Tea’s Weird Week: Famous Ghosts of Chicago

Tea’s Weird Week is going to be on the scene at the Paranormal Chicago Conference next weekend, March 6 (www.facebook.com/events/1067747297402289). If you’re not familiar with my lifestyle, I do seasonal work as a tour guide for American Ghost Walks here in Milwaukee. I love it– the tours are a nice mix of history along with sharing some firsthand stories from people who have said they’ve hand ghostly encounters. Oftentimes after the tour, people will share their own supernatural encounters with me.

In advance of the Chicago conference, I thought I’d talk to one of my colleagues, Tony Szabelski, who leads tours for American Ghost Walks in Chicago. Chicago, as you can imagine, is rich and dense in ghostlore, a legacy of serial killers (including “America’s first,” H.H. Holmes, as well as John Wayne Gacy and Richard Speck), gangsters (Al Capone, Chicago was also where they finally got John Dillinger), and famous disasters (the Great Chicago Fire, the Eastland Disaster). I talked to Tony about some of these cases as well as Resurrection Mary (a classic Chicago ghost story– Mary’s stomping grounds are near the Chicago conference), the Joliet Prison, and the Congress Hotel in the latest TWW podcast.

I’ll be revisiting more Chicago weirdness later this Spring/ early summer when I’ll be reporting on the Chicago Mothman cases for Fortean Times. I love Chicago– I always have sort of a pulp noir image of it in my head– the El rattling by above your head, a crumpled copy of the Chicago Tribune blowing in the wind down the street, vendors selling Chicago style dogs…it’s a great place to visit.

SEE ALSO: I wrote this article on Chicago ghost experts Ursula Bielski and Dale Kaczmarek for Scandinavian Traveler in 2019: Meet the real-life ghostbusters | Scandinavian Traveler
This early TWW column from around the same time talked about the ghost of Al Capone: Tea’s Weird Week: Chasing the Ghost(s) of Al Capone and a Rant About Geraldo | (teakrulos.com)

Tea’s Weird Week S4 E5, Famous Ghosts of Chicago: I talked with Tony Szabelski, Chicago ghost guide, about some of Chicagoland’s many ghost stories. We discussed the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Resurrection Mary, the Congress Hotel, and other ghost lore. Me and Heidi discuss weird news about a Canadian pillow drop, Tea’s Illuminati invitation, and da UP’s own glowing rock, Yooperlite. Plus trivia with Miss Information and a track by Time Thieves, “Road.”
Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S4 ep05: Famous Ghosts of Chicago (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: 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: Paranormal Real Estate Mogul

For this week’s TWW podcast I talked to my friend Crystal Schmidt, who is a Tea’s Weird Week Facebook group moderator and was a guest on the TWW podcast back in season one to discuss wrestling and politics (Crystal has a podcast called Wrestling Public Radio, which is absolutely great). Crystal is also a realtor, so I thought it’d be fun to talk to her about something that always captures my curiosity– paranormal real estate. We talked about when you might have to disclose a ghost or murder in your home and some properties that are (or were recently) on the market.

Here’s some notes on these deals that will get scooped up by me after I win a million billion dollars in the lottery and become a PARANORMAL REAL ESTATE MOGUL.

Property: Earlshall Castle
Selling for: unlisted amount
Notes: A 34-acre estate with a 10-bedroom, 6 bath 16th Century castle (and the world’s oldest golf course) visited by Mary, Queen of Scots, and owned by relatives of Robert the Bruce. Also comes with a ghost, “Bloody Bruce,” the ghost of the Baron Andrew Bruce, whose ghostly footsteps can be heard walking up and down a spiral staircase. Sellers don’t want to talk ghosts but obvs it would make the ultimate haunted AirBnB.

Property: Village of Lawers
Selling for: $172, 859
Also from Scotland– an entire haunted village, or at least the ruins of one. Stone ruins are all that are left, part of the three acres of property includes a beachfront on Loch Tay. The Lady of Lawers has been haunting the land since the 1600s– while alive she was a well known soothsayer who accurately predicted local catastrophes and the coming of the railroad. As I discussed with Crystal, the fairly low investment doesn’t take into account building something on the property with running water, electricity, etc. It would well if you could gently maintain the ruins and make a small camping ground/ cabins with a new central building that had showers, a kitchen, etc.

