September 2019 Newsletter: The Heart of Darkness

By on September 4, 2019

Cult of Weird will be bringing the historical weirdness to the Windigo Fest dark art exhibit in Manitowoc this year.
Windigo Fest Halloween festival
Art by Matt Lombard

Windigo Fest, Wisconsin’s largest Halloween festival, is happening this October, and I have the honor of showing a selection of photos at the dark art exhibit. Curated by artist Matt Lombard, The Heart of Darkness will feature bizarre and disturbing works by local and international artists. The 3-day festival in the heart of downtown Manitowoc (a town you may recognize as the epicenter of the Steven Avery case from Netflix’s Making A Murderer) is billed as a “festival of folklore, freaks, and all things Halloween.” So I decided to bring some Cult of Weird-brand folklore and dark history.

I’ll be showing three photos from different locations with unusual stories Cult readers will be familiar with because I’ve been visiting, researching, and writing about these fascinating stories for years. But for many who call Wisconsin home, these histories are completely unknown but for fragments passed around in local legends.

See the photos and read the stories at Windigo Fest – October 4-6th, 2019. There’s more than just grotesque art, too. Stick around for macabre fun with sideshow performances, live music, Halloween parade, the actor who played Gage in the original Pet Cemetery, the killer car from Christine, hearses, vendors, and more.

Windigo Fest dark art exhibition in Manitowoc, Wisconsin
The Heart of Darkness dark art exhibition

The week before Windigo Fest I’ll be in California standing up in my best friend’s wedding, which will be equally bizarre. Elusive, hairy, and strange, we’ve long suspected him to be an actual yeti. I guess we’ll know for sure when the wedding photos turn out blurry.

It’s been 20 years since my last visit to Los Angeles, so I’ve got my list of cemeteries, murder houses, and other morbid destinations at hand if there’s time. I’m sure he’ll understand when I’m late for the ceremony because I had to make a stop at the Museum of Death.

Weird News

A selection of the strangest and most fascinating headlines in science, history, archaeology, travel, and more from last month:

HEADLINE OF THE MONTH: Don’t Lick Sexy Pavement Lichen

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The crypt of Wisconsin's little-known incorrupt priest Father Ambrose Oschwald, who was removed from his position in a church in Germany's Black Forest for "mystical and heretical works." He and some of his congregation, which have been referred to as a "Catholic mystic cult," left the country for America in search of religious freedom and arrived in Wisconsin in 1854. There, Oschwald and his followers claimed a white heifer lead them to the sacred ground where they would make their new home – a small rural community known today as St. Nazianz. The night of Oschwald's death in 1873, people throughout the town reported ghostly knocking on the walls of their homes. Since his death, Oschwald's body has been viewed three times, once more than 50 years since he passed. Each time it was noted that, like the incorrupt saints of Europe, his remains bore little sign of decomposition and had no smell. Today, some believe certain hardships the community has endured in the years since Oschwald's passing are the result of a curse Oschwald placed on the town while on his death bed. A now abandoned Catholic school and Salvatorian seminary on the grounds near Oschwald's crypt is believed to be haunted by past students and teachers alike who have had strange experiences in the building. This was my first visit here since 2012 and my @cultofweird article about the town's peculiar history. Finding Oschwald's crypt open was like Christmas morning. #cultofweird #oddities #paranormal #occult #wisconsin #weirdwisconsin #stnazianz #jfkprep #haunted #hauntedplaces #cemetery #cemeterylovers #crypt #wisconsinhistory #onlyinwisconsin #travelwisconsin #explore #exploremore #cemeterylife #wisconsinlore

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Share your oddities and weird adventures by tagging your photos #cultofweird

September Observances

September 7Sputnikfest
September 20 – Storm Area 51
September 21 – Storm Loch Ness
September 21Hearse Fest
September 29 – National Ghost Hunting Day
September 30 – International Blasphemy Day

Send questions, photos of your favorite oddities, or share share your strange or unexplained experiences to be included in the next newsletter. Use the contact form or email info@cultofweird.com

WTFact

Windigo Fest Halloween festival in Manitowoc, Wisconsin

When the inaugural Windigo Fest was announced in 2017, an alarmed Manitowoc-based Christian group petitioned the city council to ban the event, saying it would welcome Satan into the community. To support their claims, they noted the dates the festival would be happening that year – October 6th and 7th – added up to the number thirteen. If that wasn’t enough, the Halloween parade was sure to summon the devil by going backwards down 8th street.

If Satan was going to be there, I knew I had to get involved in Windigo Fest somehow.

Previous Newsletter: Mary Nohl’s Witch House

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