Tea shares his weird week with you every Friday.
When I was a kid, my family knew I was into “weird stuff,” so my parents and grandparents sometimes saved newspaper articles they thought I might be interested in.
The ones I remember vividly were the Tallmann House poltergeist of Horicon, Wisconsin, that grabbed headlines in 1988 (and appeared on Unsolved Mysteries) and the Beast of Bray Road, which howled and broke loose in 1991. They were probably the first newspaper reports I read, and I thought about them a lot, drawing pictures of what the apparitions in Horicon might look like, and imagining werewolves lurking in the Wisconsin cornfields my family drove by.
Not shared with me, by the way, were reports on Jeffrey Dahmer and his arrest the same year, 1991. I would learn about that by eavesdropping on my grandma and mom talking about the case in hushed tones as they drank coffee at the kitchen table, while I hid around the corner.
Many years later, I was thrilled to meet Linda S. Godfrey, who was the reporter to break the story of the Beast of Bray Road and has since become a prolific author. Me and my friend, photographer Lacy Landre, drove out to meet her for lunch in Elkhorn and then me and Lacy cruised down Bray Road to see the stomping ground of the Beast. I wrote about Linda and the Beast in my book Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators (2015, Chicago Review Press) in a chapter titled “The Accidental Werewolf Chronicler.”
An excerpt of that chapter was also part of a werewolf themed issue of Fortean Times magazine (July 2015).
Linda has gone on to write many books and I’m glad she’s also been a part of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference every year, and was presented with the first “Wisconsin Researcher of the Year” award at our year one event.
The Beast, meanwhile, has become a permanent part of Wisconsin lore, still very much talked about. For proof go no further than Seth Breedlove’s excellent The Bray Road Beast documentary, part of his highly recommended Small Town Monsters doc series.
I was happy to be asked to lead a discussion and Q and A with Linda for her new book I Know What I Saw: Modern Day Encounters with Monsters of New Urban Legend and Ancient Lore (Penguin/Random House), a great new collection of weird monster sightings. It’s happening Wednesday, July 17, 7pm at Boswell Book Company.
Here’s a short article I wrote on the book for the Shepherd Express: https://shepherdexpress.com/arts-and-entertainment/books/linda-s-godfrey-looks-for-monsters-in-i-know-what-i-saw
And a link to the Boswell appearance event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/454343315368924/
It’s sure to be an interesting discussion!
I’m glad to say I’ll get a chance to revisit the Beast myself (along with the Tallmann House poltergeist and much more) in my book Wisconsin Legends & Lore, out early in 2020 (I have two books out next year!) from The History Press.
The Week in Links
I’m the tour guide for the Milwaukee Ghost Walks Third Ward Tour (almost) every Saturday evening. Friday tours will be added starting next month. You can get tickets here: https://americanghostwalks.com/wisconsin/milwaukee-ghost-walks/
I’m still working on developing Cream City Tours. We’re doing a Riverwest Pinball Wizards tour Sunday, July 28 at 5pm, Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/727504021015028/
Get a copy of my new book Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/ApocalypseAnyDayNow
Ok, 2015 is drawing to a close. What a year! This year I kept track of every published article (and a book) I wrote, as well as the total running published word count. The year ended a little slow. I spent some time working on my next book, other projects, and took some time off for the holidays. I did write a second article for Scandinavian Traveler and a couple for Milwaukee Record.
41. “Off the Cuff: Angel Alvarez,” Shepherd Express, November 25
42. “Meet Katrina Markoff- Chicago’s luxury chocolate maker,” Scandinavian Traveler, Dec. 10
43. “4 Milwaukeeans Who Recently Scored Bit Parts On Popular TV Shows,” Milwaukee Record, Dec.9
44. “Last Octopus standing: Milwaukee keeps car wash chain from extinction ,” Milwaukee Record, Dec. 18
Final total 2015 word count: 124, 865 words.
Notes on 2015:
The reason I kept track of my work this year was just out of curiosity. How many published pieces do I write in a year? I had no idea. My guess was an average of one a week. With 44 published pieces in 2015, that estimate was somewhat close. The word count was almost 125,000, but that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you write a single haiku or a 500,000 epic novel in a year, as long as you are putting your best work forward. I’m still learning what my best work is. It’s been interesting.
