Jim Szudy | 440 Photography
Marleigh McVeigh and Jessica Oktober of Cleveland Area Paranormal Society
Deciding what to do on Halloween Weekend is never easy, but the Cleveland Area Paranormal Society
(CAPS) is offering a completely new experience unlike anything The Land has ever had before.
On Oct. 27, Public Square gets taken over by spooky vendors, beer gardens, tarot readers, readings from professional mediums, a 'Vamps and Ghouls Variety Show' presented by Noella DeVille and Midwest Nerdlesque
, DJs spinning terrifying tunes and a guided tour with clairvoyants and paranormal specialist, Sara Cope, to explore haunted locations downtown.
Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in Halloween gear for the Costume Contest held at at 9 p.m., and the first 150 entrants will receive a CAPS tote bag in order to 'trick-or-treat' the vendors for a free swag.
Earlier this June, founder Marleigh McVeigh posted an event on Facebook advertising a guided ghost tour in downtown Cleveland, and the event sold out in one day. Recognizing the demand for haunted tours that were based in both supernatural studies as well as historical context, Cleveland Area Paranormal Society was born.
McVeigh met Jessica Oktober after selling out a few more tours, and the duo joined forces to improve the marketing and visibility of the CAPS.
"In the last four months, we've sold out every tour to date," McVeigh tells Scene
. "We have an Ohio City tour, a downtown tour and we're planning seances, including a midnight one on Halloween at the House of Wills
The midnight seance for the House of Wills sold out within hours of posting the event on Facebook, and CAPS had to add three additional events to meet the insatiable demand.
"When I first met Marleigh, I couldn't believe how popular her events were," Oktober tells Scene
. "One event post from her personal Facebook had over 5,000 views, I've been a photographer for over 20 years, and I've never seen those kind of numbers. It impressed the hell out of me and I wanted to be a part of it."
Both McVeigh and Oktober identify as practicing witches, and the rest of the CAPS team includes a paranormal investigator, a spirit medium & Lukumi High Priestess and exactly what any contemporary paranormal business needs, a "Twitter liaison and spooky consigliere."
"What we're trying to do, is become a spooky community outreach program," McVeigh says.
An Akron native, McVeigh was stunned by the stunning architecture and rich history of Cleveland's buildings, but noticed there wasn't a way to learn more about them in a way that was palatable for her.
"I started looking at all of the historical elements of Cleveland and wanted to find a way to connect the history with the folklore," she says.
Not just a way for the public to explore the supernatural, CAPS is also involved with a number of philanthropic endeavors including working with the Old Brooklyn historical society to rehabilitate the cemetery, and fix up gravestones that have seen better days.
"We're currently trying to work with Clevelanders for Public Transit
," says McVeigh. "I'll never understand why a city this big has such an unreliable public transit system." CAPS hopes to utilize the proceeds of covered tours during the colder months to put back into Cleveland's RTA.
"Ultimately, we're not here to get rich, we just want to be able to make a living and put the rest of our funds back into the city to keep it interesting and vibrant," says McVeigh.
The Cleveland Area Paranormal Festival is Oct. 27 at Public Square from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., giving you plenty of time to head out to the bars during the witching hours. Tickets to the event include a guided haunted tour of a surprise Cleveland location, a free reading from a clairvoyant and access to the vendors, cash beer garden and the burlesque variety show.
For more information and ticket purchasing, click here
Courtesy of Doll Bambino | Cleveland Area Paranormal Society