Category Archives: American Madness

Tea’s Weird Week: Who Said It–Phantom Patriot or Marjorie Taylor Greene?

My book American Madness (2020, Feral House) tells the story of Richard McCaslin, who, inspired by conspiracy peddler Alex Jones, bought an arsenal of weapons, created a costumed persona– the Phantom Patriot (complete with a skull mask) raided a place called the Bohemian Grove in 2002, had a standoff with the cops, and went to jail. He died by suicide in 2018.

Sound crazy? Sure. But is it more so than supporting the armed Q d’etat of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in which 5 people died? That’s what Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG), who represents Georgia in the House of Representatives, has done.

That’s my point of this column– when I originally met Richard in 2010, I thought he was the fringest of the fringe. Now, in the Trump era, I think he was somehow ahead of the curve, the zeitgeist. He was conspiracy hip before it was hip to be hip. Could Richard have been elected to Congress? In 2010 I would have laughed at that idea, but these days I think he’d be a shoo-in if he found the right district. Hey, MTG did it (and it looks likely she’ll win reelection this year).

Richard and MTG have some pretty big differences– Richard always despised Trump, for example, and he was suspicious of QAnon (the cult where MTG got her first boost). I think he was a true believer that wanted to help people by exposing the “Deep State,” while MTG is just a hatemonger. But still, they have similar ideas– they believe 9/11 conspiracy and hate Hillary. I don’t know if Richard would go for the Jewish space laser thing– probably. They’re so similar, that I thought I’d show you six quotes. Who said what? Answers are below.

One) “Bill Gates wants you to eat this fake meat that grows in a [petri dish] so you’ll probably get a little zap inside your body that’ll say ‘No, don’t eat a real cheeseburger, you need to eat the fake burger.’”

Two) “The Illuminati controlled CDC lies to the American public, 24/7. Just look at all the money being made on these shots right now… the microchips will definitely be in those shots. Anyone who refuses to get vaccinated will be ‘quarantined’ indefinitely in a FEMA residential center, a concentration camp.”

Three) “As far as our so-called ‘elected’ officials in Washington DC and California are concerned, the Luciferian Doctrine dictates their motives and actions, not the Constitution!”

Four) On the 2017 Mandalay Bay mass shooting in Las Vegas: “How do you get avid gun owners and people that support the Second Amendment to give up their guns and go along with anti-gun legislation? You make them scared, you make them victims and you change their mindset and then possibly you can pass anti-gun legislation. Is that what happened in Las Vegas? I don’t believe [mass shooter Stephen Paddock] pulled this off all by himself.”

Five) On the same 2017 shooting: “Most of the photos taken inside the hotel room look staged; especially the one supposedly showing Stephen Paddock dead on the floor…Paddock was/is obviously a Project Monarch patsy, who was used by the CIA, to get those 13 suitcases of guns and ammo up to the hotel room. Paddock was a high roller in Vegas, so nobody would question the excessive luggage. The motive for the massacre is simple…more gun restrictions, to effectively disarm the American people.”

Six) “Probably, in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore. Everyone will be gay or trans or non-conforming or whatever list of 50 or 60 options, which there are.”


ANSWERS!

One. This is a MJT quote from this week and the inspiration for this column. She said this on her “MTG Live” social media show, though in her exact quote she called it a “peach tree dish,” similarly to her botched attempt to call out “Nancy Pelosi’s gazpacho.” Marjorie Taylor Greene warns of meat grown in a ‘peach tree dish’ while peddling Bill Gates conspiracy (yahoo.com)

Two. Letter to me from Richard, dated Oct. 25, 2010. He was talking about H1N1 and Swine Flu, but mentions there will be a pandemic with mandatory vaccines, an eerie prediction of COVID-19, which he didn’t live to see. He didn’t mention Bill Gates in this, but he did tell me he believed Gates vaccine charity programs in Africa were an attempt at microchipping and/ or genocide for population control.

Three. Letter to me from Richard, dated Dec. 23, 2010. It does sound like a variation on QAnon’s popular “Democrat/elite Satanic baby eating pedophile cabal.”

Four: That’s MJT in a video she posted 4 days after the shooting, on Oct. 5, 2017: (129) Marjorie Taylor Greene video – YouTube

Five: Email to me from Richard, Oct. 6, 2017, the day after MTG posted her video! As you can see, Richard and MJT’s “mass shooter hoax/ false flag” theories were very similar. This is one conspiracy I WISH had a grain of truth to it. When? When will the Deep State take all the guns? For that matter, when will they pass a piece of legislature that will put any sort of reasonable limit on gun purchase whatsoever? I’ve been hearing Obama or someone is “taking the guns” for a solid 14 years now. C’mon, Deep State– do it!

Six: Haaaa, I hope so! Better than a generation of stupid hateful bigots like MTG, who said this. I never heard Richard spout off homophobic shit. And at least he had a cool costume. Marjorie Taylor Greene says straight people will soon be extinct / LGBTQ Nation

Please Clap Dept.: I wrote a feature focusing on commercial fisherman Ken Koyen titled “The Last Fisherman of Washington Island,” for the June issue of Milwaukee Magazine. You can read it here: www.milwaukeemag.com/meet-the-last-fisherman-of-washington-island

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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: Jurassic Lark? Are Dinosaur Deniers for Real?

I see there’s another Jurassic Park movie out soon (June 9) to kick off summer blockbuster season, so I thought it was as good a time as any to talk about a special breed of conspiracy theorists sometimes called “dinosaur deniers.” Me and Heidi talked about this on the Tea’s Weird Week podcast after I joined a viral Facebook group called Christians Against Dinosaurs. There were quite a few laughs. The group says that “Big Paleo” is the force of greed that perpetuates the “Dino Lie” to eager “dinophiles” so they can rake in the big money selling phony fossils to museums.

