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Close Encounters at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference

Curious crowds came in droves to the inaugural Milwaukee Paranormal Conference for a day of ghosts, monsters, UFOs and weird Wisconsin legends.
Bigfoot at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
Sasquatch decides which speaker to catch next at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference.

Where can you go to have an encounter with Bigfoot in the women’s bathroom? The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, apparently. I mean, I wasn’t in the women’s bathroom personally, but second-hand accounts and blurry photos were evidence enough for me.

The conference was held Saturday, June 6th at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center, which happens to be a deconsecrated church built in the late 1800s, complete with pews, stained glass windows and a massive pipe organ looming behind the stage in the main hall. According to the website, where the church stands now was originally part of the “Old Cemetery” Catholic burial ground prior to 1886. Where did the dead go when the church was built? Maybe they’re still there and caught some of the presentations.

I should note that, despite being held in an old church, no one was struck dead, burst into flames, etc. As far as I know.

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference vendor hall
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference vendor hall.

The conference was conceived by Milwaukee journalist Tea Krulos, who wanted envisioned a celebration of the paranormal to coincide with the launch of his new book Monster Hunters. An estimated 900 attendees was astounding proof that the weird is alive and well in Brew City.

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
I’m not sure what is going on here, but it’s awesome.

Cult of Weird Table

Thanks to the support and ingenuity of my partners in crime Rob (Mad Taxidermist) and Christina (Slasher Betty) we were able to scrape together a pretty decent Cult of Weird table. Although at least a few passersby seemed to think we were recruiting for an actual cult of some kind.

I suppose the skulls and occult symbolism may have had something to do with that.

Cult of Weird table at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
The Cult of Weird table in the vendor hall featuring Cult swag as well as the Mad Taxidermist’s new hand-made beeswax spine candles.

Skulls at the Cult of Weird table
The Mad Taxidermist brought some skulls along.

Cult of Weird at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
Rob and Christina man the Cult of Weird table.

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Speakers

When I wasn’t at our table fighting off a paralyzing social anxiety with Rob (while Christina did all the talking) I managed to catch a few of the presentations. Wisconsin MUFON investigator Mark O’Connell discussed some of the unusual and often quirky UFO sightings in the state.

Did you know that in 1961, aliens served a man pancakes from their flying saucer?

Yes…that happened.

Linda S. Godfrey, author of Weird Wisconsin and The Beast of Bray Road, revealed some of the cryptozoological oddities seen in the state as detailed in her most recent book American Monsters.

Weird Wisconsin author Linda S. Godfrey discussing strange creatures seen around the state.
Linda S. Godfrey discussing strange creatures seen around the state.

And, of course, I wouldn’t miss Cult contributor J. Nathan Couch’s presentation on the more paranormal elements of the goatman legends in Wisconsin and across the US.

J. Nathan Couch talks goatman legends at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
J. Nathan Couch talks goatman legends to a riveted crowd in the lower Pub.

There were many other great speakers who I didn’t have the opportunity to see, including Allison Jornlin of Milwaukee Ghosts Tours & Investigations, Bigfoot researcher Jim Sherman, and Roswell expert Donald R. Schmitt, whose table happened to be right by ours and I didn’t even realize it, damn it.

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
Tea Krulos hosts the Best Evidence Ever! panel with Allison Jornlin, Jim Sherman, and Nicholas Roesler at Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2015.

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Vendors

We had the honor of being (very) near illustrator David Beyer, Jr. and his amazing work, Alex Groh of Muddy Waters Press (he had a furry trout poster), The guys from Blurry Photos podcast, the Brew City Paranormal crew, and Mike Hoke of The Strange Side with Mike and Nate and Cedarburg Ghost Tours.

The artwork of illustrator David Beyer Jr.
The artwork of illustrator David Beyer, Jr.

Podcast of the Century crew at Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
Podcast of the Century

Goatman author J. Nathan Couch and MUFON investigator Mark O'Connell
Author J. Nathan Couch (Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?) and Mark O’Connell, MUFON Chief Investigator for Wisconsin.

milwaukee-paranormal-conference-dark-star-ministries
Steve Hayes and Kim Poeppey of Dark Star Ministry (and Cult of Weird readers!)

Bigfoot photo booth at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference
Yep, we found Bigfoot. Mystery solved.

Thank you to everyone who stopped to say hi! It was great to meet some local Cult of Weird readers who are passionate, curious, and, most of all, helping to keep the world weird.

Also, our eternal gratitude to Tea Krulos for putting the event together and bringing Cult of Weird on board. Can’t wait to do it again next year!

