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Tea’s Weird Week: Well, it Happened–Meet your First QAnon Congressional Representative

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My new book American Madness has a chapter titled “Q,” which is an introduction (and some case studies) of QAnon, a cult-like group of conspiracy followers that believe that there is a secret Democrat pedophile/ cannibal/ adrenal gland harvesting ring (Pizzagate, which I also write about in my book, is an early example).

Messages from a shadowy source that calls themself “Q” delivers cryptic messages about how Trump is working on a secret “Storm” that will sweep up this network of evil Democrats (Lock them up!) as well as Hollywood (Lock them up!), the Fake News Media (Lock them up!) and the many other enemies of America (Lock them up!).

QAnon mythology has spun out of control to create some pretty wild theories— that “mole children” are being held captive underneath Central Park, or that Tom Hanks, part of the pedophile ring, was secretly executed for his crimes and images you see of him now on TV are “deepfakes.”

[By the way, a quick PSA: Over the last week QAnon has been trying to hijack the hashtag #SavetheChildren and infiltrate Facebook events to spread their theories. Child trafficking certainly is a terrible reality, but use caution when seeing people saying they “do their own research” on this topic. Source: “QAnon Followers Are Hijacking the #SavetheChildren Movement,” New York Times]

You can imagine my surprise when I saw a report from Media Matters in America back in February, sharing their research that there were about two dozen candidates running for Congress that had showed some level of endorsement for QAnon. Two dozen! Crazy!

When I went back to reference the report a couple months later, I found it had been updated to show that number had doubled to about 50 QAnon candidates (although many listed had already dropped out or were eliminated in primaries) and that the candidates were benefiting from a QAnon superPAC called “Disarm the Deep State.” When I checked again for this column, the article had been updated to include over 70 QAnon aligned candidates (in total, including ones who have dropped out).

The source: “Here are the QAnon supporters running for Congress in 2020,” Media Matters for America

But they can’t possibly win, can they? It would appear the answer to that is YEP.

The first successful QAnon candidate is Marjorie Taylor Greene, a construction company co-owner who is running for Georgia’s 14th District. After placing first in a primary last month, she beat her Republican rival in a run off election on Tuesday.

Greene’s district is deep red, which means that barring some kind of Christmas miracle, her Democrat opponent, Kevin Van Ausdal, has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Republicans usually win here in all offices by 70-75% of the vote.

Trump congratulated Greene in a tweet, saying she was “strong on everything and never gives up–a real WINNER!” Trump has never spoken about QAnon, but I imagine that having his own cult worshiping him is satisfying for his massive ego.

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Most of the people of the 14th District are pro-Trump and so Greene speaks their language well, even if they can’t hang with the QAnon stuff (but most probably think it’s true on some level). Her twitter bio describes her as “Christian, Wife, Mom, Small Business Owner, Proud American, 100% Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Trump, MAGA.”

She’s been open about her association with QAnon throughout her campaign, once explaining that QAnon was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out” and that Q is a “patriot worth listening to.” She even said in an interview that instead of Satan, this cabal sometimes refers to the deity as “Moloch” and you will find a very direct tie to that statement in American Madness.

In addition to QAnon crap, she also rallies the Trump constituency by throwing out racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic comments. She knows how to throw out red meat like this video where she has “a message for Antifa terrorists (click)– stay the hell out of northwest Georgia (click). You won’t burn our churches, loot our businesses, or destroy our homes.” Ok, Marjorie:

It looks like Greene might not be alone, either. Another QAnon promoter, Lauren Boebert (owner of Shooters Grill, where the staff is encouraged to open carry) is running in Colorado’s 3rd District and is favored to win. 18 other candidates have officially made their way on to ballots across the country.

And QAnon candidates aren’t the only ones running on a conspiracy/ extremist agenda. Check out a column I wrote in May: “Trump Inspired QAnon followers, Proud Boys, Gun Nuts, Racists, all Have 2020 Campaigns.”

Right about now I think we could all use a dose of good news, so there is some from this last week– one of the people I wrote about in the column I just mentioned, the awful “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio, who once bragged that his inhumane “Tent City” detention center was like a “concentration camp,” lost his bid for re-election for the second time.

This week also saw Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter activist, defeat a 10-term Democrat incumbent in Missouri’s 1st District (which includes St. Louis) primary. If Bush wins against her Republican rival in November, she’ll be the first black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. In fact, as Forbes reports, “Women of Color Are Running for Congress at an All-Time High” this season.

Despite these inspiring stories, 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.

2020: America’s reign of conspiracy continues.

My book American Madness discusses QAnon and much more. It’s officially out Aug. 25!

I’m going to be talking about the book live with my friends at See You on the Other Side this Tuesday, Aug.18, 8pm (CST). Check it out on Facebook Live here: https://www.facebook.com/othersidepodcast/videos/600326817340446/

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American Madness is available at Lion’s Tooth: www.lionstoothmke.com/american_madness.html#/
Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE
Amazon: www.amazon.com/American-Madness-Conspiracy-Theories-Consciousness/dp/1627310967
and wherever books are sold. Add “to-read” on Goodreads CLICK HERE.

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Diorama from Feral House on Vimeo.

 

Goodreads Giveaway for my New Book AMERICAN MADNESS!

My publisher Feral House is doing a free book giveaway on Goodreads! To enter (and for more info on the book), just click on this link (and please add the book to your “to-read” list): https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/309615-american-madness-the-story-of-the-phantom-patriot-and-how-conspiracy-th
The contest is open through Aug.10, so enter now! Information on best places to order a copy are below.