But in scrolling through the group it was really difficult to determine if these people truly held these beliefs or if it was a master class of trolling. And if it was trollcraft, it seemed likely it had inadvertently attracted some people who do believe that dinosaurs never existed.

Their have been legit dinosaur deniers in the past, and the main talking points are either religious– fossils were fakes created by Satan to bolster evolution theories or some such, or are theories cherry picking hoaxes and scientific error.

While working on my book American Madness, Dr. Daniel White of University of Sydney was helpful in explaining the appeal of conspiracy belief. Here’s a quote from him in the book:

“Those ‘selling’ conspiracy theories are better at selling themselves as experts than their mainstream alternatives, as well as what their ‘research’ finds. Science is very self-doubting in its presentation; usually, a finding is put forward as something along the lines of ‘based on our findings we can predicte that the most likely explanation is…however, here are the limitations of our study.'”

Compare that to someone like Alex Jones slamming his fist on a desk screaming about how he has “irrefutable proof” of some “false flag” attack. A lot more confident!

American Madness also took me to the International Flat Earth Conference in Dallas. Although there obviously were some other media types there and maybe a couple of undercover “globehead” (that’s the term for dum dums that believe the world is ball shaped) gawkers, I can say that the majority of the roughly 500 people there were legit Flat Earthers, so dinosaur deniers is not far fetched by comparison.

But there are several examples of conspiracy movement hoaxes. Before the modern wave of Flat Earthers, there was a Canadian group in the 1970s called the Flat Earth Society, based out of Saint Thomas University, a satire group of poets and philosophy students. A more recent example is the Birds Aren’t Real, a group of jokers who say they believe birds are actually government surveillance robots. But these days, things are so fucking nuts, who can tell what is real and what isn’t?!

I read a good article about all this from 2015 titled “Poes, Trolls, and Dinosaur Deniers” for skeptic.com, written by a paleontologist named Dr. Donald Prothero. He warns of Poe’s Law, described in this passage:

This (the Christians Against Dinosaurs group) seems so over the top that it immediately struck me as another example of extreme satire and parody which are so common on the internet. Often referred to as a “Poe,” these satirical pieces are intended to mock the bizarre beliefs of many groups of people from the extreme political and religious fringes. According to RationalWiki, the idea was first coined by Nathan Poe in a 2005 post, and “Poe’s Law” is the “observation that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between parodies of fundamentalism or other extreme views and their genuine proponents, since they both seem equally insane.”

He points out solid evidence that the Christian Against Dinosaurs group started, at least, as a joke, with admins tied to other satire sites. Kristin Auclair, who recorded videos for the group talking about dinosaur denial, claims on a post that her videos were “satire,” though like third-rate knock-offs of The Onion, it’s hard to see the satire because of Poe’s Law, which makes it pretty unfunny, in my opinion.

To add to the confusion, Christians Against Dinosaurs encouraged a protest against a Tucson McDonald’s that has a statue of a dinosaur outside it on Tanque Verde Road in August 2020. Someone inside the group encouraged people to call the franchise’s management and a “spokesperson” told the local Patch.com affiliate (one of several local media outlets to pick up the story) that “We’re fed up with everybody acting like the people of Tucson are imbeciles and we want to help.”

This was certainly more trolling, but as Dr. Prothero notes:

We are also in the tricky position demonstrated by all Poes: the crazies out there are so bizarre that it’s often impossible to tell a well-crafted parody from the real thing.

Yes, indeed.

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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: Friday Happy Hour w/ Tea @Lion’s Tooth

Tea as in…Tea Krulos. Just a short column this week to tell you that I’ll be hanging out at my favorite store Lion’s Tooth tomorrow (Friday, April 22) from 5-7pm. Lion’s Tooth is an independent bookstore in Milwaukee and they’ve been selling quite a few copies of my last two titles, American Madness (published by Feral House, 2020, and Lion’s Tooth’s bestselling title to date) and Brady Street Pharmacy (VA Press, 2021). When they mentioned they were re-ordering copies, I suggested a simple Happy Hour hangout, so if anyone wanted a signed copy and get one.

It’s been a very long week filled with lots of writing work, so I’ll be glad just to sit at their bar and get a drink. I’ve reached into the Krulos Secret Stash for this happy hour– the first 5 people to stop in and buy a copy of American Madness will get this limited edition of a comic drawn by Richard McCaslin. This features one of his rarely seen autobiographical comics and a special introduction by me. Feral House did a run of these to tie in with book promotion. I’ve got a small stash of extra copies.

Also, the first 2 people to get a copy of Brady Street Pharmacy will get original sketches that appear in the book. I drew these on pieces of scrap paper with a ballpoint pen to pass the time while working at the Pharmacy. These two I’m giving away are of Pharmacy regulars “Filthy McNasty” (there’s a story about him in the book) and “The Pirate” (who is mentioned in brief).

So there ya go– you can support me, a really fantastic independent bookstore and independent publishers and get some rare items. You know I hate clichés, but I really will be saying TGIF tomorrow. Hope to see you there!

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: There Are About 60 QAnon Followers Running for Congress This Year

I regret to inform you that QAnon followers– about 60 of them– are on the campaign trail, hoping to get elected in this year’s midterms. Two years ago, I wrote a similar column in February 2020 titled “There Are Two Dozen Members of QAnon Running for Congress.” That numbered ballooned to about 75 by Election Day. Most all of them lost, but two of them did worm their way in– Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert.

