As any student who attends West Virginia University at Morgantown can tell you, there's an air of mystery that grows over the Monongahela Valley at night.
Ranked among the most haunted locales in West Virginia, Morgantown—and all of the Monongahela Valley, from Pittsburgh to the Allegheny uplands—is imbued with a sense of the uncanny.
It is for this reason that the organizers of northern West Virginia's new paranormal exposition felt Cheat Lake, near the Pennsylvania border, was an ideal location to grow an October event that investigates the unknown—ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, and other aspects of the paranormal.
"We chose Cheat Lake because it’s a great location within an area where those from Marion, Monongalia, and Harrison counties could enjoy an event of this nature," Les O'Dell said of the inaugural West Virginia Cryptids and Strange Encounters Paranormal Exposition.
"But it's not limited to just those counties. We also wanted it in a location where those in nearby Pennsylvania could attend as well."
Several hundred people are expected to turn out on October 12 for the 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. event, which will include seven speakers who will lecture of subjects as diverse as ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot, paranormal investigations, haunted relics and locations, and psychic self-defense.
"There will also be a round-table segment where folks attending the event can share their own paranormal experiences," O'Dell said.
Twenty-five guest authors, artisans, and psychics are scheduled to attend, "and even a talented baker that will be making paranormal-themed goodies," he said.
While other expositions are growing in number and popularity across West Virginia, O'Dell said the event is somewhat different in that it will encompass a broad range of interests and that admission is free and the event is open to the public.
"Ours will be a little different due to the fact it will encompass all that is paranormal—from ghost to cryptids," he said, "and one thing I feel that sets the WV C.A.S.E Paranormal Expo apart from others is that it’s free for the public to attend."
The diversity and free admission were also mandated to encourage increased attendance and the inclusion of families.
"This was done so those who have children who are interested in paranormal subjects, such as Bigfoot, can come and enjoy the event without worrying about the bank account and also give those who have had paranormal happenings a place to come and share their experiences."
O'Dell is a co-founder of the Midnight Talkers Paranormal Group and West Virginia Cryptids and Strange Encounters.
The exposition will be at the event center at the Cheat Lake Volunteer Fire Department at 409 Fairchance Road, Morgantown, WV 26508.
Cheat Lake is a drive of an hour-and-a-half south of the mouth of the Monongahela River in downtown Pittsburgh and an hour's drive north of the head of its West Fork near Weston, West Virginia.
For more information, call 304-365-2957 or visit the expo's Facebook page.
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