By Tea Krulos, Milwaukee Paranormal Conference founder and director
As I was wrapping up my second book, Monster Hunters in 2015, I came up with a spark of an idea for promotion– why not host a mini-paranormal conference? I had met a good number of interesting researchers of all things unusual from the Midwest. I could invite the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee, the ghost investigation team I had shadowed to write several chapters of the book about. I could invite Linda S. Godfrey, the researcher that broke the Beast of Bray Road story, and Jim Sherman, the Bigfoot researcher from Michigan I had spent a weekend with trying to find the elusive Michigan Sasquatch.
It all started to come together really well. I found a venue, the absolutely beautiful, historic, and atmospheric Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. There was a strong interest in the event– there hadn’t been an attempt at such a conference in Milwaukee for about ten years. It was stressful as any event run on a shoestring and a dream is, but what a great time. I thought I really had something there, so I decided to expand, rapidly.
In 2016, I bit off more than I could chew. We moved to UWM and although I’m proud of the programming that year, it was an insane amount of work and I walked out of the event losing lots of money (well, a lot of money for a semi-employed, bohemian writer who is constantly rolling the dice with his bank account). Between that and other factors in my life, I fell into a deep depression. I thought that perhaps Year 2 was also the end of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference.
But then I remembered how much I loved working with all of these cool experts on weird subjects, the vendors, wonderful volunteers, supportive friends, awesome artists and musicians, everyone was just so enthusiastic about having this event. It’s a place where we could discuss all things paranormal– from parapsychology to debates on the Roswell crash to Lake Monster sightings to round-table discussion on the disappearance of D.B. Cooper. Dammit all, the show had to go on!
We returned to the Irish Cultural Center in 2017. It was ok– attendance was low. In order to organize and promote an event like this, it takes a lot of work and I’m often spread thin between the different aspects of my life. And as I was reminded recently when my dad showed me my 6th grade report card he found while cleaning, I’m not always good at asking for help, as 3 out 4 teachers agreed. It was good to see everyone again, though and keep it rolling. We also expanded to other events– we began hosting Friday the 13th Fests every Friday the 13th, a mix of horror themed music, fun stuff, and burlesque as well as Milwaukee Krampusnacht, held at Lakefront Brewery in 2017 before moving to the Bavarian Bierhaus.
The conference skipped a year in 2018 but returned in 2019 to Alverno College. I think 2019 was a good renewal year– there is certainly lots of potential with the Alverno space and we will be returning there with a big event in 2021 (if the pandemic ever ends).
This year we decided that rather than cancel entirely, we would feature some programming online. The great thing about this is that it’s free and available to anyone who wants to register. There is a solid line-up of speakers, panels, and activities, some from Wisconsin researchers as well as some from beyond.
Friday: we are kicking things off by having a Ghost Story Happy Hour, I’m hosting Tea’s Weird Week Trivia (categories: Monsters of Folklore, Epic Ghost Hunters of History, and Wisconsin Cryptids) and a performance by Sunspot.
Saturday: Speakers and panels all day, headline speaker is John E.L. Tenney, and at 8pm tune into a live investigation of the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear by the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee.
I will be giving a talk and showing some slides at 11:15am (CST) Saturday on “Strange Places and Secret Societies,” talking about research I’ve done for my book American Madness.
Sunday: Starting things off with a meditation session with Goddess Aida, then virtual tours, a documentary screening and more.
I’m looking forward to it. A huge thanks to everyone participating, American Ghost Walks for sponsoring, and for everyone joining as attendees during this crazy time. I appreciate you all and hope to see you there virtually, and hopefully in person in 2021.
Again, you can register for free for the virtual conference and check out the full schedule here:
You can get my new book American Madness wherever books are sold, but I recommend my friends Lion’s Tooth: https://www.lionstoothmke.com/american_madness.html#/
My other books are available signed and personalized through the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Square store (in the “Tea’s Weird Week Gift Shop” section): https://milwaukeeparacon.com/online-store/
Posted in Tea's Weird Week Trivia
Tags: American Ghost Walks, Bigfoot, Ghost Story Happy Hour, ghosts, John E.L. Tenney, Milwaukee authors, Milwaukee Ghost Walk, Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, tea krulos, Tea's Weird Week Trivia, UFOs, Wisconsin cryptids, Wisconsin ghost stories, Wisconsin Legends and Lore
Today, August 25, is the official release date of my new book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness, out NOW from Feral House. It’s been a long, strange road to get here. This all started when I was introduced to a conspiracy theorist/ self-styled superhero named Richard McCaslin aka the Phantom Patriot, who was pushed down a rabbit hole by Alex Jones. A stranger than fiction exploration of Conspiracy World followed for several years. Now the book is out and I’m so glad I can share the whole thing with you.
