There were no vampires, cobwebs or zombies. There was no blood, there was no gore and there were no ghosts or little green men in spaceships.
The Strange St. Cloud Unexplained Conference was surprisingly normal, in a rather dull room of the St. Cloud Civic Center.
About 50 people showed for the Strange St. Cloud Unexplained Conference. The crowd was a vast array of people, from ages from 10 to 50.
There were conventional looking people, and there were people dressed in all black. There was no paradigm to which the audience fit.
The lights dimmed and the crowd fell into a hush while Chad Lewis divulged information on some of the more intriguing haunted locations in Minnesota.
Contrary to the name of the conference, only three St. Cloud haunts were mentioned in the 30 minute presentation. Among some of the locations discussed were the Wabasha Street Caves in St. Paul, Thayer's Bed & Breakfast in Annandale and St. Cloud 's Skatin' Place and D. B. Searle's.
Lewis, who has a master's degree in applied psychology, started exploring these locations after his time at the University of Wisconsin Stout.
"I started to think both sides of the question - If these things exist, what does that mean for us as a human race, what does it mean for our religion? And if they don't exist, why do so many people think they've seen a ghost of a deceased relative or an extraterrestrial," Lewis said. "I was just curious."
The curiosity paid off for Lewis and Terry Fisk, who wrote the book "The Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations."
The book gives accurate directions to haunted locations in Minnesota, as well as information on the urban legends and history on the location. The book is available at Barnes & Noble and Borders.
Later, the conference settled down for Fisk's presentation.
Slightly more scientific than Lewis' presentation, Fisk discussed studies of past life experiences, mediums and near-death experiences, such as comatose patients being able to describe rooms they had been in, and people recounting details from while they were clinically dead.
He also explored different phases human civilization has gone through in its quest to understand the nature of the soul.
"A group of people would have a certain set of beliefs, but when they came in contact with another culture, they'd incorporate a lot of those cultures' beliefs," Fisk said. "For a belief system that might just not make sense, they'd take another idea from another culture, and they'd incorporate it into their own belief system."
During the question and answer session with Fisk, someone brought up the concept of the soul being housed in cells, because of transplant patients taking on characteristics or likes and dislikes of their donor.
Theories were thrown about all night, some of them radical, and some of them rational, but none were criticized or dismissed.
It was a comfortable atmosphere for people to ask questions in and learn from the more experienced speakers.
The last speakers of the night were Kevin Nelson and Noah Voss. Nelson was what one might expect from a ghost hunter, wearing all black clothes, a large-brimmed, black hat and a long, black leather jacket.
The two fielded questions from the audience about their escapades throughout the rest of the night. They tackled any subject, from crop circles to orbs to demonology.
Overall, the night seemed to bring up more questions than it answered.
"It's for people to go out to these places and take a look for themselves," Fisk said. "Make up your own mind."