It'll be a creepy good time in Shreveport later this week, during our first-ever Downtown Paranormal Festival.

Downtown Development Authority Director Liz Swaine says organizers didn't want to do something like this around Halloween, because haunted events are always expected then. But the paranormal is definitely the "in" thing.

"We decided...what would be better than to take some of our great, old historic buildings downtown and have some fun with them, in a unique sort of way?" Swaine says. "So the attention is still on our downtown, it's still on our history, it's still on our architecture. But we're going to add this extra component of the paranormal."

Swaine says they're bringing people in from around the country for the four-day event, doing ghost-hunts, tours, river cruises, having talks, teaching people how to use ghost-hunting equipment. She says, as one of the biggest skeptics that ghosts exist, she still thinks it's going to be a lot of fun.

"I don't think you can prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. You either believe it or you don't. But it's going to lead to some, what I like to say, 'spirited discussion' on both sides...believers and non-believers. Maybe it will change somebody's mind, maybe it won't. But that's not our intention. Our intention, really, is to put downtown in the spotlight, and these great buildings that we have."

Paranormal investigators from Louisiana Spirits will be a big part of the event. Lead investigator John Combs says their big focus will be Friday and Saturday nights at 9, 10 and 11 at three locations in town -- the Spring Street Museum, Norsworthy Gallery and Multicultural Center of the South. These are all places they've documented paranormal activity. They'll be taking residents in, so they can perhaps have experiences of their own.

There's also a Ghost Story-Telling Competition going on in connection with this. Residents can record their stories and send them in, and possibly get a chance to tell those stories live on a stage, in front of a large, win lots of prizes, including their own ghost-hunting equipment. And Swaine says these don't have to be real-life experience stories. They can be something you just made up on your own. They can even be campfire-type stories you heard growing up.

There are lots of other events going on the 20th through the 23rd, at various prices. Visit the event's page on the downtown Shreveport website for all the updates.

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