Tea’s Weird Week: Our Horror Host Doc, “I’m Your Host,” Won a Brico Forward Fund Award!

I’ve been wanting to keep up with Tea’s Weird Week as a weekly column (as the name implies) but it’s been a real busy time for me. The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference happened. I’ve been running that thing since 2015. I think it went fine. I’m a little burnt out on everything, but it went fine. I hosted a panel with my colleagues Matthew Prigge, Anna Lardinois, and Gavin Schmitt. All three are authors and Matthew and Anna are also Milwaukee Magazine contributors. There were a lot of other great talks and I had a lot of fun on our Sunday Activity Day.

Up next: Milwaukee Krampusnacht. We’re pushing for our biggest year yet so please head over to milwaukeekrampusnacht.com to check out the schedule, ticket info, and you can be a Krampus– put together a costume and register on our site!

Here is a BIG FREAKING DEAL though– a documentary project I’m producer on, I’m Your Host, won a Brico Forward Fund Award by Milwaukee Film!

L-R: Yours Truly, Christopher House, Dr. Destruction, Alicia Krupsky, and Stephen Anderson at Dr. Destruction’s Haunted Manor at Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin Farm.

I’m Your Host is somewhat based on an article I wrote for the October 2021 issue of Milwaukee Magazine. It’s title in print was “Terror on the Tube.” It’s about Kenosha, Wisconsin’s unusually high number of “horror hosts,” people who have their own shows where they introduce old, usually public domain, or independent horror films. You know, like Vampira, Elvira, Svengoolie, etc.

Kenosha has four of these shows– Dr. Destruction’s Crimson Theater, Hexen Arcane, Nightmare Cinema, and Storm’s Eclectic Realm (which features some of the cast of Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics. Curtis aka Deadgar Winter passed away shortly after we interviewed him for this doc last year. I wrote about his death for MilMag’s website here: www.milwaukeemag.com/beloved-horror-host-deadgar-winter-has-died)

As I was wrapping the article up, I put together a crew for a documentary that includes our director, the talented Alicia Krupsky, as well as Christopher House, director of the Twisted Dreams Film Fest as a producer. We hired local filmographer Stephen Vincent Anderson for some of the shoots, and Heather House and others have helped, too. The soundtrack features local bands Ratbatspider, Imperial Fall, and The Almas.

It’s been a roller coaster! We have shared in our subject matter’s heartbreak over the death of Curtis (Stephen and Alicia helped with his memorial show, I wrote his obituary) but were also able to share the success of Dr. Destruction being inducted in the Worldwide Television and Radio Horror Host Hall of Fame (we helped plan his party).

We applied for the Brico award and Tuesday was the big day. Me and Alicia showed up for Milwaukee Film’s event to announce the award recipients. There were a good number of people there and I did feel intimidated. Shortly before the announcements started I told Alicia, “ya know, if we don’t win it, at least we tried. A lot of people don’t even make it this far.”

They began, introduced the award jury, and then started talking about the first award winner. Me and Alicia looked at each other. They were talking about us! It was quite a great moment in my life. I’ve had some wins and some failures, but this was a big win. The award is going to provide us with some funding as well as some free access to professional services that will really help make our doc the best it can be. We’re all very excited to get it finished and share this story by getting it out to both traditional and horror film fests.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has been supportive of this project, especially the horror hosts themselves.

Here’s our first trailer, which was part of our award application.

I’m Your Host – Trailer from Alicia Krupskaya on Vimeo.

Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram
My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: The Story of Father Pellegrino Ernetti and His Time Travel Viewing “Chronovisor”

Note: Tea’s Weird Week is back! One book project I looked into was exploring the stories of people who have claimed that they have traveled through time. That project was abandoned, but not before I wrote this chapter about alleged time travel inventor and Benedictine monk Father Pellegrino Ernetti. I’m sharing here for the first time and might follow up with stories about other so called “chrononauts”… in the future.

October 28, 1941, Venice, Italy: Pellegrino Ernetti joins the Benedictine Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore.

The basilica and Benedictine abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore is located on an island near Venice, a short boat ride across the Grand Canal from Piazette di San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square). The main traffic back and forth between the island and the square are small boats called vaporettos.

The first church was built on San Giorgio Maggiore in 790 AD and in 982 AD the island was given to the Order of Saint Benedict. The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, a basilica of bright white marble surrounded by the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, was built between 1566 and 1610 AD. Over the centuries, the island survived Napoleon Bonaparte and two world wars, but lack of manpower and supplies during the war years led parts of the island to fall into ruin.

Perhaps San Giorgio Maggiore’s most unusual story is that of Father Pellegrino Maria Ernetti (1925-1994), a Benedictine monk who was an expert in the Gregorian chants, a specialty of the island’s Benedictine order. He was also a prolific exorcist.