For more go to www.milwaukeeparacon.com

More 2015 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Media

Monster Hunters: Tea Krulos Explores the World of Paranormal Investigation

Milwaukee journalist Tea Krulos documents the lives of paranormal investigators and encounters some strange things along the way in his new book Monster Hunters.
Monster Hunters author Tea Krulos width=
Monster Hunters author Tea Krulos. Photo by Jennifer Janviere.

Monster Hunters is available now: BUY IT HERE

For his new book Monster Hunters, Milwaukee journalist Tea Krulos immersed himself in the world of paranormal investigation. He spent over a year traveling around the country in search of poltergeists, Bigfoot, Mothman and other American legends with passionate individuals who have dedicated their lives to demystifying the unexplained.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Krulos about his weird experiences on the road, as well as the upcoming Milwaukee Paranormal Conference he is orchestrating to celebrate the weird in Wisconsin.

Cult of Weird: Where did your interest in the paranormal begin?

Tea Krulos: When I was a kid, I loved this stuff. I would go to the library and find all the books I could on the subject. As I got older, I had a more casual interest. I’d watch documentaries and reality shows and occasionally read on it, but wouldn’t consider myself a researcher.

For Monster Hunters, you dove headfirst into the lifestyle of paranormal investigators. What was that like?

It was great, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I liked the subject matter and I like interesting people, so I thought it would be a good match for me. I set out with a goal of trying to write about a good range of people– ghost hunters, ufologists, cryptozoologists, demonologists, true believers, skeptics, hoaxers, serious researchers– and I had good luck finding all these types of people and really had the time of my life getting to know them.

Monster Hunters searching for Bigfoot
Squatch watch

During the research process with the subjects of the book, did you experience anything strange yourself?

Yes! The first strange thing that happened was when I joined the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee on an investigation of the notorious Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Kentucky. That place is supposed to be extremely haunted and the team has had a couple of creepy experiences there. While I was with them, one of the members had either a fear based paralysis or I guess a spirit possession. I also had a terrifying night out on a Bigfoot expedition in Michigan. We were awoken by a bloodcurdling scream and later that same night witnessed a UFO. I’m not saying it was a Bigfoot and extraterrestrials, but it was a weird and frightening night in the woods.

Did these experiences change your perspective on the paranormal?

It did a little. I went in very skeptical. Journalism, to me, means you need solid proof before you report it as fact. I did encounter a few cases where I can at least say I don’t know what happened. So I wouldn’t say I’m a true believer, but it did make me more of a believer in mystery. Who am I to say I know definitively that something does or does not exist?

Monster Hunters author Tea Krulos with the Mothman.
Tea Krulos with a statue of Mothman in Point Pleasant, WV

Did your research take you to any interesting places here in Wisconsin?

I took a fun day trip out to Elkhorn, where I met Linda S. Godfrey, researcher and author (and Milwaukee Paranormal Conference speaker). She was the first to report on the Beast of Bray Road, a werewolf-like creature spotted running around the farmlands of Elkhorn. I wrote a chapter on her in my book Monster Hunters titled “The Accidental Werewolf Chronicler.” I went out to interview her and then my friend and I cruised around Bray Road. We didn’t see a Manwolf, but it was cool to see the scene firsthand. Most of my other Wisconsin material was joining the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee on ghost hunts in the city and surrounding suburbs, although one case took us up to Juneau, WI.

The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference is coming up in June. What can we expect from that?

The conference started as a way for me to talk about my book– several people I wrote about will be giving talks at the event. It quickly grew into something bigger. There hasn’t been a para con in Milwaukee for ten years, so people are really excited and I know people from all over the state and beyond are attending. I didn’t want to get in over my head, so I started year one as a one day event with about a dozen speakers, most from right here in Wisconsin. I think I got a good mix of different subject matters. In addition to the speakers and panels, there is a lot of fun stuff in the vendor hall and some tours and an after party after the con. Admission is free, which I think is pretty rare for any sort of convention like this. I’m very confident that this year will lay groundwork for an expanding annual event. People can find the day’s schedule and more info on the speakers at: www.milwaukeeparacon.com

What are some things paranormal enthusiasts can do in Milwaukee if they want to encounter something supernatural?

