LAKE GEORGE -- Julia Tatterton, of Schuylerville, isn't sure what she believes.
The 23-year-old daughter of new age parents and granddaughter of devout Catholics, Tatterton likes to believe in something more than what she can see and feel.
"I believe in the afterlife, but I wouldn't call myself religious," she said on Sunday. "I guess religion is what you make of it."
Tatterton was joined Sunday by hundreds like her at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference center, where the first Lake George Paranormal Expo was taking place. They came in all shapes, sizes and beliefs, including some full-blown skeptics.
"Every person that walks through the door at something like this is searching for something," said Colleen Park, who with her husband, Jim, owns and operates Sun in Pisces Astrology. "I'm not trying to take a dig or anything, but every day in the papers you read about how the big churches are letting people down. I think humanity has progressed so much that people are just willing to forget the old ways."
Some 31 vendors lined the walls of the conference room Sunday for the event, which organizers hope to make an annual gathering. Psychics, clairvoyants, ghost hunters, Sasquatch trackers and Reiki crystal healers were among the vendors.
"What we basically do is try to help them find 15 or 20 minutes of peace and happiness," said Astrologer Jim Park. "I think it's healthy for people to look at all of the alternatives."
While people like the Parks dabble mostly in the emotional realm of the human psyche, others at the weekend event explained how they are trying to apply the scientific method to investigate entities that may or may not exist.
"We are believers, but we always go into an investigation skeptically," said Merrill McKee, founder of the Northern New York Paranormal Society.
For a decade, the group, which organized the Lake George event, has investigated claims of hauntings, armed with electronic recorders, night-vision cameras and machines that measure electric fields.
Technology aside, ghost hunters like McKee know they're up against a tough standard when it comes to quantifying their research.
"It's a matter of trial and error," said Brian Leighton, the society's research team leader. "All paranormal means is ‘not normal.' All we're trying to do is seek the truth."