and it's never stopped from that.

Tim Ellis:

We, we plan a whole year for the event.

Tim Ellis:

We maybe take a year, a month off to catch our breath.

Tim Ellis:

And then we're right back.

Tim Ellis:

And so the whole process is anywhere from 10 to 11 to 12 months to put on the event.

Tim Ellis:

But, we're heading into our 13th, lucky number 13th year.

Tim Ellis:

Yes, it should be 14th, but of course, COVID shut the world down for a year.

Tim Ellis:

So we're heading into lucky number 13.

Tim Ellis:

we have an idea of what we're doing now, and so the process is, we know

Tim Ellis:

what we're doing at this point.

Tim Ellis:

We, we better anyway.

Tim Ellis:

And and so it's a lot easier now than it was in the earlier years,

Tim Ellis:

but also the event's getting bigger.

Tim Ellis:

So we're dealing with more people and more flights and more things,

Tim Ellis:

more moving parts to take care of.

Tim Ellis:

So in that aspect, it's much more difficult than it was in the beginning.

Tim Ellis:

But overall, we know what we're doing now, so it's easier in that aspect.

Tim Ellis:

But in the beginning it was, as Brad said, it was a shot and a prayer, and

Tim Ellis:

we didn't know after year one if we were gonna be around for another one.

Tim Ellis:

We just wanted to try it.

Tim Ellis:

And, the timing was perfect to team up with Kewadin Casino.

Tim Ellis:

They wanted something different.

Tim Ellis:

We had a fresh idea.

Tim Ellis:

The guy was, the head manager was into it.

Tim Ellis:

So the relationship started.

Tim Ellis:

and we've never looked back.

Brad Blair:

our original plan was we thought if year one went

Brad Blair:

well, we could get a second year.

Brad Blair:

we honestly never envisioned it going past two years.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

So the question I got for you is, the very first year that you got it set up,

Cliff Duvernois:

like you said, it's, ringing a prayer, you guys are feeling this out on your own.

Cliff Duvernois:

And you put the website out there, you're like, Hey, here's the tickets.

Cliff Duvernois:

Go buy 'em.

Cliff Duvernois:

What was it like to see that first ticket sale actually come through?

Cliff Duvernois:

were you saying to yourself, holy cow, this is real, we gotta deliver now?

Tim Ellis:

Yeah, we were literally in touch with Kewadin probably every day,

Tim Ellis:

if not every other day, saying, Hey, where are we at with ticket sales?

Tim Ellis:

I'll never forget that reaching out every day to every other day.

Tim Ellis:

And I think that first year we maybe sold 700 tickets, but for us, for

Tim Ellis:

our first year, oh, That was amazing.

Tim Ellis:

We didn't know what to expect.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah.

Tim Ellis:

We were thinking maybe two, 300 we'd be happy.

Tim Ellis:

And we sold, seven to seven 50, I believe it was.

Tim Ellis:

And yeah.

Tim Ellis:

So it was a very powerful, magical moment where Brad and I were like,

Tim Ellis:

crap, we might be onto something here.

Tim Ellis:

And, and as Brad had said, We lucked out on the location too,

Tim Ellis:

to have the support of the casino.

Tim Ellis:

we're also very lucky that our entire team, the U P R S, we've had a small

Tim Ellis:

army behind us to put this on as well.

Tim Ellis:

We had one, we had a team meeting shortly after Brad and I had the idea,

Tim Ellis:

and we brought it up to the group.

Tim Ellis:

We're like, if we try to do something like this, are you guys behind this?

Tim Ellis:

Do you want to do it?

Tim Ellis:

All of 'em said, yes, we want to do this.

Tim Ellis:

So we couldn't do it without the group either because they work every weekend,

Tim Ellis:

every hour of this event, nonstop.

Tim Ellis:

It's all volunteer on our part because we want to do this event

Tim Ellis:

and it's because we love it.

Tim Ellis:

It's what we love to do.

Tim Ellis:

So it, we couldn't do this without a few things that fell into place perfectly.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I know that a big draw for these conventions are the people,

Cliff Duvernois:

the speakers That you can actually book.

Cliff Duvernois:

And walk us through that process of how do you think would be a

Cliff Duvernois:

good fit for your convention.

Cliff Duvernois:

'cause you guys treat this very seriously, right?