There are a couple paranormal investigation teams in town, including Brew City Paranormal and the previously mentioned Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee. I’m most familiar with PIM and I know they do a lot of public events, like presentations at local libraries and “tag along” investigations a couple times a year. Allison Jornlin is Milwaukee’s ghostlore expert and she runs Milwaukee Ghosts- Tours & Investigations. Shaker’s Cigar Bar aka “Milwaukee’s Haunted Bar” is a fun place to hang out and they offer a variety of tours, too. I’m glad to say everyone I just mentioned is participating in the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference.

Where can the Cult of Weird community find more of your work and get the latest updates?

If you go to teakrulos.com you can find info on my first book, Heroes in the Night, other projects I’m working on, and a blog. I post something every month that has links to articles I’ve written and other news.

The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference is being held June 6th, 2015 at the Irish Heritage & Cultural Center. Monster Hunters will be released that day and available at the conference.

Monster Hunters by Tea KrulosMonster Hunters: On the Trail With Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators

Do ghosts exist? What about Bigfoot or Skinwalkers? And how will we ever know? Journalist Tea Krulos spent more than a year traveling nationwide to meet individuals who have made it their life’s passion to hunt down evidence of entities that they believe exist but that others might shrug off as nothing more than myths, fairy tales, or the products of overactive imaginations. Without taking sides in the debate, Krulos joins these believers in the field, exploring haunted houses, trekking through creepy forests, and scanning skies and lakes as they collect data on the unknown poltergeists, chupacabras, Skunk Apes (Bigfoot’s stinky cousins), and West Virginia’s Mothman. Along the way, he meets a diverse cast of characters—true believers, skeptics, and hoaxers—from the credible to the quirky, and has a couple of hair-raising encounters that make him second-guess his own beliefs.

BUY IT

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Brings the Weird this June

The inaugural Milwaukee Paranormal Conference will feature speakers, panels and more in the fields of paranormal investigation, cryptozoology, ufology and folklore.
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference will be held at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference will be held June 6th, 2015 at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center on Wisconsin Ave.

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Details

Date: June 6th, 2015
Time: 12pm-7pm
Location: Irish Cultural & Heritage Center
2133 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233 (Get Directions)
Cost: FREE (Get tickets here)

The great state of Wisconsin is not only home to the Cult of Weird world headquarters, it is also full of legendary weirdness. The backwoods of the dairy state have spawned grave-robbing cannibal killers, horrific creatures and some of the most bizarre hauntings ever recorded. Now, author Tea Krulos is bringing it all together for the first time for the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference on June 6th, 2015.

Krulos, whose new book Monster Hunters: On the Trail With Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators will debut at the conference, decided that rather than having a standard book release, he would put together an entire day filled with presentations on the paranormal, including guest speakers, panels, film screenings, vendors and more. Get your photo taken with Bigfoot!

Be sure to drop by the Cult of Weird table in the vendor hall to say hi!

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Speakers

  • Donald R. Schmitt, expert on UFOs and the Roswell Crash
  • Linda S. Godfrey, author of Weird Wisconsin and many more
  • Noah Leigh, founder and lead investigator, Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee
  • Melissa Tanner, founder and lead investigator, TnT Paranormal Investigations
  • Allison Jornlin, ghost historian and proprietor of Milwaukee Ghosts Tours & Investigations
  • Tea Krulos, author of Monster Hunters
  • Marc Eaton, professor of sociology, Ripon College
  • J. Nathan Couch, author of Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?
  • Jim Sherman, Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (as seen on Finding Bigfoot)
  • Nick Roesler, author of In Focus: Photographic Evidence of Unconventional Flying Objects
  • Mark O’Connell, biographer of Dr. J.Allen Hynek and MUFON Chief Investigator for Wisconsin

Documentary Screenings

  • Echoes of the Past (2015) from director David Gloyd
  • PIM: A Paranormal Documentary (2015) from director Bradley James Kroll

Panels

  • Tea Krulos hosts the “Best Evidence Ever!” panel w/ Ursula Bielski, Jim Sherman, and Nicholas Roesler
  • “Skepticism and Dealing with Clients” with paranormal team leaders Noah Leigh (Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee), Melissa Tanner (TnT Paranormal), and Valerie Kedrowski (Stevens Point Paranormal). Moderated by Damien Jones of Podcast of the Century.

After con events include a Wisconsin Ave. bus tour with Milwaukee Ghosts-Tours & Investigations, an investigation of the Historic Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear with Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee, and the official after party at Milwaukee’s haunted Shaker’s Cigar Bar. Hangman Tours will also offer a variety of tours throughout the evening, including Shaker’s and other spots in the downtown area.

For more info go to milwaukeeparacon.com

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference

PRE-ORDER Monster Hunters Here