One of the most peculiar encounters with a UFO involves aliens serving breakfast in Eagle River, Wisconsin.
A quick recap of the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference with appearances by Loren Coleman, Butch Patrick, Katrina Weidman, Linda S. Godfrey and more.
The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference was originally dreamed up last year by author Tea Krulos as a release party for his book Monster Hunters. Rather than take the spotlight, however, he decided to organize a celebration of the bizarre with authors, artists, vendors, filmmakers, ghost tours, and numerous experts in the fields of cryptozoology, folklore, paranormal investigation, and haunted places. Due to the success of last year’s event, Tea promised bigger and better in 2016…and he did not disappoint.
The conference was held this weekend at the University of Milwaukee Student Union with a packed vendor floor and two halls hosting panels and speakers throughout both Saturday and Sunday. The Cult of Weird table was perfectly positioned between Grave Digger Candles and J. Nathan Couch, author of Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?
Butch Patrick, the actor who played Eddie Munster, was a last minute addition since he just happened to be in the area. I couldn’t resist picking up an autographed Johnny Lightning Dragula for my fledgling diecast hearse collection.
The Munsters diecast Dragula autographed by Butch Patrick
Me with Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster)
The first speaker I caught was Linda S. Godfrey, author of Monsters Among Us, American Monsters, and many more. She covered 25 years of investigation into eyewitness accounts of dogmen in the Midwest, a phenomena she first encountered in the late 1980s when she reported on the Beast of Bray Road sightings near Delavan, Wisconsin for a local newspaper.
Linda Godfrey speaking about dogman sightings in the Midwest.
Later there was a Q&A session with Katrina Weidman from the Destination America series Paranormal Lockdown, where she talked about some of the most convincing evidence she has collected, as well as the upcoming Halloween special in which she and Nick Groff (formerly of Ghost Adventures) investigate the Black Monk House. That was followed by The Roswell Debate with Donald R. Schmitt and Mark O’Connell. Both were involved in last year’s conference, but I didn’t have a chance to catch them this time around.
Me with Loren Coleman
The day culminated in a thoroughly fascinating presentation by International Museum of Cryptozoology founder Loren Coleman on the Minnesota Iceman, reports of Bigfoot abducting dogs and children, and the current clown hysteria as it relates to a long history of phantom clown sightings. It was Coleman’s first appearance in Milwaukee, providing the opportunity to have Terry Cullen get onstage and recount his early encounter with the Iceman.
Cullen was a zoology student in Milwaukee when he found the stinking, rotting corpse of a hairy hominid at Chicago’s International Livestock Exhibition and Fair in 1968. Of course, many great hoaxes have been perpetuated in dimly lit tents. Cullen said he always paid to get into those exhibits so he could learn what fakes look like. But the Iceman was different. He had the opportunity to examine the body better than anyone since, and remains convinced it was authentic.
For more on the Iceman read Neanderthal: The Strange Saga of the Minnesota Iceman by Bernard Heuvelmans. Coleman provided an afterword to this newly translate edition of one of the best books on the topic.
On a side note, when you have the opportunity to buy a plaster cast of a Bigfoot print from the Patterson-Gimlin filmsite signed by Loren Coleman…you do it.
Bigfoot cast from the Patterson-Gimlin filmsite signed by Loren Coleman
Wisconsin’s Wildest Urban Legends panel happened Sunday with Tea at the helm. J. Nathan Couch discussed the connection between goatman and Lover’s Lane legends. Valerie Kedrowski of the Steven’s Point Paranormal Club shed some light on roads with a ghostly reputation such as Paradise Road and Boy Scout Lane. Christina and I talked about the bizarre history of St. Nazianz and JFK Prep, as well as the circumstances surrounding the allegedly haunted cauldron believed to have been owned by Ed Gein. Tea went over some of the locations where the ghost of Al Capone are said to roam.
One of the defining moments of the afternoon was the Krampus parade, in which members of the Minnesota Krampus group stalked through the vendor hall in their traditional goat hide costumes with menacing hand-carved masks, flogging any unfortunate soul who happened to get in their way.