Cliff Duvernois:

When you're doing these, these investigations in your group

Cliff Duvernois:

and being all formal, it's not just whoever's popular, right?

Cliff Duvernois:

It's you.

Cliff Duvernois:

You have a certain feel, for who you wanna have as a guest.

Cliff Duvernois:

So how do you go about picking out those right guests for Paracon?

Brad Blair:

it's interesting you bring that up too going.

Brad Blair:

Just cycling back to year one, we didn't get all the guests we wanted.

Brad Blair:

We wanted Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson from Ghost Hunters.

Brad Blair:

They were the top guys in the field at the time.

Brad Blair:

And this booking agent we were working with said, they're

Brad Blair:

already booked up for that week.

Brad Blair:

I can't get you them.

Brad Blair:

There's this new show that's gaining popularity.

Brad Blair:

And I can get you all three of their main guys.

Brad Blair:

for less I could have got you these guys.

Brad Blair:

And as it turned out, that newer show kicking in was called Ghost Adventures,

Brad Blair:

which at this point in time has been the number one rated show on Travel

Brad Blair:

Channel for I don't know how many years.

Brad Blair:

But they were kicking into their second season and they took off like wildfire.

Brad Blair:

So we had them as our headliners year one.

Brad Blair:

We've never had that whole group back again.

Brad Blair:

But it was pretty amazing to see how, and this is where, it ties into your

Brad Blair:

question, where we gauged things, watching how the fans interacted with

Brad Blair:

them as being a paranormal pop stars.

Brad Blair:

Seeing the attention they drew.

Brad Blair:

And then we said, we've gotta look at people that have this kind of charisma,

Brad Blair:

people that are going to interact with the fans because there are some bigger

Brad Blair:

names, well-known people out there that we get warned are horrible around audiences.

Brad Blair:

They're not good.

Brad Blair:

Oh.

Brad Blair:

Interacting with people.

Brad Blair:

And so they, they might be high up in the field.

Brad Blair:

But if they're not going to sit back and be willing to have a conversation with

Brad Blair:

attendees who are buying tickets and coming to meet them and doing autographs

Brad Blair:

and taking the pictures with them, then we're not going to bring them in.

Brad Blair:

We, we want people who are going to be as interactive as possible.

Brad Blair:

Obviously we look for a good stage presence for people that are going to be

Brad Blair:

up in front of this crowd of 1500 giving, their talk on what they're supposed to

Brad Blair:

be the special super specialists in.

Brad Blair:

there's a lot of layers to it.

Brad Blair:

It's not just as you said, the most popular people we want more than that.

Brad Blair:

We want people that are going to be working and having fun.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah, because one of the special things about our event is the

Tim Ellis:

availability of the superstars that we bring in and the guests and their

Tim Ellis:

chance to interact with them and walk right up to them at their vendor table

Tim Ellis:

and talk with 'em and be with them.

Tim Ellis:

And as Brad said, if they're not good with the people, then we don't want 'em.

Tim Ellis:

Because it's, if the guests aren't happy, they're not coming back.

Tim Ellis:

So it's all about the people we bring in.

Tim Ellis:

And one thing we all, we have always tried to strive for too, is we really

Tim Ellis:

watch for the authors, and our opinion, some of the best researchers out

Tim Ellis:

there are actually the authors and not necessarily just the TV stars.

Tim Ellis:

So we're big on the authors too, and their publications and the work they've done.

Tim Ellis:

So we watch that very closely as well.

Cliff Duvernois:

it's interesting you say authors because

Cliff Duvernois:

writing a book is no easy task.

Cliff Duvernois:

So you know that those Yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

So you know that those people are dedicated to their craft.

Cliff Duvernois:

So for Paracon 2023, what are, who are some of the guests that, that are coming?

Cliff Duvernois:

That if people are, they watch tv, they're watching the paranormal world,

Cliff Duvernois:

or maybe not even tv, but anyways.

Cliff Duvernois:

What are some of the people that are coming here, what can people expect?

Brad Blair:

one, one, who's going to be one of our headliners this

Brad Blair:

year that we've never had before, i.

Brad Blair:

we're getting a great reaction on, and part of it is people didn't know this

Brad Blair:

gentleman was necessarily involved in the paranormal field, but Jack

Brad Blair:

Osbourne son of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne has done shows on Travel Channel.

