Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Paraplex

I had hoped that I would have an amazing story to tell you. I admit I had high hopes for the Paraplex. I should know better than to build things up in my mind in such a way that nothing will ever meet my expectations...(if you read this sweetheart, I don't mean, of course, are perfect in every way).

Okay. The husband and I headed to the Paraplex around 6pm on Friday. It was still daylight. The "paranormal researchers" working at the Paraplex assured us that night or day wouldn't make a difference in our experience. We didn't ask, but they offered that tidbit. We paid $48. I think I would have felt better if they held a gun to us and just took the money. Admission is $24 per person. Now, to their credit, the admission is for all day. You could wander around the Paraplex and leave and come back later if you chose.

According the the brochure the Paraplex is in a building that is over 130 years old and was actually a mortuary for more than 80 years. I suppose this is meant to help with the creepy factor. The property is monitored 24/7 by cameras (night vision, color, and thermal) with devices to listen for and record EVPs. So, it has the potential to be creepy and awesome.

We started in the Haunted art room. There were a lot of pictures of paranormal researchers from the days of old along with a short bio on them. Anne Rice's doll collection. There were some allegedly haunted personal possessions in glass cases. Next to each item was a computer display that told the story behind the haunted item. You couldn't touch anything.

The Psychic Secrets Unveiled room unveiled no additional secrets than what any average person with an interest in the paranormal wouldn't have already known.

The Vampire room housed numerous vampire hunting tools and hunting kits used a hundred or more years ago. In a small corner of the room there were also werewolf hunting tools.

The Ghost Images Electronic Voice Phenomena is one touch screen computer. There are a number of EVP recordings to listen to. I guess with the suspension of disbelief and a bottle of rum, one could actually wet his pants (most likely laughing at the absurdity of it). I get more jazzed listening to the EVPs on Paranormal State. I'm not saying that these are not actual recorded phenomena. I just wanted to be so much more impressed than I was...but, as several people have told me I'm dead inside, I suppose it takes much more than that.

Next we ventured up to the 2nd floor. I almost soiled myself as one of the Hollywood creature props was just to the side of the staircase on the 2nd floor with his arm practically reaching out over the entrance. Creepy looking. We went into the Tarot/Psychometry area. I took the Zener Cards "test" on the touch screen computer. It was actually frustrating because technology and I simply cannot coexist peacefully. It took several tries and my cursing the stupid machine to hell before I got it to do anything...stupid touch screen...maybe I am just too cold for it register anything from me. I only made it part of the way through the test before I was too frustrated to go on. In the Psychometry area there are several items in glass cases. You are meant to slip your fingers into the small openings and touch each item and try to guess its history.

Moving on to the Ouija area...there was a video that explained some of the history and superstitions about the Ouija boards. There was a small table with a Ouija board set up for guests to use. The husband and I started to do it, but we both felt like morons because we had nothing to ask. Then I just sat there for a moment and tried to will the thing to move all by itself. It didn't. Stupid unreliable ghosts (did I mention that the building is a registered haunted place? There are several ghosts that have been recorded on the property. I didn't see any myself. No surprise there.)

Daily movies on paranormal phenomena are shown in the Red Theatre. They were only showing snippets of paranormal news while we were there.

From there we ventured down to the basement. This was what I was waiting for...the Fear Experiment. The scariest part for me was exactly what I thought it would be...going down the basement steps. Something about that creeps me out. It's probably because in the movies nothing good ever comes from heading down the basement steps. That theory pretty much held true here. You herd your group (in our case 2 people) in a corner and watch a short video explaining fear. My biggest fear was disappointment. Then you are directed by the man on the video to head into the hallway behind you. The little twisting, dark, cramped hallway you walk through is a small part of The Mortuary. The Paraplex occupies the same space as the Halloween haunted house called The Mortuary. So, all the same props are used. I told you I was with my husband. Well, the brave soul that he his...he made me go first. Something about the darkness and black lights making him blind. Yeah, whatever. So, I took his hand and dragged him with me so he wouldn't fall...or run away. There was a very short moment of caution when the hallway seemed to narrow because of the props used...I'm a bit claustrophobic. But it was very brief. Mostly, I was pissed. I was disappointed. I was debating going back upstairs and asking the researchers if that was the mild version of the Fear Experiment. Surely there must be something more down one of those hallways that was closed off. But, I headed back upstairs and told them we wanted to do the Seance Experience.

Back up to the 2nd floor. We went into the seance room. They told us that they were going to simulate a seance because ghosts can't always be reliable. The "researcher" left the room and started the seance "experience." Once again we were directed to watch a video. Same guy from the Fear Experiment did the video for the Seance Experience. I won't ruin it for those that still intend to go, but it was everything I expected it to be.

We left after that. I debated going back after dark, but I really didn't think it would make much of a difference.

Don't get me wrong. If a person walks into the place afraid and is easily scared...Halloween haunted houses frighten you, a scary movie keeps you awake for'll love this place. I just don't scare easily.

I think the Paraplex has potential. There should be more to see. There should be more to do. The technology should be friendlier for people like me (those that have a hate-hate relationship with it). I know it is meant to be more informative than frightening, but to make money and keep people interested, there really needs to be more. More things to see. More WOW factor. Something. It just seemed to lack something. I probably wouldn't be as harsh if it didn't cost me almost $50 just to get in the door. I really had high hopes.

I am still going to try the Paraplex Annex in the French Quarter. I'll update you on that when I get down there.

For now...go in fear.


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