The Devil in the Cornfield by Zelia Edgar

We’re thrilled to give you a Halloween treat– the winners of the Cult of Weird/ Milwaukee Paranormal Conference short fiction contest. We absolutely thrilled that all of our story winners (and honorable mentions) have been narrated by the extremely talented Darren Marlar on his Weird Darkness program. Light some candles and listen here:

And check out more Weird Darkness programs/ submit stories to Darren here: www.WeirdDarkness.com

We had 40 entries in our contest, a lot of unique and chilling takes. The only contest requirements were a 1500 word limit, a paranormal theme, and Wisconsin as a backdrop. Our top three stories were separated by a mere one point margin. Here is our first place contest winner.

yessica_devilillustration

Illustration by Xeroine Illustration

The Devil in the Cornfield

By Zelia Edgar

Forgive me for saying that the following events occurred when I was young, only fifteen in the autumn of ’64, living with my family a twenty-minute drive from Platteville.  I suppose it was October of that year when these things happened, as I sat alone on our front porch, waiting for my father to come in for the night.  The moon was low, casting an awkward, amber brightness upon the purple clouds, and the scarecrow that stands in the nearest cornfield was a dark, gaunt thing against the sky.

I noticed a bright light eclipsing the clouds and moon, swallowing up my vision.  As it cleared away, I saw a black car parked down by the barn, and a man, I thought, standing there next to the scarecrow, another shadow on the face of the horizon.  It certainly was an odd thing, for we expected no visitors, and seldom had passers-by.  Still, I wandered over to him.  If I had been in more of a mind to think, I would have thought it strange how tall he was – for the scarecrow stands exactly seven feet high, and this stranger was at most three inches shorter than it.

I approached him and said, “Hello.”

He only stood there, gazing deep into the stitched-up eyes of the scarecrow, and I took the opportunity to more fully study him.  As I said before, he was tall and spindly, his pant legs several inches short, while his sleeves hung almost to the knuckles of his spider-like hands.  It was his face, though, that struck me the funniest; his nose and chin were exceedingly narrow and pointed, in contrast with his large, globe-like cranium and huge dark eyes.  It was a full minute before he spoke.

“Did your father vote for the current president?” he droned.

“No,” I said, and explained that it was the Kennedy assassination that put him in office.

“Good,” he pulled a new notebook out of his pocket.  After awhile of scribbling, he looked up and gestured to the bluffs behind the house, “Limestone.”

“Yes.”

“Who lives in your house?” he grinned.

“My parents, brother and sister, me.”

“May I come in?”

It was at that question the terror struck and I, forsaking politeness, ran full tilt away from him and into the house.  Looking out the kitchen window, I scanned the horizon for the black-garbed man, but saw only the scarecrow, pointing at nothing.

I didn’t tell anyone about him.

It was early November that the change first happened – in the empty cornfields, it was as though the land was being burnt in giant patterns of dots and spirals.  My father thought it was strange, but, since no harm was really done, didn’t inform anyone about it.

Lights began to appear in the sky over our farm, from pulsating blobs of purple iridescence to metallic, flashing things that spun and disappeared.  The house itself, too, developed a mind of its own; objects were stacked, shattered, and shifted almost everyday.  My mother referred to it as a poltergeist, and urged us not to discuss it for fear of giving it power.  On the other hand, my father, who up until then had been nothing but practical in his life, said he heard voices from outer space, friendly travelers who told him he had been chosen.  My brother and sister responded, for the most part, with silence.

Winter that year brought terror – my brother came tearing into the house one afternoon, screaming incoherently about the angel of death, the plague of Egypt.  Piecing together where he had been, my father and I walked out to the cow pasture in the new snow, unprepared for what we would see.

Every last cow was dead, their empty ribcages yawning at the sky, all their organs stolen with surgical precision.  The unnerving thing, though, stalking amid the carcasses in the fresh snow, was the complete lack of blood – from the snow, from the bodies, from anything, like something had taken it before performing its unspeakable robbery.  Things only disintegrated from there.

How can I explain a decade of hell?  Every year, the new crops were burnt in the strange radial designs, every new animal was slaughtered and bloodless weeks after its arrival.  The house was turned into a representation of madness, items constantly moving, meaningless messages scrawled across walls and tables, doors ceaselessly slamming.  One day, a window, not just the pane, but the actual window, the opening in the wall, moved over two feet.

