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Texas Paranormal Unity Fest: a gathering of ghostly professionals

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One need only to surf the myriad cable channels to recognize that ghost hunting is close to becoming a bona fide American pastime. Spawned by programs like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, numerous groups have sprung up around the country hoping to get a glimpse behind the shadowy veil of the paranormal. Understandably, paranormal conferences and gatherings have begun to spring up as well drawing respectable crowds of curiosity seekers. One such conference is coming to South Central Texas the second weekend of March.

Dubbed the Texas Paranormal Unity Fest 2012 by organizer Becca Shugart, the event will be held outdoors at the colorful Dragonz Wylde Ranch near Round Rock, March 9-12, and will feature ghost hunting teams and guest speakers from all over the country. “When I first got into the field, I saw a lot of selfish motivation. There wasn’t enough camaraderie and different teams seemed to be in competition,” Shugart said during a recent phone interview. “I wanted to create an event that would bring people together.”

Shugart, who grew up in Florida, became interested in the paranormal as a youth, growing up in an old house that was apparently populated with the spirits of ill and elderly patients that her mother, a nurse, had taken in over the years. But Becca is a fairly recent arrival on the ghost hunting scene, having just formed her first group (Texas Light Paranormal) within the past year. She’s already conducted investigations at several, notable haunted locations around Texas, including the notorious Hill House and Goat Man’s Bridge in Denton. The Unity Fest will be unique, according to Shugart, since the three-day festival will afford attendees an opportunity to camp out overnight together and really get to know one another. Anyone interested in getting involved in paranormal research is invited to attend. Tickets will be $40 at the gate, but can be purchased at a discount in advance via eventbrite. All proceeds from the event will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  

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