Father Ernetti

Father Ernetti had quite a claim– that he was part of a team that invented a device called the Chronovisor, which allowed the viewer to view events from history, tuning into them in the same way you would a TV channel. 

Young Pellegrino Ernetti joined the monastery as a postulant on San Giorgio Maggiore shortly after he turned 16 in 1941. He fell into his daily routine– the Benedictines arose at 5am as the sun began to rise above the sea, filed into the Holy Office of Matins at 5:30, then ate breakfast in silence at 6:30 while a brother read to them, usually in Latin. Then there were classes, followed by study and prayer in the evening.

“His ear was as sharp as his mind,” German author Peter Krassa writes in his biography, Father Ernetti’s Chronovisor: The Creation and Disappearance of the World’s First Time Machine. Ernetti excelled at his studies and in particular was drawn to the study of archaic music, songs from the Western world from the tenth century B.C. to the tenth century AD. The Gregorian Chants*, which emerged in the sixth century AD, are one of the well-known examples of archaic music along with the music of ancient Greece. To understand these music traditions, Father Ernetti would study Latin, Greek, and modern European languages. He led the choir at San Giorgio to record performances of archaic music.

*[Footnote] Although Father Ernetti was not involved in the recordings, the Gregorian Chants were a commercial success with the release of Chant, a 1994 album that featured the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos in Spain. It peaked at number 3 on the Billboard chart, went double platinum in the U.S. and sold about 6 million copies worldwide. It was billed, like popular New Age music of the time (Enya and Enigma for example) as an antidote to the stress of modern life. Chant Noel: Chants for the Holiday Season (1994), Chant II (1995), and Chant III (1996) followed.

After 8 years of study, Pellegrino would become ordained as a Benedictine priest on August 14, 1949. He would go on to write a 12-volume Trattaro Generale di Canto Gregoriano (“General Treatise on Gregorian Chant”), published between 1958-64, as well as Parola, Musica, Ritmo (“Words, Music, Rhythm”).

In addition to music study and teaching, Father Ernetti was a working exorcist. According to Krassa’s book, Father Ernetti’s reputation “had spread far and wide through Italy,” and he performed thousands of exorcisms over the decades, most making the pilgrimage to San Giorgio where they would get relief from demons in Father Ernetti’s cell. He was so effective at his job, Krassa writes, that “in the mid-1970s, the Conference of Bishops in Rome had even commissioned him– perhaps commanded is a better word– to set his techniques down on paper in the form of a set of guidelines.” Father Ernetti complied, writing a book titled La Catechesi di Satana (Satan’s Catechism).

The guide details the progression of demonic home invasion– chairs pushed by an invisible force, dishes flying through the air and smashing into a wall, and windows opening on their own, for example. Next the victim would begin to hear voices in their head, would be unable to think clearly, lose smell and taste, then speak in tongues or obscenities, and exhibit unusual strength. These signs would point to the need for a professional like Father Ernetti to perform an exorcism, which he continued to carry out until the final days of his life. He ignored criticisms that exorcisms were many times being performed on people who had physical or mental conditions, not demons. Krassa notes:


“It is tempting to speculate that, in every one of his exorcisms, Ernetti was really attempting to drive out of himself a single, huge demon– the demon that caused him to make up fibs about a Chronovisor.”

September 15, 1952: Father Ernetti hears a voice from beyond.

Around the same time that he wrapped his definite work on chants, starting in the 1960s, Father Ernetti began telling people a strange story. Father Ernetti says that in 1952 he was sent to Milan to work in the Electroacoustics Laboratory of the Catholic University with Father Agostino Gemelli.

On September 15, 1952, Father Ernetti says he was working with Father Gemelli on a recording of Gregorian chants, but the tape recorder mic kept malfunctioning. Frustrated, Father Gemelli, turned his head up and gestured to the sky, asking for his deceased father for help.

A disembodied voice replied from the tape recorder that said “of course I shall help you. I’m always with you.” The voice shocked Father Gemelli. He recognized it and shook and broke into a sweat, according to Father Ernetti. He thought it might be the Devil himself. But then the voice reassured him.

“But, Zucchini, it is clear, don’t you know it is I?” The voice said, using Father Gemelli’s childhood nickname.

Fathers Ernetti and Gemelli went to report their discovery directly to Pope Pius XII in Rome. The Pope allegedly put his hand on Father Gemelli’s shoulder and reassured him that he “really need not worry about this.” He explained the recording machine had been objective and that the communication was just scientific fact. In fact, the Holy See said, the discovery could be “a cornerstone for building scientific studies which will strengthen people’s faith in the hereafter.”

