University Park, Pennsylvania – UNIV-CON, the only university-backed paranormal conference in the U.S. now has something else to boast about. On Friday afternoon, the Penn State Paranormal Research Society and its parent organization, Paranormal Research Society LLC, announced that the conference series is set to become the largest paranormal conference in the United States.
Previous attendance for UNIV-CON4 in 2005 was over 700. This year, however, the society and conference committee are estimating well over 1,200 people.
“The numbers don’t lie,” says 2006 UNIV-CON manager Sergey Poberezhny. “Every year UNIV-CON has doubled in size. This year’s early bird tickets suggest that we’re on to something big.”
Maybe it’s due to UNIV-CON’s first-class lineup, which include Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of Sci Fi’s “Ghost Hunters,” Carla Baron and John Oliver of Court-TV’s new hit show, “Haunting Evidence,” Chris Fleming of the internationally popular “Dead Famous,” and over a dozen other well-respected members in the paranormal community.
Founder and Director Ryan Buell feels that the growing popularity of UNIV-CON is no surprise.
“We’ve established ourselves amongst paranormal enthusiasts, especially the past two years,” Buell says. “UNIV-CON has been able to do something that no other conference has; we’ve become a brand name. When you think of UNIV-CON, you expect events that you can’t find anywhere else. Hands down.”
This year, UNIV-CON has pulled out all the stops. The society announced earlier this month that one of the first-ever paranormal museums and exhibits will debut during the conference. Even regular events like the ghost tours have been upgraded. This year, attendees who wish to go on a haunted tour of the Penn State campus will get to do so on horse and carriage. Poberezhny also promises a huge presence of media as well as from the TV and movie industry, which last year saw Sci Fi Channel, the WB, and Lions Gate make an appearance.
With all the pizzazz, Buell and Poberezhny claim that they haven’t lost focus of what the conference is meant to be: educational and informative.
“We’re spending thousands to give both students and out-of-towners hours of quality workshops and events that they won’t find anywhere else,” says Buell. “Even the large tent pole lectures like Jason and Grant are highly informative. A lot of people like to criticize their show for being purely entertainment, but when you see these guys speak at the conference, you see two guys who know their stuff. They break it down for you in a way that television can’t.”
With the conference just over two months away, Poberezhny and Buell claim that UNIV-CON has yet to reveal all of its surprises.
“In a perfect world, everything would be finalized and ready to go back in May,” explains Poberezhny. “But with a conference this size, there are so many people involved like agents, committees, etc. It takes time for things to materialize.”
While Poberezhny won’t elaborate on any new developments, he claims that UNIV-CON will be making some “big and important” announcements in the next two weeks.
So far, attendees as far away as California, Florida and Texas are purchasing tickets. Buell adds that the hype for UNIV-CON is growing considerably every week.
“It’s a little odd that a conference at a university in the middle of Pennsylvania gets to make the claim that it will be the largest paranormal conference,” Buell says, “but then again, stranger things have happened.”
UNIV-CON5 will be held at University Park on October 5-8th, 2006. Tickets can be purchased at the conference Web site.