Monthly Archives: April 2021

Tea’s Weird Week: Peter Tripp’s Wake-A-Thon Freak Out of 1959

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The Tea’s Weird Week podcast is on “vacation” as we’re trying to catch up on ideas for future podcast episodes as well as getting our Patreon rolling– check it out, lots of very cool perks at a number of affordable levels: www.patreon.com/teasweirdweek

This week I just thought I’d share a pretty crazy story I ran into while doing some light research. Like other authors, I always have a few irons in the fire– I’m working on developing a couple of non-fiction book ideas, as well as a couple of fiction ones. I’m not sure what is going to be completed first (if completed at all) or what might roll out when, but one of these fiction manuscripts is a horror novel that includes a plot involving sleep paralysis and sleep deprivation.

I was looking into the latter when I found the story of Peter Tripp, a top 40 DJ who decided to be involved with a publicity stunt. He agreed to DJ live on WMGM (where he had a show called “Your Hits of the Week”) for 200 hours (a little over 8 days) straight without sleep from a glass DJ booth in Times Square (so people could go and see him, like a sleep deprived fish in an aquarium) as a fundraiser for March of Dimes. This “Wake-A-Thon” was in late January, 1959.

It was somewhere around 120 hours into the “Wake-A-Thon” that Tripp went from extremely drowsy to beginning to lose his damn mind. He suffered from hallucinations– at one point he began to see spiders crawling out of his shoes and mice and kittens scurrying around his feet inside the studio. He had a hotel room next door where he could freshen up and there he hallucinated flames shooting out of a dresser drawer. In another instance he believed a scientist sent to observe him was an undertaker after his body, so he ran out of the studio into Times Square and had to wrangled back in. He grew paranoid of the scientists who were observing him and thought they were in league against him, trying to poison him. He had difficulty reciting the alphabet.

Peter Tripp, looking a bit tired.

The scientists monitored Tripp’s brain waves and found that his hallucination freak outs mirrored the 90 minute REM cycles he brain would experience if he was asleep, so his brain was dreaming while he was awake. The last 60 hours or so were only maintained by an administered stimulant. After he hit 200 hours, he crashed out– he reportedly slept 13 hours, 13 minutes.

Like any bad idea, the “Wake-a-Thon” craze spread to other DJs looking to duplicate Tripp’s publicity. Dozens of DJs attempted to beat Tripp’s record in 1959 and into the 60s.

Poor Peter Tripp! As one report notes, “it is often reported that the sleep-deprivation marathon had a long-term effect on his personality.” Tripp view himself as an “imposter,” what I’m interpreting to mean something like a Twin Peaks doppelganger. His marriage (one of four) fell apart shortly after the Wake-a-Thon. The next year, he was also hit for being part of the “payola” scandal, where DJs received money for playing certain songs to make them a hit. His radio DJ career drifted around California and ended up in Ohio before he quit the biz in 1967. He died in 2000 at age 73.

Now I think I’ll go take a nap.

Peter Tripp with I assume his wife during the Wake-a-Thon.

Sources
Inglis-Arkell, Esther. “The Sleep Deprivation Publicity Stunt That Drove One Man Crazy,” Gizmodo.com.

tenwatts.blogspot.com, “DJ Marathon Stay-Awake Records.”

Rolls, Geoff. “The Men Who Didn’t Sleep: Peter Tripp and Eric Gardner,” chapter from Classic Case Studies in Psychology.

And this short doc:

You can find the Tea’s Weird Week podcast here: https://teakrulos.com/teas-weird-week-podcast-4/

Check out my books:

American Madness
Apocalypse Any Day Now

Tea’s Weird Week: Milwaukee Rolls the 100-sided Die

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Rather than a typical Tea’s Weird Week column, today I’m just giving some show notes on our latest Tea’s Weird Week podcast episode, the “season one finale,” that is filled with stories about Dungeons & Dragons & Milwaukee. Much was discussed and here’s a rundown of relevant links. Just click on the highlighted text and you’ll find the website/article cited.

Dungeons & Dragon’s Wisconsin origins: Gary Gygax of Lake Geneva, WI, founded the Lake Geneva Wargames Convention, later known as GenCon. The convention eventually settled in Milwaukee– til 2003, when citing lack of hotel space and an unsatisfactory convention center, they moved to the more exotic locale of…Indianapolis. It remains one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world. Gygax co-created Dugeons & Dragons with Dave Arneson. The game was first published in 1974.

