Monthly Archives: August 2019
Fall time! I love it! To me Fall runs from exactly September 1 to Krampusnacht (December 5) and that’s just the way the Krulosian calendar rolls. It’s a time when I feel I traditionally feel highly productive and filled with memorable days. It’s when everything– coffee, beer, cookies, candles, etc. are suddenly “pumpkin spiced.” Mmm! Just kidding, I don’t like pumpkin spice. That hot apple cider though [chef kissing the air emoticon].
Here’s a run down of what I got going on this fall.
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference (Sept.13-14): excited to be back after skipping last year. Things kick off with Friday the 13th Fest VI: Haunted House at Walker’s Point Music Hall, and then a day of conference at Alverno College on the 14th. Instead of our own after party, we are encouraging people to attend the wonderful Night Carnival.
Milwaukee Ghost Walks (Sept-Dec.): Fall time is of course also ghost season and you’ll find me leading the Third Ward walking tour most Fridays and Saturdays (as well as other dates) for Milwaukee Ghost Walks. In November and December we’ll do the new Ghost of Christmas Past tour. I’ll also be running my own Riverwest Ghost Tour a couple times in October.
My Birthday (Sept.25): Getting old! Actually, I don’t complain about it. Age isn’t a bad journey.
World’s Largest Ghost Hunt, Old Baraboo Inn (Sept.28): As I discussed in a previous column, I’ll be visiting my friends at Old Baraboo Inn and giving a presentation on the life, lore, and ghost stories related to Al Capone.
Halloween (Oct.31): I mean do I have to say anything? It’s just the best.
Undisclosed conspiracy related trip to Dallas (Nov.14-24): I am so thrilled to be wrapping up a book (American Madness) about conspiracy theory for the outstanding Feral House. Before I turn it in, I’m going on one more adventure to Conspiracyland, or in this case, Dallas. I’d elaborate, but you’ll read more in the book.
Milwaukee Krampusnacht (Dec.5): We already have such an amazing response to the event and lots of fun stuff planned. Tickets go on sale sometime between September 16-18. The best holiday celebration in Milwaukee!
Somewhere in there I’ll also be turning in my manuscript to American Madness, and another shorter project, Wisconsin Legends & Lore for The History Press. What a year!
After December 5 I think I’ll be taking a much needed holiday break.
08/27/2019: Rahmeek Younger snuck a clown mask (Pennywise, as featured in the upcoming It Volume 2), gun, and 50 bullets into the Brooklyn Human Resources Administration building. After a visitor spotted the arsenal, 911 was called. Younger tried to flee the scene but was tazed and detained. [via Daily Beast]
Next week: #ClownWatch2019 reports on the sociology of horror movies and what all of these upcoming killer clown movies mean.
On Sunday I made an appearance on Eye 94 (which broadcasts on Lumpen Radio in Chicago) to discuss my book Apocalypse Any Day Now. It was a really fun, engaging talk and I especially like the readings from the book they provided, with as Shanna van Volt narrating and International Anthem Recording Co. providing the back-up music.
Listen to the show here: https://www.mixcloud.com/lumpenradio/eye-94-8-25-2019-tea-krulos
Speaking of, you can find Apocalypse Any Day Now here: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/ApocalypseAnyDayNow or wherever books are sold.
I put it forth to Facebook to ask what I should write about in the column this week, and the subject of scooter chaos came up. They do seem to be everywhere and opinions are mixed. Some are saying they’re just stupid fun while others are quoting J. Jonah Jameson and shouting that they’re “a goddamn menace!” After a failed trial attempt last year, the Bird scooters returned and Lime and Spin appeared too, filling the sidewalks with 1,050 scooters.
My own opinion is a little mixed. I’m all for public transportation options. And they do look fun– just last night I was riding the bus and we passed by a group of about a dozen teenagers riding scooters together in the bike lane, and it looked like they were having a blast, laughing and talking. It reminded me of my youth, when me and a group of friends would ride skateboards or bikes or just walk around, often with no particular destination in mind.
