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American Madness

American Madness: How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked the American Consciousness

Author Tea Krulos pulls back the veil on the deep state agenda with masked conspiracy theorist The Phantom Patriot.

Tomb of Tutankhamun when it was discovered in 1922

5 Upcoming Weird Books You Can Preorder Right Now

From the bizarre true history of cursed objects and books bound in human skin, to the fictional tale of Southern style vampire hunting.

Apocalypse Any Day Now author Tea Krulos

Apocalypse Any Day Now: Into the World of Doomsday Preppers with Author Tea Krulos

The End is near…right? For some, doomsday is right around the corner and they’re going to great lengths to be prepared.

When Tea Krulos decides to write about a particular topic he finds fascinating, he gets out into the wilderness and immerses himself in it. Whether it’s breaking up a dangerous fight on the streets of Seattle with real life superhero Phoenix Jones for Heroes in the Night, or fending off aggressive wildlife while tracking Bigfoot with Monster Hunters, he takes a few risks to experience the curious inner workings of some obscure subcultures.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to catch Tea at a local comic shop called Crimson Cowl (owned by superheroes The Watchman and Crimson Crusader) where he discussed his experiences while researching his new book Apocalypse Any Day Now. The danger may not have been immediately present this time as Tea packed up and bugged out into the world of doomsday preppers, but it seems as though the paranoia was palpable.

Tea’s journey took him from the luxury bunkers built in an abandoned missile silo beneath the surface of the Kansas prairie, into the woods with a group that teaches disaster preparedness and survival skills under the guise of a zombie apocalypse, and out into the desolate Mojave Desert for the post-apocalyptic party known as Wasteland Weekend.

If you’ve been following Cult of Weird on the cesspool that is social media for a while, you may have noticed one of my favorite pass times is to track the latest end-of-the-world predictions and take a show of hands the following day to see who survived.

So far we’ve all squeaked by unscathed.

Be it a Biblical Armageddon, natural disaster, nuclear war, or the FEMA camps of a police state as conspiracy theorists are fond of preaching, there are some who believe there is a constant looming threat to humanity. Something set to wipe out civilization as we know it. And they’ll be ready.

Who knows. Maybe the end is near.

Will you be prepared…when it’s time for the Mad Max-themed swimsuit contest?

Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America's Doomsday Preppers by Tea Krulos

Find out in Apocalypse Any Day Now by Tea Krulos. Available now right here.

Tea Krulos is also the organizer of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference.

Recap of the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference

A quick recap of the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference with appearances by Loren Coleman, Butch Patrick, Katrina Weidman, Linda S. Godfrey and more.
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2016

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.

Related: The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference needs your help!

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.

eddie-munster-dragula
The Munsters diecast Dragula autographed by Butch Patrick

Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster
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 sightings of dogmen in the Midwest
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.

Loren Coleman
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 signed by Loren Coleman
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.

Minnesota Krampus

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.

UPDATE: Listen to the top 5 submission right here.

Vintage Haskelite mystic tray
Vintage 1940s Hasko Mystic Tray for sale from Steve and Kim of Kadywumpus

Artist Cait May
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 one of the Minnesota Krampus
Christina with a Krampus

Zombeans by Donovan Scherer
Zombeans by author/illustrator Donovan Scherer

What would D.B. Cooper do? bumper sticker

Watch for more photos from the conference at www.milwaukeeparacon.com

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Sunday Schedule

Wisconsin urban legends, Bachelors Grove Cemetery, haunted road trip and more! Here’s what’s going on today, October 16th at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference.
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2016 Sunday schedule

The second and final day of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference gets spooky with Urusla Bielski on the haunted Bachelors Grove Cemetery, Wisconsin lake monsters with Chad Lewis, Minnesota Krampus, ghostly gadgets, Haunted Road Trip panel, the Cult of Weird panel on Wisconsin urban legends, and much more.

Here’s the schedule for today:

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Day 2

@ UWM Student Union (2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.)

UWM Ballroom East: Vendor Floor open 10:00am-4:00pm

Wisconsin Room

11:00-11:45am: Ursula Bielski, “Haunted Bachelors Grove”

12-12:45pm: Chad Lewis, “Sea Serpents of Wisconsin: Monsters in the Lakes, Rivers, and Streams”

2:00-2:45pm: Elizabeth Saint, “Ghostly Gadgets: Engineering the Paranormal”

3:00-3:45pm: Ghost Story Open Mic with hosts Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics. Sign up at the ticket/ registration table and get a time slot to tell your own supernatural story!

4:00-4:45pm: Chase Kloetzke, “Admissible: Is the Burden of Proof Enough?”

UWM Ballroom West

12:00-12:45pm: “Haunted Road Trip,” moderated by Mike Huberty (See You on the Other Side podcast, Minneapolis Ghost Tour), w/ Mike Hoke (Cedarburg Ghost & Dark History Walking Tours), Lisa Von Buskirk (Madison Ghost Tour), Kathi Kresol (Haunted Rockford)

Wisconsin's wildest urban legends at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
Wisconsin’s Wildest Urban Legends panel

1:00-1:45: “Wisconsin’s Wildest Urban Legends,” presented by Cult of Weird. Moderated by Tea Krulos (author, Monster Hunters) w/ Charlie Hintz and Christina Rickman (Cult of Weird), J. Nathan Couch (author, Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?), and Valerie Kedrowski (Stevens Point Paranormal Club).

2:00-2:45pm: “Yow! My Business is Haunted!” moderated by Allison Jornlin, w/ Tom Carr (Brumder Mansion), Dawn Scher-Thomae (Milwaukee Public Museum), and Jesus Enrique Nañez (Modjeska Theater)

3:00-3:45pm: Feral House presents: Minnesota Krampus, Krampus parade and “Celebrating Krampusnacht” presentation

4:00-4:30pm: Reading by winners of the Cult of Weird and Milwaukee Paranormal Conference short speculative fiction contest.

Special appearance: Back Roads Lore meet and greet, 2-3:30pm, Spaights Plaza (behind the Student Union)

Workshops (Room 191)

12:00-12:45pm: Nick Roesler, “Examining UFO Photos”

1:00-1:45: Mary Marshall, “Ghosts and Spirit Entities”

2:00-2:45pm: luna, ”Numerology 101?

3:00-3:45pm: Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee, “Paranormal Tech: Why do we use it and how it works: EMF baseline reading tutorial”

Star Paths Special Screening @ The Underground Collaborative (161 W. Wisconsin Ave., basement level in the Plankinton building of the Grand Ave. Mall) 3pm

Ron HS Schaefer will be screening the first 3 episodes of his Star Paths TV series, a series that provides information on energy work, magical practices, Tarot, Astrology, and a number of other related subjects. Admission $4.

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Film Festival @ The Underground Collaborative (161 W. Wisconsin Ave., basement level in the Plankinton building of the Grand Ave. Mall) 5pm

More info at MilwaukeeParaCon.com