Monthly Archives: December 2019
Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review
A collection of the “Tea’s Weird Week” column from author Tea Krulos which shares his research, adventures, and stories from his personal life. Krulos writes about his favorite topics– the paranormal, bizarre subcultures, conspiracy theory, folklore, and more. Krulos shares stories from his youth, books he’s reading, as well as encounters with Flat Earthers, Krampus, Real Life Superheroes, Mad Max fans, Transhumanists, and other interesting people.
This collection contains all 26 “Tea’s Weird Week” columns from 2019 as well as 4 bonus articles he freelanced for other publications. Make your week a little weirder with this funny and informative round up of Krulos’s life and times.
Available on Kindle for $1.99/ free on Kindle Unimited: CLICK HERE
Wow, what a year! I really pushed it to the limits this year. I took on too much, honestly, but I got it all done and no major disasters. It was a year of tackling major projects. As a writer, I freelanced for publications like the Shepherd Express, Milwaukee Record, and Scandinavian Traveler. I started this column in late June and got the ball rolling, writing a column every week, no matter how busy I was. One of the columns got reprinted in Fortean Times. But the most major thing of the year was finishing two manuscripts– my major work American Madness (out August, Feral House) and Wisconsin Legends & Lore (out in fall from The History Press). You’ll be hearing more about those in the coming months.
I also brought the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference back after a year off, and directed another huge Milwaukee Krampusnacht. I hosted ghost tours for Milwaukee Ghost Walk, facilitated selections for the Apocalypse Blog Book Club, worked day jobs at the Hubbard Park Beer Garden and the Cream City Hostel, both enjoyable places to be.
The year ahead is going to be busy, but I think it’ll be easier and that I’ll be benefitting quite a bit from the work I put in this year. I have a few smaller scale projects I’m working on, there will be book releases, and the events like the paranormal conference and Krampusnacht are going to be built on a foundation that’s been established.
“Tea’s Weird Week” is off the rest of the year, but check this out– I put all my 2019 columns, along with a few other articles I wrote this year into a good looking e-book, Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review. It’s only $1.99 (or free on Kindle Unlimited) and you can order it by CLICKING HERE.
(And if you’re on Goodreads please add to your list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49238699-tea-s-weird-week)
There will be a lot to discuss in this column in 2020– ghosts, Mothman, flat earth hip hop, Krampus, legends and lore, conspiracy theory, and much more.
Thank you all for reading this year and to all of you who have helped support me or my projects in some way. I am deeply grateful and appreciative to know so many great people. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and are as happy as I was in 1988 when I got Super Mario Bros. 2 for Christmas!
Here are links to my new e-book and previous books (they make great holiday gifts, I’m obliged to tell you out of self-interest):
I sent in my manuscript for my book American Madness which will be out August next year. I also have a little book out about a year from now called Wisconsin Legends & Lore, which is a collection of some classic Wisconsin folklore, ghost stories, and urban legends. One of the stories I read about while researching is the tragic story of the Rouse Simmons, also known as the Christmas Tree Ship, a nice Wisconsin Christmas ghost story for you this Friday the 13th.
Every holiday season, Chicagoans eagerly awaited the arrival of the Christmas Tree Ship, which would load up with evergreens in Michigan, then sail down to Chicago, where it would tie up to a dock. Families would head over, pick out a tree, and drag it back to their homes on a sled. The arrival of the Rouse Simmons meant the arrival of the holidays.
Captain Herman Schuenemann aka “Captain Santa” ran the business. He sold trees for fifty cents or a dollar, but he was known for generously donating trees to orphanages, hospitals, and poor families. His was not the only Christmas Tree Ship, but it would become the most famous. In November of 1912, Captain Schuenemann and his crew loaded 5,500 trees (imagine how piney that must have smelled!) into the Rouse Simmons, packing it as much as they could. There were supposedly bad omens, according to crew who declined to make the journey– rats seen abandoning ship, a crew totally an unlucky 13, and the ship leaving port on a Friday.
On November 23, 1912, the Rouse Simmons was sailing past Two Rivers, Wisconsin on route toward Chicago. A terrible storm hit Lake Michigan. The Rouse Simmons, already an old ship and overladen with thousands of trees, was thrashed in the wind, ice forming on the sails and ripping them. The Christmas Tree Ship (and a few other boats on the lake that night) and all hands were lost. Christmas trees from the boat washed ashore for years afterward.
