PROSPECT, Maine — In the foggy Sunday afternoon, people at Fort Knox were sharing stories of ghosts, demons, UFOs and interactions with worlds beyond our own.
Believers gathered for the second day of the annual Psychic and Paranormal Faire at Fort Knox. It was the seventh time the Friends of Fort Knox has hosted the unusual event, said Leon Seymour, the Friends’ executive director.
Seymour said the weekend had gone smoothly, though the drizzly weather kept attendance under 300. He said the event taps into a current in pop culture that is obsessed with the paranormal.
“Eight years ago, there weren’t ghost-hunting TV shows on every cable channel,” he said. “We don’t make any claims to the validity of all this, but it does reflect the popular culture.”
Last year, the crew from SyFy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” conducted an investigation at Fort Knox and claimed to have found all kinds of spectral activity. Seymour said that has created a buzz around the fort and attracted believers from all over the country.
On Sunday, the team from Brewer-based East Coast Ghost Trackers gave a presentation to a small crowd. On display were all their gadgets used to help communicate with “the other side.”
Jamie Dube, ECGT’s co-founder, said his team’s ghost hunting works at the intersection of the spiritual and scientific world, using modern technology in their investigations. But he said the electromagnetic sensors, modified digital cameras and other devices aren’t used to help detect ghosts, but to facilitate conversations.
“There are tools that allow them to communicate with us,” he said. “We give them the means to communicate, if they choose to.”
For example, the ghost trackers use a so-called “ghost box” — a FM radio scanner that Dube said can be used to hear ghostly words.
To this reporter, it seemed like nothing more than radio static and brief snippets of ordinary broadcasts. But Dube said trained investigators can hear the difference between the mundane and the paranormal.
“It’s the tone of the voice,” he said. “If I’m asking questions and that same tone comes back over and over, and it answers questions, then you know.”
One of the biggest draws at the Faire was a presentation from Ahura Z. Diliiza, a self-proclaimed “psychic policeman” from Westbrook. Diliiza is an impressive figure, with an intricate tattoo covering half his face and a long set of blond braids flowing from a mohawk. He boasts an impressive ability.
“Usually, when I appear, if there’s a negative entity around, it goes away,” he said. “Or, I make it go away.”
He worked the crowd like a seasoned performer, engaging them and drawing laughs, even when the talk turned to dark topics such as curse-breaking or demonic exorcism, just two of the services Diliiza said he offers.
Inside the fort, at the former officers’ quarters, tarot card readers and mediums set up shop and gave readings and psychic advice. Attendees eagerly shelled out cash for metaphysical insight, from $5 for a basic tarot reading to $40 for a half-hour session with a medium.
Rebecca Albright, an Otis astrologer, has been reading tarot cards for 30 years, she said. She said that when she was a teen, she was taught to read cards and had been doing it ever since. She’s an annual vendor at the Faire, and said the Fort Knox event offers a better atmosphere than other state or county fairs where she offers her services.
“People who are here actually want to explore the metaphysical,” she said. “I go to other fairs and people are there for the oxen.”
Lisa Johnson of South China visited with Sky — just Sky — who gave an intuitive reading. She said that while the psychic had a hard time pulling up specifics, she still had interesting insights to offer.
Still, Johnson’s no skeptic.
“I can understand being skeptical of someone’s ability, but I’m not skeptical that these sorts of energies exist,” she said.
A woman named Ginny — she wouldn’t give her last name — said she came straight to the Faire from church. She said she had had experience with spirits and was excited to see the ghost trackers, but said the rest of the day’s offerings were a bit much.
“I believe in spirits, but I have a hard time with UFOs and demons and stuff,” she said. “But it’s nice to be able to talk to people who have had experiences like I have.”
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.