Property: Lizzie Borden’s House
Sold for: $2 million

This Fall River, MA property sold in Spring of 2021, and it looks like it went to the right hands. The home where Andrew and Abby Borden family were murdered with an ax Aug. 4, 1892. Daughter Lizzie Borden was charged, but acquitted. The house has operated as a bed and breakfast and museum since the 1990s, and will continue to serve that function under new owners. They will be adding one new feature, though– ax throwing.

Property: The Conjuring House

Selling for: $1.2 million
This Rhode Island farmhouse is the basis for the story that inspired The Conjuring. It was a story spun by ghost hunter couple Ed and Lorraine Warren, and although their investigation was problematic (see my column “The Conjuring: 1992 Sally Jessy Rafael Edition” for a taste of the insanity) there’s no doubt the house is now a paranormal and horror landmark and as such a good investment to rent out to paranormal researchers and horror fanatics.

Property: Area 51 Ranch

Selling for: $4.5 million
Notes: This 80-acre cattle ranch borders Area 51, so close that the cows often wander in to the mysterious base’s property. Four and a half mill is a lot of dough, but a good investment if you want to run a cattle ranch and have a side hustle of setting up a UFO research center with some observation towers so people can skywatch to look for crafts flying in and out. Also, prostitution is legal in Nevada, so you could open an extra-terrestrial themed brothel. SOLD.

Tea’s Weird Week, S4 ep03, Paranormal Real Estate Mogul: I talk to Crystal about paranormal real estate and what I’ll spend my (theoretical) billions on, then me and Heidi discuss weird news, including a check in on the Dallas QAnon cult, a galldang book burning, Grimacecoin, and more. New trivia from Miss Information and we close out with a track from Mini Meltdowns, “I Wanna Die (feat. Psychey Ikey) [Electronic Remix]”

Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S4 ep03: Paranormal Real Estate Mogul (podbean.com)
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Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

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

Tea’s Weird Week: High on the Herzog

This column started when I was perusing the excellent stock of books at Lion’s Tooth. A graphic novel, Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? jumped out at me. The book is written by Harld Schechter and illustrated by Eric Powell (The Goon). Hellllll yeah, SOLD. I’ve been morbidly fascinated with the Gein case, which took place in my home state of Wisconsin, and I love Powell’s art. Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? is highly recommended by me, it’s a great combination of researched work mixed with some scenes that speculate what life was like in the Gein household with Gein’s overbearing religious mother, Augusta who saw nothing but sin and corruption in everyone and around every corner.

The whole graphic novel is interesting, but I sure did laugh out loud toward the end of the book when the author’s described Gein’s legacy on pop culture. Among the stories, they describe how the man, the myth, the German film director (and Mandolorian actor) Werner Herzog almost dug up the corpse of Ed Gein’s mother. That is just SO HERZOG.

Herzog, apparently, along with his documentary filmmaking friend Errol Morris, were quite fascinated with the Gein case. One enduring mystery in the Gein story is whether or not he robbed the grave of his own mother. It certainely seems possible, but her grave was never exhumed to find out. Herzog wanted answers — and not by filing for an exhumation, but by doing it Gein-style with a shovel under the moonlight. In 1977 Herzog was in Plainfield to shoot scenes of his film Stroszek and he and Morris set a date for the dig. Morris dismissed the whole thing as a joke.

HERZOG AIN’T JOKING. He showed up at the Plainfield Cemetery and I love the image of Herzog standing alone with a shovel in the dark, swearing in German at Morris for being a no show. He didn’t attempt the dig.

Illustration by GRACE KILLY/ DENSITY DESIGN


At author Q and As people sometimes ask what writers have been influential on me. That’s a fair question, but I sometimes think about other influences on my work– music, art, and film have all informed my writing. One documentary that inspired my storytelling was Herzog’s Grizzly Man. His storytelling of a relatively unknown character (Timothy Treadwell) with a strange dream that led to his death was definitely in my mind while working on my book American Madness and the strange journey of Richard McCaslin.

Digging up Augusta Gein is just one in many crazy Werner Herzog stories. Here’s a few more of my favorites.

(1.) “Klaus was one of the greatest actors of the century, but he was also a monster and great pestilence”: Herzog Pulls a Gun on Klaus Kinski. Probably the most legendary story is Herzog’s love/hate collaborations with German method actor Klaus Kinski. Over the course of their work together, both Herzog and Kinski allegedly plotted to murder the other. Of the mood on set, Herzog says:

“My crew would almost mutiny when they heard that Klaus was on board. They would say, ‘How could you do this do us? We can’t take this man a minute longer’. I don’t like the term wild man, but Dennis Hopper was in the kindergarten compared with Klaus. I remember scenes where Klaus was attacked, and how the other actors used to take such pleasure in punching and kicking him. He was often quite badly hurt.”