Rather than be deterred by the lake that had claimed Captain Schuenemann’s life, his wife and daughters took over the business. The new Captain Schuenemann was his brave daughter, Elsie, who led the delivery of trees that same winter season of 1912. The family kept the business going until railroads and highways made the Christmas Trees ships obsolete in the 1920s and 30s..
The wreck of the Rouse Simmons was discovered by a scuba diver in 1971. They found that there were still needleless, skeleton-like trees in the cargo hold.
Legend says that you can see the ghost ship of the Rouse Simmons on Lake Michigan on stormy winter nights or on the anniversary of the night it sunk, struggling in the choppy waters to get south to Chicago.
A nice ending to this story is that a non-profit group called Chicago’s Christmas Ship, with the help of the Coast Guard, now continues the Christmas Tree Ship legacy. Using the sturdy Mackinaw, they’ve sailed to Navy Pier the last 20 years with a cargo of Christmas trees, where they work with community organizations to get trees to people who can’t afford them to make their holiday a little brighter.
You can find out more and donate here: http://christmasship.org/
More ghost stories! I host the Milwaukee Ghost Walk- Ghosts of Christmas Past tour tonight, tomorrow, and next weekend!: https://americanghostwalks.com/wisconsin/milwaukee-ghosts-of-christmas-past/
My latest book, Apocalypse Any Day Now makes a nice existential stocking stuffer: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/ApocalypseAnyDayNow
What a night! Yesterday was the third annual Milwaukee Krampusnacht. I’m the director of the event, but many people worked hard to make it a success. Volunteers, the Bavarian Bierhaus staff, vendors, musicians, Milwaukee Krampus Eigenheit, and all the parade performers worked together to make this fun holiday celebration come to life.
I was first introduced to Krampus in the pages of a book by Monte Beauchamp (editor of the great BLAB! magazine). I thought it was right up my alley. I began to see pictures and video from Krampusnacht celebrations around the country. Bloomington, Indiana has one, New Orleans has one…but not Milwaukee?! I invited Minnesota Krampus to the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference in 2016, and they drew a lot of interest. I met Krampus enthusiast Robert Schonecker and we agreed the Milwaukee needed to experience a Krampus horde in action.
We had no idea it would have such a huge interest. In 3 years we’ve nearly quadrupled in size. Krampus is a hit! Why? I think people like being part of, or witness, this tradition. I know I’ve loved monsters since I was a kid. I also think Krampus is the antidote for all the holiday stress and pressure bullshit and the sugary Hallmark stuff.
As I said, big interest. This year we took a first step expanding into the beer garden with the Bells & Chains Tavern as well as a bonfire performance. We had great music inside, a sold out Kid’s Krampus Hour (and KinderKrampus parade) and a fantastic vendor floor.
I’ve seen a couple of complaints from people about something that ruined the experience for them– they couldn’t find parking, they didn’t get snappy food service, not enough elbow room. I’m open to constructive criticism, but when you work really hard on something (I can’t even guess how many hours I’ve worked on the event) and someone just walks by and lifts their leg and pees on it, it’s a sour feeling.
Now that I vented that out, I’m glad to say that these complainers will have nothing to jaw about next year (well, they will always find something, I suppose). We are expanding into Heidelberg Hall in the beer garden, which will be serving food and drink. With both the Bierhaus and the Beer Garden open (and entertainment in both locations), we will have plenty of room to circulate people. There is another parking lot at the far end of one of the soccer fields we expand into, too.
I’m choosing to focus on the positive– the majority of attendees were very happy with the event and had a good time. I saw hundreds of people dancing, laughing, catching selfies with Krampus, walking out with beautiful, unique items from the vendor floor, and enjoying a delicious Bells & Chains beer.
Cheers to all of you, for making December 5 my favorite day of the year!
Here’s a few event photos from TMJ 4: https://www.tmj4.com/homepage-gallery/the-wonderfully-strange-and-creepy-celebration-of-krampusnacht-milwaukee-photos
We will have an album of photos uploaded soon on the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Facebook: www.facebook.com/milwaukeeparanormalconference