Paranormal Fest at Medina Library stirs up controversy

Opponents believe library is promoting darkness

MEDINA, Ohio - On Saturday, the Medina County Library is hosting Paranormal Fest, an event designed to celebrate the cultural aspect of Halloween by leading teens and adults on ghost hunts.

But some local pastors and parents believe the library is inviting demonic activity, and they're calling for the program to be canceled.

"We're stepping into a realm that is dangerous. We're going to to invite spirits that we really don't want," said Pastor Mark Hartshorn from Litchfield Assembly of God.

Hartshorn sent an e-mail to the library, arguing taxpayer money shouldn't be used to pay for Paranormal Fest.

He believes the library should allow a presentation of an alternative view, since officials have declined to call off the event.

"I'm not saying that the paranormal isn't there. I'm not saying that there's not demonic activity, but the opposite of that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Hartshorn said.

Library administrators said more than 50 people have signed up for program. The library has received about a dozen complaints.

Carole Kowell, director of the Medina County Library District, said pastors have been given an offer to put together their own program in the spring, but will not be allowed to present their views at Paranormal Fest.

"It really wouldn't be fair to the people that are coming to expect the program that they are expecting," Kowell said.

Connie King, 49, of Hinckley, and Clara Stacko, 45, of Medina, have also voiced their concerns.

"Our children need to know how to fight darkness, not how to embrace it. They need to be fighting darkness," King said.

"I don't want my money to used to bring our children down spiritually at all," Stacko said.

Christine Gramm, library manager, said the library has hosted programs on similar topics in the past and the idea is to provide entertainment and have fun.

The Celestial Spirit Investigators will take kids between the ages of 12 and 18 on a ghost hunt at 6:30 p.m. Permission slips from parents are required.

"They'll be taken around to different parts of the library and seeing if they get any readings or activity," Gramm said.

A separate ghost hunt will take place for adults and a medium will also give a presentation.

Teri Canterbury, of Medina, picked up a flyer on Wednesday and may attend Paranormal Fest because she thinks it's a fascinating topic.

"I think that a lot of people have an interest in it. Definitely around Halloween, it's pretty cool to get into," Canterbury said.

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