The Rare first ten D&D games: My friend Jan Christensen was given one of the first ten copies of Dungeons & Dragons. After playing it a few times, it sat in storage until 2016, when looking for something to sell so she could enjoy a road trip, she found this treasure. She shared with us the exciting story of it’s sale via Ebay to the Strong National Museum of Play in Buffalo, NY. Jan is the former editor of the great community newspaper, the Riverwest Currents.
The pandemic has been tough on independent journalism, please donate to their GoFundMe here: www.gofundme.com/f/help-riverwest-currents-stay-alive-and-printing

Factions: Battlegrounds: Last year I met Peter Ferry and Jason Clayton, two childhood friends who have followed their dream of creating “a multi-player fantasy combat boardgame representing diverse cultures and mythologies.” So cool! And they had a successful Kickstarter, met their stretch goals, and games should be delivered early this summer.
You can read an interview I did with them for the Shepherd Express here: shepherdexpress.com/arts-and-entertainment/off-the-cuff/friends-create-diverse-fantasy-battleground
Check out their website and pre-order a game here: www.factionsbattlegrounds.com

The Manticore Consort: If you’ve visited the Bristol Renaissance Faire, you’ve probably spotted the Manticore Consort, who add greatly to their atmosphere with their hurdy-gurdy and other renaissance instruments. Check out/ buy their music here: manticoreconsort.bandcamp.com

Faklandia Brewing: They brew their own beer, serve food, are an event space, AND are built around a fantasy theme, incorporated into their business on a multi-media gaming front. Faklandia is a realm of it’s own, but you can find it in Saint Francis (just outside of Milwaukee). It’s a wonderful place to visit. Find more at their website: faklandia.com

Tea’s Weird Week Facebook group: We mentioned a D&D poll conducted in this group, it’s a clearinghouse for weird news of all sorts and hella fun. Join us here: www.facebook.com/groups/359809171918389

Satanic Panic: Heidi’s source for details of the Satanic Panic comes from this article, “Why Satanic Panic never really ended,” Vox.com.

Implanted memories: Heidi also mentioned this Wall Street Journal article, “False Memories Can Be Planted and Then Reversed, Researchers Find.”

Lil Nas X: Congrats on starting your own mini-Satanic Panic! Here’s the video we talked about, in case you have yet to see it:

Rev. Bob Larson: I recalled the time I saw Rev. Bob Larson’s “exorcism” session in action. It was one of the strangest things I’ve experienced, and believe me you, that is saying something. I wrote about it in a chapter of my book Monster Hunters. You can see for yourself at the Bob Larson: Real Exorcist YouTube Channel. Content warning: everything.

Robert Wardhaugh’s longest running D&D campaign: We ended by talking about Robert Wardhaugh of London, Ontario, whose Dungeons & Dragons campaign has now been running continuously for 39 years! CNN’s Great Big Story did an article/podcast on him here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/20/us/dungeons-and-dragons-longest-game-great-big-story-trnd/index.html

Fight Dice: We ended the show with this great new multi-media music project that has a D&D theme. Really fun stuff, the have an EP coming out very shortly. Can’t wait to see more of Tim’s art!

Check out their music here: fightdice.bandcamp.com/releases and see art on their Facebook.

Tea’s Weird Week Patreon: We need your support to keep the podcast going. We have several tiers available with a TON of cool extras– behind the scenes access, bonus episodes, free online and in-person events, signed copies of my books, Tea’s Weird Week shirts and more. Please check it out: https://www.patreon.com/teasweirdweek

Listen: Here’s links to: Tea’s Weird Week episode 13: Dungeons & Dragons & Milwaukee (podbean.com)
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Check out my books:

American Madness
Apocalypse Any Day Now
Tea’s Weird Week: 2020 Review (ebook)

Tea’s Weird Week: Conspiracy on the Suez Canal (and Canadian Mason Arson)

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In this age of QAnon, we’ve seen the most outlandish conspiracies spread on the Internet. Just to mention a few– “mole children” being held captive underneath Central Park, prisoners of the “Deep State” to be used in sex trafficking and to harvest their “adrenochrome” by the same sinister cabal that brought you Pizzagate. There was also the theory that Wayfair was delivering child sex slaves in their furniture. On March 4, the “real inauguration” of Trump was supposed to take place. Recently, there’s been a conspiracy that Joe Biden is either a deepfake or is just pretending to be president in front of a greenscreen.

And now the news of the day– a cargo ship getting stuck sideways in the Suez Canal is the latest to have a thumbtack and long piece of yard attached to it. This theory stars QAnon’s ultimate boss bad guy Hillary Clinton.

The first and longest running conspiracy involving Hill and Bill is the “Clinton Body Count.” I love the title of that conspiracy because I imaging the Clintons sneaking around as a couple, killing people in person. Bill sneaks up behind someone and chokes them with his tie while Hillary whips out a shank and starts stabbing, all while some grindcore shreds in the background. Brutal!

