Rocky Smith, organizer of the Oregon Ghost Conference, presented the first conference in his hometown, Oregon City, in 2012. In 2016, he brought the conference to the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, with exhibits, psychics, authors and tours of haunted Seaside. This year’s conference was held last week, with Zoom events and socially-distanced walking tours in Seaside and Astoria. The Signal spoke with Smith at the convention center about the conference.
Q: In 2020, you canceled the Oregon Ghost Conference at the last minute.
Smith: We had thousands and thousands of dollars of tickets and events. You don’t want to take the risk that someone got sick at the ghost conference. It’s not worth it. We were two weeks before the event. That’s when everything was canceled. It’s just horrible to spend a year working on an event and then it all just goes.
Q: How did you plan this year’s conference?
Smith: I was reluctant to put months and months of planning into another event if I didn’t know what was going to happen. So I waited, and right around January, everyone was still in really high risk.
Q: Does Zoom technology encourage communication with spirits?
Smith: I did a virtual seance with (mystic and conference presenter) Yitzhak Schlomi. I felt like I met a spirit connected with Oregon City’s past. I can’t really explain it.
Q: How do you open yourself to see or experience ghosts?
Smith: I think people don’t take into consideration their gut feeling. People just disregard that a lot. People need to be aware of what happens when they walk from one room to another. Does the temperature change? Does the feeling change? Not that that could all be related to the paranormal, but it starts getting you in tune with where you are going. There are some rooms that I’ve walked into that it just hit you so hard: ‘Oh my gosh, what happened in there?’ You just know something was wrong.
Q: Who has psychic or paranormal abilities?
Smith: I think everyone does. But I think people have a choice to how much they want to open themselves up to it.
Q: Are you on call as a ghostbuster?
Smith: I don’t like the idea of doing paranormal investigations as a job. That’s hours and hours and hours of watching video tapes, hanging out at a place, and then you write a report. I don’t want to write a report. I have an interest in history and people ask me to check things out. If someone says, ‘Hey, come check out our house, we want to know if there’s something going on here,’ I can do that. I have enough friends who not only know if something is here, but can say ‘this is who they are.’
Q: What are your plans for next year’s conference?
Smith: Yesterday we signed a contract (with the convention center) for the next five years through 2025. So we’re kind of invested in staying in Seaside. We miss being here. Next year’s dates are March 25, 26 and 27, 2022.