Now, with a Midterm election this year, Media Matters for America has identified 60 QAnon candidate hopefuls running for Congress. They report that of the QAnon candidates, “Twelve are from Florida, nine are from California, six are from Texas, four are from Illinois, three each are from New York, New Jersey, and Arizona, two each are from Nevada, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Oregon, and Ohio, and there is one each from Rhode Island, Virginia, North Carolina, Vermont, Iowa, Alaska, Georgia, and Colorado.”

You can see the full list with evidence of their Q-aligned posts here: Here are the QAnon supporters running for Congress in 2022 | Media Matters for America

Some notable campaigns:

– The aforementioned Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are running to hold onto their Congress seats in Georgia and Colorado. Over their two years in Congress they’ve been a consistent source of all sorts of attention for being anti-transgender, islamophobic, traitors, dumb, and just straight up psychotic. The latest from Greene is very much in line with her Pizzagate/ QAnon roots– squawking that “any senator voting to confirm [Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court] is pro-pedophile just like she is,” following a false QAnon narrative that Judge Jackson was lenient on pedophiles.

Ron Watkins. Watkins is seen as either being mostly or greatly responsible for spreading QAnon ideas. Watkins, an owner and moderator of the 8chan/8kun message boards (where he was known as CodeMonkeyZ), where Q’s mysterious drops were facilitated, is thought to be Q himself, or at the least someone who helped facilitate whoever it is, or more likely, was part of a collaboration between him and other people. He’s running for US Rep in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. SEE ALSO: HBO documentary Q: Into the Storm.

Those are the three most famous campaigns for this year. But what might be more dangerous is the lesser known, unwatched campaigns. After Marjorie Taylor Greene won her primary in a deep red district, I wrote a follow up column titled “Well, it Happened- Meet Your First QAnon Congressional Representative,” in which I said:

“I can’t help but feel that a terrible door has been opened with Greene. It’s tempting to downplay her win– she’s just 1 of 435 members of the House of Representatives, but what is going to follow? An entire QAnon caucus? A task force to investigate Democrats for imprisoning “mole children?” A Flat Earth Party? It seems like any batshit crazy bad idea is possible right now.”

Sadly, I still don’t think that’s far-fetched. Please be sure to vote!

Please Clap Dept.: The TWW podcast is on spring break, but I was guest for a second time on the great Fascinating Nouns podcast. You can check it out here: fascinatingnouns.com/tea-krulos

My book American Madness can be bought at: Lion’s Tooth//Bookshop.org//Amazon
And please rate/ review on GoodreadsAmazon, and/or share on social media. I appreciate the support.

Tea’s Weird Week: Phantom Patriot Featured in New Primus “Conspiranoia” Video

Primus has released their first new track in 5 years. It’s titled “Conspiranoia,” and it has some connections to my book American Madness. My book is about Richard McCaslin, who styled himself as a conspiracy commando called the Phantom Patriot. Inspired by Alex Jones, McCaslin fashioned himself a superhero costume and heavily armed himself. He raided a place in the forests of North California called the Bohemian Grove in 2002. Conspiracy says that the world’s most rich and powerful men sacrifice people in a Satanic ritual in front of a giant statue of an owl within the Grove. Richard had a standoff with the police and was arrested.

Richard McCaslin in his Phantom Patriot costume, shortly before his 2002 raid on the Bohemian Grove.

Les Claypool, bassist and singer for Primus, has a ranch close to the Grove in Occidental, California. Richard’s arrest did not become a huge story, but it was picked up by a couple of California newspapers. Claypool, who read the news stories and was inspired to write a song titled “Phantom Patriot,” which appeared on his solo 2006 album Of Whales and Woe album.

I thought it would be pretty great if I could interview Claypool about this, so I doggedly emailed his talent agency until they agreed to set up a short phone interview with him. He was understandably nervous talking about Richard (“is this a stable individual, would you say?” was the first thing he said to me), as he didn’t want to face violent retaliation. Richard originally liked the “Phantom Patriot” song (he described it as a “modern day folksong”) but, like everything, it soon entered the web of the conspiracy when he saw symbolism in the accompanying video (which, Claypool explained to me, had nothing to do with him– it was just a piece of animation that paired nicely with the track). Richard took his own life in 2018.

When I saw the title of the new Primus song, I remembered a quote from Claypool, which appears on page 98 of American Madness, where Claypool describes the Bohemian Grove:

“…there’s all this mystery of what happens in the Grove with the Bohemian Club, it’s a collection of the elite as well as a bunch of artists,” Claypool explained. “Actually, my old music teacher was a trombonist for the Bohemian Club way back in the day. But there is this mystery, and a bit of conspiranoia as to what goes on there and some of it is fairly extreme.”

After American Madness came out, I did try to email Claypool’s talent agency a couple times to get a copy of the book to him, but got no reply. Les, if you’re reading this, I’d love to send you a book. But maybe he ended up reading it anyhow…

When I saw the link to the video, I set aside 11 minutes 38 seconds to give it a good look. I really love it, it’s a great prog rock that sails the seas of cheese of an epic subject– the ridiculous but sad Conspiracy World.

We meet Lloyd Boyd, conspiranoid who launches himself into the sky in a lawn chair to prove the earth is flat. Ridiculous, huh? Well, no, a Flat Earther named “Mad Mike” Hughes did die in 2020 after launching himself into the skies above Barstow with a rocket for the same goal. What about Marion Barrion, contrarian, who puts cat urine in her eyes, garlic cloves in her nose, and taping dryer sheets to her head to ward off COVID? Not far fetched at all, especially considering the President of the United States of America recommended injecting bleach. That’s the real problem– not the Lloyd Boyds and the Marion Barrions with their tin foil hats, but the people like Trump and Alex Jones who exploit and profit off of their mentalities.