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Here are your best options for ordering American Madness:

Lion’s Tooth is a wonderful bookseller located here in Milwaukee. When you order through them, you get a free conspiracy themed comic book and some other swag, plus you can get the book signed and personalized by me– just leave a note who you want it made out to in the “notes to seller” box upon check-out.  https://www.lionstoothmke.com/american_madness.html#/

Bookshop.org is a great alternative to Amazon because they direct your money to independent booksellers instead of padding Jeff Bezos’ pockets– he has about $180 billion dollars, so he doesn’t need your cash.
https://bookshop.org/books/american-madness-the-story-of-the-phantom-patriot-and-how-conspiracy-theories-hijacked-american-consciousness/9781627310963

-But, if you insist, yes, the book is on Amazon and Barnes & Noble or wherever books are sold.

Diorama from Feral House on Vimeo.

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Tea’s Weird Week: Demon Sperm, Reptilians, and Alien DNA…Meet Trump’s Latest COVID Expert

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In January I attempted an ambitious project called #TrumpConspiracyCounter, which would document every Trump promotion of a conspiracy theory or theorist. I settled into a routine a couple times a week of Google searches and sifting through Trump’s non-stop tweets. However, when the pandemic struck, I found myself feeling a bit like Lucy and Ethel in the I Love Lucy episode where they’re trying to keep up with a chocolate factory conveyor on high speed, shoving candy in their pockets and mouths.

Overwhelmed, I left the conspiracy counter at #236 at the end of April, but had learned a lot about who Trump was promoting and getting information from. I still follow and write about his conspiracy promotion (“Trump’s Joe Scarborough Conspiracy Obsession,” for example).

One of Trump’s most frequently retweeted “news” sites, I observed, was Breitbart News, who have often promoted conspiracies and hate. This week a Breitbart video of a “White Coat Summit” on the stairs of the Supreme Court of a group calling themselves America’s Frontline Doctors went viral, getting roughly 13 million views before social media platforms began to pull it.

The summit was organized by the Tea Party Patriots, and the video featured a group calling themselves America’s Frontline Doctors who spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump retweeted it to his millions of followers and later described it as “very impressive.”  In the speech, one of the group’s doctors, Dr. Stella Immanuel, states that hydroxychloroquine cures COVID and that there isn’t a need to wear masks. Immanuel is a registered physician in Houston, where she runs a practice next door to her church, Fire Power Ministries.

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Dr. Stella Immanuel surrounded by other members of America’s Frontline Doctors on the steps to the Supreme Court.

Don’t always trust someone wearing a lab coat. You can buy them from American Science & Surplus for $23.65.

Among Dr. Immanuel’s beliefs:

  • “Alien DNA” is being used in today’s medical field.
  • Dr. Immanuel teaches in her seminars that miscarriages and medical issues like infertility, impotence, and cysts, are a result of “astral sex” from “spirit husbands (or incubus)” or “spirit wives (or succubus),” which are sex demons that seduce you with their powers and bang you in a “sleep world.” Immanuel says that cysts and fibroid tumors are a result of demon sperm, which can also impregnate you to create li’l demons.
  • Reptilians or “lizard people” (a group of sinister extra-terrestrials) have infiltrated our government disguised as humans. Please see a chapter of my new book American Madness titled “Reptoid Royalty.”
  • Dr. Immanuel says that vaccines are a secret plot to microchip people, a classic anti-vaxxer line.
  • Also, the government is developing a vaccine to prevent people from “becoming religious.”
  • She believes Dr. Fauci and CNN (the whole organization?) are secretly taking hydroxychloroquine and she has challenged them to deliver urine samples to her to analyze if they dispute her claim.
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Reptilians? “Night husbands?” Secret microchip vaccines?

Wowwwwww-weeGizmodo reports that the rest of America’s Frontline Doctors include a bitcoin hustler, Tea Party members, and someone who went on a rant about George Soros conspiracies on FOX.

These COVID conspiracies, pushed by groups like QAnon and spread through media like this video and the conspiracy doc Plandemic (which was seen 8 million times in May before being pulled from YouTube and social media sites) show how dangerous conspiracy theory can be. They give people the falsely comforting idea that COVID isn’t a real threat and therefore, they shouldn’t bother socially distancing or wearing a mask.

When the press pushed Trump on Immanuel’s beliefs at the end of a press conference on Tuesday, Trump did as Trump does– he deflected the question, shut down the conference, and booked it the fuck outta there. Trump’s propaganda machine– Rush Limbaugh and FOX’s Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham picked up the defense and were soon hard at work at the sticky situation of trying to spin demon jizz to their viewers–but the stain remains.

This story shows the Trump media ecosystem in full orchestra– trash sites like Breitbart News and InfoWars launch some crazy fake story, QAnon and “patriot” groups help spread it, Trump retweets it himself, then it gets kicked up to the hucksters at FOX who promote it and call legit journalists and fact-checkers who dispute it as “fake news.”

As for Immanuel, she’s not happy that social media is removing the video. In fact, she says God is going to crash Facebook because of it in this tweet (I left original word errors intact):

Hello Facebook put back my profile page and videos up or your computers with start crashing til you do. You are not bigger that God. I promise you. If my page is not back up face book will be down in Jesus name.

Absolutely incredible. Disinformation is killing America.

SEE ALSO: Don’t forget that these type of people aren’t just shooting viral videos, some of them are running for office in the 2020 election: “Trump Inspired QAnon Followers, Proud Boys, Gun Nuts, Racists, all Have 2020 Campaigns” 

Please Clap Dept.: I got advance copies of my book American Madness (out Aug. 25, Feral House)! Among the things in this column discussed more in depth in the book: Trump, Reptilians, Anti-vaxxers, extra-terrestrials, InfoWars, and QAnon. You can pre-order: Lion’s Tooth: CLICK HERE Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HERE

You can enter a Goodreads Giveaway for a FREE COPY here!: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/309615-american-madness-the-story-of-the-phantom-patriot-and-how-conspiracy-th

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Diorama from Feral House on Vimeo.