Things reached a boiling point while working on Herzog and Kinski’s first collaboration, Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972). When Kinski threatened to walk off the set, Herzog allegedly pulled a gun on him and told him he would shoot him and then himself if he didn’t stay to finish production. Herzog says the story has been exaggerated into an urban myth, but after reading through the rest of this list…I dunno. Seems like it might be understated.

Frienemies: Herzog (left) and Klaus Kinski.


(2.) Herzog Saves Joaquin Phoenix from Dying in an Inferno. In 2006 Joaquin Phoenix was completely fucked up, speeding and weaving through traffic, when he hit an embankment, which shot his car into the air and flipped it upside down. Herzog witnessed the crash and approached the vehicle. He saw a man, hanging upside down, “deathly pale” and attempting to light a cigarette. Herzog recalled in a later interview:

“I recognized him; it was Joaquin — I said to him, ‘Man, relax.’ And he said, ‘I am relaxed.’ And I said, ‘Can I have your cigarette lighter?’ And he wouldn’t give it to me, so I distracted him, snatched it away, because there was gasoline dripping all over the car.”

Phoenix also confirmed the incident: “There’s something so calming and beautiful about Werner Herzog’s voice. I felt completely fine and safe. I climbed out.”

(3.) Per Agreement, Herzog Jumps into a Cactus Patch. Accidents typically followed Herzog on his productions. During the shoots for his 1970 film Even Dwarves Started Small, which starred an all-dwarf cast, one actor was hit by a car and another accidentally was lit on fire. Herzog made an appeal to the cast and crew– if they could get through the rest of the production without an accident, he would leap into a thorny cactus patch. After production wrapped without further incident, Herzog made good on his word and leapt onto a cactus, wedging spines into his knee sinew. In the video below, Herzog says the incident was just to give the cast “a little bit of fun.”

(4.) Herzog Gets Shot During an Interview. While doing an interview with the BBC in 2006 (to talk about Grizzly Man) on the streets of LA, Herzog was randomly shot in the abdomen by someone with an air rifle. Unfazed, Herzog moved the crew indoors, showed the wound off, then continued with the interview.

“It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid,” Herzog explained. It was caught on camera:

(5.) Per Agreement, Herzog Eats a Shoe. Herzog is a man of his word. Herzog told filmmaker Errol Morris that is he finally finished the documentary he was always talking about, Gates of Heaven, he would eat his shoe. Morris finished the film, released in 1978, and Herzog ate the shoe live onstage, which was filmed and turned into the documentary short Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (directed by Les Blank, 1980).
You can watch that doc here: Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe – video Dailymotion

By the way, this is not a completist list. I didn’t even go into the craziness of filming Fitzcarraldo (1982). But I think this top 5 is a good start in exploring Herzog lore.

Please Clap Dept.: I wrote the “big story” or maybe “big fish story” is a better way to put it for the February Milwaukee Magazine. “Fishy Business” is about the February sturgeon spearfishing season on Lake Winnebago, and an investigation into the DNR illegally engaging in bartering sturgeon caviar. It’s on newsstands now, and I’ll share a link later in the month when it’s available online.

Tea’s Weird Week S4 Ep02, High on the Herzog: I read this column, weird news with me and co-host Heidi Erickson, trivia from Miss Information, and we close out with a track worthy of Herzog’s anarchy– “MAYHEM” by Mistaloo Meff.

Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S4 ep02: High on the Herzog (podbean.com)
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Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

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

Tea’s Weird Week: “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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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: I Kicked 2021’s Ass (or Maybe it Kicked Mine)

The 2021 Tea’s Weird Week columnhead, designed by Addo Workman/ Cut it Out Studios

This is the last Tea’s Weird Week column of the year before I take a holiday break from it. Well, what can I say–2021, like 2020 was a pretty insane, surreal year overall. I mean, 6 days into it and there was a violent, conspiracy-fueled mob who stormed the Capitol. There were challenges for me, personally, but it was also one of the best years I’ve had as a writer.

One thing that was spectacular was that it was a year that I expanded the mediums I work in and this also involved collaborating with other people, more so than I’ve done in a long time. Writing can be a very lonely art, so it was great to work with others on a podcast, documentaries, and events.
Here’s my 2021 highlights!