The video goes into a beautiful tapestry of conspiracy classics– Bigfoot, black helicopters, chemtrails, and gay frogs. Many of these topics are discussed in American Madness. My eyes widened at the 4:21 mark, where we see a quick flash of the Great Owl of Bohemia statue in the Grove.

The Great Owl art that appears in the “Conspiranoia” video.

At the 6:23 there is great conspiracy mega-list– some real, some invented for comic effect, some– who knows? It’s hard to tell what are real beliefs and what are jokes these days. Different images flash on rows of TVs, and then at the 8:45 mark, there he is– the Phantom Patriot (same photo as above). Personally, I’m thrilled to see the Phantom Patriot acknowledged. Richard, however, would have dismissed this as some kind of government psy-op program to hide the truth, part of the mass web of conspiracy orchestrated against him. Here’s the video:

I’ll give Primus the last word on this one: “Be wary of conspiranoia/ as purveyors, abound/ for an open mind too open/ spills its contents on the ground.” I couldn’t agree more. That describes exactly what happened to Richard McCaslin.

American Madness is currently being developed into a documentary and this month director Eric Hayden is filming a recreation of the Phantom Patriot’s raid into the Bohemian Grove. I’ve seen pictures of the recreation of Richard’s costume and it is a spot on duplication, down to the last stitch. I’m very excited to see his final footage.

Here is my request, if you’re reading this. Buy a copy of American Madness: Lion’s Tooth//Bookshop.org//Amazon
And please rate/ review on Goodreads, Amazon, and/or share on social media. I appreciate the support.

SEE ALSO: I wrote about the Bohemian Grove shutting down their summer encampment for the first time in 142 years (because of COVID) here: Tea’s Weird Week: Summer Plans are Canceled for the New World Order | (teakrulos.com)

Please Clap Dept.: My article from the March Milwaukee Magazine, “Visibly Indigenous,” is now online. It was a great honor to write: How Milwaukee’s Native Community Is Working to Be Un-Erased (milwaukeemag.com)

Tea’s Weird Week, S4 ep10: The Big French Fry Perfume Beaver Fever Tiger Nuggets Corpse DJ Oregon Trail Charles Darwin Diary Mystery Finale: Me and Heidi talk weird news, trivia answers, closing track by The LOL, “Six Feet Under the Dance Floor.” Fun times!
Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week S4 ep10: The Big French Fry Perfume Beaver Fever Tiger Nuggets Corpse DJ Oregon Trail Charles Darwin Diary Mystery Finale (podbean.com)
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Tea’s Weird Week: Illuminati Super Bowl Party

Did you catch that Super Bowl half time show? I did. As an original gangsta nerdy white kid who thought he was gangsta cause he listened to The Chronic, I enjoyed it. Dre! the Snoop D-O-double G! Mary J. Blige! Eminem, 50 Cent hanging upside down, Kendrick Lamar! Sippin on gin and juice, laid back, with my mind on…the subliminal messaging of the Illuminati.

Yes, the Illuminati. But by Illuminati, I should specify the ILLUMINATI NEW WORLD ORDER DEEP STATE REPTILIAN DEMOCRAT SATANIST CHILD-TRAFFICKING CABAL. Since Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl performance, a theory has steadily snowballed in the ten years since that the half time show is a powerful ritual bankrolled by the Illuminati.

“The high profile ritual known as the Super Bowl Halftime Show presents itself every year and this guide will break down how the ritual is conducted, and why we’re being subjected to such a sinister display of occultism,” reads the description of an ebook I found titled Super Bowl: An Analysis of the Occult and Illuminati Symbolism Ritual by Isaac Weishaupt, who also runs a site called IlluminatiWatcher.com. I was hoping to get a clearer idea of the reasoning behind the theory and well…here we go.

For the 2012 Super Bowl Madonna shared the stage with CeeLo Green, LMFAO, M.I.A., and Nicki Minaj. It was quite a performance and conspiracy theorists collectively flipped their wigs. Madonna wore a horned helmet upon a throne! SATAN! There were ancient Egyptian style costumes and “Saturnian black robes,” according to the Super Bowl ebook. The Illuminati are Saturn (aka Satan)-worshippers.

Conspiracist comparison of Madonna (left) and old hornhead, the Baphomet.

In 2012, I was in regular contact with Richard McCaslin, main subject of my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacker American Consciousness. Richard, inspired by Alex Jones, had raided a place called the Bohemian Grove. He saw deep conspiracy symbolism everywhere, in anything triangle or pyramid shaped, anything that looked like an eyeball (both of these illuminati symbols), skulls, owls, reptiles, anything with horns, and numbers like 33 (a Mason number) or any 6 repeating (the number of the beast). He often emailed me with his theories. Here’s part of an email he sent a few days after Madonna’s performance on Feb. 8, 2012:

I saw clips of Madonna’s performance on the news. From what little was shown , it definitely had a lot of pagan symbolism, which ultimately means Reptilian. I’ve read that she is somehow related to the British royal family, which once again means Reptilian. CeeLo Green is definitely a NWO tool. Notice that he’s wearing a (sequined) cleric’s robe at the Super Bowl. When somebody like Madonna has ‘WORLD PEACE ” in their show , that actually means ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT. 

With the 2012 performance solidly established in conspiracy theorist’s minds as an Illuminati power ritual, the symbolism was extracted from performances in almost every year that followed. In 2013 Beyoncé’s performance included fire and a stage that featured a couple of sort-of Illuminati Eye of Horus eyes on it. But the smoking gun, was her “flashing an Illuminati symbol” at the end of her performance.