Tea’s Weird Week: A Strange Little Land

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One great thrill about organizing events like the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference and Milwaukee Krampusnacht is all the fantastic vendors I’ve met. I’ve always been proud of our vendor floors– very talented crafters of all sorts.

You can imagine how my eyes bugged out when I saw the work of Koko Van Boxtel, the proprietor of Strange Little Lands and her beautiful dioramas depicting “high strangeness” aka actual cases of the paranormal studies, like alien abductions, cattle mutilations, and cryptozoological cases like Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and Mothman. Other scenes depict folklore like Krampus and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow or macabre history like the witch trials.

Every single one is fun to look at. Like any skilled dioramist, in Koko’s work, the devil is in the details– things you might not see at first or third glance, but you’ll find them eventually.

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Encounter with the Flatwoods Monster, an entity that was reported in West Virginia in 1952.

These are beautiful, unique items and very fairly priced. Check out the Strange Little Lands Etsy page here: www.etsy.com/shop/StrangeLittleLands

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I know who that is– it’s the damn Bigfoot!

There’s a scene  that I’ve thought about and studied (via interviews and police reports) a lot in my upcoming book American Madness. I dropped Koko a line to see if she might be interested in being commissioned to create a diorama of it and was thrilled when she replied the she would.

Bohemian Grove, January 20, 2002. That’s when police got a call a “man with a gun” call from inside of the secret retreat, located in northern California in the redwood forest. When they arrived, they were surprised to find a man named Richard McCaslin, heavily armed and wearing an odd homemade costume, a superhero persona he had created called the Phantom Patriot. He had conducted this costumed raid because he had believed a conspiracy theory that the world’s most elite men were committing child sacrifices in front of a 40-foot statue of an owl inside.

You can read all about it in my book– it’s a pretty wild story that led to me researching other aspects of conspiracy culture and how it’s become so prevalent in our lives.

My friend Stephen Vincent Anderson came over and we did a video shoot in my back yard. I’m really lucky to know so many talented people. We cut together this promo video. I think it turned out great, it gives you a short peek into the story:

Diorama from Feral House on Vimeo.

Now Koko’s diorama is on display in my office, along with other souvenirs from my various book projects over the years, a bizarre moment of history neatly documented in a Strange Little Land.

Here’s some details and behind-the-scenes photos of the diorama that Koko sent me.

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Koko with her beautiful Bohemian Grove diorama creation.

SEE ALSO: More on the Bohemian Grove: last week I wrote about the retreat and other secret societies having their summer plans cancelled: https://teakrulos.com/2020/07/16/teas-weird-week-summer-plans-are-canceled-for-the-new-world-order/

Congrats, friend! Dept.: Like I said, I’m lucky to have talented, creative friends– Hillarie Higgins has a blog titled Brain Wars! and has just published The Bank Doesn’t Care if Your House is Haunted: A Ghostly Storybook, a fun and spooky collection of writing and art. Check it out, you can get a copy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/833639063/the-bank-doesnt-care-if-your-house-is?ref=shop_home_active_1&pro=1

My upcoming book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness, is a wild ride through the Bohemian Grove and conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: Lion’s Tooth: CLICK HERE Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HERE

“Tea Krulos has forged a fascinating collection of work by immersing himself in various sub-cultures that exist on the fringes of society.” —Cult of Weird

 

Tea’s Weird Week: Summer Plans are Canceled for the New World Order

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By now we’ve come to terms with our favorite street fests, concerts, and sports being canceled because of the pandemic. But what about the Globalist New World Order Deep State Illuminati Secret Rulers of the World? Some conspiracy theorists say that the “powers that be” hoaxed the COVID-19 pandemic for their own nefarious plots, laughing evilly as the “sheeple” sit at home watching “fake news.” That means they’re free to carry on as they please, right?

As it turns out, it seems that secret society summer get-togethers have fallen apart, too. 

The most striking example is the cancellation of the annual “Summer Encampment” at the Bohemian Grove, the redwoods retreat for the Bohemian Club, whose members have included the world’s most powerful men.

The Bohemian Club was founded in San Francisco in 1872 to help foster the arts, but evolved into a club to mix entertainment with wealth and power. The club spends two weeks every July in the Bohemian Grove, where they hold a bizarre mock sacrifice “Cremation of Care” ceremony in front of a statue of an owl to kick off a vacation of live music, theatrical performances, recreation and partying, and daily “Lakeside Talk” speeches given by members and guests.  

I write in-depth about the history of the Bohemian Club and how it became a conspiracy theory classic in my upcoming book, American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (Aug.25, Feral House). 

This is the first July the Grove will sit empty since the Club started their summer tradition in 1878. 

“Major events, including…the Bohemian Grove encampment in Monte Rio, were cancelled,” reports The Press Democrat on July events being cancelled in Sonoma County, where the newspaper is based out of and the hidden retreat is located.

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Illustration of the Great Owl of Bohemia in the Bohemian Grove by David Beyer.

Another organization with a long history of conspiracy rumors is the “Bilderberg Group,” used to reference attendees of the annual Bilderberg Meeting, which first took place in 1954 to improve relations between the U.S. and Europe. Bilderberg gets their name from their first meeting place, the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeck, in the Netherlands. Like the Bohemian Grove, the conspiracies have spun out of a large number of people in positions of power meeting in secrecy– Bilderberg meetings have about 150 invite-only guests and press isn’t allowed in. 