January: The launch of the Tea’s Weird Week podcast. My great crew for the show includes my co-host Heidi Erickson, sound engineer Andrew (aka Android138), and our trivia master, Christen (aka Miss Information). For our first year we recorded 36 episodes as well as a couple specials and bonus tracks. We did some fun stuff like getting live interviews at Midwest Haunters Convention and UFO Daze. You can catch up on Tea’s Weird Week here: Tea’s Weird Week Podcast | (teakrulos.com)

The Tea’s Weird Week crew at Milwaukee Paranormal Conference

April: I returned as a walking tour guide for American Ghost Walks, running tours for the rest of the year. The “Ghosts of Christmas Past” tours this weekend and next wrap up the season. More tour info: American Ghost Walks | Haunted History Tours and Ghost Walks

May: I was honored to receive a gold Milwaukee Press Club Award in the “Best Short Hard Feature” category for an article I wrote for Milwaukee Magazine about citizen journalists titled “Reporting Live from the Street.”

June: I also won a National Indie Excellence Book Award in the “Current Events” category for my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness.

July: Also American Madness related– production begins on a documentary adaptation of the book. Eric and Kim Hayden are producers. The Haydens have been great to work with and we’ve been slowly and steadily getting interviews and other material to tell a great visual version of the book.

Me with the Haydens and members of the California Initiative at Superhero Desserts in Alameda.

September: After a virtual only event, Milwaukee Paranormal Conference returned Sept. 24-26 with events at Faklandia Brewing, Alverno College, and a variety of locations on Sunday’s Activity Day. It was great to be back and see familiar faces.

October: I wrote an article for Milwaukee Magazine on Kenosha area “horror hosts” titled “Terror on the Tube,” and that article is being adapted into a documentary short. Alicia Krupsky is director, me and Christopher House are producers, several other talented people are involved in the production, too. Production began in October. I also took a trip for about 5 days to California to help shoot interviews for the American Madness doc.

The horror host doc crew with Dr. Destruction.

December: Milwaukee Krampusnacht returned Dec. 5. Organizing that event is a lot of work and this year was especially challenging. But it looked like everyone had fun, so it was worth it.

As if that wasn’t enough, Dec. 9 was the official release of my book Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches, a collection of short stories I wrote about a drug store/ greasy spoon diner I worked at in my youth. It’s published by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press and you can order here: Tea Krulos • Brady St. Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches — Read the Future (vegetarianalcoholicpress.com)

Here’s a TWW Pharmacy episode: Tea‘s Weird Week, S3 ep 10 (Finale): A Brady Street Pharmacy Fever Dream (podbean.com)

Release party was at Lion’s Tooth, a great independent bookstore here in Milwaukee. The owners asked if I could cover a few shifts working there in October and of course I said yeah, cause they are awesome.

Me at the Lion’s Tooth release for Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches

What a year! The Tea’s Weird Week column and podcast will be back sometime next month, mid-January. Between now and then, I’m going to try to take it easy. I’ll be working on a couple articles for Milwaukee Magazine and the documentary projects, but also hoping to catch up on some reading, movies, and enjoying some holiday time. If you’re reading this, congratulations on living through another crazy year and I hope you have a lovely holiday season. See you in 2022!

My books make a good gift. here’s the best links to order each one:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021)
American Madness (2020)
Wisconsin Legends & Lore (2020)
Apocalypse Any Day Now (2019)
Monster Hunters (2015)
Heroes in the Night (2013)

Tea’s Weird Week: The Radio Krampus Special

It remains a mystery to us how DJ 10-foot Tall Krampus was able to break into the Tea’s Weird Week podcast studios to record this “Radio Krampus” special, but we got to admit that hell’s bells, it’s pretty bangin’ so enjoy!

Listen here: Tea‘s Weird Week Special: Radio Krampus (podbean.com)
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Track listing:

  1. “Dance with the Krampus,” Xposed 4heads
  2. “Krampusnacht!” Darkzine
  3. “Krampusnacht is Here,” The Courtesan & the Cabin Boy
  4. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth,” H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society
  5. “The Krampus Song,” The Chardon Polka Band
  6. “American Monsters,” Sunspot
  7. “Krampus Redux,” Actually
  8. “Carol of the Bells,” ShadowFire
  9. “Monster Mash,” Bobby “Boris” Picket and the Crypt-Kickers
  10. “Day of the Ratbatspider,” Ratbatspider
  11. “Krampus,” Punk Freud
  12. “Whipping Bells,” Manuela Horn
  13. “Krampus is Coming…Hide ya Kids, Part 3,” Android138
  14. “Ra ra ra,” Zombie Carol Choir
  15. “Krampus is Coming,” Joe Hart
  16. “The Ballad of Mari Lwyd,” Frosty
  17. “War on Christmas,” DJ 10-foot Tall Krampus
  18. “Krampus Christmas,” Actually
  19. “A Krampus Carol,” Madame Onça & Paolo Garbanzo
  20. “Fan the Flame,” The Quilz
  21. “Twelve Nights of Krampus,” The Courtesan & the Cabin Boy

Milwaukee Krampusnacht donations: www.gofundme.com/f/milwaukee-krampusnacht-2021-costs

Listen to more Tea’s Weird Week here: Tea’s Weird Week Podcast | (teakrulos.com)

Merry Krampusnacht!

