Kent gets paranormal

Sarah Lorenz

The Kent Stage hosted its third Paranormal Weekend this past Saturday and Sunday.

The building is rumored to have several ghosts lurking through its hallways, basement and main theater.

Richele Charlton, 60, Kent State alumna and owner of The Kent Stage has grown up near Kent her entire life. She and her husband bought and renovated the theater in 2002 and have brought in several Grammy winning artists, musicians and notable speakers such as Blues Traveler and Tim Schmit.

The Paranormal Weekend celebrates the theater, its history and the active spirits claimed to reside in the theater.


“Kent is my favorite haunted city, the Kent Stage has so much energy,” psychic investigator, said author and public speaker Laura Lyn during her presentation at the Paranormal Weekend.

Lyn uses her self-proclaimed gift as medium to bring positive energy to people, while encouraging them to access their “spirit voices.”

“Spirits share what they know and live through us,” Lyn said.

Jess Gray, criminology major from Capital University, was inspired to come to the Paranormal Weekend after seeing Lyn present at a previous event. She is a big fan of the Campfire Podcast by Jim Harold, a paranormal podcaster and the event’s emcee.

“In my major, death is very common topic,” Gray said. “I enjoy learning about the process and the afterlife.”

Haunted Housewives Theresa Argie and Cathi Weber promote awareness and fundraising to historical preservations. They conduct private investigations for paranormal research and claims while pursuing creative solutions for those seeking peace.

“History has to be remembered; ghosts are a glimpse of the past,” Argie said. “Northeast Ohio has some of the most creepy and haunted locations I have ever been, too.”

Karen Johnson, 60, from Tallmadge, Ohio, was excited to hear about the Haunted Housewives and their work.

“Listening to Theresa speak was amazing and very interesting,” Johnson said. “Especially the fundraising she does to save historical sites in Ohio.”

Writer and researcher for the popular television show “Ghost Adventures” Jeff Belanger, 42, embraces education and research about history and the paranormal world. He works with Zac Bagans to find haunted history across the United States for the Travel Channel.

“We make two episodes a month with weeks of research,” Belanger said. “I love my job; I make a living on telling the truth.”

His presentation at the Paranormal Weekend about finding truth inspired listeners. A month ago, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for cancer research. He found his personal depiction of truth at the top of the mountain and inspired guests to “find their own mountain” and climb it.

Holly Ashcraft, a freshman fashion merchandising major at Kent State, said Belanger was her favorite speaker.

“He was different than the other speakers because he shared so much personal experience of why he does what he does,” Ashcraft said.

Julie Starrett, Ohio State Paranormal Society Regional Director, helps people try to detect paranormal activity in their homes. The Paranormal Society is located at one of seven divisions: Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, South Carolina and Key West. Starrett is content with her paranormal abilities and uses them to help other.

“I have known my calling from a young age, I could feel it,” Starrett said. “As I have gotten older, I embrace my connection to the supernatural.”

Similar to Starrett, 25-year-old Akron-native Emily Hagenbaugh, has studied paranormal demonology for 15 years.

“The supernatural unknown has always intrigued me,” Hagenbaugh said. “Coming to events like this is a good refresher course.”

The Kent Stage gave access to restricted areas of the building Saturday night during a paranormal investigation that took place from 8 p.m. to midnight. Thirty-six people divided into four groups throughout the theater in hopes of witnessing paranormal encounters with spirits that are said to haunt the theater.

At one point during the night, the groups were separated and conversing in smaller sections. A high-pitched giggle echoed throughout the theater and was heard by everyone who was on the main level of the building.

Belanger began to ask the crowd if anyone had giggled, and the replies were all the same: no.

“We actually have audio of the giggle,” Belanger said. “It isn’t definitive proof of ghosts, but we have it.”


For those who couldn’t attend the investigation, Argie played the audio she recorded of the giggle to the crowd during a panel held by various guests from the weekend.

Throughout the panel, the speakers recapped what happened during the investigation and answered questions for the audience.

During the investigation, many of the attendees experienced fluctuations in temperature, heard various chatter and smelled strong scents.

“Warm and cold spots signify areas of charged energy for spirits,” Charlton said.

During the Q and A, an audience member asked Lyn to describe how she felt when she channeled a spirit.

Lyn described channeling spirits as a sensation of pressure. She used the analogy of feeling her ears popping in an airplane and a personal invasion of space.

“I experience goosebumps, temperature change and influx all at once,” Lyn said.

A common theme throughout the weekend was why people don’t open up to the paranormal, specifically due to fear, doubt and being scared of the unknown. However, others rely solely on ghost hunting in order to confirm their beliefs and suspicion with physical proof.

“I don’t need ghost hunting to confirm my experiences, but it is so much fun,” Charlton said.

The panel was able to address concerns and questions that the audience members had while providing them with experience based feedback and stories of firsthand experiences. However, they encouraged the audience to go out and define their own truth.

“If you have questions about the paranormal, go find your answers,” Belanger said.

Argie stressed the importance of paying respect to the spirits and souls of the paranormal world, and reminded the audience to have empathy and to remember ghosts aren’t here for personal entertainment.

“Ghosts were physical people once upon a time with real thoughts, feelings and emotions, just like you and me,” Argie said “They aren’t here to entertain us.”

Sarah Lorenz is the downtown and neighborhoods reporter, contact her at [email protected].