Despite the lore surrounding the group’s secrecy, they do have a website, where they announced “THE MEETING 2020 IS POSTPONED.” More interesting is the site’s FAQ, where they address things like not letting media cover their meeting– a press conference on the eve of the meeting was held into the 90s, when they were cancelled “due to a lack of interest,” they say. Here’s another interesting answer on the FAQ:

Why does Bilderberg attract criticism from certain groups and individuals? 

The Bilderberg Meetings have often been the target of anti-globalization protests and various conspiracy theorists have expressed wild allegations about the purpose of the gatherings. While these claims lack any and all merit, we regret to see that many continue to flourish online and in social media groups.

A similar private group, the Trilateral Commission, also has a reputation for conspiracy. Founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller, the group meets to work on relations between North America, Europe, and Japan. The commission’s website lists events for 2019, but not 2020.

Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale, won’t be in their “Tomb” house this summer. They’d probably be off for the summer anyway, but Yale’s website ensures that “all in-person, campus-based programming is cancelled for summer 2020.”

Skull and Bones is like the junior version of the Bohemian Grove– a select few are chosen each year to be “Bonesman,” who are then initiated in a strange ritual. Former Bonesmen include many politicians, corporate leaders, and other people in high levels of power. In 2004 Bonesmen George W. Bush and John Kerry ran against each other.

Skull and Bones were most recently on the conspiracy radar because they have their own secret number: 322. Conspiracists like the followers of QAnon recognized this and were naturally alarmed when they saw the number reported in COVID cases– 322 additional cases, you say? Another report of 322 cases?! Cases rising on March 22 aka 3/22, you say? This has Skull and Bones written all over it!

Skull and Bones might not be lurking on the Yale campus, but the club still might make use of their own private Deer Island, located in the Saint Lawrence River. The 50-acre island was established as a retreat and gifted to Skull and Bones sometime around 1949. In the glory days, the retreat was well maintained and had several buildings, tennis courts, and softball fields, but a lack of budgeting and motivation has led most of the island to fall to ruin, except for a lodge called The Ledges, located on the shore, which the club uses as a party house. Gawker found pictures from Deer Island from 2008 that shows the club engaging in the secret ritual of…uh, getting butt-wasted

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The Ledges lodge on Skull and Bones Deer Island retreat.

If they’re doing any strange secret rituals out there, hopefully they’ll remember to socially distance.

SEE ALSO: You can’t visit these conspiracy hotspots this summer…(or for most of us, ever) but you can fool your friends into thinking you’re at the Bohemian Grove, Skull and Crossbones Tomb, Area 51 and other hotspots with Zoom backgrounds I created here: https://teakrulos.com/2020/06/12/teas-weird-week-freak-out-your-next-zoom-call-with-these-conspiracy-inspired-backgrounds/

Project COUCHSURF: Last month I wrote about my new hobby of sifting through declassified files in the CIA Virtual Reading Room, reading about UFOs, mind control programs, all that fun stuff.

To tie into this column I searched for files on the Bohemian Grove. Mostly I found scraps of related documents–letters and memos from the CIA to politicians that mention going to the Grove in passing. There’s correspondence addressed to Herbert Hoover in the Grove from CIA director Allen W. Dulles from July 1954. I also found a 1971 cable to Henry Kissinger reporting on messages and mail he received while on vacation, including a phone call from Zsa Zsa Gabor, a letter from Hubert Humphrey “saying sorry wasn’t able to come to party,” and an invite to the Grove.

The most significant item I found is a document of “proposed remarks” for CIA director William H. Webster for his “Lakeside Talk,” on July 22, 1988 at the Grove. It includes a 22-page draft for the speech, a candid dialog about the spy business. Page 11 has a chunk redacted and the entirety of page 12 is stamped “Page Denied.”

My upcoming book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness, is a wild ride through the Bohemian Grove and conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: Lion’s Tooth: CLICK HERE Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HERE

 

“Tea Krulos has forged a fascinating collection of work by immersing himself in various sub-cultures that exist on the fringes of society.” —Cult of Weird

American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness by Tea Krulos from Feral House on Vimeo.

 

Tea’s Weird Week: One Year of Keepin’ it Weird (and Top 5 Columns)

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Retro 2019 columnhead

My first Tea’s Weird Week column, “Parallax and Cthulhu Power Zones” was published almost a year ago on June 28, 2019. I started the column because I wanted to connect with readers, promote projects I’m working on (mostly books I’m writing), write about topics I’m interested in (some of which might be featured in future books), and to have a small weekly writing deadline.

In that first column I wrote a year ago, I talked about a book I had recently read (Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea by Christine Garwood) while finishing up some research on my upcoming book, American Madness. I also discussed how I had just learned about “Cthulhu Power Zones” (I’ll let you read the column on that one). Since then, I’ve written the column weekly (minus a couple weeks off in December for the holidays). Some of the topics have included ghost stories, Real Life-Superheroes, lots on conspiracy theory, quarantine journals, Internet hoaxes, CIA UFO files, as well as an occasional life reflection.

I collected all the columns I wrote in 2019 into an e-book: Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review which you can get for the low, low cost of $1.99 (or free on Kindle Unlimited): CLICK HERE

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Here are my 5 favorite or most noteworthy columns from the last 12 months:

1.) Best working theory: “A Theory About Vampires, Zombies, Killer Clowns…and Donald J. Trump” (Sept. 5, 2019). A brief examination of politics and horror movies, this column got a nice boost when it was reprinted (in a slightly different form) in Fortean Times, the best magazine dedicated to all weird things.

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2.) Scariest shit: “There are Two Dozen Members of QAnon Running for Congress” (Feb. 13, 2020). QAnon has been running candidates across several states. In February the number totaled about 24, but I’m sad to say that number has doubled. This column got a lot of reads and  I followed up in another column “Trump Inspired QAnon Followers, Proud Boys, Gun Nuts, Racists, all Have 2020 Campaigns” (May 8, 2020).