Brad Blair:

He's got some more work coming up and he's very heavily

Brad Blair:

involved in the paranormal field.

Brad Blair:

And this will be our first year having Jack in, We've got this crew from Ghost

Brad Blair:

Hunters, which is 19 years running now.

Brad Blair:

insane for that.

Brad Blair:

That was the show that kicked off the whole reality field.

Brad Blair:

Jason Hawes, Shari DeBenedetti, Dustin Perry, Steve Gonsalves, Chris Williams

Brad Blair:

all coming up this year for it.

Brad Blair:

We've got Steve DiSchiavi from a show called The Dead Files,

Brad Blair:

which has a huge following.

Brad Blair:

They've been, that's the first year we've got him.

Brad Blair:

Yeah.

Brad Blair:

It is the first year for Steve.

Brad Blair:

That's another Travel Channel show.

Brad Blair:

the crew from Destination Fear, which is now,

Tim Ellis:

oh, on the YouTube, they've renamed it a little bit.

Brad Blair:

they just moved from travel's doing a whole remake, and

Brad Blair:

they've, they, they just filmed a whole season that's going on YouTube shortly.

Brad Blair:

It might be up right now.

Brad Blair:

yeah, they're, those are some of the headlines.

Brad Blair:

As far as authors, Rich Astep.

Brad Blair:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

Great author.

Brad Blair:

good friend of ours, great author guy kicks out like three

Brad Blair:

books a year, four books a year.

Brad Blair:

And we sit here oh yeah, exactly.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah.

Tim Ellis:

And he's got a full-time job on top of that.

Tim Ellis:

he does Moses.

Brad Blair:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

Yeah.

Brad Blair:

Yeah.

Brad Blair:

Chip Coffey.

Brad Blair:

psychic Medium, well-known.

Brad Blair:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

Multiple shows, psychic kids, Paranormal State, most recently Kindred Spirits,

Brad Blair:

which Amy Bruni and Adam Berry.

Brad Blair:

Also the co-stars from that show are both coming.

Brad Blair:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

Great people, friends of ours at this point in time,

Brad Blair:

they work with us every year.

Brad Blair:

Yeah.

Brad Blair:

John Zaffis the godfather of the paranormal field.

Brad Blair:

He is been doing this longer than most people.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah.

Tim Ellis:

And he's the only, actually, the only person in the field that has been to

Tim Ellis:

all 13 Michigan Paranormal conventions.

Tim Ellis:

He has not missed one.

Tim Ellis:

We've invited him back every time.

Tim Ellis:

And he has come back every time and he is one of our favorites.

Tim Ellis:

And he is one of the crowd's favorites.

Tim Ellis:

you might remember him from Haunted Collector sci-fi, MO or TV show.

Tim Ellis:

Yes.

Tim Ellis:

and speaking of authors two, one of Brad and i's favorites.

Tim Ellis:

And one of the things that I love about what we've been able to do through

Tim Ellis:

the years with Michigan Paracon and getting to know these people is actually

Tim Ellis:

literally forming friendships and bonds with people that we used to look

Tim Ellis:

up to before we ever got to know him.

Tim Ellis:

One of 'em is one of our favorite authors in the whole field, which is Jeff

Tim Ellis:

Belanger and Jeff will be back as well.

Tim Ellis:

So

Brad Blair:

Jeff is also the head writer and researcher for Ghost Adventures.

Brad Blair:

The, aforementioned Oh, cool.

Brad Blair:

Yeah.

Brad Blair:

Number one show on travel channel.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah, so the list goes on and on and it's all on our

Tim Ellis:

website where you can see it all.

Tim Ellis:

But, each year it just gets bigger and we couldn't be more excited.

Brad Blair:

Yeah, if you hop on MIParacon.com, it

Brad Blair:

will have all the speakers.

Brad Blair:

We're hoping to have the set schedule, which we've been having to for stall

Brad Blair:

due to getting the flights booked.

Brad Blair:

travel's been a nightmare this year.

Brad Blair:

Anybody that's been on, oh yeah.

Brad Blair:

Coding on flights gonna attest.

Brad Blair:

So we're hoping by the end of this week that the schedule is set in stone.

Brad Blair:

And we'll have that up on the website as well.