At the end of the day we had the pleasure of hearing the top three winners of the summer writing contest read their submissions. It was great meeting everyone and catching up with all the amazing folks we met last year.
Vintage 1940s Hasko Mystic Tray for sale from Steve and Kim of Kadywumpus
Artist Cait May. She had an amazing lake monster print I should have bought. See more of her work at www.caitmayart.com
Christina with a Krampus
Zombeans by author/illustrator Donovan Scherer
Watch for more photos from the conference at www.milwaukeeparacon.com
Learn about some of the strangest legends from the weird backwoods of Wisconsin this Sunday, October 16th at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference.
The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference has a lot of weird to offer this weekend, including a Q&A with Paranormal Lockdown star Katrina Weidman, a talk by Loren Coleman (International Cryptozoology Museum) on the Minnesota Iceman, a debate on the Roswell UFO crash with Donald R. Schmitt and Mark O’Connell, and much more.
So it’s only fitting that, for the first time ever, Cult of Weird will be presenting a panel on the many strange urban legends from the backwoods of weird Wisconsin! The panel will be moderated by conference director Tea Krulos with Cult contributor and resident goatman expert J. Nathan Couch, Valerie Kedrowski of the Stevens Point Paranormal Club, my partner in crime Christina Rickman, and myself.
Here’s what we’ll be talking about:
- Lover’s Lanes and Creepy Roads
Hogsback Road and goatman, Boy Scout Lane, Paradise Road
- I Dare You to Go There
Haunchyville, St Nazianz, Mary Nohl House, Maribel Caves Hotel Hell
The ghost of Al Capone, Bloody Bride Bridge, Phantom Hitchhiker of Hwy 12
- Reality vs Urban Legend
Ed Gein’s cauldron, Slenderman, werewolves, Milwaukee Lion
- Audience Q&A
Come to the conference (there are great things happening all weekend) and hear about some odd, horrific and/or quirky Wisconsin legends. Also, you can find us in the vendor hall all weekend next to the Grave Digger’s creepy Halloween candles.
The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference is happening this Saturday and Sunday, October 15-16. Catch the panel on Sunday at 1pm in the UWM Ballroom West.
More info at milwaukeeparacon.com
Panel on Wisconsin urban legends, as well as new guest speakers, announced for the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference happening this October 14-16.
The latest round of guests to appear at the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference have been announced. Besides an exciting list of speakers (below) to supplement an already great lineup, a new panel has been added to the schedule.
There’s no shortage of weird in Wisconsin. If you’re from here, you have likely followed one odd legend or another down a creepy back road with the hope of encountering something otherworldly. Ghosts, witches, goatman, reclusive circus folk…you know, the usual. That’s why this year’s Paracon will include a panel on Wisconsin’s Wildest Urban Legends.
Here’s what to expect:
This panel will talk about one of the more fun aspects of our folklore– the urban legend. We’ll be talking about Menomonee Fall’s Haunchyville, an alleged colony of angry little people, the bloody legend of Boy Scout Lane in Stevens Point, the break out star of the 2015 Milwaukee Para Con–Goatman!–and more. This panel includes J. Nathan Couch (Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?), Charlie Hintz and Christina Rickman(Cult of Weird), and Valerie Kedrowski (Stevens Point Paranormal). Moderator: Tea Krulos (Monster Hunters, Riverwest Ghost Stories).
Newly announced guest speakers include:
- UFO researcher and MUFON member Chase Kloetske
- Beyond Deep Black Radio host Nick Roesler
- Kristan T. Harris on “The Hidden History of Giants”
- Dark Star Ministry presents: “Ouija & Tarot: Occult Tools and the Paranormal”
Buy your tickets now right here.
For more info go to milwaukeeparacon.com
A pack of Krampus terrorized the streets of Bloomington, Indiana last night for the annual Krampus Night event.