3.) Fun stuff: “9 Music Conspiracies and Urban Legends”(Oct.10, 2019) I love hearing about music/Hollywood urban legends and talked about the classics in this column and a sequel: “Now That’s What I Call Music Conspiracy Vol.2” (Nov. 8, 2019). A spin-off, about the conspiracy theory genre of flat earth hip hop (or “flat hop”) “The Top 7 Flattest of the Flat Earth Hip Hop Songs” (Feb. 6, 2020) totally bombed though. “I watched like one minute before I had to turn it off,” one of my friends wrote, after watching one of the presented music videos. “I couldn’t get past the headline,” wrote another. Well, excuuuuuuuze me for my “flatsmacking!” 😉

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4.) Most read/ second best working theory: “I got my own conspiracy theory, which is that the world is becoming 24 times more batshit crazy every day” (April 9, 2020). This column had the most views, including quite a few from across Europe. It featured bits on the QAnon “mole children” theory, 5G towers being burned over conspiracy theories, and a bit on the Wisconsin elections. This was during peak pandemic boredom, or maybe lots of people were googling “batshit crazy.”

5.) Tie between two columns:  I really loved “Ask Tea Anything (Pandemic Edition)” (April 23, 2020), I think because I was lonely during the pandemic, so it was nice to interact with people even if it was just answering questions in a column. I also really loved the concept for “Freak Out Your Next Zoom Call With These Conspiracy Inspired Backgrounds” (June 12, 2020) where I just created some Zoom backgrounds based on well known conspiracy sites, like this one from Area 51:

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Thank you for reading over the last year. Who knows what other weird stuff 2020 is going to throw at us (nervous laughter)– but I look forward to writing it up!

Next week: I’m taking a trip for 4th of July weekend, so I’ll be reporting live from the road.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HERE

It’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

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“Tea Krulos has forged a fascinating collection of work by immersing himself in various sub-cultures that exist on the fringes of society.” —Cult of Weird

 

Tea’s Weird Week: Watch Out for the Phrase “Do Your Own Research”

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Let me tell you a little bit about Young Krulos– when I was 18, I graduated high school, then I moved out of mom and dad’s. I moved to Milwaukee’s east side into a house full of roommates, got a string of jobs like washing dishes, telemarketing, and cashiering. I lived a carefree life. I didn’t have much money or even wanted much… I dined on Ramen noodle packs, and frozen pizzas. Not having much money, I spent many days hanging out at the East and Central libraries. I would spend hours browsing and reading books, magazines, CDs, and videos.

A lot of times I’d be on some random kick– I’d be reading all the books I could find about comic book history or UFO case studies or famous gangsters of the 1920s…whatever struck my interest. I guess you could say I was “doing my own research,” so I understand the appeal.

“Do your own research.” That’s a phrase I ran into a lot while working on my book American Madness, which is about conspiracy theory culture, and it’s a term I’ve heard many times in the last few months. It kind of makes my eyes roll and my skin crawl when I hear it now.

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Over the course of working on American Madness, I was told I should “research”  9/11 and vaccines and flat earth theory and other stuff I’ll just let you read about in the book.

I have mixed feelings about conspiracy theory, depending on the topic. Some of it, like UFO cases and the JFK assassination, I find to be really interesting. Stuff like the moon landing hoax or Jimi Hendrix faking his death and becoming Morgan Freeman, are just goofy and amusing. Theories like the Sandy Hook shooting being fake are pretty disgusting. There’s a fine line that’s hard to navigate sometimes.

I think my irritation with “do your own research” was already there, but blew up with all the COVID-19 theories from an internet army of people who were suddenly “researchers.” Someone on Facebook told me I was dumb for believing the pandemic was a real threat. This person had “researched,” they said, and their findings was that the “plandemic” was fake.

Really? Did you? Did you do this research in a lab? Did you have it published in a peer-reviewed journal? Or did you just watch something floating around YouTube?

Ok, let me take a breath here. I’m not saying you need a PhD to educate yourself. We should all strive to be better informed. Media literacy is more important than ever.

Fake news is a real problem in 2020. Conspiracy sites, foreign interests (like Russia), bots, data mining, deep fakes, far right sites–some that have deceptive, Orwellian names ( justthenews.com, for example is definitely not “just the news”) have formed a tidal wave of misinformation. Unfortunately, I don’t think a lot of people want media literacy. They’d rather follow their “hunch,” like Trump does, and find faulty resources that support their idea that the world is flat, or that vaccines cause autism, or that Democrats have imprisoned “mole children” under Central Park.

Here’s some things we should ask ourselves when searching for information:

  • What source is this and is it credible? Is it “fake news”–not the type that Trump yammers on about because they report information that hurts his ego, but heavily skewed, conspiracy peddling, Photoshop fear-mongering sites like Breitbart News, InfoWars, FOX, OANN, etc.?
  • Who authored it and when was it written? I periodically see people mourning the recent loss of Gene Wilder on Facebook– but he died in 2016.
  • What sources are provided for the article you’re reading or the video you’re watching? Some outlets use an echo chamber– they might use articles on their own site or other similar bad sources for information.
  • Is this source heavily biased, an opinion piece, or a satire site? It’s hard to tell these days if we’re looking at the New York Times or The Onion.
  • Am I looking for the truth, or am I just looking to have my opinion validated? Research follows facts, not emotion.
  • Appeal to authority is a misunderstood logical fallacy. It says that a claim isn’t necessarily true just because an expert says it is without other evidence. It doesn’t mean all authority figures are wrong, it just means that they aren’t always right. Appeal to false authority is using evidence from someone who claims they are an authority on a subject when they are not.
  • Who pays for the site the source comes from? Are they owned by a non-profit, or a special interest group? Those are things to consider. Do they fund their site by selling scam products (ahem, Alex Jones)? Are they really owned by George Soros, or is that something you saw someone say on Reddit?