A lot of great highlights for me in 2015; My book Monster Hunters was published, I organized the first Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, I was a guest on Coast to Coast AM (along with a lot of other great radio and podcast programs), I made author appearances at paranormal cons, comic cons, libraries, and Ripon College, I sold my third book.
Writing is sometimes a struggle. You don’t know if anyone reads or cares about your writing. People sometimes say bad things about you and you wonder why you even bother. That makes recognition all the more rewarding.
Milwaukee Record included two articles I wrote for them (one on a music project called All Messed Up and another that was a photo essay collaboration with Wendy Schreier) in The 25 Best Milwaukee Record Stories of 2015.
In the post previous to this one, I also described what a great honor it was that my book Monster Hunters was selected by Loren Coleman of CryptoZoo News as the top pick in his Best Cryptozoology Books of 2015 list.
What’s up with 2016
I’ve got two major and two minor writing projects I’m working on in 2016. Outside of writing, I am also organizing a second Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Oct. 15-16, 2016, and hoping to help organize a Milwaukee Krampus Night on Dec. 5, 2016.
Major writing projects: I’m happy to say that my publisher, Chicago Review Press, has signed me up for a third non-fiction book. This has the working title The End and is about different predictions, preparations, and personalities relating to the end of the world as we know it. I also have a non-fiction book I am about 3/4ths done with that has a working title of Phantom Patriot, about an interesting person I met while working on my first book. My goal is to see some forward motion with it in 2016.
Minor projects: I want to self publish a mini-book/ e-book that is an expanded version of an article I wrote for the Riverwest Currents titled Riverwest Ghost Stories. It’ll premiere at the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference. I’m also casually working on my first novel, based on experiences from my young adult life. It might graduate from minor to major project in the future, but for now I’m just having fun writing random parts of the story for a couple hours every Sunday. I’ll post more info on this project here on the blog after I hit the 15,000 word mark. For now I will just say that the working title for the book is Brady Street Diner.
I have a couple other things in the works, too, I’ve been working on a comic book/ graphic novel with David Beyer Jr. titled Ballyhoo. We’re trying to figure out where to go with it and hopefully it gets forward traction soon. I’m also collaborating on a story with Tim Demeter and I think you’ll be hearing more about that soon.
Happy New Year!
This is a wonderful Christmas present and a great honor personally and as a writer. Every year author, researcher, teacher, and museum director Loren Coleman selects his list of top books on the subject of cryptozoology, the science of examining unknown animals.
My book Monster Hunters took the top slot on “The Best Cryptozoology Books of 2015.”
There are many interesting titles and authors on the list. You can read it here: www.cryptozoonews.com/czbks-2015/
At the end of the post you can find out how to support the International Cryptozoology Museum, one of my favorite places on earth.
Many thanks to Loren and the ICM staff. I am humbled and flattered by this recognition.
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Illinois Paranormal Conference in Rockford, Illinois. It was about what I expected. Some of the talks were quite interesting. Some maybe went over my head. It was a relaxing environment for me. I gave a little talk about my book, Monster Hunters. I hung out, sold a few books, talked to people.
The headlining speaker was Rosemary Ellen Guiley. She’s written about 65 (!) books on paranormal topics over her career. If you’re really, really into the paranormal subjects, you know who she is. If you’re not, you don’t.
One interesting thing she talked on was a supernatural race known as the Djinn. The French translated this into a more well known word in the Western world: Genie. It turns out that in Middle Eastern cultures, they really do try to trap the genies, or Djinn (pronounced kind of like GIN) into jars, which is where we get our “Genie in a bottle” imagery. Guiley says Djinn really do exist and can be helpful, tricksters, or just straight up evil. They can sometimes grant wishes, but sometimes there is a catch involved.
* * *
I took a walk from Shorewood over to the east side today. It felt good, but by the time my walk expelled me onto Brady Street, I was hot, overheated. I walked into the Walgreen’s on Brady. I went into the bathroom in Walgreen’s and splashed cold water on my face. This hair, I thought, running my hand through it, too hot, too thick. I looked at my face in the mirror.
I’m old, I thought, looking at myself. I’m dying. I wish I didn’t have this thick hair.