Father Ernetti returned to Venice the following year, 1953, and remained there the rest of his life. He had a good motivation to stay on San Giorgio Maggiore– Count Vittorio Cini had set up the Giorgio Cini Foundation, named after his deceased son. The Foundation funded the Institute for Cultural Collaboration on San Giorgio Maggiore, a research institute where Father Ernetti could pursue his interests of archaic music. He taught at the institute as well as across the Grand Canal at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory of Music near Saint Mark’s Square.

Father Ernetti

The story of Father Ernetti and the Chronovisor began to unwind in the 1960s after a chance encounter with Father François Brune (1931-2019), a theologian and author with an interest in parapsychology who taught at the Sorbonne in Paris. Father Brune had visited San Giorgio Maggiore and ran into Father Ernetti while waiting for a vaporetto to cross the Grand Canal. They struck up a conversation and Father Ernetti intrigued Father Brune with a story about an invention he claimed he had helped create.

The next day Father Brune visited Father Ernetti to talk to him further in his humble monastic cell, which measured about 12 feet by 12 feet. The majority of the space in Father Ernetti’s quarters was taken up by a desk piled high with papers, books in many languages, and sheet music as well as a rickety old typewriter and a small brass cross, the symbol of the Benedictine order.

It was here that Father Ernetti weaved a story about the invention of the Chronovisor, which featured an all-star team. Enrico Fermi, the Italian physicist who invented the first nuclear reactor, was involved in the schematics. So was Wernher von Braun, the Nazi rocket scientist who worked on space technology for America after the war under Operation Paperclip. Other top scientists from around the world were among those who worked on the invention, Father Ernetti said, but refused to give more names.

Once this team had assembled the Chronovisor, Father Ernetti explained they were able to tune into the past and view it through something similar to a television screen. They watched a speech by Benito Mussolini, then dialed it back further and further, seeing a speech by Napoleon Bonaparte, then observed a marketplace in ancient Rome during the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) and Cicero (106-43 BC) addressing the Roman Senate. Father Ernetti said their biggest accomplishment happened in January 1956, when Team Chronovisor was able to tune into the Last Supper and then watch the Crucifixion of Christ.

Here at last was a supposed window into the Akashic Records, the theory that all universal events from the past, present, and future exist in a mental plane that can be tapped into. In addition to events the Akashic Records record all thoughts, words, and even emotions. The theory was popularized by theosophist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian philosopher who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. She described “indestructible tablets of astral light.”

A French religious publication published a story about the Chronovisor in 1965 and the story would pop up, usually in fringe New Age, parapsychology, or UFO themed publications until Father Ernetti’s death in 1994. 

1972: Father Ernetti’s Photo of Christ and Transcription of Thyestes

The dazzle of Father Ernetti’s window into time began to fade when several problems with the story unraveled. First, the person who would best be able to corroborate his story, Father Gemelli, had died in 1959 before Ernetti began telling his tale. This is a common problem for people making time travel and other incredible claims– the participants in their story are conveniently deceased. Fermi had died in 1954. Wernher von Braun lived to 1977 (and made no mention of a Chronovisor). There was no one to back the story up.

In 1972, Father Ernetti offered a poor hoax as a piece of evidence. He showed off a picture that he claimed came from the Chronovisor, a picture of Christ’s face as he hung on the cross on Calvary. The image of was printed in a weekly newspaper called La Domencia del Corriere in their May 2, 1972, edition, and again in the Giornale dei Misteri (a magazine devoted to paranormal subjects) in August 1972. A reader of the latter publication quickly identified the image and sent its source in to the editors– a souvenir photograph that cost 100 lira available in the gift shop of the Sanctuaire de l’Amour Miséricordieux (Sanctuary of Merciful Love) in the town of Collevalenza. The photo was a detail of a wooden carving of Christ on the cross by Spanish sculptor Cullot Valera. Father Ernetti had simply reversed the image and distorted it, making it slightly blurry.

Father Ernetti claimed that using the Chronovisor, he was able to see the lost Greek play Thyestes and had transcribed part of it. This version of Thyestes was the one written by poet and playwright Quintus Ennius and performed in Rome shortly before he died in 169 BC. In short, the play is about how Thyestes’s brother, Atreus, tricked him into eating his own children at a banquet.

When Father Ernetti finally showed a “fragment” of the play he had written, it was quickly called into question by an expert’s eye. Dr. Katherine Owen Eldred, a PhD in Classics from Princeton, found that a number of the Latin words in the text did not appear until some 250 years later. Other words were misplaced or misused.

Father Ernetti also had squirrely behavior when asked to speak or be interviewed about the Chronovisor.

