Last weekend, I attended Dark History Con in Champaign, IL. It was the second year of the Dark History Con, but my first year of involvement.
Brian Ward is the man behind DHC. The concept of DHC is to learn educate and inform about the darker side of history. It is a simple, yet unique concept. The celebrity guests all have some connection, such as filmmaker John Borowski, who has made three documentaries about serial killers.
Brian contacted me several months back and everything interested me enough to want to help in any way I could. He was kind enough to name me as the Production Coordinator. Working under that cool title, I helped connect Brian with some of the celebrity guests, along with helping promote the show through social media and through distribution of promo materials through my company (Arch New Agency).
Unfortunately, I unexpectedly had to miss Saturday of DHC. Sunday morning, as I drove down, I did not know what to expect. Brian had told me the crowd was good on Saturday. I had seen pictures and info on Facebook and it all looked good. I was optimistic.
When I arrived at the Fluid Event Center just as Dark History Con opened for the day, I saw two rows of celebrity guests and a smattering of fans. Slowly the fans kept coming and the crowd lingered.
I spent considerable time with many of the celebrity guests. I sat in on a few of the special events, including a presentation by Judith A. Yates about her book "When Nashville Bled," the story of Paul Reid. Ordinarily I come to these conventions to be entertained. At DHC, I was definitely entertained, but I learned a lot.
Yates made a statement which was very important. She wrote the book, not to glorify Reid, but for the victims. Their stories needed to be told. They deserved that at least. Her presentation was about 45 minutes and most of it focused on the lives of the victims. How very poignant.
I reconnected with old friends I have met through other cons. Bruce Scivally, Terence Muncy and Borowski always are up for great conversation. I met several new creative folks. I will be checking into more of their works, too.
It would be easy for me to just say the convention was great. As the "Production Coordinator," you'd assume I'd say it anyway. The truth of the matter is that I did have a great time at Dark History Con.
I won't go overboard. It wasn't the biggest, the best, the most celebrity-packed of cons, but it never claimed to be. This was the second year and from all reports, it far exceeded the first year. Even putting that aside, if I just judged it by itself, it was a success.
One of my measuring sticks is that I did not want to leave. The celebrity guests were just so nice and interesting. They were there to sell merchandise, but they were also there to talk.
One other sign of the success was that as I was driving home, I replayed a lot of the conversations I had there. You usually don't get that much time to talk to the guests and when you do, they usually are not quite that willing to talk at length.
My hat is off to Brian, who worked tirelessly to make this a fun con. I heard praise from him from many of the guests and attendees. As a reporter (and a supporter), I asked a lot of questions and I got nothing but positive answers.
I want to thank Brian for the opportunity to be a very small part of Dark History Con. I want to promise him I will do even more to help next year (if he wants me involved again). Finally, I encourage all to check out DarkHistoryCon.com and the Dark History Con Facebook page and to get excited about Dark History Con 2016.
Brian Ward and me in Champaign, IL-September 2015.