Doing your own research can be a fun and rewarding thing, a way to understand life better. Just be careful where you get your information from.

Freelance Dept.: I interviewed members of Antifa for local paper the Shepherd Express this week: https://shepherdexpress.com/news/features/what-is-antifa/

My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HEREIt’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

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American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness by Tea Krulos from Feral House on Vimeo.

Tea’s Weird Week: Freak Out Your Next Zoom Call with These Conspiracy Inspired Backgrounds

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The stay at home order has been lifted in many places, and businesses are slowly opening, however, Zoom is going to be the preferred method of meeting for some time to come. At your next conference call why not give your colleagues…something to think about with these Zoom backgrounds I’ve created for you. Impress your friends, give your enemies a shiver of paranoia.

Most of these classic conspiracy spots are places I explore in my upcoming book (more info and a book trailer at the bottom of this post) American Madness. Now you can enter these mysterious locales from the safety of your couch. Tell ’em the Illuminati Tea Krulos sent ya!

BohoZoom

Here’s a photo of the Bohemian Grove, a secret society retreat deep in the redwood forest in northern California. It’s owned by the Bohemian Club, it’s members a who’s who of the world’s most powerful men. To the left, you’ll see a crude statue of an owl, where a strange ritual called the “Cremation of Care” is performed. The first chapter of American Madness explores the grove– it’s history, membership, and strange secrets. A Zoom background is much safer than trying to visit in person– you’ll be quickly arrested for trespassing.

SkullandBonesZoom

Hello, I’m calling you from outside the Skull and Bones “Tomb.” This is a legendary Yale University fraternity that has existed since 1832. It’s like the junior version of the Bohemian Grove and it’s members have including several presidents, corporate leaders, members of the CIA, and other powerful people. There was a spotlight on the institution in 2004 when former “Bonesmen” George W. Bush and John Kerry ran against each other, guaranteeing a Bonesman would become president.

Skull & Bones has an kooky ooky initiation ritual inside this windowless building, located on the Yale campus. Sure, you could use a color photo of this place, but it looks better in black and white.

HAARPzoom

This anxiety-inducing background is the antenna array of the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), located up in the wilds of Alaska. It was started in the 1990s as a joint effort by the military and the University of Alaska to study the ionosphere. Because of the military’s involvement, conspiracy theories quickly spun that they were weaponizing weather or attempting mass mind control.

Area51Zoom

Here’s the front gates of Area 51, one of the world’s most famous conspiracy sites (I visited– well, I saw the outside of it, while working on American Madness). It’s where the government has supposedly stashed UFOs and extra-terrestrial bodies and got a lot of attention last year with a viral “Raid Area 51–They Can’t Stop Us All” Facebook page.

COVIDprotestZoom

Here’s a background of a more contemprary conspiracy, a scene from a “lockdown protest” where people think COVID-19 is “fake news.” But uh-oh, what’s that protester pointing at?

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HERE

It’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

Follow me on:
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“Tea Krulos has forged a fascinating collection of work by immersing himself in various sub-cultures that exist on the fringes of society.” —Cult of Weird

 

American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness by Tea Krulos from Feral House on Vimeo.

 

 

Tea’s Weird Week: Trump’s Joe Scarborough Conspiracy Obsession

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Memorial Day weekend— a chance to enjoy relaxation, grill out, and remember those who have sacrificed their lives fighting for our country. Or if you’re President Trump, a time to spend golfing and then spiraling into a tweetrage hurling insults, threats, and conspiracy theories. Can you imagine Obama or Bush acting like this? They’d be led out of the White House in a straitjacket, but we’re so used to this that it’s just another crazy day, another Trump meltdown.

Trump has been trying to push three big conspiracies this month of May– he’s continued to spin his mail-in ballot fraud theory (which this week prompted Twitter to finally slap warnings on his tweets), as well as continuing to tweet about “Obamagate,” a theory so convoluted that even Trump can’t explain it. Here’s an exchange between him and a reporter after he he went on a tweetfit about it on Mother’s Day (maybe it’s just holidays that get his conspiracy hype pumped up). After a reporter from the Washington Post asked him to explain what “Obamagate” was, Trump responded:

Uh, Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened, and if you look at what’s gone on, and if you look at now, all this information that’s being released — and from what I understand, that’s only the beginning — some terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again.

Uh, ok, thanks for the clear answer on that. When the reporter tried to follow up and asked again what exactly the crime was that he was referring to, Trump snapped:

You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.

And then there is the “Joe Scarborough Cold Case” conspiracy.

Trump hates Joe Scarborough, the former Florida Republican Congressman turned talk show host (Trump calls him “Psycho Joe”), his wife and co-host Mika Brezinzski, and their show Morning Joe (MSNBC).

Ooh, does he hate them! They show clips of him doing and saying stupid things…They say he isn’t doing a good job responding to this damn pandemic where 100,000 people have died…Fake news! He’s tried bashing their ratings and calling them crazy and making some shitty comment about Mika bleeding from a facelift, but it isn’t enough– he wants to burn them, badly, his heart overflowing with hate.

TrumpScarfilter

Then Trump remembers something dirty and disgusting– wasn’t there a conspiracy theory from the early 2000s, something about Scarborough murdering an intern and then resigning? There was (and I’m sad to say it was liberals who originally pushed it). Scarborough had an employee (not an intern) named Lori Klausutis, 28, a constituent services coordinator who worked in Scarborough’s office. In 2001, she was found dead on the floor, near a desk.