It started when Professor Giuseppe Marasca wrote to Father Ernetti, which led to phone calls and an in-person meeting. Marasca introduced Father Ernetti to Count Lorenzo Mancini-Spinucci, founder of the Society of Psychophonia and organizer of a paranormal phenomenon conference in Udine, a city in Northeastern Italy. They also brought Annuziato Grandi, director of Giorgio Grandi Foundation, into the loop and the three men approached Father Ernetti with an invitation to speak on the Chronovisor at an October 1979 conference in the Italian city of Fermo. Father Ernetti accepted, then threatened to back out if all of the speakers were not “professionals,” refusing to speak alongside “parapsychologists.” After much back and forth, he cancelled.

A likely reason is that Father Ernetti’s superiors caught wind of his Chronovisor story and told him to knock it off.

From Krassa’s biography:

“Brune believes we can be sure that, at a certain date– the Parisian father doesn’t know when– Ernetti was strictly forbidden, on his oath of obedience, to talk any longer about the chronovisor. At this point, says Brune, the Venetian priest would have found himself on shaky ground.”

In speaking to Ernetti in the year before he died, Father Brune found that he was still spinning his story, though. He told Brune that American and Russian intelligence agencies had sent spies to trail him and that he wasn’t able to leave the monastery without a bodyguard escort.

Ernetti also had a new explanation for his Christ photo for Brune. He said that a mystical Spanish nun had been consumed by the same vision of Christ and that she had shared this vision and gave instructions to the sculptor who had created the art. This mysterious Spanish nun moved to Italy where Father Ernetti had gotten to know her, so his convoluted spin was that they had shared the same vision and that although his photo was of a sculpture, it was a representation of the reality he had seen. The Spanish nun was not able to corroborate the story as she was deceased.

The chronovisor, Ernetti told Brune, was still being stored somewhere deep within the Vatican vaults.

1994: Father Ernetti’s death bed confession

Father Brune saw Ernetti for one more interview Nov. 1, 1993, five months before he died. He claimed that just a couple months earlier, Sept. 30, 1993, he responded to a Vatican invite with a couple other surviving members of the Chronovisor team, where he led a presentation to four Cardinals and an international committee of scientists.

When New Paradigm Books began working on an English translation of Peter Krassa’s book on Father Ernetti, they made inquiries in Italy to see if they could uncover any further information on the mysterious monk. They did receive a letter from someone claiming that their father was a distant relative to Father Ernetti but was close. This person called him “Uncle Pellegrino,” and agreed to share an account of Father Ernetti’s last days on the condition of anonymity. 

After getting a call that his “uncle” was near death, this person visited Father Ernetti in his cell. On his deathbed, Father Ernetti admitted to wrestling with something that had spun out of control over the decades into a mortal sin– his lies about the Chronovisor. He said that he hadn’t seen Thyestes on the Chronovisor, but he had experienced it in a past life. He admitted he had hoaxed the photo of Christ. He said he had built the Chronovisor with the help of an assistant, but that they were not able to get it to work.

“Once it almost worked,” Father Ernetti said, some of his last words. It is one of the first stories of someone who claimed to have actually built a machine that was able to traverse time and space. But it certainly wasn’t the last.

Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram
My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Hiatus

Writing is hard. And so I must journey, good book (The AP Stylebook) in hand for a voyage up the Grammarly Mountains to consult the wise gurus there– Who, What, Why, When, and Where (and sometimes the elusive How). I have to make some decisions on what writing projects I want to marry, fuck, or kill. There is a lot to reevaluate and figure out.

As such, this column will be on hiatus for a bit. The podcast has also concluded for now (see link for season finale below.) I don’t know when I’ll write this column again– weeks, months? Like an old song says, we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…

Well, actually, I do know where if you feel inclined to visit me, here’s three places I’ll be appearing in person over the next month or so:

This Saturday, Sept. 10, 11am-1pm: I’ll be at the Feral House Table at the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago: printersrowlitfest.org

Sunday, Sept. 18, 11am-6pmAwkward Nerd Book Fair @ The Cooperage in Milwaukee: https://www.facebook.com/events/1013611836004355/ 

Saturday, Oct. 15: Milwaukee Paranormal Conference: milwaukeeparacon.com

Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep09: Season 5 Finale

Tea and Heidi discuss weird news about planets in retrograde, a world record breaking pumpkin boat ride, again with Uri Geller, robot news, and phantom clowns. Plus trivia answers and we close out with a track by The Grovelers, “Rock Bottom.” That’s it for this season!
Listen here: teasweirdweek.podbean.com/e/tea-s-weird-week-s5-ep09-season-5-finale
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Tea’s Weird Week: The Chessboxer, Part 2

Last week I wrote about how my wheels were spinning thinking about what my second book might be (it eventually was an exploration of paranormal investigators titled Monster Hunters). One concept I had was learning to be a chessboxer. Chessboxing is a sport invented in the early 2000s that intersperses rounds of chess and boxing. You can win by knockout, checkmate, or by points from punches and captured pieces. In “The Chessboxer, Part 1,” I talked about hiring a chess coach, Aqeel.