Krampus Night? What is it? According to Austro-Barvarian folklore, Krampus is a huge, sinister, horned beast that has been enslaved by St. Nicholas. As Old Nick journeys across the Alpine countryside bringing gifts to good children, the chained demon stalks behind him, waiting to be unleashed on naughty children. Punishments handed out by Krampus include, but are not limited to, leaving coal instead of gifts, handing out beatings with a birch switch, marking sleeping children’s faces with ash to attract nightmares, and worst of all, carrying the worst of the children off to hell! Intense, huh?
It’s long been tradition in Alpine villages for young men to dress in elaborate Krampus costumes and parade down the street, and afterwards lurk in alleys and dark places waiting to frighten passing children. It’s like someone took the best aspects of Christmas and combined them with Halloween. Those Europeans have the best ideas!
Now the tradition is becoming more and more popular in the United States. Not only is Krampus now a major motion picture, and has appeared in various television shows and graphic novels. But before all that, Bloomington, Indiana has been bringing this unique tradition to life each December for the past four years.
This year Cult Of Weird was on hand to cover the festivities. Krampus Night began just before twilight with a Bazaar situated in a small parking lot. Patrons could purchase tee shirts, bundles of switches, and food and drink. Various family activities were available to keep children entertained–God forbid a sudden bout of boredom leads children to mischief just as a pack of Krampuses are readying to march through town! The kids could occupy themselves with sack races, Krampus balloon headdresses, making homemade Krampus masks, or drawing images of the beast in sidewalk chalk. But most important of all, this is where you get your naughty or nice stickers. Nice patrons get candy. Naughty ones run the risk of meeting Krampus up close.
An hour later, just as night fell, ominous horn and drum music could be heard in the distance and troop of angels appeared from around the corner–lovely women in white, gyrating with light-up neon hula hoops, while a very stoic, Old World Saint Nicholas oversaw the performance. The women would then approach onlookers and hand out treats to children labeled nice. As bright and spectacular as this scene was, a dark cloud hung over the festivities. Dark haired men with ashen faces followed several feet behind with torches blazing high in the air, and behind them the menacing roars of dark beasts could be heard. Soon a dozen or more fierce, fur covered goat men with, enormous, twisted, wild horns appeared carrying long staffs made of bundles of switches. The creatures howled and growled and lunged at the crowd in search of the naughty. The crowd howled and growled back, and older siblings yelled out to the Krampuses, ratting out younger siblings for being bad. Myself, naughty by my own admission, was spanked across the shins with a huge staff of switches, and one particularly large Krampus (who I later learned was named Kindergobbler) grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me sharply as punishment.
One Krampus stopped in front me with a bright torch, sipped some foul smelling liquid, and spat fire high into the dark Bloomington sky. The crowd cheered in approval as more Krampuses dashed at the onlookers. Finally a pickup truck emerged from around the corner, with a particularly vile looking Krampus in back. Sitting around him were several small children, their faces covered in ash. As other little children moved into the street for a closer look at the Krampuses, a small blonde girl shouted from the truck “run you idiots! They’ll take you away! Run for your lives!”
As the parade moved through town the crowd followed, until all the onlookers arrived back at the Bazaar for a chance to have their pictures taken with St. Nick, the Angels, and the demonic Krampuses. A host of the beasts were locked inside a pen made of police caution tape, and for an additional donation, you could walk through the menagerie, as they shook and swatted you with switches. At the end of the night St. Nicholas entered the pen, and all the Krampuses dropped down on one knee to honor the man who’d tamed and mastered them. Nicholas raised his staff, and a horn blared. He then loaded all of the beasts into the back of trucks and they drove off to Downtown Bloomington, screeching and bellowing, where they’d spend the remainder of the night lurking outside of pubs and restaurants, waiting to punish the naughty.
The entire event seemed extremely surreal, as the Krampus tradition is far darker than anything we have in the States. But despite the dreadful notion that the devil is waiting to drag you away, the kids in the audience loved it all, as it was all so over the top it seemed more theater than threat, though the same underlying message we all hear at Christmas was there–“you better be good, for goodness sake!”