But it isn’t, as Trump insists, a “cold case.”

AP Fact Check reports:

An autopsy revealed that Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition and a coroner concluded she passed out and hit her head as she fell. The coroner said the head injury caused the death, but she wasn’t struck by another person. The death occurred a month after Scarborough announced he was leaving office. Scarborough was in Washington when Klausutis died.

Source: AP Fact Check: Scarborough staffer death not a “mystery”

Like any conspiracy that grows legs, there are some straws to grasp at. Scarborough was getting a divorce and people whispered that he must have been having an affair with Klausutis (there’s no evidence or even allegations of this) and murdered her (though he was in DC at the time, not Florida, so he would have needed to hire a hit).

Then there was the medical examiner, Michael Berkland. He added fuel to the conspiracy story in 2012 when he stopped paying for a storage facility and a creepy scene at Uncle Bob’s Storage was revealed:

Lungs, hearts, tissue samples and 10 brains were found Aug. 22 in a storage container at Uncle Bob’s Storage that Berkland was renting, according to Pensacola police. There were body parts from more than 100 people found in the air conditioned unit.

They were stored in formaldehyde in plastic containers, specimen cups, trash bags and one part even in a 32-ounce Styrofoam cup from a convenience store, according to police. Some of the containers were cracked and leaking.

Source: “Man Charged After More Than 100 Body Parts Found in Storage Container,” ABC News, 2012.

Yikes! But that doesn’t mean that Berkland’s autopsy report was untrue. The investigation found no reason to dispute it.

Trump can’t pass up an opportunity to smear an enemy, as he has many times before (I write about this in a chapter of my upcoming book American Madness) so he takes this half baked theory and shoots it out via Twitter. A recent article in The Atlantic summed it up well:

When someone holds him accountable—when someone calls him out for his incompetence and ethical wrongdoing—conspiracy theories often become his weapon of choice. At such moments, conspiracy theories are fine, but conspiracy theories with the added element of cruelty are even better.
–Peter Wehner, “The Malignant Cruelty of Donald Trump,” The Atlantic

This is what the real “Trump Derangement Syndrome” is. He tweeted about the conspiracy six different days this month (so far):

May 4:“Concast” should open up a long overdue Florida Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough. I know him and Crazy Mika well, used them beautifully in the last Election, dumped them nicely, and will state on the record that he is “nuts”. Besides, bad ratings!

May 12: When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder? Some people think so. Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn’t it obvious? What’s happening now? A total nut job!

May 23: A blow to her head? Body found under his desk? Left Congress suddenly? Big topic of discussion in Florida…and, he’s a Nut Job (with bad ratings). Keep digging, use forensic geniuses!

May 24: A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough. So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator? Read story!

May 26: The opening of a Cold Case against Psycho Joe Scarborough was not a Donald Trump original thought, this has been going on for years, long before I joined the chorus. In 2016 when Joe & his wacky future ex-wife, Mika, would endlessly interview me, I would always be thinking…
…about whether or not Joe could have done such a horrible thing? Maybe or maybe not, but I find Joe to be a total Nut Job, and I knew him well, far better than most. So many unanswered & obvious questions, but I won’t bring them up now! Law enforcement eventually will?

May 27: Psycho Joe Scarborough is rattled, not only by his bad ratings but all of the things and facts that are coming out on the internet about opening a Cold Case. He knows what is happening!

This is all especially cruel because Lori Klausutis was a real person, with a family. Her husband, Timothy Klausutis, wrote a heartbreaking letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. It reads, in part:

I have mourned my wife every day since her passing. I have tried to honor her memory and our marriage. As her husband, I feel that one of my marital obligations is to protect her memory as I would have protected her in life. There has been a constant barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories since the day she died. I realize that may sound like an exaggeration, unfortunately it is the verifiable truth. Because of this, I have struggled to move forward with my life.

You can read the entire letter here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/business/letter-to-twitter-ceo.html

Twitter had a generic response, but they did for the first time flag two of Trump’s tweets (untrue statements about voter fraud). Trump, of course, had a melt down about this and today is signing an executive order against social media companies.

Meanwhile, during all this, thousands more people have died from COVID-19. This is why having a Conspiracy Theorist-in-Chief is dangerous: he will ignore everything else to bring you down. If you criticize him, he will label you an “enemy of the people” and spread any lie he can find to try to smear you. These are dark times.

SEE ALSO: My first column of the year, which was about the Kevin Spacey murder conspiracy; also my column from a couple weeks ago about candidates playing the Trump conspiracy playbook to run for office.

Project COUCHSURF: Last week I wrote about my new hobby of spending a couple hours a week in the CIA Virtual Reading Room. This week I read some interesting files on a wave of UFO sightings in Europe and Africa in 1952 (same year as a well known UFO sighting in Washington DC). They were in the CIA’s UFOS: Fact or Fiction? collection.

#TrumpConspiracyCounter: As you can see from this column, May has been a thick month of Trump spreading conspiracy. I’m working on updating the #TrumpConspiracyCounter for this month and will have a report out next week. Needless to say, the number has seen a huge jump.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HERE

It’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

“Tea Krulos has forged a fascinating collection of work by immersing himself in various sub-cultures that exist on the fringes of society.” —Cult of Weird

American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness by Tea Krulos from Feral House on Vimeo.

Tea’s Weird Week: Project COUCHSURF, my New Hobby of Hanging Out in the CIA Virtual Reading Room

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Quarantine continues! What have I been doing with all this spare time? I’m enjoying catching up on some reading. I’m working on some writing projects. I’m continuing to write in my quarantine journal every day. I’m watching shit tons of sci-fi movies and shows. I’m getting pissed off watching the news. I’m getting excited about my new book American Madness. I’m occasionally trying to be helpful around the house. I’m having good days and bad days.