But seriously, the theory suggests that a great number of people somehow associated with the Clintons have been killed by Clinton bankrolled hitmen. It’s like a death version of “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon”– anyone you can tie to the Clintons who has died is said to be part of the hit list.

Pizzagate was the next step of adding to the Clinton conspiracy mythology. Hillary and her people (most notably John Podesta, who was a member of Bill’s cabinet and campaign advisor to Hillary–leaked emails showing his love of pizza parties was the centerpiece of Pizzagate) were said to be the masterminds of a child sex trafficking ring operating in DC, a satanic cabal of Democrats, Hollywood elites, the fake news media, etc. that rape and eat children and get high off of their “adrenochrome.”

The darkest place these conspiracies go is a hoax called “frazzledrip.” This is supposedly the name of a snuff video that shows Hillary and her advisor Huma Abedin torturing, raping, and drinking the blood of a young girl to get high on her adrenochrome. It was supposedly leaked from the laptop of Abedin’s ex-husband Anthony Wiener, but the video does not exist on the dark web or anywhere else.

The latest QAnon nonsense suggests that this ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal is Hillary Clinton’s personal sex trafficking vehicle. That’s right, those shipping containers are filled with children heading to a Pizzagate-style ring. That’s a big claim. What’s the evidence? Well…

The Ever Given container ship is pictured in Suez Canal in this Maxar Technologies satellite image taken on March 26, 2021. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS


– The ship, the Ever Given, is owned by a Taiwanese company called Evergreen. Clinton was given the Secret Service code name “Evergreen” (Bill’s was “Eagle”).

-The Ever Given’s radio call sign is H3RC, uh oh that means Hillary Rodham Clinton.

-What’s on the boat? Shipping containers that QAnon says are full of sex trafficking victims. And maybe a lot– the ship holds up to 20,000 20 foot long containers.

-The ship’s charted course allegedly shows that it drew a dick in the Red Sea. To what end? The Qanon theory was to draw attention to the ship. As Vice reports, one Q follower posted:

“Those ships are on auto-pilot most of the time. The computers do the work. I am suggesting that the ship’s computers were hacked. My suspicions lean toward the White Hats. This was part of the plan.”

QAnon believed that the ship had purposely been grounded so the world could see the shipping containers being opened, the sex trafficking victims released and Hillary Clinton exposed for the satanic pedophile cannibal/ shipping magnate that she was. That, of course, didn’t happen.

Exhibit A: ship route drew a cartoon dick.

Why would someone who is running a human trafficking ring leave clues as to their identity behind? Do people actually believe this shit? They sure do, and it’s led to a social epidemic of unhinged violence.

The biggest incident was the Jan. 6 insurrection, which had a large contingency of QAnon believers. But there’s been a few examples over the last month. On March 15, a man drove a car covered with spray-painted Q slogans (like “wwg1wga” which means “where we go one, we go all.”) to a National Guard.

And here’s the latest person to snap from conspiracy– a person named Benjamin Orion Carlson Kohlman went on an early morning rampage earlier on March 30, setting three Vancouver area masonic lodges on fire. The Freemasons have long been a part of conspiracy lore as a secret organization that controls the world. He escaped an altercation with a police officer and posted on his social media that he had “just cleaned three satanic clubhouses and nobody could do anything,” there was no QAnon connection reported, but other posts promoted 9/11 and Flat Earth conspiracies, and a post from 2018 showed an image of a masonic hall with text that read “Masons meet secretly to plan the truth they want you to see.” Source: CTV News

Conspiracy continues to beget violence.

One of the Masonic lodges set on fire in Vancouver.

SEE ALSO: The new HBO documentary Q: Into the Storm documents the origins of QAnon and how it evolved from a dark corner of the Internet to the mainstream.

In the opening sequence of Q: Into the Storm, the documentary maker talks about not being able to see an owl without thinking about Moloch; if you want to know the origins of all that, as well an intro to QAnon and many examples of how conspiracy thinking is dangerous, please do check out my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness. You’ll find similarities– arson, Freemasons– to this latest story out of Vancouver.

Tea’s Weird Week, episode 12: I talk more about this column and the future of this podcast in the “Please Clap Dept.” Me and Heidi talk about a zombie rabies strain (plus the zombie-vampire political study), a plague doctor stalking Scotland, the saga of Salmon Dream, the worst T-shirt ever, and a sewer mystery. Plus trivia with Miss Information, and we close out with a track from our sound engineer, Android138, “The Dreams that we Dare to Dream.”

You can listen here: Tea’s Weird Week episode 12: Conspiracy on the Suez Canal (podbean.com)

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Check out my latest books:
American Madness
Tea’s Weird Week: 2020 Review
(ebook)