My family, too, was shattered.  Shortly after the mutilations of the cattle my father, convinced men from Venus had chosen him as the leader of a new age, ran off with a young blonde that called herself Astraix.  I don’t know where they went.  My brother over the course of years descended into a paranoia of things he called the bright doctors that, he claimed, took him in the night.  One morning I woke with bizarre burning on my face, and that same morning, he was gone.  My mother, inconsolable with the loss of her son, and convinced that demons were to blame, made the mistake of discussing the matter with a local priest.  She was promptly sent to the institute at Mendota.

My sister and I were the only two left.  She claimed no visions, no visitations, as a matter of fact, she never spoke a word of what she thought about anything.  We lived this way, silent in the face of insanity for two years, when, without warning, she left me, one July day, to live with an uncle of ours.  Before she left, I asked her why.

“What are you waiting for?” she asked, “None of them are coming home.  We need to get out, move on.”

I felt I couldn’t leave, like a ghost that haunts its grave, and said, “But after all this time – what was it that finally got you?”

She looked out across the dead fields, and said, “I know what took the kids from the Belmont mound.”

Those were the last words she ever said to me.

It was October of that year, 1974, and I was then 25 years of age, that I wandered the empty cornfields alone.  I had half a mind to jump off the bluff, but didn’t.  I looked up at the night, burning iridescent purple, heard the doors slamming in the empty house, and then I saw it – the scarecrow, still standing, still beating at the sky.  I stood next to it, gazed in its faded face, and saw myself in it, a thing thrashing at the unseen, beaten by the unknown, and I remembered that night ten years prior, that strange, grinning man that I had refused to let in my house, and I screamed.

“You hear me you stupid thing, you tall spindly black-clothed man with crooked fingers – you devil in the cornfield, come out!  I don’t know why you did this to us, or what it is you wanted, but take it!  Come into my house!  I don’t know what else you could possibly do!”

I was momentarily blinded.  I thought maybe it was the light, coming to take me to where it took my brother, but I was mistaken – a black, unmarked car rolled through the fields.  The black clothed man got out, walked up to me, held up his wrist as though looking at a watch, and said, “What is your time cycle?”

“I don’t know,” I confessed.

He walked over to the house, and stopped at the open doorway.

“Well?” I said, “What’s stopping you?”

“You need to let me in.”

I walked in before him, and said, “Come in.”

We sat in the living room, and he proceeded to ask me all sorts of questions – strange questions, regarding scars and names and what model of car everyone I ever knew had.  I answered to the best of my ability, as he took everything down in another new-looking notebook.  When he told me he was finished, he said, “May I take a photograph of you?”

“Yes,” I said, “Whatever you like.”

There was a flash of light, and I woke up in my bed the next morning.

You will forgive me for saying these things happened when I was just a young man, for the truth is I am only fifteen, and it is only autumn of ’64, and I live with my parents and brother and sister twenty minutes from Platteville.  And this is where I am confused, for I fell asleep alone in ’74, and woke up to my family in ’64, and I have lived ten years that are forgotten, and have seen a future that is no more.

What I do know, is that if I ever see that thing, that man, that devil in the cornfield, he is welcome in my house, for I feel now that he did not cause the evil that came, only was prevented from preventing it.


Please support the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference and our programming by making a donation today. More info: www.gofundme.com/savempc

The Fortune Teller of Rhinelander by Marlin Bressi

We’re thrilled to give you a Halloween treat– the winners of the Cult of Weird/ Milwaukee Paranormal Conference short fiction contest. We absolutely thrilled that all of our story winners (and honorable mentions) have been narrated by the extremely talented Darren Marlar on his Weird Darkness program. Light some candles and listen here:

And check out more Weird Darkness programs/ submit stories to Darren here: www.WeirdDarkness.com

We had 40 entries in our contest, a lot of unique and chilling takes. The only contest requirements were a 1500 word limit, a paranormal theme, and Wisconsin as a backdrop. Our top three stories were separated by a mere one point margin. Here is our second place contest winner.

chart_of_the_hand

The Fortune Teller of Rhinelander

By Marlin Bressi

“Such a peculiar little girl,” her grandmother would say whenever Rosey went outside to play. While other neighborhood children would jump rope, play hide and seek along the marshy banks of the Pelican River or sell lemonade from a stand on the sidewalk, Rosey Palm would wrap herself in her grandmother’s paisley shawl, put on her shower cap and tell the fortunes of those who strolled down the quaint, tree-lined thoroughfare of Randall Avenue.

Rosey’s fascination with palmistry developed as a result of her own misfortune at a young age; when she was only three years old she had yanked the tail of Mr. Stanley’s ornery beagle, Samson, who responded by snapping his fangs at the girl’s fingers. Rosey was left with a jagged pink scar which ran down the side of her palm, crooked and meandering like the course of the Pelican, which she could see from her bedroom window.