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)
Spotify//Soundcloud//Google Podcasts//iHeartRadio//PlayerFM//Apple//Stitcher//Pocket Casts

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)

Tea’s Weird Week: Horror Hosts

I’m still recovering from October. What a month! Definitely one of the busiest I’ve experienced. I did a bunch of tours for American Ghost Walks, did some podcasts, took a trip to California to work on the American Madness doc and…oh yeah, started a new project– a documentary short based on an article I wrote for the October Milwaukee Magazine. The doc’s working title is Kenosha Horror Hosts.

This all started back in 2016 when I met a horror host from the Kenosha area, Deadgar Winter, who has a show called Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics. That same year I also first encountered Dr. Destruction, a horror host with a show called Crimson Theatre, also based in Kenosha.

A horror host show features a zany character (or cast of characters) that introduces an old horror film (or independent features) and they do short skits as “bumper segments” when going to commercial breaks.

Vampira is cited as the first horror host. Actress Maila Nurmi hosted The Vampira Show in 1954. Her life story is really interesting and amazing and if you’re looking for a good book, I highly recommend Glamour Ghoul: The Passions and Pain of the Real Vampira, Maila Nurmi, written by her niece Sandra Niemi (published by Feral House, who published my book American Madness).

The original Goth Queen, Vampira.

Some other famous examples of horror hosts– Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (she was supposed to be a Vampira reboot, but her producers decided they would just rip Vampira off and not pay her), Chicago’s Svengoolie, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Joe Bob Briggs to name a few.

I got Svengoolie’s autograph at the 2015 Chicago Ghost Con.

After I met Deadgar Winter and Dr. Destruction, I thought there might be an interesting story there and I filed it away in the back of my brain. When I saw that two of Deadgar’s co-hosts, Celeste and Morgan Parker had split off and started their own show (Hexen Arcane), I decided it was time to do the story up. Then I discovered there was a fourth show in the Kenosha area– Nightmare Cinema with Uncle Wolfman. Whaaaaaat. Four Kenosha horror host shows?

While working on the article I just had a kind of light bulb moment where I could see the story being a great documentary short– it’s a story filled with colorful characters. My Tea’s Weird Week podcast co-host Heidi Erickson introduced me to her friend, filmmaker Alicia Krupsky, who agreed to be director. Christopher House, a co-founder of the Twisted Dreams Film Fest is a producer and cinematographer. Stephen Vincent Anderson and Heather House have provided additional camera work and we’ll have more talented people helping with production.

The documentary crew at Dr. Destruction’s haunted manor, an attraction at the Jerry Smith Pumpkin Farm in Kenosha. L-R: me, Christopher House, Dr. Destruction, Alicia Krupsky, Stephen Vincent Anderson.

We did a few shoots, including the bulk of interviews we wanted last month and it’s been a blast. Winter is going to be a good time to work on editing. We’re hoping to be done in late spring or early summer and will be entering Kenosha Horror Hosts into film fests. In the meantime, you can read my Milwaukee Magazine article here (or listen to me read it on this week’s Tea’s Weird Week podcast, link below): A Look Inside the Surprisingly Large Web of Local Horror Hosts (milwaukeemag.co

My article in the October Milwaukee Magazine.

Tea’s Weird Week S3 ep07: Halloween Hangover: Happy witching season! Tea reads his article on Wisconsin horror hosts from the October issue of Milwaukee Magazine. Tea and Heidi discuss Tea’s encounter with a street preacher while leading a ghost our, QAnon thought JFK Jr. would appear to them in Dallas, Zuck’s BBQ bottle and more. Miss Information has trivia and we close out with a track by Rexxx, “Animal.” 

Listen here: Tea‘s Weird Week S3 ep07: Halloween Hangover (podbean.com)
Spotify//Soundcloud//Google Podcasts//iHeartRadio//PlayerFM//Apple//Stitcher//Pocket Casts

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)