Brad Blair:

And that's where you can get tickets for, day passes, weekend passes,

Brad Blair:

psychic galleries, any of the workshops.

Brad Blair:

Everything is up at miparacon.com.

Brad Blair:

There's also a phone number that runs through our partners at

Brad Blair:

the Convention Visitors Bureau.

Brad Blair:

If you have any questions, you can call, email them.

Brad Blair:

They'll get right back to you.

Brad Blair:

They've been an amazing Yeah, partner over the years.

Cliff Duvernois:

Nice.

Cliff Duvernois:

And one of the things I wanna circle back to what you were talking about

Cliff Duvernois:

earlier about how it seems like your paranormal fix only happens for one week

Cliff Duvernois:

out of the year before people move on to Christmas or something else like that.

Cliff Duvernois:

You guys actually have a podcast.

Cliff Duvernois:

I.

Cliff Duvernois:

Where you talk about things that go bump in the night.

Cliff Duvernois:

So talk to us about that.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah, we do it.

Tim Ellis:

it's actually been, actually new episodes have been on hiatus for most

Tim Ellis:

of this year, this calendar year.

Tim Ellis:

It's just been so busy as Brad and I are both, business owners as well.

Tim Ellis:

I.

Tim Ellis:

And small business owner.

Tim Ellis:

So anyone who's a small business owner knows what that means,

Tim Ellis:

especially in today's world.

Tim Ellis:

But, yep, so we're doing everything we can just to keep our lights

Tim Ellis:

on in our actual businesses.

Tim Ellis:

we're, I'm hoping, we're hoping once we get past paracon and

Tim Ellis:

start to head into September, we can fire up some new episodes.

Tim Ellis:

But it's called right behind us, the Creaking Door Paranormal

Tim Ellis:

Radio is what it's called.

Tim Ellis:

And we've had this been, going for.

Tim Ellis:

14 years now.

Tim Ellis:

Maybe.

Tim Ellis:

It's gotta be sweet Moses.

Tim Ellis:

I know it's over 10.

Tim Ellis:

but it, yeah, and it's just, it's, we were utilizing the connections

Tim Ellis:

we were making through Mi Paracon and bringing on the guests of a

Tim Ellis:

lot of the people we brought in.

Tim Ellis:

And then I.

Tim Ellis:

as we continue to grow the podcast, making connections with other people.

Tim Ellis:

And it's just, it's a podcast.

Tim Ellis:

It's a, it's an hour long podcast that interviews, we always do an

Tim Ellis:

opening segment, then the main interview, and then a closing segment.

Tim Ellis:

And the main interview is always with someone, one of the bigger

Tim Ellis:

names within the paranormal field.

Tim Ellis:

And, it's very informative but very laid back and, just

Tim Ellis:

having a lot of fun with it.

Tim Ellis:

So it's out there and it's on all the major streaming platforms that

Tim Ellis:

all the podcasts are these days, and you can find at the Creaking Door

Tim Ellis:

Paranormal Radio and it's out there.

Tim Ellis:

And, hopefully within a couple months we'll be back on track to at least

Tim Ellis:

start getting some new shows out.

Cliff Duvernois:

Sweet.

Cliff Duvernois:

And speaking of authors, You guys have a couple of books We do.

Cliff Duvernois:

So talk to us about that.

Cliff Duvernois:

Okay.

Cliff Duvernois:

I do that.

Brad Blair:

This was the first, this was the second.

Brad Blair:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

funny story, Tim and I had talked about actually writing

Brad Blair:

this book for a number of years.

Brad Blair:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

This is Great Lakes Monsters and Mysteries.

Brad Blair:

yes, Covers a lot of the legends in the lower of the Great Lakes region.

Brad Blair:

We, we cover every state that touches one of the Great Lakes, plus, sea monsters.

Brad Blair:

We've got Bigfoot, we've got hauntings, we've got great legends

Brad Blair:

that, have grown through the years, in this wonderful region.

Brad Blair:

We're lucky enough to call home.

Brad Blair:

Tim and I had been kicking the idea around.

Brad Blair:

And we got a call one day from a lady named Rosemary Ellen Guiley who was

Brad Blair:

one of the most influential authors in the field of the paranormal.

Brad Blair:

She published over 70 books in her lifetime.