Beyoncé flashes her Illuminati cred…er something.

According to the Super Bowl ebook, there’s maybe three reasons why the Illuminati carries this massive, powerful ritual:

One. “The Illuminati are seeking to draw energy towards their deities in order to demonstrate their abilities,” and in exchange, the author says, will bestow more power unto them.

Two. The energy is to give sustenance to the “Reptilian shape-shifters.”

Three. The rituals are to prepare the masses for an “Evolution of Consciousness” that transforms us from living beings to a digital, Matrix-like existence.

Again, these were all theories that Richard McCaslin told me about over the years. A lot of it came from one of his conspiracy gurus, David Icke.

After Madonna and Beyoncé, these “rituals” carried on with Bruno Mars (2014) who had a black pyramid design as part of his show, plus his guest performers were the Red Hot Chili Peppers (um, hello, Blood Sex Sugar Magick?). In 2015, Katy Perry’s show included “extraterrestrial summoning and the Great Whore of Babylon.” In the Book of Revelation Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth (or Ms. Babylon as I call her) is depicted riding a many-headed beast, which conspiracists say is what is happening here:

The Great Whore of Babylon rides into the Super Bowl. Also, balloons.

Coldplay, with past “Illuminati” Super Bowl performers Beyonce and Bruno Mars took the field in 2016, Lady Gaga terrorized conspiracy theorists in 2017, Justin Timberlake was dismissed as an Illuminati stooge in 2018, Maroon Five had guest Travis Scott in 2019 (subject of his own Illuminati sacrifice ritual conspiracy when his Astro World show in Houston turned deadly last year). In 2020 Jennifer Lopez and Shakira co-headlined and among many other symbols, conspiracists said children appearing in cages was an endorsement of child trafficking (it was actually to draw attention to children detained at the border). And in The Weeknd’s 2021 performance, conspiracists saw a black mass with fallen angels and a bottomless pit.

Kids in cages: part of J. Lo and Shakira’s 2020 halftime performance.

Note how the biggest freak outs are over these “evil” performances by women and people of color.

Ok, but what about this year? I watched carefully and didn’t see anything pentagram shaped, no horn headgear, children in cages, or Whores of Babylon. Had the Illuminati lost control of their power ritual? No. The next day I saw this circulating on a conspiracy page I follow:

Ah, ok. The FEMA camp conspiracy suggests that various emergency shelter camps being built by the government are actually designed to hold political “patriot” prisoners. It’s a pretty old theory by this point. A Reddit thread also had people speculating on the Super Bowl meaning. One poster wrote:
“Aside from the concentration camp pods…As the show turned dark ( as it always does) they blew a power generator up and suddenly a bunch of hood wearing youths rush (riot) towards the explosion.. Next scene the hood wearing rioters are now prison uniform wearing dancers. Dre flashes devil horns at end.”

Super Bowl: An Analysis of the Occult and Illuminati Symbolism Ritual explains this style of message as “predictive programming,” a way they Illuminati subliminally shows you their future plans for humanity while you bop out to Snoop Dogg. They say it’s a light brainwash to acclimate you to the future, where subversive people will be rounded up and forced into “FEMA concentration camps.”

The Super Bowl, of course, is a ritual, but not some Illuminati-Satan power ceremony. With your average Super Bowl ticket running around $6,000- $9,500 (and some much higher than that) and 30-second commercial spots for the game costing $7 million, it’s just your normal greedy capitalist worship of the Almighty Buck, no Baphomet needed.

Please Clap Dept.: My article “Fishy Business” from the February Milwaukee Magazine is now available online here: www.milwaukeemag.com/inside-the-wisconsin-sturgeon-generals-illicit-caviar-ring
Earlier this week this I was a guest on Lake Effect (a local Milwaukee show on NPR affiliate WUWM) to discuss the article, you can give it a listen here: www.wuwm.com/2022-02-14/what-could-wisconsins-caviar-trading-scandal-mean-for-worlds-largest-wild-sturgeon-population

Tea’s Weird Week, S4 ep04, Illuminati Super Bowl Party: Me and Heidi talk more about the Illuminati Half Time Show experience, plus news of UFO sightings, a flock of birds suddenly crashes, and more. Plus trivia from Miss Information and we close out with a track from

Listen here: teasweirdweek.podbean.com/e/tea-s-weird-week-s4-ep04-illuminati-super-bowl-party
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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: “Chosen One” to Cops: Take Me To Your Leader

Tea’s Weird Week kicks off 2022 with a story of yet another person pushed over the edge by conspiracy theory. And thanks to Tim Demeter for designing the 2022 TWW masthead. You can see more of his work at Quixotronic.

I’m back for 2022! The first column of the new year is a good place to introduce myself to new readers. I’m a freelance journalist and author of six non-fiction books. I like to write about a wide range of topics, but am maybe most known for writing about strange subcultures and social movements, and conspiracy, paranormal, and folklore. I love weird shit. I live in Milwaukee.

Plenty of weird stuff has happened over the last month or two over since TWW went on break. But one story in particular caught my eye because when I saw it my thought was oh shit, here’s yet another guy that reminds me of Richard McCaslin. Richard was the main subject of my book American Madness. He fell into a conspiracy rabbit hole, raided a secret society camp called the Bohemian Grove in 2002 and eventually took his own life. That’s the short version, you can find my book here: American Madness | (teakrulos.com)

Since then there’s been many other examples of stories like Richard– the Pizzagate Raider (Edgar Maddison Welch), the Nashville Bomber (Anthony Quinn Warner), the Mason Lodge Arsonist (Benjamin Kohlman), and I would say even the Jan. 6 Q d’etat are similar stories.