My follow up is going to be short. I’m extremely burnt out this week, I wouldn’t even know where to begin to explain why.

In looking for a place to train as a boxer, I found a unique spot here in Milwaukee, it’s called the Ace Boxing Club. It’s not a state-of-the-art MMA facility, but more like an old garage with well worn equipment. It was mostly perfect. I wrote about the gym for an article in the Shepherd Express back in 2012. I sometimes look back at old stuff I’ve written and cringe to various degrees, but I actually love this one. It’s a solid profile on a place with a lot of heart: Ace Boxing Club and the Porter Legacy – Shepherd Express

Photo inside Ace Boxing Club from the Shepherd Express

I trained at Ace in the ring, I trained with Aqeel on the chessboard, but then something happened: I sold my second book. I now had a big project to work on and between that and trying to balance everything else in my crazy life (a struggle I still have ten years later) the lessons began to be skipped and the idea faded away. That’s too bad. I really enjoyed that period of my life. Maybe I’ll try to bring it back and The Chessboxer will live again.

We skipped the TWW podcast this week cause I was too busy. We’ll be back next week.

Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: The Chessboxer, Part 1

In 2012, I sold my first book, Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement. I was riding pretty high on that one. Writing has its ups and downs. It’s a hard biz. But that moment in 2012 will always be an up.

And, of course, my immediate thoughts were: what next? Eventually my second book would be Monster Hunters, an exploration of the world of paranormal investigators. But before that was established, I had a few other ideas on Tea Krulos’ Second Book.

One idea was what would become American Madness, which ended up being my 4th book. My publisher at the time (Chicago Review Press) was not very keen on it, and in hindsight I’m really glad for that because the story was nowhere near complete at that time. So I put that project on the backburner.

Another idea I had was looking into writing a biography of the Violent Femmes. I don’t really ever want to be stuck writing about one genre or idea, so a music bio seemed like a good idea. Plus the Femmes were incubated, much like me, in this weird city called Milwaukee. Around that time I had written a short article on OG Femmes drummer Victor DeLorenzo’s current band Nineteen Thirteen. He’s a very cool guy, so I thought I might start there. But Chicago Review Press wasn’t keen on that idea, either. Editors!

I also had an idea for a book that would explore the relationship between humans and shark, working title “Man Bites Shark.” I envisioned writing about things like the shark fin soup industry, the impact Jaws had on society, the story of the guy who got bit by a shark but advocates for their conservancy, etc.

One day, and this was a real weird moment for me, I went with my sisters to the mall and was killing time wandering around Barnes & Noble looking at displays, seeing what was out there. A book caught my eye and I started flipping through it. This book was exactly like my idea, down to the chapter breakdowns and everything, it was uncanny. Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks by Juliet Eilperin is a great book, but it’s not mine!

And then there was another idea I had– CHESSBOXING.

I don’t know how I had heard of it, but chessboxing is an unusual sport that began in Berlin in 2003 and developed a following there as well as London. It spread to India, Russia, and other countries. There are American chessboxers but my impression is not a real huge following here. Anyway, as the name suggests, the sport intersperses rounds of boxing with rounds of chess. A player can win by knock out, checkmate, or point evaluation on punches landed and chess pieces captured.

Chessboxers in action.

What I imagined writing was admittedly a bit of stunt journalism– I would train to become a chessboxer with the goal of participating in at least one match and write about the experience. You know, “My Journey as a Chessboxer and Blah Blah Blah.” It appealed to me because it seemed like a great challenge to be sharp physically and mentally. I was sure there would be some kind of journey there to write about.

I had a big problem, though– I had zero experience boxing and only a rudimentary understanding of chess. I knew how the pieces moved, but had no concept of strategy, endgame, or anything else. I tried picking up a book on improving your game, but it read kind of like instructions to putting together something from IKEA. I decided instead to put a classified ad in a community newspaper I’ve written for, the Riverwest Currents, soliciting a chess coach. I got a response.

I don’t know what I expected, but Aqeel was a large, bald, black guy in a Rascal scooter, always dressed in a bright Hawaiian shirt. He told me he played “street chess” and that the first lesson was free. He taught me a move called the “Fool’s Mate” during that first lesson in which you unleash checkmate in a few short moves to your unexpecting opponent. I told him he was hired.

He lived in an apartment downtown, so twice a week for several months I took a bus there so we could hang out in his living room for a lesson. He had a constant stream of visitors who would drop by to give him food or ask to borrow $5 til Friday.

He was usually a good natured, jolly type of person. He was always commenting on my chess moves, either to psych me out or to offer a clue I was making a bad move. Some examples:

(On why I would sacrifice my knight): Well, like my mom used to say, sometimes you need to bring ass to get ass.

You make that move, you’re going to be badder than Michael Jackson (and not bad in a good way).