Brad Blair:

And she owned this publishing company, Visionary Living Publishing.

Brad Blair:

And she said, yo, you guys.

Brad Blair:

Are in such an amazing area of the world.

Brad Blair:

I think you take it for granted, how beautiful the upper peninsula is.

Brad Blair:

Yet it's still one of these kind of last frontier areas where you've

Brad Blair:

got miles and miles of unexplored wilderness, an undeveloped waterfront.

Brad Blair:

She said, have you guys ever thought about writing a book?

Brad Blair:

On your area, on your case files, and you and your team have a 20 year history.

Brad Blair:

I think people would love to see that.

Brad Blair:

We said, we've talked about writing a book.

Brad Blair:

But along the lines of this with more cryptids and UFOs and

Brad Blair:

everything, all in all in one.

Brad Blair:

And she said, I like that idea too.

Brad Blair:

But she said, I really wanna see a book on your case files.

Brad Blair:

And yes.

Brad Blair:

haunted history of your area of the upper peninsula in northern Michigan.

Brad Blair:

And just to put the icing on the cake.

Brad Blair:

She says, and I would like it done within the year so we could release it next year

Brad Blair:

at your 10th annual Michigan Paracon.

Brad Blair:

So we called Steve and we said, the three of us being the founders of the team

Brad Blair:

and having all the history and all of the case files sitting in, file cabinets

Brad Blair:

in my basement, which my wife loves.

Brad Blair:

yeah.

Brad Blair:

So we got together.

Brad Blair:

we sat and crammed and pulled files out and it was so great to reminisce

Brad Blair:

before we cut this down into the 10 stories that made it into the book.

Brad Blair:

And just going through some of these files and cases that we hadn't

Brad Blair:

thought of in, 17, 18, 20 years, that Oh, that'd be great in the book.

Brad Blair:

So we divvied up the cases that we decided we wanted to work on,

Brad Blair:

and each of us took a third of it and within the year we had it out.

Brad Blair:

Rosemary had it published.

Brad Blair:

Yooper Natural Haunts.

Brad Blair:

Still available on Yes.

Brad Blair:

On Amazon and at yoopernaturalhaunts.com.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah.

Tim Ellis:

So this is basically, this is Ghost Stories.

Tim Ellis:

Yes.

Tim Ellis:

This is all our case files over 20 years worth.

Tim Ellis:

And then this is more monsters.

Tim Ellis:

It's got ghost stories, as Brad said, but Sea Creatures, UFOs, black-eyed kids.

Tim Ellis:

it's just all the fun.

Tim Ellis:

Oh yes.

Tim Ellis:

All the fun stuff.

Brad Blair:

we even have a chapter, we, in the Creaking Door podcast,

Brad Blair:

we have a mailbag segment where people could send in their stories.

Brad Blair:

And we came up, with some of our favorites from over the years.

Tim Ellis:

Those are some of my favorite stories in the whole podcast.

Brad Blair:

And, change the names to protect the innocent.

Brad Blair:

But we came up with this Nicky little chapter, Tales from the Creaking Door.

Brad Blair:

There's some nice a of us sitting in the studio, which is, Way closer

Brad Blair:

to realistic than it should be.

Cliff Duvernois:

Salute to Eagle 95 1 there.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes.

Brad Blair:

yeah, we, Rosemary at the time, loved the concept of this book.

Brad Blair:

So she had pre-signed us to do a second book before we had

Brad Blair:

the first done, unfortunately.

Brad Blair:

Oh, nice.

Brad Blair:

shortly after the first book was published, we found out Rosemary

Brad Blair:

had been battling cancer the entire time she was working on this.

Brad Blair:

She passed shortly after the book was released.

Brad Blair:

It was the last book she published, oversaw the publishing

Brad Blair:

of and just to think back of.

Brad Blair:

All of the mentoring she did for us.

Brad Blair:

The picking up the phone to have her yell because she didn't like a part done.

Brad Blair:

I, she was a task master.

Brad Blair:

She was wonderful.

Brad Blair:

We could not have had a better writing coach or somebody to bring us into

Brad Blair:

that aspect of the field, that aspect of media than Rosemary Allen Guiley.

Brad Blair:

and we were so blessed to have worked with her.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah.

Tim Ellis:

And the whole time we were doing it, we had no idea she was battling cancer

Tim Ellis:

and was nearing the end of her life.