Back in the store, I grabbed a bottle of juice from the cooler and began wandering to the checkout. Too hot, I thought.
Walking through the aisle, I caught the eye of a young woman, a short, barely 5-foot elf-like rocker girl. She stared at me, wide eyed. She was wearing a ripped up Led Zeppelin shirt, nose ring, lots of tattoos (Betty Boop and a sugar skull, and others, I didn’t want to gape at her), ripped jean shorts, red Chuck Taylors. She looked frantic. She stared at me, wide-eyed, then asked, “excuse me, but can I ask a big favor of you?”
Oh great, I thought. Brady Street, where I’ve been propositioned a hundred times by people with weird, needy requests. I was jaded and braced myself for a proposition of drugs, or more likely, a query for drug money disguised as something else.
“I just need ten dollars to get to a remote hospital where my grandma is dying, etc.”
“Sure, what’s up?” I asked her.
“My hair model flaked out on me, and I need to do a haircut for my apprenticeship! Would you like a free haircut?”
I stared at her.
“Uh…yes,” I said. She clapped her hands, they fluttered lightly.
“Oh thanks!” She said.
* * *
She puffed on a cigarette as we walked to the salon where she was an apprentice, a half block away. She got me into a salon chair and then asked me my name.
“Tea,” I said.
“Wait, what?” she asked, grabbing her spray bottle. “Taylor,” she said her name was. But because of her name and her short height, she had acquired the nickname of “Tiny T.” How odd is that? One of the Djinn trickery, I had learned at the paranormal conference, is that they appear to you as something familiar. So if you lived in Victorian England, for example, a Djinn will appear to you as a Victorian person. If you are a farmer, a Djinn might appear as a strange farmhand or maybe a horse. Some of them look like sexy belly-dancers, some look like hideous gargoyles. They play off your mind, your needs, familiarity.
If you spent your youth living on the east side of Milwaukee, maybe a Djinn would be an elf-like (“I used to have a pixie cut” Tiny T admitted on her own hairstyles as I sat in her chair) rocker with a nose ring and a ripped up Led Zep shirt.
Tiny T gave me a great haircut. Her instructor complimented her on the style and on her gumption to go out on Brady Street to wrangle a hair model. Tiny T had taken her assignment seriously and was passionate about being a good hair stylist. I shook her hand and walked down the street quite happy with the random turn of events and my new, free haircut. Was Tiny T a mystical Djinn? No, I would say not. The heat, the talk on the Djinn made me think a delirious thought. But it all felt a little magical, anyway.
Well, the big June thing was the official publication date of my second non-fiction book, Monster Hunters. Obviously, that bumped my word count up quite a book. The book is approximately 90,048 words (although that is the unedited final draft).
Other than that, a couple short articles for M and my “Monster of the Month” column. Promoting the book and the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference took up a lot of time this month. Monster Hunters, by the way, is available in paperback and e-book form here: http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/monster-hunters-products-9781613749814.php
17. Monster Hunters: On the Trail With Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators, publication date: June 1, Chicago Review Press.
18. “On Tap: WMSE Spins Its Own Record,” M magazine, June 2015
19. “Bowling Documentary Scores a 300,” M magazine, June 2015
20. “Monster of the Month: the Beast of Bray Road,” Forces of Geek, June 9, 2015
Total 2015 word count: 107,215
(In Chronological Order) 1. The Pepper Spray Incident
Date: Oct. 9, 2011 Book and relevant chapter: Heroes in the Night, Chapter 13: “People Fighting and Superheroes and Pepper Spray and…I Don’t Know”
Oh boy. In 2011 I was starting to do a wrap on Heroes in the Night. I felt the book was lacking a good action sequence, and I sure did get that when I paid a visit to Real Life Superhero Phoenix Jones and his Rain City Superhero Movement. I joined Phoenix out on patrol for two nights. On the second night, we saw a fight break out in a parking lot underneath a freeway ramp. Phoenix broke it up by pepper spraying the combatants (Russians, it turned out) and all hell broke loose. In the terrifying 15 minutes or so that followed, Phoenix got hit over the head repeatedly with a high heel shoe, I was punched in the face by a pepper spray soaked Russian, an attempt was made to run us over with a SUV, and at one point I was certain the angry party was searching for a gun to shoot at us. The police showed up and placed Phoenix Jones under arrest and by the next day major news networks around the world had picked up on the story. As the squad car drove off with Phoenix Jones, I realized that my hands were shaking uncontrollably from the adrenaline overdose.