Two nice pieces for me on release day– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s book editor Jim Higgins interviewed me for this article, which gives an overview of the book:
“American Madness details how conspiracy theories took over one troubled man’s life”
And Literary Hub published an excerpt, a chapter about how Richard first discovered a man who would change the course of his life: Alex Jones:
“How Do Celebrity Conspiracy Theories Become Who They Are? Tea Krulos on Richard McCaslin and the Origins of Alex Jones”
Here are some simple ways you can help me make the book a success (and great ways to support any author you like):
Order the book: This is the most obvious way to support me, especially now in the book’s early release. My first recommendation is ordering it through Lion’s Tooth (just click on the names of these sites to go right to the book), a great independent bookseller. I live close to them, so I’m able to stop by and inscribe copies for you. In fact, I’ll be there in a couple days to get more copies signed, so order today and fill out the “note to seller” if you want it inscribed. Plus they include a bonus comic book and swag, and an exclusive in-person (socially distanced) event September 5 at X-ray Arcade and an online event with me September 10.
Reviews: Leaving reviews on any site is helpful, even if you didn’t buy the book there. It takes about 50 reviews before you get bumped into a better algorithm and your book pops up more as suggested reading. The big ones are Amazon and Goodreads.
Library New Material Request: I love libraries and it’s a thrill to know my title is available. Most librarians are happy to hear suggestions and a lot of libraries have a “new material request” form you can find on their website or can ask for.
Social Media: Sharing the book/ links helps get the title to people outside my social circle. Sharing anywhere and old fashioned word of mouth is appreciated!
Thank you for your support! I hope you enjoy my new book AMERICAN MADNESS.
August 25, 2020
Today is the premiere of a book trailer for my upcoming book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (out August 25 from Feral House). This writing has been quite a fascinating and crazy journey for me. It started with my interest in documenting the life story of an eccentric individual named Richard McCaslin, whose life was a winding path through comic book superheroes, conspiracy theory, and the pursuit of a skewed American dream. The story evolved into something much bigger and now, in this insane year 2020, I can’t help but think the publication date is perfect timing.
Many of the people I wrote about in American Madness— Alex Jones, David Icke, QAnon, Anti-vaxxers, Roger Stone, and, of course, the “InfoWars President” himself, Donald Trump (and his Obama conspiracy obsession)– have all been in the news this year.
Here’s a quick peek at the world I entered:American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness by Tea Krulos from Feral House on Vimeo.
Big thanks to all involved in helping me create the video! Lyle Blackburn lent his voice to narrate the trailer. Lyle is an all around cool guy– he narrates the Small Town Monsters documentary series, is in a cool band called Ghoultown, and has written several books on Southern cryptozoology case studies, his latest being the upcoming Sinister Swamps: Monsters and Mysteries from the Mire.
Android138 provided music for the soundtrack, I knew his creeping horror style, which he calls “#DoomBap” would be perfect– listen to more to his tracks and slip into a paranoid conspiracy world of your own on his Soundcloud page. Stephen Vincent Anderson is my wonderfully creative friend who it all together, check out SVA Photo & Video on Facebook and Vimeo.
Here’s 4 ways you can help me make this book a success:
-Pre-order the book. My preferred pre-order link for you is: https://bookshop.org/books/american-madness-the-story-of-the-phantom-patriot-and-how-conspiracy-theories-hijacked-american-consciousness/9781627310963 (you can also pre-order from Boswell Book Company and on Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sites)
-Add the book to your shelf on Goodreads.
-Share the book trailer, pre-order link, or this blog post on social media. “Word of mouth” is helpful.
-Most libraries are receptive to suggestions on new books and many have a “material request form” on their website.
Here’s more book info:
American Madness: The Story of The Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness will be out August 25, 2020 from Feral House.
The mainstream news media struggles to understand the power of social media while conspiracy advocates, malicious political movements, and even foreign governments have long understood how to harness the power of fear and the fear of power into lucrative outlets for outrage and money. But what happens when the harbingers of “inside knowledge” go too far?
Author Tea Krulos tells the story of one man, Richard McCaslin, who’s fractured thinking made him the ideal consumer of even the most arcane of conspiracy theories. Acting on the daily rants of Alex Jones and his ilk, McCaslin takes matters into his own hands to stop the unseen powers behind the world’s disasters who congregate at conspiracy world’s Mecca- The Bohemian Grove. It all goes wrong with terrible consequences for the man who styled himself-The Phantom Patriot.
McCaslin is not alone, as conspiracy-driven political action has bubbled its way up from the margins of society to the White House. It’s no longer a lone deranged kook convinced of getting secret messages from a cereal box, now its slick videos and well-funded outrage campaigns ready to peddle the latest innuendos and lies in hopes of harnessing the chaos for political gain. What is the long term effect on people who believe these barely believable stories? Who benefits, and who pays the price? Krulos investigates and explains the power of conspiracy and the resulting shared madness on the American psyche.
Tea Krulos is a Milwaukee-based writer who documents the underground world of fringe sub-cultures. His previous books, Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers and Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Super Hero Movement explored the driving beliefs and lives of the people who choose to reject accepted reality and substitute their own.
Tags: American Madness, book trailer, book trailers, conspiracy book, conspiracy studies, conspiracy theories, conspiracy theory sociology, coronavirus conspiracies, DoomBap, Feral House, Lyle Blackburn, Milwaukee authors, Phantom Patriot, Richard McCaslin, tea krulos, Tea's Weird Week