Tim Ellis:

She never once complained or or let us know once.

Tim Ellis:

She kept us on task until that book was done.

Tim Ellis:

So it was an absolute honor, and probably one of the best memories of

Tim Ellis:

our lives to be able to work with her.

Tim Ellis:

Just before she passed.

Brad Blair:

A a and she wrote the intro to the forward to the book.

Brad Blair:

So we've always got that with us.

Brad Blair:

And then, Jeff Belanger, our friend that's, the author and

Brad Blair:

writer for Ghost Adventures.

Brad Blair:

He wrote the forward to, Monsters and Mysteries for us.

Brad Blair:

So we've had some great people that we got to work with in these book projects.

Cliff Duvernois:

I could sit here and talk about this all day long and

Cliff Duvernois:

I know you guys don't fully care.

Cliff Duvernois:

for, so you already mentioned, mi par, is it MIParacon.com?

Cliff Duvernois:

Yep.

Cliff Duvernois:

The website if people want to go and get tickets.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yes, sir.

Cliff Duvernois:

and as far as like your books.

Cliff Duvernois:

Everything else like that, where can people go to get that?

Brad Blair:

Amazon or we can send you personalized copies directly

Brad Blair:

through Yooper natural haunts.com and that's Y o show 'em Timmy.

Tim Ellis:

So you take that there, go and put a.com at the end of it,

Tim Ellis:

and that'll get you to our personal website where we can sign 'em for you

Tim Ellis:

and and get 'em out to you that way.

Cliff Duvernois:

And then one last thing.

Cliff Duvernois:

You guys are also on the road giving speeches, so is there some way that

Cliff Duvernois:

people can track you, where you're going, where you're gonna be presenting?

Cliff Duvernois:

'cause I know you do it around Michigan.

Brad Blair:

If you follow us on social media, we probably keep that updated

Brad Blair:

better than any other sites on our face Facebook page is probably the best.

Brad Blair:

If you follow, Creaking Door on Facebook or the Upper Peninsula

Brad Blair:

Paranormal Research Society.

Brad Blair:

Tim Ellis, Brad Blair, our personal pages, we keep pushing it out.

Brad Blair:

Right now we've got what we start, I think in, we start with Michigan Paracon.

Brad Blair:

Yeah.

Brad Blair:

In August that, that kind of kicks off our fall, world tour, which

Brad Blair:

this year literally is a world tour.

Brad Blair:

We'll be at the, Michigan U F O contact in Houghton Lake, the weekend

Brad Blair:

of, I believe, September 23rd.

Brad Blair:

Mm-hmm.

Brad Blair:

Nice.

Brad Blair:

The following weekend we're on Mackinac Island with Amy Burney's Strange Escapes.

Brad Blair:

We head to, we're flying into Birmingham, England the last week of October.

Brad Blair:

This year we'll be presenting at Sage Paracon, which is, yeah.

Brad Blair:

So excited, kind, the beautiful Paracon, for England.

Brad Blair:

So it's the big one.

Brad Blair:

it's, Quite the neat event, and that's being held at Coombe

Brad Blair:

Abbey, outside of Birmingham.

Brad Blair:

So really looking forward to that one.

Tim Ellis:

And we're also, nothing's, penned yet, but we're

Tim Ellis:

working with, the libraries are starting to reach out now too.

Tim Ellis:

And we'll be doing midweek talks as well throughout the state.

Tim Ellis:

So just watch our social media.

Tim Ellis:

Yeah.

Tim Ellis:

And that'll give you the best schedule.

Brad Blair:

I,

Cliff Duvernois:

Brad, Tim, thank you so much for taking

Cliff Duvernois:

time to chat with us today.

Cliff Duvernois:

we really do appreciate it.

Tim Ellis:

Always a pleasure, Cliff.

Tim Ellis:

Always a pleasure, Cliff.

Cliff Duvernois:

And for our audience, you can always roll

Cliff Duvernois:

on over to total michigan.com.

Cliff Duvernois:

Click on Tim and Brad's interview and get all of the delicious links

Cliff Duvernois:

that they were talking about before.

Cliff Duvernois:

We will see you next week when I have another story with an ordinary Michigander

Cliff Duvernois:

doing some pretty extraordinary things.

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