Here’s the scene of the latest– December 8, a limousine crashes through the fences of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Matthew Ray Hancock, 36, is the driver and proceeds to do some donuts in the limo in a parking lot before driving onto a plane ramp to cruise by several airplanes, stopping near a parked jet. Employees confront him and see that he’s wearing a clown mask.

“I’ve got a fucking bomb! I’m going to blow this place up!” Hancock tells the employees.

Matthew Ray Hancock, man with a limo, clown mask, fake bomb, and nothing to lose.

Police showed up and quickly arrested Hancock. He asked them to refer to him as “the Chosen One,” and told them his plan was to hijack a jet and fly it to Area 51, the legendary secret Nevada base which is alleged to be a repository of extra-terrestrials and their technology. It’s a classic pillar of conspiracy theory and Hancock says he wanted to go there to “look for aliens.” Whatever goes down there, it is true that an unmarked plane with the call JANET leaves McCarran daily to fly employees to Area 51. In 2019, there was a viral “Raid Area 51” Facebook event, which suggested that a large number of people could overtake the base and see the hidden ETs inside, however, only a small crowd actually showed up and gathered peacefully outside the gates.

Hancock had a homemade bomb of sorts in his limo– an oxygen tank and fire extinguisher tethered together on a piece of wood with some other pieces of metal, decorated with Christmas tree lights. When questioned, Hancock also made the claims that he had a high level security clearance, was also a member of the mob, and that someone owed him millions of dollars.

Police charged him with misdemeanor trespassing, and felonies for making a terrorist threat and dispersal with a hoax. I will be keeping tabs on any developments in this story.

Please Clap Dept.: Over the break I was a guest on the Shorewood Library podcast, Shorewood Stacks. I love libraries! Great conversation, mostly about my book American Madness. You can listen here: Episode 5 American Madness: An Interview with Tea Krulos (podbean.com)

Tea’s Weird Week podcast, S4 Ep01: Our guest Zelia Edgar talks about her first book, Just Another Tin Foil Hat Presents, which is a collection of classic paranormal case studies out now. Zelia told us about the mysterious lore of Platteville, the Loveland Frogmen, and Wisconsin’s favorite UFO story– Joe Simonton and his space pancakes.

Then me and Heidi talk about our January travels and discuss Matthew Ray Hancock’s limo ride, escaped lab monkeys, and a “Trump prophetess” who visited heaven and saw John Wayne filming a new cowboy flick. Plus new trivia from Miss Information and we close out with a bangin’ track, “Bigfoot, Take the Wheel,” by IfIHadAHiFi.

Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S4 E01: Serving Space Pancakes (w/ guest Zelia Edgar) (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: The Gavel

A lot of court cases caught my interest over the last week or two. Me and Heidi discuss some of them in the latest episode of the Tea’s Weird Week podcast. Here’s a run down:

– Kyle Rittenhouse case. As of this writing, the jury is still deliberating on what Rittenhouse, who shot and killed 2 people (and injured a third) in August 2020 in Kenosha. I’ve had an interest in this case since it happened. I wrote a Milwaukee Press Club award winning article on the “citizen journalists” who caught the shootings on video: How Citizen Journalists Captured the Chaos in Kenosha (milwaukeemag.com)

As well as a short follow up during the trial: Citizen Journalists Footage Plays Key Role at Kyle Rittenhouse Trial (milwaukeemag.com)

[UPDATE: Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all 5 felony counts]

Alex Jones meets consequences. A Connecticut judge found Jones to be liable for damages, in the latest ruling on cases filed by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Jones promoted that the tragedy was a “false flag” and that the grieving parents were “crises actors.” My book American Madness talks about Jones and Sandy Hook and the terrible influence Jones has on people. The jury will now decide how much Jones will face in damages.

-The QAnon Shaman. Sentenced to 41 months, Jacob Chansley probably got a longer sentence than other participants because his image was plastered all over the place. It was hard to ignore the shirtless guy wearing a horned headdress, facepaint, and carrying a spear. Another participant in the Q d’etat, Jennifer Leigh Ryan, who bragged that she wouldn’t go to jail because she was “white, with blond hair and a good job” got sentenced to 2 months in the slammer.

-Super creep Steve Bannon was indicted for contempt of Congress after he ignored a deposition to appear before a House committee looking into the January 6 insurrection. He’s facing a charge for contempt and another for refusal to produce documents. He could face 30 days and a year in jail respectively as well as fines up to $100,000.

-Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona was censured and had his committee assignments stripped by Congress after he shared an anime video that photoshopped his image onto a character slashing his colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s head with a sword and then attacking Joe Biden. As I said in one of my first columns of this year, the Orange Stain will remain for a long time.

Hey, I know who can get these dingdongs out of prison! The Ex-presidentiables! (Yes, this is a new painting by Jon McNaughton, subject of a TWW column from last year titled Tea’s Weird Week: Laughing My Ass Off at These Bonkers Trump Paintings | (teakrulos.com) )

Tea’s Weird Week, S3 ep09: The Gavel. Me and Heidi discuss some of the above mentioned cases and other weird news, trivia by Miss Information, and we close with a track by Creepy Little Things, “Mind Games.”
Listen here: Tea‘s Weird Week, S3 ep09: The Gavel (podbean.com)
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Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

Check out my latest books:

American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers (2019, Chicago Review Press)

Wisconsin Legends & Lore (2020, History Press)

Tea’s Weird Week: Things are Getting Strange, Damn Strange in Dallas

Last year, I wrote a column titled “I got my own conspiracy theory, which is that the world is becoming 24 more times batshit crazy every day.” Still a solid theory that I stand by. Back in April 2020 I was talking about the QAnon theory that “mole children” were being held captive in tunnels under Central Park. Today I bring you a disturbing number of stories of conspiracy theory madness…all from just the last couple of weeks. Ready? Yeah, neither am I.

