John Olsen

Cache Valley author John Olsen is starting the Bridgerland ParaX paranormal conference.

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Fans of the strange and spooky, take note: there’s a paranormal expo coming to Cache Valley.

Bridgerland ParaX will take place Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Cache Valley Event Center and will feature stories, shopping, food trucks and more.

Guest speakers so far include Shannon LeGro, Annette Bunce, Shane Keith Daniel Jr., Kristen Clay and the Destiny Mystery podcast.

Shannon LeGro, the headline speaker, has several shows on Amazon Prime in which she looks for Bigfoot or UFOs. She is also an author and has a podcast titled “Into the Fray.”

The event was created by author and paranormal expert John Olsen with the help of his wife, Annie. Olsen grew up in Cache Valley and has spent the last 30 years documenting firsthand experiences of those who have witnessed unusual events. He has published five books in the series “Stranger Bridgerland” that contains firsthand accounts of everything from ghosts and monsters to UFOs and Bigfoot.

Olsen’s experience with the paranormal began when he was a young child. When he was in eighth grade, he sat down to watch television only to discover a transparent man with a wide-brimmed hat sitting in a nearby rocking chair.

“I closed my eyes and counted to 10. When I opened my eyes he was gone, but the rocking chair was still rocking. I jumped up and ran out,” Olsen said. “That was one of the only times I was actually really scared. I never really got too scared because I was growing up with it. There were a lot of footsteps and stuff like that.”

Olsen’s wife encouraged him to turn his collected stories into a series. He started in Cache Valley and has now collected firsthand accounts stretching from Canada all the way to Mexico. Olsen has also spoken at paranormal conventions, which is where the inspiration to host one in Cache Valley came from.

“I thought one would be really fun to do here because we haven’t had one,” Olsen said. “There’s a lot of interest in folklore and ghosts and all that stuff.”

In addition to shopping booths and guest speakers, the expo will also have a haunted object exhibit, a full-size display of Bigfoot, and tarot card readings. The events will be family friendly and people are encouraged to dress up.

Annie explained how excited she was that so many vendors wanted to participate. So far they have gathered nearly 50 booths for the event.

“I thought we’d have a hard time finding booths because I figured people would be like ‘Ew, I don’t want anything to do with that,’ but it has really taken off. I think we’ve gotten more vendors than we would have during COVID because they are excited to participate in something like this,” she said.

Olsen expressed his hope that Bridgerland ParaX can be a “staple” of Cache Valley like Summerfest, the Cruise In and the rodeo.

“I want this to be something people look forward to in the fall,” he said.

More information can be found at strangerbridgerland.com/b.

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