(After making a bold move) You wanna go there? Well then, in the words of Marvin Gaye, let’s get it on!

Other things I remember– he was an interesting person, for sure. He made an incredible homemade honey lemonade and he showed me YouTube videos of ambient sound that he said helped open his pineal gland.

Aqeel was teaching me some moves on the board, but now I needed to learn how to box.

Next Week: Ding ding ding!

Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep08: Twisted Dreams
Tea talks to Christopher House about the upcoming Twisted Dreams Film Festival, a horror showcase here in Milwaukee. Then Tea and Heidi talk weird news about J.R.R. Tolkien, Predator vs Children of the Corn, “de-extinction” of the Tasmanian Tiger, a Jesus Christ simulator game, and QAnon’s latest cancer-curing contraption. Plus trivia and a closing track by The Unitaskers, “Philodendron.”
Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep08: Talkin’ Twisted Dreams (podbean.com)
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Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: Alex Jones in His Own Hell (UPDATED)

I first began to learn about Alex Jones in 2010. Through an odd twist of events, I was introduced to a man named Richard McCaslin, a conspiracy theorist who attempted to raid a club for the rich and powerful in the redwood forest of California called the Bohemian Grove. Richard was the Patient Zero of someone who listened to Jones and took his bloviating seriously. On Jan. 20, 2002, he was arrested in the Bohemian Grove, wearing a superhero costume with a rubber skull mask and heavily armed.

100% of Richard’s decision to go on his raid was from watching a “documentary” Jones had produced called Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove, which suggested human sacrifice– maybe even children– was happening inside the Grove. It followed the Jones Method– a pinch of truth, a lot of speculation, some far-fetched interpretation, and a scary Satanic, baby-killing, New World Order cabal of those in power. I detailed Richard’s spiral down the rabbit hole and Jones’s influence over him in my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked America’s Consciousness. Richard died by suicide in 2018. I believe conspiracy theory is what pushed him over the edge, and the first domino was Alex Jones.

Two things repeated after Richard’s raid– first, Alex Jones and Info Wars would pop up regularly like a bad penny as a motivator in other cases of extremist violence.

To mention just a few: Byron Williams, who had a shootout with California Highway Patrol on I-580 in 2010 and was an avid listener of Jones. He  was on his way to shoot up the offices of organizations associated with conspiracy boogeyman George Soros.

In 2011 Oscar Ortega-Hernandez did a drive-by shooting of the White House. He was influenced by the Jones directed “documentary” The Obama Deception.

Starting the year after that, there was a league of Info Wars followers who harassed and sent death threats to Sandy Hook survivors online, by phone, on the street and at their homes as Jones promoted theories that they were “crisis actors.” That’s how a total of $49.3 million was awarded to Sandy Hook parents this week. And that’s just the beginning. 

He also promoted Pizzagate conspiracy, which led to a raid of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria by Edgar Maddison Welch, armed with an AR-15, in 2016. Like Richard McCaslin, Welch was hoping to save human trafficking victims after watching the Pizzagate theory he saw laid out in an Info Wars video.

The second thing that repeated is Jones’s pattern of attempting to weasel out of responsibility every time he incited someone. It started with McCaslin– when asked to comment on his case, Jones said he thought McCaslin “sounded insane,” yet Dark Secrets not only gave McCaslin a clear motivation, but Jones stands outside the Grove at the end of the doc to tell people driving instructions to get there. And on January 6 (he was there as an organizer) he riled the mob up with his bullhorn, but when the shit hit the fan and people started beating cops to death– you guessed it, he tucked tail and ran.

And now, after years of dodging the court for the many cases surrounding his lawsuits from the Sandy Hook families, Jones is finally cornered. What a circus this week has been! Jones is in his own personal hell– trapped in a courtroom confronted with the truth and little chance to bloviate and spin it like he can on his rambling, 4-hour long daily radio show. He actually has to shut up and listen and his words here have real consequences.

The wildest revelation came this week when the attorneys for Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis revealed that Jones’s defense had mistakenly sent two years of data off his phone, and that this clearly pointed out that Jones is guilty of multiple counts of perjury. Jones tried to file for a mistrial. The judge said “nah.” Now the January 6 Committee is attempting to get access to that data to see how big his role exactly was in the J6 Q d’etat.

The jury awarded the victims $4.1 million, and then an additional $45.2 million in punitive damages.

That’s a good start, but not enough. A billion dollars isn’t enough.

Here’s what I hope. I hope there’s a string of trials that goes on the rest of his life, where he gets sued over and over– 4 million here, 40 million there– by everyone he’s ever slandered and that he slowly loses all of his ill-gotten money. I hope he has to sit there and hear every one of of his victims give testimony about how he stoked his fanbase to terrorize them, and all the horrible things he’s caused.