I also picked up a new hobby. Every Sunday morning/early afternoon, I spend an hour or three drinking coffee and hanging out in the CIA’s Virtual Reading Room, reading declassified documents. In 2017, the famous clandestine organization uploaded about 13 million documents to their online reading room. I’ve wanted to take a look at these ever since, but didn’t have the time. Well, now I do– but I’m carefully limiting this to 2-3 hours a week on Sunday. This is to prevent me from falling down a stark raving mad rabbit hole. I’m prone to do that sometimes, so this is a preventive measure so I keep working on other projects. But still, if I read 10-20 documents every Sunday, that’s 500-1,000 files a year. Not close to 13 million, but I’m searching for some specific things. I’m calling this Project COUCHSURF.

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What I’m looking for– files related to UFOs, conspiracy classics, programs related to mind control like MK/Ultra, weird ideas like their remote viewing program (more on that in a minute), and their many failed attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro (for more on that, I recommend the documentary 638 Ways to Kill Castro).

What will I find? Who knows, that’s the exciting part! I’ll be posting here in future columns, probably as a short blurb at the end of the column, or, if I’m onto something good, future columns might be based on Project COUCHSURF research. We’ll see.

The first files I dug into were ones related to Project STARGATE (sadly not related to finding portals to other worlds like in the movie/ TV shows). The program included other projects over the years (GRILL FLAME, GONDOLA WISH, CENTER LANE, STAR STREAK) but was consolidated into STARGATE. I’ve been interested in this since reading an entertaining account of the program in Jon Ronson’s book The Men Who Stare at Goats.

One of the main focuses of the program was to test the possible effectiveness of “remote viewers,” which are people that claim the ability to see things at a far away distance. They have a sort of out-of-body experience with psychic flashes that give them a vision of past, present, and future events unfolding across the globe. You can see why the military would love to have this ability– the program was used to try to peek on potential terrorists, espionage agents, and drug smugglers. There is, however, no indication that any part of the program was successful.

Here’s a few files I found that were of interest. I linked to the files on the report dates, so you can check them out if you want.
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Project 8122: Sept.3-8, 1981 remote viewers described a “jeep like vehicle” that arrived at a bunker somewhere in Stuttgart and stole explosives. The vehicle had a tag on it with the number “862 or 863” The file reads: “source reported possible future use of explosives in ‘some kind of raid on airbase,;” scheduled “for the period 1-5 May 1982.”

The report goes on to give vague details on where the suspects work and live, and the remote viewers determined that the stolen explosives were hidden in the basement of one of the suspect’s house, which had a red tile roof and “was marked 718 or 719,” with this sketch included in the report:

Stutt-page-011

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A report on a Project SUN STREAK remote viewing session with Remote Viewer 095 from June 26, 1989  describes how they were trying to zero in on a drug boat with a cargo of contraband in waterproof containers in the hold. Viewer 095 was able to see the boat’s journey from Tobago to the Dominican Republic and looking to the future could see that “the final destination of the vessel is a long (N-S orientated) island due east of Lake Okeechobee. A weaker feel was a location on the coast of Florida directly south of Tallahassee.”
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In another SUN STREAK session we find that Remote Viewer 032 visualized a UFO on September 13, 1989. One thing I love are seeing handwritten notes and parts deemed important circled or underlined:

UFO-page-002 (1)

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Viewer 032 turns out to be quite a character, I’d love to find out who it was and interview them.  Just over a week after the UFO remote viewing, we get another report from Viewer 032 on September 22, 1989. This one reads like a sexy spy adventure.

I was able to access this woman almost directly. She was in a place on the coastline. It was a village that had small shops and residences lining streets that were narrow. I was drawn to the many canopies that covered each of the openings of the dwellings. The woman had been here many times.

This village is somewhere along the Mediterranean coastline. I watched the sun rise to my left as I faced the sea. For this reason I sense that the village is on the northern shore.

There was a man– who was very handsome. This man is much younger than the woman. Look for a man with dark skin, hair and eyes. He combs his hair straight back and it is groomed close to his head.

The man works for someone and listens to the woman routinely. I think that this woman is married but frequents this place under the guise of work and meets this man. She has been many other places with him also all over Europe. There have also been other men before this one. I don’t know what she tells him but it is with reluctance that she does. She feels bad most of the time– other times she doesn’t even realize [rest of sentence obscured by CIA approval stamp.]

It’s hard to put out an APB on a “man with dark skin, hair and eyes” who works for “someone” located “somewhere along the Mediterranean coastline,” which shows the problem with the whole program. Even if the remote viewer’s skills were legit, would any of their information be useful?
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In addition to notes on the remote viewing sessions, there are several reports that SRI International (a scientific research institute in Menlo Park, CA) was paid to research on remote viewing. “An Effort to Improve Remote Viewing Quality Using Hypnosis,” October 1989 was a 17-page report where they describe an experiment where remote viewers were hypnotized and then asked to describe pictures cut from magazines hidden in envelopes (“in summary, hypnosis does not appear to be an effective way to enhance remote viewing quality.”) Other reports by SRI include “A Remote Action Experiment with a Piezoelectric Transducer,” December 1987 and “A Remote Action Investigation with Marine Animals,” also from December 1987.

RMSRI-page-001

I look forward to bringing you more reports from Project COUCHSURF in the future!

American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness by Tea Krulos from Feral House on Vimeo.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

It’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

Follow me on:
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“Tea Krulos has forged a fascinating collection of work by immersing himself in various sub-cultures that exist on the fringes of society.” —Cult of Weird