2. Bobby Mackey’s Music World Date: Sept. 22-23, 2013 Book and relevant chapter: Monster Hunters, Chapter 14: “The Case of the Haunted Honky-Tonk”
This episode has a lot of back story to it. First there is the lore of the place itself (Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder, Kentucky), which is long yarn to begin with. Like any good ghost story, I found the legend has been exaggerated and embellished over time, but some of the gruesome past is also based in fact. The next thing to consider is that the group I followed, the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee, had already done an eventful investigation at the location. I don’t want to spoil too much of the chapter, but one group member had an eerie encounter I witnessed where she had some sort of paralysis or possession and apparently experienced some temporary blindness. Added to the other frightening experiences the group had and the creepy atmosphere in general, it made for a strange and scary night.
My second strange night while working on Monster Hunters happened while I was camping out with Jim Sherman of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) at a farm in central Michigan named “Isabella.” The couple who owned the farm had a number of weird experiences and had contacted BFRO. Jim had been out there to investigate and recorded some strange vocalizations. I wasn’t sure what to think. The last night of the trip I was scared out of my wits by a bloodcurdling screech outside of my tent. I slowly unzipped the tent door, certain I would be face-to-face with an aggressive Bigfoot. Later analysis of the screech (caught on Jim’s audio recorder) determined it was an angry coyote, but I didn’t know that at the time. To make the night even weirder, Jim and I observed an odd light bouncing around the night sky. What was it? I don’t know, but it was quite unlike anything I had seen before.
4. Crashing the Phantom Patriot’s ATV
Date: May 22, 2015 Book and relevant chapter: Yet to be titled future book
Wow, where to begin on this one. Richard McCaslin aka the Phantom Patriot is a Real Life Superhero, conspiracy theorist, former stuntman, felon, comic book artist, political protestor, and guerrilla filmmaker. I’ve been in contact with him for almost 5 years and have slowly been working on a book about his life and the people, sub-cultures, and conspiracy theories his life has intersected with. I knew I needed to get down to his home environment (Pahrump, Nevada) to get some material, so I recently went down to visit him. While I was there, he asked if I would act in a short superheroes vs. conspiracy film he was writing and directing. Sure, I said. One of the scenes called for me driving his ATV down a desert embankment, and although my first take went smoothly, on the second take I hit a rut and crashed the ATV. I thought for sure I had broken my leg and maybe fractured several other body parts, but after slowly moving around, I found I was still in one piece. That was pretty frightening, but hey, I lived to see another day, right?
When I began work on Monster Hunters, I had a few ideas of people I’d like to meet and write about. My two major ideas were, man, I got to meet a group of local ghost hunters and follow them around. My other idea was, man, I got to meet the zen grandmaster of cryptozoology. Party A ended up being the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee. I found Party B in Loren Coleman, who has actively been pursuing cryptozoology since the 60s and is the founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum.
Visiting his museum while working on the book was a fantastic experience and he humored me by allowing me to interview him as I wandered around taking in the collection of unique artifacts.
Monster Hunters has begun to circulate and Loren got a copy this last week. He wrote a review on his website and I am extremely flattered and honored by it. He says I write with “humor, sensitivity, and insight,” but the best compliment by far is that he says: “Krulos’ first chapter will be mandatory reading for every new staff, and current & future docents/ volunteers at our museum, now.”
That is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m also pleased to say that arrangements are being made so copies of the book will be available at the International Cryptozoology Museum’s gift shop, so buy a copy when you stop in.
A huge thank you to Loren and the ICM staff!
Loren’s review is here: www.cryptozoonews.com/tea-review/
ICM website: cryptozoologymuseum.com/
Monster Hunters ordering info: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/monster-hunters-products-9781613749814.php
The second review for Monster Hunters is from trade publication Library Journal, founded in 1876 by Melvil “I Invented the Dewey Decimal System” Dewey and has “the highest circulation of any librarianship journal,” according to Wikipedia. Thanks for the recommendation!