But I’ve also seen some reckless scooter driving (Urban Milwaukee reports over 100 complaints of scooter violations, including collisions with pedestrians, were reported within a couple weeks and Marquette and UWM recently banned them from campus). I think a couple of the problems here is that the training and test ride on these things is live and in public. You just jump on and learn how to ride it while you’re barreling down the sidewalk or street. You learn to drive a car in an empty parking lot, you learn to drive a scooter on Water St. and Wisconsin Ave. With a max speed of 15mph, the scooters are too fast for a sidewalk and too slow for a street…or at least too slow for I-94.
On Monday three were fined for riding Lime scooters on I-94 near the Marquette interchange.
CBS 58 reports: “The scooter riders told deputies they were visiting from Texas and were using their GPS to navigate to the Harley Davidson Museum on the scooters.”
But what if there was a way people could have their scooters without running over our toes? [hippie voice] What if we could, like, ride our Lime scooters through the cosmos, man? Wouldn’t that be faaaar out?
Coincidentally (or was it?) my friends at the Singular Fortean Society issued a report on Wednesday of a man they interviewed from Springfield, Illinois, who said he had an encounter with a “humanoid flying a scooter with no wheels” in the night sky as he walked home in the woods on some railroad tracks.
The witness, Mike, told Singular Fortean Society (you can read the whole report HERE) described what he saw in the night sky:
“It looked like a person, like a big person, on a scooter; I swear I could almost see the handlebars on the thing. That’s what my recollection was. A scooter, with no wheels, with some big guy, probably six foot, 250 pounds or something like that. It looked like a little Honda scooter, and it looked like it had a little light on one side of it. I remember seeing something shining, like on the front of it—kind of like a headlight,” recounted Mike.
I know what you’re thinking. This is amazing and we need to capture this ET tech, reverse engineer it, and franchise it ASAP to cash in on the scooter craze. But what should we named the company? Here’s the poll:
Winning name will be announced in next week’s column!
#ClownWatch2019: Continuing our reporting of strange clown sightings– outbreak in New England!
07/21/2019, 2:46 pm: Brookline, Massachusetts police blotter report of “a topless woman wearing clown makeup and an apron, standing in front of a building.” [via brookline.wickedlocal.com]
08/19/2019: USA Today reports that a New Jersey woman witnessed a plush doll of Pennywise (from It) fall into her yard. The doll had letters and numbers written on the forehead, which, according to the witness, “looked culty.” The police were called, the doll burned, and the frightened woman slept with a knife for protection.
Looks like a kid with a good throwing arm is patting themselves on the back for a prank well done. [via USA Today]
My book Apocalypse Any Day Now is available here: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/ApocalypseAnyDayNow
Please don’t tweet and drive scooters.
Tune in here every Friday for Tea’s Weird Week.
Today starts my 3-day vacation, where I’ll be doing nothing but laying in a hammock drinking pina coladas. Just kidding. I will be doing some kicking back at the Moonlight Retreat, but I’ll also be taking a red pen to a couple manuscripts and leading a ghostlore workshop.
Being somewhat in vacation mode (and looking forward to fall), for today’s column I thought it would be appropriate to round up of some stories I’ve studied this summer. I’m working on finishing up a book about conspiracy theory (American Madness) and 2019 has been a helluva year for it. This summer in particular feels like the one where we collectively lost our damn minds. [I included links to further reading.]