1.) Hundreds of QAnon believers gathered in Dallas because they believed JFK Jr. would appear to them. (via The Dallas Morning News)

If you missed this one, hundreds of QAnon believers gathered in Dealey Plaza in Dallas (where President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963) on November 2. They believed that JFK Jr. (President Kennedy’s son, who died in a plane crash in 1999) would appear there, revealing he was alive. JFK Jr. has been part of QAnon canon since their early days– they believe he faked his death and has been in hiding, secretly helping Trump and may even be “Q” himself.

This gathering believed JFK Jr. would appear, talk about how Trump would be reinstated as president, but then being a messiah-like figure that transcends politics Trump would hand the presidency to JFK Jr., who would make disgraced Gen. Michael Flynn the Veep. When JFK Jr. failed to appear at noon as prophesized, they said he would appear like the Great Pumpkin at Midnight. Or maybe in disguise at a Rolling Stones concert that was happening that evening. But the story didn’t end there…

Photo via Dallas Morning News


2.) A QAnon sect appears to be starting a cult compound in Dallas. (via Vice)

As if point one wasn’t strange enough, it appears a contingent of those QAnon believers never left Dallas.

Last weekend, a large group led by QAnon influencer Michael Brian Protzman (and his parrot) returned to Dealey Plaza. There, the group lined up single file as Protzman brought them to him, one by one, to point out an “Illuminati symbol” aka something pyramid-shaped. This seems kind of like a baptism ritual. Then the group arranged themselves in a giant Q in the park. Much of the group has been staying at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas since November 2, where they hold meetings in the hotel conference room.

Vice reports:

In videos of the meeting shared online, Protzman talks about the Rolling Stones concert he attended [note- the concert happened the night JFK Jr. was supposed to appear in Dealey Plaza] with members of the group, and claims that Michael Jackson, John F. Kennedy Jr., Elvis, and Prince were all at the concert and were in fact playing the music on stage, disguised as the Rolling Stones. He also claims that R&B singer Aaliyah, who died in 2001, was one of the backup singers.”

So many questions. Which Rolling Stone was Prince portraying? I mean Elvis, who would be 86, must be Keith Richards? But QAnon believes that Richards was portrayed by JFK Jr. himself. What happened to the real Rolling Stones? Didn’t the Stones sing a song called “Sympathy for the Devil”– and Satanic Panic Q fans are ok with that?

Anyway, none of this is the most fucked part of the story– a rapper called “Pryme Minister” has “offered the use of a property near the city that could act as a permanent headquarters for the group, calling it “the promised land.”

Wow, that sounds like it’ll end well.

Dallas QAnon sect leader Michael Brian Protzman. Not pictured: his parrot.


3.) An update on the Vancouver Masonic Lodge. (via North Shore News)

Shout out to Vancouver friends Steve and Erin who sent articles on this. On March 30, a Vancouver man named Benjamin Kohlman drove around Vancouver, setting three Masonic lodges on fire. He was back in court this week. The North Shore News reports:

“The court heard Nov. 8 that Benjamin Kohlman, 43, who has drug addiction problems, was hearing voices that told him to burn the buildings because the Masons were engaged in mind control of other people…The damages to the buildings were $500,000, $2.1 million and $34,000 to $43,000, respectively, the court heard.”

4.) Aaron Fucking Rodgers. I’m just going to leave you with this Milwaukee Record headline: “Aaron Rodgers outs himself as delusional, pathetic, stupid person in rambling interview.”

5.) Conspiracy candidates to watch out for. Conspiracy theorists should concern us all as conspiracy peddlers are actively running for (and sometimes winning) public office and setting policy. In 2020 there were over 70 QAnon aligned candidates who ran for Congress. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado were elected. In the upcoming 2022 midterm and 2024 elections, expect more. There’s some “big names” who might be throwing their hat in. One is Ron Watkins, 8kun administrator and suspected fabricator of posts by “Q” (or at least someone who had a major role in creating QAnon). He’s running for a congressional district in Arizona (via the Arizona Mirror). And then there’s Trump’s conspiracy guru, Roger Stone. Stone has threatened that he’ll run for Governor of Florida if Gov. DeSantis decides to run as an opponent of Trump in 2024 (via CBS Miami). What’s next? A Congressional Committee to look into adrenochrome? A Flat Earth Party? It seems entirely possible.

Left: ultimate Troll and Q suspect Ron Watkins. Right: conspiracy peddler and Batman villain Roger Stone.

6.) Conspiracy believers say Travis Scott concert deaths were part of “Satanic” ritual. After the tragedy of the concert deaths in Houston (which now total 9 after another person died of their injuries), theories started to spring up that the deaths were actually some kind of Satanic blood libel sacrifice to Moloch. Evidence cited was a stage catwalk that looked like an inverted cross, fiery visual effects, and hip hop’s alleged association with the Illuminati.

Sadly, as someone in the Tea’s Weird Week Facebook group pointed out, these were sacrifices– to the almighty buck. They knew there was no way to safely do security for 50,000 people, but they packed them in anyway because they were greedy. No Illuminati or Reptilians needed when you have run-of-the-mill shitty, greedy people on the job.

Tea’s Weird Week, S3 ep08: Things are Getting Strange, Damn Strange in Dallas: Me and Heidi discuss these conspiracy stories and more weird news, trivia from Miss Information, and we close out with a track from our sound engineer, Android138, “WrongTown (Sex Appeal).”

