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: My Favorite Moments from Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2021
My name is Tea Krulos– I’m a journalist, author, tour guide, podcast host, and I founded the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference in 2015. The event took place this year September 24-26 and was sponsored by American Ghost Walks. It was a great time– the conference weekend is always kind of a whirlwind for me, but I had some really nice moments I wanted to share.
Friday Sept. 24: Paranormal Party Time
The conference officially begins with Paranormal Party Time at Faklandia Brewing. We were supposed to have activities on their patio, but rain came in and I had one of those stressful oh shit, everything is ruined moments. But I found myself surrounded by a great crew of people from American Ghost Walks, Tea’s Weird Week, and other assorted friends, standing around and drinking in the rain trying to figure out what to do. We rearranged some stuff and did a Ghost Story Open Mic, trivia, and a performance by Sunspot.
You can hear a recording of the Ghost Story Open Mic session here: Tea‘s Weird Week Special: Ghost Story Open Mic 2021 (podbean.com)
Oh, and our volunteer Judy baked a UFO-themed cake for the event because it was birthday weekend for both of us! She also showed up at the conference the next day in an outfit inspired by the Flatwoods Monster. Amazing! My friend Hillarie Higgins also made me some ghost cookies!
Saturday Sept. 25: Milwaukee Paranormal Conference at Alverno College (also my birthday)
-The morning of the conference is always a mad scramble. That’s just the way it is. But while scrambling, I was just so glad to see familiar faces of people I haven’t seen in awhile and to be able to meet some cool new people, too. The vendor floor was a great mix and we had a nice line-up of guest speakers. We tried to focus on Wisconsin-centric stories this year, everything from local ghost stories to Bigfoot sightings. Shetan Noir kicked things off with a talk on the “Lake Michigan Triangle” to a full house of people! Other Speakers included Baranaby from CAPS, Amelia Cotter, Allison Jornlin, Stacy Schuerman, Mike Huberty, Noah Leigh, J. Nathan Couch, and Jeff from Badgerland Legends.
– At 11AM Milwaukee Krampus Eigenheit, a group of local Krampus enthusiasts, was supposed to give a presentation but couldn’t make it. I stepped in to talk about the Milwaukee Krampusnacht event (Dec. 5, Bavarian Bierhaus). Rather than yammer on, I just showed this great video our friends at Haunt Collective put together after our first event and some photos from our 2019 event (taken by Troy Freund Photography). There was great enthusiasm for the event– it’s going to be the best holiday celebration in Milwaukee!
-At noon Mike Huberty was set to give a presentation on the urban legend of Haunchyville but was hung up for a minute helping with tech in the other room, so I told the people waiting for him that Mike would be along in a minute to “talk about a little place called Haunchyville?” Now that’s a good joke! (Get it? Because Haunchyville is an urban legend about a secret village of angry little people in Muskego? Ah, nevermind.)
Donovan Scherer of Studio Moonfall also created this fabulous Haunchyville coloring sheet to give out at the talk:
-Throughout the day, I signed a few books for people. It’s always a great feeling to get a book into the hands of a reader instead of sitting in a box somewhere. You can find out more about my books here: teakrulos.com/about
-The Tea’s Weird Week Live panel happened at 1pm. Me and Heidi hosted a panel that included Goddess Adia, Hillarie Higgins, J. Nathan Couch, and Donna Lea Wells Fink. Before we called guests up, me and Heidi discussed one item– that the latest paranormal investigator to explore the famously haunted Pfister Hotel was…Megan Thee Stallion, staying there because she was performing at Summerfest. I told Heidi that wasn’t a surprise because she had sung on “WAP,” which obviously stood for “Weird, Abnormal Phenomena.” Hey c’mon, that was a good one! But a very fun time. I gave out about a dozen gifts to the audience– books, a bat kite, hot sauce, and swag packs.
You can listen to the panel here: Tea‘s Weird Week, S3 ep03: Live from the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference (podbean.com)
-American Ghost Walks also did a panel with Mike Huberty, Allison Jornlin, Wendy and Scott Markus, and Carrie Postuma. We recorded it so you can listen here: Milwaukee Paranormal Conference American Ghost Walks Panel (podbean.com)
-Thanks to everyone who attended, our guest speakers and vendors, and our dedicated volunteers!
-Kinda nice– after the conference we didn’t have a live event this year, so I went home and got into pajamas to watch livestreams– Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee investigated the Cedarburg History Museum and American Ghost Walks livestreamed from the Brumder Mansion.
Sunday Sept. 26: Activity Day
-At 10am I arrived at Forest Home Cemetery where the day was starting with a Yoga in the Cemetery session. It was an absolutely beautiful day for it and when I arrived I found about 20 yogis ready to enjoy the morning. I really wish I could have participated, but I had to keep er movin.
-By Noon I was in Riverwest to drop by the MPC Poetry Open Mic at the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts. It was MC’d by Kavon Cortex-Jones, one of the most talented poets in the city. Meanwhile, my friend Kelly Teague hosted a Pop-up Death Cafe at Grant Park (which is supposed to be haunted) and I hear that went really well.
-2pm, Wisconsin’s leading mafia expert Gavin Schmitt gave a talk at the Bay View Community Center, a perhaps lesser known but great event space. I stopped in and Gavin signed a couple books for me. He was a great addition to the conference this year.
-We had Third Ward and Waukesha American Ghost Walks and a Forest Home Cemetery “Art and Symbolism” tours going on at 3, but I headed over to the Witches Faire at Faklandia Brewing, set up by Heidi Erickson and friends. It featured vendors and workshops and it was the perfect day for it. There were many beautiful witches there, so I just hung out with a drink in the warm September sun and enjoyed hanging out with them.
-And holy smokes, another birthday cake, this time a Bigfoot-themed, baked by witches! If there was a spell baked into it, it was a good one!
-I didn’t make it to the last event of the day, a Milwaukee Twisted Dreams Film Fest presentation of Lake Michigan Monster at Shaker’s Cigar Bar. I hear it was fun!
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference will return next year. Milwaukee Krampusnacht is Dec. 5 at Bavarian Bierhaus.
If you want to help support us, we have some leftover merch. Artist Estephanie Mendoza did the fantastic designs this year. Check out our shirts (we especially got a lot of XL left), buttons, and stickers on our Square store: milwaukee-para-con.square.site There’s also donation buttons on the Square site as well as a PayPal donation link here: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/mkeparacon
Your support is appreciated!
Please Clap Dept.: I was featured in MKE Lifestyle Magazine in an article titled “The Season of Supernatural,” which features interviews with me and colleagues Linda S. Godfrey and Anna Lardinois. Here’s what they say about me:
“Local treasure Tea Krulos enjoys delving into the fringe side of social movements, oddball personalities and the supernatural. With a quick wit and measured tone, the Milwaukee author and journalist gleefully blogs and chats about our strange world and the paranormal in his “Tea’s Weird Week” column and podcast.”
Did you hear that? LOCAL TREASURE.
Tea’s Weird Week, S3 ep03: Live from the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference: Tea and Heidi lead a panel live at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference with special guests Goddess Adia, Hillarie Higgins, J. Nathan Couch, and Donna Lea Wells Fink. Plus a paranormal trivia question from Miss Information and a great spooky season track from Sunspot, “Spend the Night.”
Listen here: Tea‘s Weird Week, S3 ep03: Live from the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference (podbean.com)
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