Library Journal—May 1, 2015
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to enter the world of ghost hunters, ufologists, cryptozoologists, and demon hunters, Krulos’s ( Heroes in the Night) new book provides an introduction to a number of the unusual and fascinating people who work in these fields. In almost every chapter, the author introduces someone in a unique field starting with Loren Coleman, who founded the International Cryptozoology Museum. Looking at these areas of expertise through the eyes of those devoted to them offers a different perspective to this narrative, allowing it to be more personal than others about these subjects. For instance, hearing that “Bigfooters often possess a seething hatred for one another” is both funny and telling. While Krulos writes with some humor, he also shows a keen interest into these various subjects and has a strong respect for those who are consistently searching for answers. VERDICT: This work is bound to be fascinating to those already interested in these fields and even to readers who are seeking an easy way to learn about people who work in these specialized areas. Recommended for public libraries.
I’m also glad to say that website Cult of Weird did a Q and A with me about Monster Hunters. Cult of Weird is a website specializing in news of the macabre, creepy, unusual, spooky, and just plain weird, so I fit right in. They are also one of the fine media sponsors of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference.
You can find the interview here: http://www.cultofweird.com/books/monster-hunters-tea-krulos/
Monster Hunters on Goodreads:www.goodreads.com/book/show/23398567-monster-hunters
On Amazon: LINK
On Chicago Review Press’s website: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/monster-hunters-products-9781613749814.php
I was honored to be a guest speaker at Ripon College (in Ripon, WI), a small town college near Fon Du Lac, and the place where Harrison Ford first took an acting class. Professor Marc Eaton teaches a “Sociology of the Paranormal” class there, and decided to take a few days discussing Real Life Superheroes in addition to ghosts, UFOs, ESP, and cryptozoology.
The class was assigned to read some chapters of my book, Heroes in the Night, and last Friday they were paid a visit by The Watchman, a RLSH and star of some of the selected material they read. I drove up this morning with Wendy and ran through my RLSH slideshow, talked briefly on my upcoming book Monster Hunters and the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, and answered a few questions. No one fell asleep!
Afterward, I joined Marc and three students for coffee at the campus Starbucks and talked more on the book and one of the class assignments, which was creating a superhero persona.
This is the second time (that I know of) that Heroes in the Night has been part of class curriculum. Madeline Smith teaches a module class titled “Vigilante Nation: Vigilantism and Violence in American History and Culture” through the University of Hull in Yorkshire, England. The class featured reading an interview Smith conducted with me, as well as reading from the book for a section of the class on RLSH.
I certainly hope this continues and that more classes take time to read the book. If any teachers or administrators are interested, feel free to contact me!
Heroes in the Night is still available here:www.chicagoreviewpress.com/heroes-in-the-night-products-9781613747759.php
You can pre-order Monster Hunters here: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/monster-hunters-products-9781613749814.php?page_id=21
Booklist is a publication of book reviews produced by the American Library Association “and is widely viewed as offering the most reliable reviews to help libraries decide what to buy and to help library patrons and students decide what to read, view, or listen to,” according to their website.
Well then, thanks for giving this nice review of Monster Hunters!
Booklist—May 15, 2015
The most important thing you need to know about this book is that it doesn’t take a stance on the existence of UFOs, lake monsters, the chupacabra, ghosts, or Bigfoot. Proving or disproving that these phenomena exist or don’t isn’t his mission. His plan is simply to follow the investigators, or “monster hunters,” as he calls them, along with some skeptics, to see what makes them tick, to find out why they believe so passionately in what they are doing. Krulos introduces us to some pretty interesting people: the curator of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine; the founder of the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee; a noted skeptical investigator; and many others. The author treats his subjects with respect and courtesy (even when there are opportunities to ridicule or dismiss them); his approach seems to be not that these are wacky people with weird beliefs, but that these are ordinary people with beliefs most of us don’t understand—all of which adds up to an informative book for skeptics and believers alike.
— David Pitt
Monster Hunters on Goodreads:www.goodreads.com/book/show/23398567-monster-hunters
On Amazon: LINK
On Chicago Review Press’s website: www.chicagoreviewpress.com/monster-hunters-products-9781613749814.php