Symposium livens Skagway's winter

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2001

SKAGWAY - Ghosts, witches and all things out of the ordinary took center stage in last weekend as the city hosted the second annual Abduct and Release Paranormal Symposium.

Skagway Tourism Director Buckwheat Donahue said the idea for the symposium was mulled over for some time before last year's inaugural event.

"We were looking for ways to make the winter more interesting, and the idea of having a paranormal or UFO conference kept coming up," he said.

The scope of this year's event narrowed a bit from last year after some presenters canceled in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. A combination of witchcraft presentations by Wiccan High Priestess Rosemary Kooiman, a tour of Skagway's haunted buildings and a number of community Halloween activities were combined to make up this year's event.

More than 50 people had one-on-one readings with Kooiman, and from 10 to 15 people listened to Kooiman's talk on the history and practices of witchcraft. The community events drew more people.

While attendance and presenters were down this year, Donahue said the symposium will return next fall. He said he hopes the schedule will grow and include a return to the topics of space travel and UFOs.

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