ScareFest to Spook Lexington September 28th – 30th!

Programming Director, Lee Kirkland, Talks About Mixing the Paranormal and the Horrific at ScareFest

One of the biggest Horror/Paranormal Conventions in the country, ScareFest, is happening again this year in Lexington, KY on the weekend of September 28th-30Th. The show brings together horror celebrities like Malcom McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange,” Rob Zombie’s “Halloween”), Tony Todd (“Candyman”) and cast members of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” with paranormal investigators like Josh Gates (“Destination Truth”) and members of the casts of “Ghost Hunters”and “Ghost Adventures.” For a full lineup of guests, see ScareFest’s website at The whole event takes place at the Lexington Convention Center. The show hours are Friday, Sept. 28 from 5-10PM, Saturday, Sept. 29 from 11AM-9PM and Sunday, Sept. 30 from 11AM-4PM.

I sat down recently with ScareFest Programming Director, Lee Kirkland, to discuss the secret witches brew of ingredients that go into making ScareFest such a unique event. Lee is also the co-founder of SHOCK (Spirit Hunters of Central Kentucky). Without further ado, here’s my conversation with Lee.

The Phantom of the Ville: Good Evening, Lee. First tell us a little about the history of ScareFest and how long you’ve been involved with the event?

Lee Kirkland: Thanks, Mr. Phantom, I have been involved with ScareFest since day one. We are currently going into our fifth year and are extremely proud of the rapid growth of the event. It has become the largest Horror and Paranormal Convention in the nation.

TPOTV: One of the things that sets ScareFest apart from all the other horror conventions out there is that you also focus on real world paranormal phenomenon and investigations into cryptozoology and the unknown, and not just horror movies. How did this aspect of the show come about?

LK: Exactly. We wanted to be different. Both genres have very loyal and dedicated fans. We are all involved in investigating different aspects of the paranormal. With the explosion in popularity of the paranormal shows, including UFOs, cryptos and possessions, there is an abundance of celebrities that fans are interested in meeting and talking with.

TPOTV: Would you say that Kentucky is a hotbed of paranormal activity?

LK :Absolutely! I’ve been involved in research of paranormal activity for many years now. I’ve had the luxury of traveling all over the country to investigate some of the most haunted places out there. I have to say that there’s no place like Kentucky’s own Waverly Hills, Bobby Mackey’s, the Perryville Battlefield, Octogon Hall, Rocky Point Manor, and the list goes on and on. All which have been seen featured on national television shows.

TPOTV: I’ve noticed that Buffalo Trace is sponsoring ScareFest this year. What’s the connection between the paranormal and Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey?

LK: I love the fact that we’ve joined forces with Buffalo Trace. There are two major products in Kentucky, and Bourbon is one of them. We want to expose our fans to the best the state has to offer. It’s fantastic bourbon whiskey and it’s manufactured in the oldest active distillery in the state. With all the history of the distillery, there seems to be two different types of spirits on the grounds! Last fall the distillery was visited by SyFy’s own Ghost Hunters for an investigation.

TPOTV: One of your cryptozoology guests this year, Lyle Blackburn, is the lead singer and primary lyricist of one my favorite creepy Texas bands, Ghoultown! What do you know about Count Lyle’s work in cryptozoology?

LK: I love Lyle’s band! He is one of the top experts in the country on Bigfoot, and the main guy of intelligence on the Fouke Monster of Arkansas. This is the creature that the movie “The Legend Of Boggy Creek” was based on, which happens to be one of my favorite classics! His new book about the monster is very well written and delves into more in depth encounters and recent reports.

TPOTV: You’ve got some great horror guests coming this year. Who are you most excited to meet that you haven’t met before?

LK: There are so many, it’s really hard to decide. I’m very excited for Malcolm McDowell. I am a big fan of his and love talking with him. I may actually remember our conversation this time. The first time I met him was at another event and he invited me to sit with him at his booth and talk. The only thing I could think was, “Holy shit, I’m talking to Malcolm McDowell,” over and over! Malcolm will be doing an intro before and Q&A after a showing of ” A Clockwork Orange” for the event. I really wish I would be able to attend this, however, I won’t be able to stay off the convention floor for that long. I also love talking with Derek Mears, one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet!

TPOFTV: You also have some big music acts, film screenings and professional magicians coming. Tell us a little about that.

LK: We are VERY EXCITED to have former Misfits lead vocalist, Michale Graves, performing. And for our paranormal fans we are having the debut performance of Ghost Adventures star Nick Groff. The movies will be running all weekend and we really have several awesome screenings. We are proud to partner with the SyFy channel for the WORLD PREMIER of the SyFy original “American Horror House.” All these will be showing in the FEARnet sponsored film room. And for extra entertainment, we’ve brought in an all horror themed magician to do a free show for the fans! We’re having back one of the world’s finest escape artists and Guinness Book of World Records holder, Aron Houdini. He is deemed the last living Houdini and will be attempting to break more world records again this year!

TPOTV: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered over the years programming and pulling off such a large show?

LK: Keeping as many people happy as possible has to be one of the biggest challenges. We have to worry about celebrities, fans, staff, volunteers and even the community. We like to treat everyone with respect and try to provide an environment in which every single person has a positive experience.

TPOTV: In your position, I’m sure you see some pretty strange things. What’s the weirdest/craziest thing you seen so far while working for ScareFest?

LK: I have to admit, the absolute craziest thing was seeing a young lady have a seizure after Ghost Adventures star, Zak Bagans, said “Hi,” to her. We had to call paramedics to attend to her and she ended up fine, only really embarrassed over the whole situation. It was a definite first!

TPOTV: Lastly, on a personal note, what’s your favorite childhood Halloween memory?

LK: I grew up way out in the country, so I always remember going into town to neighborhoods. I just loved the decorations, the sounds of other kids screaming and having fun and hearing spooky music from loud speakers. I was always a little afraid when walking up to a decorated house, wondering what was going to happen when I knocked and waiting to see who or what would open the door. And hoping I would get the good candy!

The Phantom of The Ville

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