The title of Ray Bradbury’s 1962 dark fantasy novel describes this weekend in downtown Knoxville — “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” The wicked will be in the form of the second annual CreepyCon Halloween and Horror Convention, ready to pounce on the unwary at the World’s Fair Exhibition Hall on Friday and Saturday.
CreepyCon promoter Jennifer Johnsey has more than 20 years of experience in the haunted attractions industry. She said the show was an idea that festered in her mind for several years.
“I wasn’t ready to unleash CreepyCon until last year,” Johnsey said. “I knew the interest was there; Halloween is an over $12 billion-per-year industry. Putting it in the form of a convention was sort of the next step. It appeals to fans of Halloween, horror, the paranormal and all the fun stuff.”
Last year the event drew around 2,000 attendees, proving thousands of people were not afraid of the things at that go bump/slither/growl/shriek in the night.
“The first show was sort of a test,” Johnsey said. “It was only for one day, lasting six hours. Attendees and vendors alike sent me feedback. They loved the show and wanted more of it. This time around CreepyCon has two days and is packed with (events and special guests). If this goes well, we might make it a three-day show in 2019.
“I am excited about how much we were able to add to the show this year. We will have the paranormal, celebrity guests, Stephen King attractions, Steampunk City, freaky fashion, special effects, body art, demonstrations, panels, circus performers, panels, movie screenings, the zombie beauty pageant, an after party and so much more.”
Celebrities stepping out of the shadows to appear at CreepyCon include Naomi Grossman, Mackenzie Lintz (“Under the Dome” and “Hunger Games”), Linds Edwards (“Rectify” and “Under the Dome”), Santiago Cirilo (“The Walking Dead”), and Kelly Lintz (Stephen King’s “The Mist”). Grossman is known for her role as Pepper in the television series “American Horror Story” seasons two (“Asylum”) and five (“Freak Show”).
“We decided to bring in celebrities this time,” Johnsey said. “They are people that horror fans recognize. I tried to bring in actors and events based on a theme. Mackenzie Lintz and Edwards compliment the Stephen King aspect, while Grossman fits in with the sideshow section.”
You don’t have to be human to be in the spotlight at CreepyCon. The Stephen King Fan Crypt will feature the Green Goblin head from “Maximum Overdrive” and the 1958 Plymouth Fury killing car known as Christine. “Tim Shockey purchased the Green Goblin in 1987, shortly after ‘Overdrive’ finished filming,” Johnsey said. “Fans will get a chance to get a photo op with a favorite killer (inanimate) object from Stephen King’s stories and movies.”
Scared of clowns? Haunt Clown Entertainment will do nothing to alleviate that fear. The psychotic clowns will be found around the Rigor and Mortis Brothers Creature Seeker Odditorium, which is a walkthrough experience in a tent filled with the weird and unusual. Outside the tent, sword swallowers/knife throwers/and individuals sleeping on nails will entertain the masses compliments of Tinderbox Circus Sideshow, Pyrotainment and Knoxville Aerial Arts.
CreepyCon also will have magician Danny Whitson, and paranormal investigators such as Kyle Cobb, Bill Hartley, Karissa Fleck, Richard Ruland and J.B. Coates.
Cobb is a paranormal investigator and public speaker. He will present lectures on the case of Emily Rose and Ouija boards.
“Ouija boards were for adults until around 1920,” Cobb said. “From 1920 and onward, children have been the target market. Hundreds of thousands of boards have been sold. Ninety-nine out of 100 (supernatural) cases reported reveal that the Ouija board is just a game. Instead of communicating with a (supernatural force), scientific studies have shown that is more of a subconscious reaction.”
According to Cobb, demonic forces do exist. He is considered to be an expert on demons, also known as a demonologist. Cobb has studied thousands of years of history concerning various cultures and encounters with entities.
“If a paranormal team gets scared when dealing with a case, I am called in,” he said. “Preachers and priests have also called me if something goes wrong with an exorcism. I deal with things like that on a more frequent basis than most paranormal investigators. One time I was thrown across the room by a powerful entity. It can be very scary if you are not prepared.”
CreepyCon will conclude Saturday night at 8 p.m. with the Monster’s Ball.
“This is the first time we have had an after-party at the show,” Johnsey said. “We will have a disc jockey and all kinds of creepy creatures on the dance floor.”
Details of CreepyCon are at https://creepyconknoxville.com/.