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Traveling like an explorer ....
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 11:08
Special to the Daily Planet

I love going on an investigation or expedition and later seeing it on a TV show, where I can excitedly exclaim, “I’ve been there!”

Of course, for paranormal investigators, it’s more like, “I was strangled there!” or “Dracula bit me there!”

In the case of Dracula, I was watching the opening montage of one of Josh Gates’ special behind-the-scenes episodes for “Expedition Unknown” one evening when I stopped cold. I mashed the button on my DVR to go backwards and then hit play. 

Is that...? No, it couldn’t be.... I backed it up again and hit play. Holy crap! It was the same guy that played Dracula in a dinner theater that our group participated in shortly before we came back home. 

Dracula was a little long in the tooth; age — not actual teeth. I believe the story was that we were all guests in the castle of Count Dracula. He was a little older than I imagined. He was very pale and his cape was wrinkled like he’d slept in it. It also looked like he might’ve rolled around in the dirt a bit. I guess it got there when he laid down in his coffin. Everyone knows Dracula has to sleep in his native soil. Duh.

The evening was progressing nicely. We ate a hearty dinner and drank wine as Dracula stopped by all the tables to chat with the guests a bit.

Every so often, he would offer his outstretched hand to one of the ladies and take them into his arms and dance with them. Demented Patty was one of the chosen ones. She couldn’t suspend her disbelief and laughed through the whole thing.

A little while later, he made his way back to our table and offered his outstretched hand to me! I was caught up in the moment. I was drawn into his waiting arms where I caught a scent of... eww... that’s dirt.

I danced around and laughed. And then this older gentleman with the shockingly white hair narrows his eyes and closes in on my neck slowly. Oh so slowly.... And then he bit me! With real teeth! I could honestly say that I went to Transylvania and Dracula gave me a hickey! It’s true. I had the bruise to prove it. Luckily, he did not break the skin.

During this same trip, I walked down a cobblestone street one night, by myself, thinking during the whole trip back to the hotel that all horror movies begin this way. In fact, the night did end up having potential horror written all over it.

We started out at the building where Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula was born. It was now a restaurant that was supposedly haunted. We were to eat dinner and later that evening, go back with our equipment and explore the tunnel in the basement. 

I will say, it was a very strange evening, not the least of which was the male stripper our fearless leader ordered up for two of the ladies having their birthdays. He showed up very late and quickly undressed to reveal cheetah print thongs. Footage exists.

Patty started the ghost hunt, but wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go back to our room and crash. But not before she yanked on my hair really hard to show me how hard hers had been yanked when she was in the tunnel.

I got back to our room around 3:30. The room was freezing cold from the open windows. Odd. I’d just come from outside and it wasn’t that cold. After cleaning up, I got into bed still in my jeans and sweatshirt.

As soon as I laid down, I saw a blacker-than-black teeming mass swoop down from the chandelier over my bed and change form and try to cover me. I instinctively sat up and breathing hard, scanned the dark room for any sign of it. Patty heard me breathing. I related what happened and then she said, “Let me tell you what happened to me.” She said something was watching her from the ceiling.

After she fell asleep, Patty said she heard me rummaging around in the bags at the foot of our beds. She turned on her flashlight light app and aimed it at me. But I wasn’t there. I didn’t show up for hours. 

We hopped up, grabbed our equipment and started documenting what we could. A few minutes later, we heard rocks being thrown toward my bed. We moved all the furniture and checked underneath the bed. Nothing. The rocks kept coming and the room kept getting colder. I was offended at having things thrown at me, so I cussed. A lot. And I taunted. It finally got disgusted at us for not screaming in fear and threw all of its rocks at us at once.

That just goes to show you that sometimes truth can be even more exciting than what you see on TV.

Shelley Wright, an Asheville native, is a paranormal investigator. She owns and runs Nevermore Mystical Arts shop and works at Wright’s Coin Shop, both in Asheville. Wright also is a weekly participant in the “Speaking of Strange” radio show from 9 p.m. to midnight on most Saturdays on Asheville’s WWNC-AM (570).



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