McKinney ventures into the paranormal

Durham advertising agency McKinney is applying new-fashioned technology to old-fashioned ghost stories.

Among other things, the 200-person agency plans a webcast of an “interactive seance” on the evening of Oct. 30 – the night before Halloween.

It’s all part of a lighthearted attempt by a team of McKinney creative types to answer the question: “Who’s haunting McKinney?”

It turns out that past and current McKinney employees have for years talked about seeing ghosts and other paranormal occurrences at McKinney’s offices in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus.

McKinney also is posting interviews with employees who have seen the unexplainable and other “evidence” at

Visitors to the site also will be able to submit their own theories on what’s behind it all. And on Thursday the 24th, beginning at 9 p.m. the website will simultaneously feature video from 10 different cameras – including a camera that’s part of Google’s not-yet-released wearable computer, Google Glass – as the intrepid McKinney team conducts “a paranormal investigation.”

An additional investigation will be webcast beginning at 9 p.m. Oct. 30, followed by a seance conducted by Raleigh medium Melissa Peil. It will be an interactive seance in that people will be able to submit questions via social media – Twitter and Facebook – and the website.

The hope is that Peil will shed some light on just who – or what – is haunting McKinney, said Jordan Eakin, an art director at the agency and one of the members of the seven-person team working on the project.

It’s all just for fun – for entertainment purposes only as Halloween approaches, added David Sloan, a copywriter on the team.

The project is an outgrowth of “The McKinney Ten Percent,” an initiative that calls for agency employees to focus one-tenth of their time on innovation that isn’t client related. The thinking is that allowing employees to give free rein to their creative urges will in the end translate into new ways to help clients.