I hope it’s long and excruciating- but sadly it’ll never, ever be as painful as what those families and other Jones victims had to go through. 

UPDATE, 10/12/2022: After $49.3 in damages at his Texas trial, a Connecticut court found he was responsible for a whopping total of approx 967 MILLION in additional damages today. He’s going to have to sell a lot of his bunk Info Wars Super Male Vitality pills to cover that! Is a billion enough? Nah, what the hell, keep suing him.

My book American Madness can be found here: American Madness : Feral House

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Tea’s Weird Week: Amberrose Hammond’s New Book Explores Mysterious Michigan

This week on the Tea’s Weird Week podcast, I talked with Michigan researcher and author Amberrose Hammond. As discussed in last week’s TWW column/podcast, I’m co-authoring a project with my friend, travel writer Jenny Sanchez called Paranormal Road Trip. As such, I’m checking out work by authors who have written about local paranormal hot spots you can visit to find out what legendary places need to be included in our guide.

Amberrose is author of Ghosts and Legends of Michigan’s West Coast, Wicked Grand Rapids, and she has a new book coming out titled Mysterious Michigan: The Lonely Ghost of Minnie Quay, the Marvelous Manifestations of Farmer Riley, the Devil in Detroit More. It’s release date is August 29 from the History Press (the same publisher of my book Wisconsin Legends & Lore).

I had a great time talking with Amberrose about some haunted locations as well as lore like Detroit’s legend of the Nain Rouge, a devilish imp and omen of disaster, and the urban legend of the Melonheads (which was probably perpetuated by one of Amberrose’s mischievous friends).

If you’re a legend tripping crossing through Michigan or just a fan of storytelling, I recommend checking out Amberrose’s work. You can find a link to the TWW episode below, and be sure to check out Amberrose’s website, which has a pre-order link to her new book: Home | Amberrose Hammond

She also co-hosts the Ghostly Talk podcast, also recommended, which you can find here: Ghostly Talk Radio

Tea’s Weird Week S5, ep05: Amberrose Hammond’s Mysterious Michigan
Tea talks to Amberrose Hammond about her upcoming book, Mysterious Michigan. Tea and Heidi discuss weird news about Ukranian mutant super soldiers and more, trivia and a track from Sunspot’s new album, The Strangest Frequency, “We’ll Be Seeing You Again.”

Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep05: Amberrose Hammond’s Mysterious Michigan (podbean.com)
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Tea’s Weird Week: Introducing Paranormal Road Trip

I currently have around 3 books in the development process. I’ll tell you about one of them, cause it’s movin’ along: Paranormal Road Trip, which will be a fun travel guide to haunted locations you can visit, monster museums, and other eerie attractions across the country. This is rare in that this is the first book I am co-authoring with someone else. Jenny Sanchez is a wonderful travel writer from Denver. She works in the travel industry, has her own travel blog/platform (Long Days Travel) and contributes to Atlas Obscura. We met when she visited Milwaukee and we hit it off.

Paranormal Road Trip authors Jenny Sanchez and Tea Krulos at Milwaukee’s famously haunted Pfister Hotel.

We’ve been working on this project for a little bit, so far compiling entries onto shared Google docs, meeting up on Zoom to talk once in awhile. It’s a big project, but we’re working at a slow but steady pace, looking up entries to get all the information, insider tips, and of course the spooky stuff. Jenny’s been working on some Mountain and West Coast states, I’ve been focusing on the Midwest and New England.

It’s a fun project. We’ve got a book proposal, so wish us luck in landing this with the right publisher, so we can get this guide into your hands! We’ll keep you posted.

Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep04: Paranormal Road Trip
I talk with Jenny about her travels this year to Idaho and Saint Louis to visit paranormal hotspots and quirky attractions. Then me and Heidi talk about a flurry of squatchy news– Coyote Peterson finds an alleged sasquatch skull, Oklahoma man says he murdered his Bigfoot controlling fishing partner, a classic Wisconsin sighting and more. Plus trivia and we close out with a track from Pretty Frankenstein, “In Mirrors.”

Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep04: Paranormal Road Trip (and Bigfoot news) (podbean.com)
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Tea’s Weird Week: My Favorite Jann Goldberg Quotes

I’m sad to say I lost another friend this year. It’s been a rough one for losing creative, wonderful people. I met Jann Goldberg right at the beginning of working on my second book, Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators (2015, Chicago Review Press). I was looking for a local ghost investigation team to follow around and found the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee (PIM). I liked everyone I met in that group, but I especially hit it off with Jann. She was really into nerd culture and she was hilarious– easily could have pursued a career in stand up.

I was especially amused by how by how crass and vulgar her humor was. She reminded me of my beloved co-worker Mo ( I wrote about her in my Brady Street Pharmacy book) who made swearing an artform. As such, Jann had some of the most colorful quotes in Monster Hunters. Here’s my favorites.