Here’s my top 5 Summer of Conspiracy stories:
(1.) Storm Area 51: I wrote about the viral “Storm Area 51” event in this column a few weeks ago. Now there’s going to be a 3-day “Alien Stock” music fest, already drawing comparisons to the disastrous Fyre Festival. As I wrote before, I’ve been through the area and Rachel, the town the fest is happening in, has a population of 58 people, no infrastructure, no shelter, no nothing– the nearest gas station is 50 miles away! Not the best place for an EDM festival. [USA Today]
(2.) QAnon Vigilante: One of my editors sent this article to me and I’m surprised I haven’t seen it more in the news cycle. Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, who was head of the Gambino crime family and spent most of his life avoiding death, had his ass capped by a vigilante conspiracy theorist named Anthony Comello, inspired by QAnon. I’ll be dissecting the story more in my book. [New York Times]
(3.) Flight of the Flat Earther. After aborting his mission last weekend, Flat Earther and rocketeer “Mad” Mike Hughes is set to blast 5,000 feet into the stratosphere in his homemade rocket tomorrow, which reads “Research Flat Earth” on the side and was funded by a hook-up dating app called Hud. The attempt will be filmed for an upcoming show called Homemade Astronauts for the Science Channel, which sounds fun. At first I was completely confused as to how launching 5,000 feet in the air could prove anything about Flat Earth as we have planes, hot air balloons, and hang gliders that can rise higher than that, but then I realized this is more about publicity. It’s not the journey, it’s how you get there. [Space.com]
(4.) V is for…Anti-vaxxer? This year’s San Diego Comic Con featured an appearance by a large group of protesters dressed as V, the character from V for Vendetta in a protest appearance made popular by Anonymous. A couple months earlier, the same (or similar) group protested outside of Disneyland for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, dressed as Star Wars characters. [respectfulinsolence.com]
(5.) Epstein Suicide Conspiracy. The most interesting news story of the last week for me was the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein. It was just crazy to see conspiracies explode and proliferate online within minutes of his death being reported. Because Epstein had some connection to both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, the theories were partisan– Trump had him rubbed out or the Clintons had him whacked (to fit the Clinton Body Count theory) or a Deep State cabal did. I even saw theories that Epstein made a getaway, leaving a dead hobo’s body in his place (a theory spread by the band Foster the People, among others, who tweeted “Epstein’s on a private plane to somewhere in the middle east getting prepped for plastic surgery right now”). [NBC News]
Alright, enough conspiracy– I’m off to the Moonlight Retreat. Have a good weekend!
My favorite barbershop is Jose’s. Sad to hear of namesake Jose Ortiz’s death. Here’s an “Off the Cuff” I wrote on him for the Shepherd Express back in 2008, after someone suggested I stop in and talk to him because he was an interesting person. Indeed he was.: https://shepherdexpress.com/arts-and-entertainment/off-the-cuff/barber-extraordinaire
My latest book is Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers. You can find it here: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/ApocalypseAnyDayNow
Tea laughs it up and weirds out here every Friday.
This column (and my life) focuses a lot on Funny Weird, but today I thought I’d talk about another interest of mine, Funny Ha Ha. People tend to know I’ve written about subjects considered unique or unusual like Real Life Superheroes, paranormal investigators, doomsday prognosticators, conspiracy theorists, etc. But as a freelance writer, I’ve written about a lot of things that wouldn’t be considered to be fringe. Topics I’ve written at least a couple articles on include local music, burlesque, roller derby, food/drink, theater, comic book artists, authors, and interviews with a wide range of Milwaukeeans for the Shepherd Express and other publications.
And I’ve always had a fun time writing about comedy. Really, how can you go wrong? You sit around and laugh, then write it up.
I’ve written a few articles on the local comedy scene here in Milwaukee, including a round-up of local open mics and an article on Milwaukee Comedy Festival back when they were on year 2 or 3 (they just did their 14th year!) In more recent years I wrote on the Milwaukee comedy scene in general in 2015 and did an “Off the Cuff” interview with Matthew Filipowicz of Laughing Liberally earlier this year. Fun stuff.
Anyway, one of my favorite publications to freelance for is Scandinavian Traveler. I was contacted by them years ago when Risto Pakarinen editor (and author of a new novel, Someday Jennifer— congrats, Risto!) read my book Heroes in the Night and asked if I would be interested in penning an article on Real Life Superheroes.
Since then I’ve written a few articles for Scandinavian Traveler, including one on Chicago chocolatier Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haut-Chocolat (a very delicious assignment), the Mars One program, and some checklists I compiled while I was on vacation in San Francisco.
Risto gave me an extremely delightful assignment for the July issue of Scandinavian Traveler, asking if I’d write about the improv school at the legendary Second City Chicago for their “10 Trips with a Purpose” cover story. I took a trip down to Chicago and participated in an improv class. I also interviewed artistic director Mark Hovde about the comedy biz and Second City’s amazing legacy as the starting point for comedians like Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Meyers, and so many other comedians that went on to Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central, and other comedy careers onstage and in writing rooms.