Listen here: Tea‘s Weird Week, S3 ep08: Things Are Getting Strange, Damn Strange in Dallas (podbean.com)

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

Check out my book, which explores conspiracy theory culture and the dangers within:

American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Why the Alec Baldwin Shooting Became an Insta-Conspiracy

A tragic accident that resulted in death could have been avoided if the crew on the film Rust were listened to. Alec Baldwin, a producer as well as star on the film, fired a prop gun and a live round from the gun killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and critically injured director Joel Souza. The Union workers had warned of unsafe conditions on the set and specifically the prop gun, which had not functioned properly in previous takes. Some workers quit over safety concerns, other Union workers were removed and non-union workers brought in to replace them. It’s unknown how a prop gun with a live round made it’s way on set– the investigation is still in process. I immediately knew that this would become conspiracy lore, and that was correct– I’ve since seen a variety of QAnon theories, with one even pinning a piece of yarn to Alec Baldwin’s role in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October. Because, well…it’s October. How did I know this was insta-conspiracy material? Well, here’s the main reasons:

1. Baldwin is Already a QAnon Villain

QAnon believes there is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles out there and all you have to do to be put on this shit list is to be an opponent of Trump. There is a “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon” going on here– anyone that knew Jeffrey Epstein (except Trump himself, of course), associated with Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, etc. etc. is part of the conspiracy. But Alec Baldwin is one step beyond that– he is, in Trump’s squinty eyes, an actual enemy. Enraged by Baldwin’s doofy impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live, Trump used his Twitter platform to frequently attack SNL and Baldwin in particular.

In 2017, Trump tweeted that SNL was “very unfair and should be looked into.” In 2019 he tweeted that the “Federal Election Commission and/or FCC” should investigate the show because it spent “all of their time knocking the same person (me) over & over.” In 2019 he also tweeted:

“Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!”

Again, to be clear, the President of These United States was all bent out of shape and spending an inordinate amount of time talking about this:

2. Trump Helped Normalize Spreading Conspiracies About His Enemies to His QAnon Followers

With Roger Stone (a self-described “dirty trickster”) as his spiritual guru, Trump quickly repeated the benefits of conspiracy theory as a weapon of choice in his campaign. It wasn’t the first time– Trump was the loudest and most famous voice that pushed the racist Birtherism conspiracies about President Obama. Many people still believe that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii (as per his birth certificate). After beating down the vast field of Republican runners leading up to the 2016 election with silly nicknames, in the final stretch he knew he needed to “go hard” against the remaining few left standing. That’s when he implied that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination. Look, I despise Ted Cruz and thoroughly enjoy laughing about the conspiracy that he’s the Zodiac Killer, but the reality is that he’s not the Zodiac Killer and his father wasn’t involved in the JFK assassination, and the fact that Trump just got away with saying that without any repercussions is pretty insane.

If we lived in a normal timeline, that (along with him openly mocking a person with a disability, being racist, bragging about sexually assaulting women, etc.) would have ended his campaign. But one of the worst things about the Trump presidency is that it normalized conspiracies, misinformation, name-calling, narcissism, and labelled actual media as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people.” He got away with it by utilizing a “firehose of falsehoods” i.e. he was spouting out so much crazy stuff, it was hard to pin down one thing or another because minutes later he was saying something else equal to or more crazy.

Cruz was far from the only target. When Trump got butt hurt over watching pundit Joe Scarborough’s show, (Morning Joe, MSNBC) he dug up a conspiracy hit piece that he had murdered an employee in 2001 and left her dead body in a campaign office even though he was out of town. (See my column, “Trump’s Joe Scarborough Conspiracy Obsession“). And these are just a couple examples– I haven’t even mentioned Hillary Clinton, Hunter Biden, “Obamagate,” or the 2020 election.

3. The World is Chaos and That’s Something Conspiracists Can’t Wrap Their Head Around

Conspiracists don’t believe in coincidence. They think everything is a well designed plot, especially if there is an unknown element.

Take for example the murder of Seth Rich. Rich was a staff member of the Democratic National Committee. He was shot twice in the back and died just after 4am while walking home from a bar. Police believe it was an attempted robbery. Oh, but they didn’t take his wallet! Attempted– maybe something scared off the robber(s) but we don’t know because it’s an unsolved case. A feeding frenzy of conspiracy, from InfoWars to FOX News quickly spun a story that Rich was the one who sent DNC emails to WikiLeaks, and thus was murdered as part of the Clinton Body Count– the theory that Bill and Hill have left a pile of corpses behind them to rival Mickey and Mallory Knox as they’ve killed their way into power. I like to think of them cranking death metal and jumping out of bushes to personally stab the shit out of their enemies.

When I watched the report on the Alec Baldwin shooting on CNN, I was like, well this is definitely going to be a conspiracy because the reporting was uncertain. The anchor said “this is an accident as far as we know” and “we don’t know how such a tragic accident could happen.” That’s the difference between journalists and conspiracy peddlers. Journalists (good ones, anyway) need to wait for the facts. They can speculate, but they need to wait for investigations, reports, documentation. Those aren’t available immediately. Conspiracists, on the other hand, can pretend to know everything instantly– isn’t it suspicious how a prop gun could fire a lethal round? That’s because it’s a cover up– FACT.

Was this accidental shooting tragic and something that could have been avoided? Yes. Did it happen because Alec Baldwin was engaged in some kind of blood libel secret murder? NO.

You can read more about the tragic toll of conspiracy thinking in my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness a book by Tea Krulos (bookshop.org)