L-R: Razorhawk, Tea Krulos, Jann Goldberg. Photo by Wendy Schreier Photography.

On her language:

“My sister used to work with me and they used to call us the sailor sisters because of our filthy mouths and shit, but I mean that’s just how we were raised. My mom says ‘God I hate it when people don’t know how to fucking swear,’” she told me, laughing.

Although her feelings on her team later changed, I remember thinking how great this quote was, about being part of a team:

“It’s like a fifteen-hour-a-week job you pay for instead of get money,” Jann told me, letting out a short laugh. “This isn’t a paying job. You travel together, sleep on hotel floors together, you’re eating in crappy restaurants, investigating bat-infested, rat-infested shitholes. In the middle of the night you’re looped up, buzzed on caffeine, talking about your marriage and your kids and all this shit. Honestly, with the exception of my parents and husband, I’m tighter with these guys than anyone else in my family. It’s just…really a different thing.”

This quote was about the trouble the team had when talking to people whose homes had been visited by other investigation teams that would tell them they probably had a case of demons:

“If you’re a group like ours that goes into a place after these groups that have already been there and told all this bullshit and you have a family that’s scared– there was some group that told a family they had a portal to hell in their house—that is shit you have to deal with. And I mean, shame on them for believing it, but you don’t know what someone’s mental condition and for them to go in and say this, it’s like what are you doing?!”

On one of her teammates not being familiar with Yom Kippur:

“Jesus Christ. Haven’t you seen Fiddler on the fucking Roof?” she retorted. “Anti-Semitic, misogynist assholes,” Jann huffed, turning to me. “Be sure to write that down and quote me on it in the book.”

On me joining PIM on one of their investigations of the notoriously haunted Bobby Mackey’s Music World:

“Investigating Bobby Mackey’s this early in your paranormal career is like losing your virginity to Jenna Jameson,” Jann told me shortly before I headed toward Wilder, Kentucky.

When I wrote the epilog to the book, I revisited several people I had written about. But who to give last word to? I decided it had to be Jann. I wrote about her then recent return to Bobby Mackey’s (with a different group) and ended the book with this:

“It was fun this time. That weird thing only happened with my stomach once,” Jann told me. But why would she return again and again to a place where she had such frightening experiences? That was an easy question, she told me.

“To find some fucking answers.”

Tea’s Weird Week S5 ep03: Butterfly Sanctuary Conspiracy Attack

This episode has a short audio clip from one of my interviews with Jann, plus I talked to Eric and Kim Hayden, producers of the American Madness documentary adaptation about their recent trip to shoot interviews at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Who would be insane enough to come up with a theory that this beautiful sanctuary is really a front for drug and child sex trafficking? Oh right, QAnon.

Plus me and my co-host Heidi Erickson talk about the Georgia Guidestones (I’ll also have a column on that next week) and the CERN Large Hadron Collider and the Mandela Effect. There’s also trivia from Miss Information and a banger from Mini Meltdowns, “Super Blue.”
Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep03: Butterfly Sanctuary Conspiracy Attack (podbean.com)
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My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: Talking with Sinisterhood

As a freelance writer, I’ve worked with several Milwaukee-based publications over the years. Most of the feature writing I do these days is for Milwaukee Magazine— I’ve written something for almost issue this year. I also contribute to the Shepherd Express. Most of the work I do for the Shep currently is event previews. If I see an event or if they cross paths with something in my wheelhouse, I give it a short write-up.

I’m really glad they sent me a press release for the Sinisterhood podcast tour with a stop in Milwaukee (tonight) cause they definitely talk about some of my favorite things: true crime, cults, and the paranormal. The show is hosted by Dallas-based comedians and friends Christie Wallace and Heather McKinney and they are currently on tour, including a stop here in Milwaukee tonight.

I did an interview with Christie and Heather for the Shepherd write-up and also featured the audio in this week’s TWW episode. We talked about their inspirations, weird Dallas, and the famously haunted Pfister Hotel (which they’ll be discussing live tonight).

Sinisterhood is definitely on my listening list now. If you dig Tea’s Weird Week I think you’ll really enjoy the show, too. Check it out at: www.sinisterhood.com

SEE ALSO: I wrote this 2018 article on the Pfister ghosts for Milwaukee Record: “If the ghost shows again, we are all going to fight together”: The Pfister Hotel All-Star Ghost Team (milwaukeerecord.com)

Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep02: Talking with Sinisterhood
In addition to talking with Sinisterhood, me and Heidi discuss weird news like a human tasting burger, CIA cafeteria woes, bird vomit, and more. Plus trivia and the dance track of the summer, “Juice Demon” by Lavish Waste. Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep02: Talking with Sinisterhood (podbean.com)
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Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)