Here’s a PDF version of the magazine (my article is page 71-74): https://scandinaviantraveler.com/sites/default/files/st1907.pdf
ClownWatch 2019: 08/01/2019: IndieWire reports that the Alamo Drafthouse will have a “clowns only” screenings at 17 theaters on September 5 of It: Chapter 2.
“encouraged to come dressed as a clown – the wig, the makeup, the oversized pants and suspenders, the blood-curdling makeup — and sit through this coulrophobia-inducing fright fest with a theater full of fellow clowns.”
Great googly moogly, what could go wrong?
The Week in Links
The Apocalypse Blog Book Club’s late summer selection is Feed by Mira Grant. Next selection will be made early October. The groups meets in person in Milwaukee and has online discussion world wide. Join the club here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1482975718409410/
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2019 is happening Sept.13-15. See a speaker line-up and get tickets here: https://milwaukeeparacon.com/2019/07/26/milwaukee-paranormal-conference-2019/
The Milwaukee Krampusnacht 2019 event page is live!: https://www.facebook.com/events/520974881979502/
There’s weird talk from Tea here every Friday.
My friends just come up with totally dope stuff, I’m beyond lucky to know such creative people. Take for example the Moonlight Retreat, which “offers arts, play, learning, fun, wonder, and a deeper connection with nature and community for all folks within a summer camp environment.” It’s like summer camp for creative adults. How cool is that?
I’m glad to say I’ll be a guest at this year’s Moonlight Retreat, leading a workshop about Wisconsin ghostlore, not in a conference room, but around a campfire, which is of course one of the best possible places to tell ghost stories. For the rest of the camp I’ll be enjoying the many cool workshops, reviewing drafts of my manuscripts, and just hanging out– “chillaxing” as those kids today say. Looking forward to it!
If you’d like more info on the Moonlight Retreat, here’s the link: https://www.naomishersty.net/moonlight-retreat
For a long list of other ghost related stuff I’m doing, check out the links section at the end of this column. But first…
Who can forget the Great Clown Scare of 2016? Clowns appeared all over the country, threatening people and sometimes participating in random acts of clowness, oops, I mean violence. Over the past couple weeks there’s been two incidents of clowns meeting law enforcement, which means I am officially opening up the hashtag #ClownWatch2019.
07/20/2019: Report and video footage of a Joker style clown that led California Highway Patrol on a wild goose chase for an hour, sometimes taunting them through the sunroof while a passenger steered the car. The clown eventually ditched the car on Venice Beach, and frolicked in the sand with people before being arrested for reckless driving.
07/26/2019: Man dressed as a clown that started a “mass brawl” on a British cruise ship off the coast of Norway. “There was blood everywhere,” a witness reported. “Passengers used furniture and plates as weapons.”
Is nowhere on earth safe from a clown induced brawl? We’ll keep track in this column.
The Apocalypse Blog Book Club
While working on my book Apocalypse Any Day Now, I started a book club that reads dystopian fiction. A local group meets in Milwaukee and people from all over the world are part of the Facebook group. I’m keeping the club going and voting is now open for our end of summer selection. Join us, vote, and get a good end of the world book pick for your beach reading! Here’s the group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1482975718409410/
More Links to Ghost Stuff
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2019— we just announced our speaker line-up. You can see that and get tickets here: https://milwaukeeparacon.com/2019/07/26/milwaukee-paranormal-conference-2019/
I lead the Milwaukee Ghost Walks Third Ward tour, which starting this week is every Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30pm (except Aug.16-17 cause I’ll be at the Moonlight Retreat!) Tickets here: https://americanghostwalks.com/wisconsin/milwaukee-ghost-walks/
I’ll be at the Old Baraboo Inn Sept.28 for the World’s Largest Ghost Hunt to talk about the Legend of Al Capone (including his ghost). See last week’s column for more info. The event link is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/379959039385127/
My book Monster Hunters (which made the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 2015 “100 Books for Your Summer Reading List”) has a lot of ghost material: CLICK HERE