BOO — Local community members are pictured surrounding Paranormal Walks cofounder John Koerner, as he speaks about local spooks and legends. Photo provided by Koerner.
HAMBURG — Hamburg has its share of paranormal stories and tales about spooks that come out at night. Many locals may not know that there was once a UFO report in Hamburg or that the village is connected to the Kennedy assassination and the burning of Buffalo in December 1813.
These are just some of the things that will be covered by Paranormal Walks LLC in Hamburg.
“There is a lot of great stories [in Hamburg],” said John Koerner, the cofounder of Paranormal Walks. “I’m a Hamburg native, and Hamburg is really close to my heart. I grew up there; I graduated from Saints Peter & Paul grammar school and St. Francis High School and my parents still live in Hamburg, so it’s always been very close to me.”
Paranormal Walks covers a wide variety of paranormal events, all of which are researched in detail, from ghosts and folklore to historical mysteries and conspiracies, to stories about creatures such as vampires, angels and demons.
“The haunted sites are from people that have worked there, inside the buildings,” Koerner said. “So they tell us what they report inside and then I kind of add to it, in terms of trying to figure out who lived there before, what is the history of the building, who perhaps built the building and the historical context to it.”
Paranormal Walks goes a step farther than simple storytelling, which most paranormal historical walks employ, according to the cofounder.
“What is cool about our walk is that it is part storytelling and part ghost hunt,” he said. “So we have the stories to tell, but we also bring along a lot of the paranormal equipment, [or] ‘ghost busting’ equipment.”
Koerner is an American history teacher at Erie Community College North and is the author of six books, all of which involve the paranormal.
When describing the paranormal world, he said, “I think the whole idea of trying to figure out the unknown, trying to see the truth about things ... is all very fascinating. Just trying to keep an open mind. All these different unusual stories? Hamburg has a lot of them we want to bring to the public.”
The walks will be held at 7 p.m. every Friday, beginning at Monroe’s Place and Melanie’s Eats-N-Sweets on 182 Lake St. in Hamburg, until Nov. 1. There is a cost per person; children younger than 7 may participate for free. Refreshments are included in the price of the ticket.
The walks will be held rain or shine; participants are asked to dress for the weather.
More information may be found at www.paranormalwalks.com.