Keith Age will never forget a kiss he got more than 30 years ago. After all, it got him thrown through the front door of his girlfriend’s Louisville home.
It wasn’t the girl’s father who was upset that a young man was trying to smooch his teenage daughter that night. The family believes it was a ghost.
In fact, earlier that evening they had warned Age that they thought a spirit was inhabiting the house, and that it wasn’t fond of the girl’s boyfriends.
Age, who was 16 at the time, wasn’t buying it and even dared the ghost to make an appearance several times throughout the evening. When he went to kiss his girlfriend goodnight, he got his wish.
“Something grabbed a hold of my left arm. … I look up and there was nothing there. Her dad is still sitting in his La-Z-Boy on the other side of the room,” Age recalled about that evening more than three decades ago. “Next thing I know, I’m flying backwards through the air and went through the front door and landed about six feet out in the front yard.”
The experience didn’t scare the daylights out of Age; it intrigued him. He formed the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society years later in 1996 and heads up the group’s biggest annual event, the Mid-South Paranormal Convention, which celebrates its 12th year this weekend at the Ramada Plaza on Bluegrass Parkway.
The event, billed as the largest of its kind in the country, draws some of the biggest names from the paranormal world. This year’s headliners include TV stars from top-rated paranormal reality shows, including John Zaffis of the Syfy hit paranormal show “The Haunted Collector.” He is also the nephew of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are the subjects of the new movie “The Conjuring.”
“Ghost Hunters International” stars will be on hand, including Joe Chin, Scott Tepperman and Paul Bradford. Also attending, from “Deep South Paranormal,” are Benny Reed, Jonathan Hodges and Keith Ramsey — aka “The Bama Boys.”
Ari Lehman, who played the role of the first Jason Vorhees in the classic horror film “Friday the 13th,” will attend as well.
Christopher Saint Booth, a movie producer/director whose films have been showcased on the Syfy and Chiller channels, including “Death Tunnel,” which was shot at Louisville’s Waverly Hills Sanatorium, is also a featured guests.
He calls the Mid-South Paranormal Convention “the biggest one of its kind in the United States.”
The convention will also feature psychic readings, movie screenings, seminars and panel discussions. Other highlights include a Friday Night Kick-Off Party featuring live entertainment by the ORB-TONES, a Saturday night paranormal investigation at the Wickland Mansion in Bardstown, Ky., and a Sunday morning Mass with Bishop James Long of the United States Old Catholic Church.
KEITH AGE, AKA LOUISVILLE’S LEGENDARY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL GHOST HUNTER
Fast facts: Founder and president of the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society. Host and associate producer of the “Spooked” film series, including “Spooked: The Ghosts of Waverly Hills Sanatorium,” “Haunted Boy,” “Children of the Grave” and “Possessed.”
Ghostly encounters: “I’ve never seen a ghost. In almost 35 years of doing this, I’m still waiting for Bob the Ghost to come out.”
Most memorable paranormal experience: Besides being thrown through the front door of former girlfriend’s home when he was a teen, Age will also never forget an experience that took place at Waverly Hills Sanatorium. “I was giving a tour and all of a sudden the EMF (electromagnetic field meter) just went off. I went, ‘What the hell?’ About that time, a chunk of rock came flying down the hallway and popped me right underneath the brim of my hat and busted me wide open.”
Fear factor: “I’m an old musician who survived the ’70s … the whole sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll days. I don’t have enough brains left to be scared.”
CHRISTOPHER SAINT BOOTH
Fast facts: Movie producer/director of the “Spooked” film series, which includes “Spooked: The Ghosts of Waverly Hills Sanatorium,” “Haunted Boy,” “Children of the Grave” and “Possessed.” His flicks have been featured on the Syfy and Chiller channels.
First paranormal experience: Christopher and his twinbrother, Philip Booth, were 13 years old when he says their grandmother appeared in the bedroom they shared while they were asleep. “We started screaming, and my mom ran in. … We told her what we saw… and we described everything. She said, ‘Oh my God, that’s your grandmom’s house. You hadn’t seen her since you were 4, and the family just called and said she just died a few hours before.’”
Scariest place visited: “We blame Waverly for our paranormal nightmares. … A lot of people have to run out of that place.”
Fast facts: Star of the Syfy Channel’s former show “Ghost Hunters International.”
Favorite paranormal investigation: It was at the Quarantine Station in Sydney, Australia. I did a solo investigation in the morgue. It was just me, and I was in the morgue lying down on a slab. I kept hearing what sounded like footsteps around. The glass would make noise, and there were all of these little movements going on. I was getting all of these really, really, really cold spots as well.”
Fear factor: “I don’t get scared. I get startled like everyone else. I’m sort of the opposite; when I hear something, I go running toward it. I get all excited and overly enthusiastic.”
Dream paranormal investigation: “I’d like to maybe do an investigation in space. Or do the complete opposite. … I’d love to do something underwater … like the Titanic or something.”
Fast facts: Star of the Syfy show “Deep South Paranormal.”
Dream place to do a paranormal investigation: “I’d love to go to Graceland. Try to find out if Elvis is really alive and find out what he’s got to say.”
Tips to keep your wits: “So many people get scared because of the movies they’ve watched or the books they’ve read. Then they let their imagination get away from then, and they’re done. If you let your imagination get you, you’re toast.”
Fast facts: Star of the Syfy show “Deep South Paranormal.”
Favorite paranormal investigation: “The Daniel Pratt Cotton Gin Factory in Prattville, Ala. The story that’s been there forever is the Lady in Black … a mother of a child who fell down an elevator shaft and died. … We were stationed at the top of the cotton pickers’ house. I’ll be dad gum if we didn’t catch a shadow figure adult human walking across a grassy knoll.”
Fear factor: “For people to say they don’t ever get scared, that’s bull. There’s times when you’re investigating that you get scared. You might be a seasoned veteran at this, but you get scared.”
Reporter Christa Ritchie can be reached at (502) 582-4144