The scar fascinated the young girl, as well as the lines that zig-zagged across her palm like highways on a flesh-toned road map. While other children were interested in games and toys, Rosey became fascinated with the human hand. She would spend entire afternoons at the town library reading about fingerprints, fingernails, and any other subject related to the hand. Her favorite subject, however, was palm reading.

Rosey’s grandmother was dismayed about the girl’s interest in fortune telling. “If your mother and father were still alive, they would surely not find such behavior appropriate for a young girl,” Rosey’s grandmother would say. Nonetheless, she allowed the girl to read palms and tell fortunes and costume herself like a gypsy princess, as long as she stayed within sight of the house.

One quiet and uneventful mid-summer afternoon, Rosey absconded with her grandmother’s folding card table and set up a fortune telling booth on the sidewalk in front of the house. Her grandmother had gone downtown to buy groceries, but Rosey didn’t think she would object to her borrowing the table. The passersby were more than happy to give Rosey a quarter for a palm reading, since they had a soft spot in their hearts for the little girl who, at such a tender age, had endured so much hardship.

Before long, a woman came down the street, her natural beauty concealed behind horn-rimmed glasses, and she was fashionably dressed in a floral dress and white gloves. Rosey immediately liked the woman, and hoped that she could talk her into a palm reading.

“Beautiful afternoon, isn’t it?” the woman smiled as she neared Rosey and her makeshift fortune telling booth.

“Yes, ma’am,” the young girl replied. “My name is Rosey Palm, and I can tell you your fortune for a quarter.”

The woman with the glasses chuckled. “That’s a tempting offer, young lady. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time. I’m waiting for the bus to Milwaukee and before it arrives I wanted to see the house where I grew up.”

“You grew up on Randall Avenue?” asked Rosey, excited to make the acquaintence of a native Rhinelander, and one who appeared to have gone on to bigger and better things. Rosey supposed that she might be an actress or singer; they were the only types of women who wore those lovely, long white gloves.

“Yes. Right there is where I grew up,” the woman replied, pointing to a white house with cheerfully-painted red shutters.

“That’s my house!” exclaimed Rosey, her mouth agape in astonishment. “I live here with my grandmother. I moved here last year, after…. after, my parents passed away.”

The woman in glasses gave Rosey a sympathetic stare. “I’m sorry to hear that, my dear,” she said. “It must be terribly difficult for you.”

“I suppose,” replied Rosey. “But I make the best of it. So, you must have been the one who lived in this house before me and Grandma?”

The woman didn’t hear the question; she was gazing vacantly at the house, which caused her expression to change into one of sadness. Rosey asked her what was wrong.

“Nothing is wrong, dear,” she said. “I’m just remembering things. Things that happened long ago, yet are as fresh in my mind as if they just happened today.”

Her statement, along with the hint of sadness in her voice, aroused Rosey’s curiosity. “What kind of things? Did something bad happen to you when you lived in my house?”

“Something very bad, unfortunately,” the woman replied.  She took a moment to compose herself, and then told the young fortune teller her story. “I was playing outside, when a man came up to me and said he was from the water company, and that he needed to come into the house and check on the pipes in the basement. There was no one else home, so I let him inside.” She paused. “He did some awful things to me.” The woman’s voice trailed off as she recalled the horrendous experience.

“What kind of things?”

The woman in glasses shook her head and told Rosey that she was far too young to understand, and that she didn’t want to frighten the young girl with her story.

“Don’t be afraid, though. They caught the man and he went to jail for a very long time. I only wish I could have done things differently, and perhaps it wouldn’t have happened the way it did. But I was young and didn’t know any better. Nobody thinks of such terrible things happening in a town like this.”

“What did the man look like?” asked Rosey. She was deeply interested in hearing the rest of the woman’s story. She had read many books about crime in the library, in the books about fingerprints which she pored over like a student of criminology.

“He was a tall man, in a gray suit and a black fedora. He– ”

“What’s wrong?”

The woman took off her glove in order to glance at her watch. “Nothing, dear. I just realized that my bus will be here soon and I must leave. It was very nice meeting you, Rosey,” she said, extending her ungloved hand to the girl for a handshake.

Rosey shook her hand, noticing the pink jagged scar on the woman’s palm. Rosey watched the woman disappear around the corner, and was still grasping the strangeness of the incident when she turned around and saw a man walking toward her. He was wearing a gray suit and a black fedora.

Please support the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference and our programming by making a donation today. More info: www.gofundme.com/savempc

Thinning the Herd by Eric Montag

We’re thrilled to give you a Halloween treat– the winners of the Cult of Weird/ Milwaukee Paranormal Conference short fiction contest. We absolutely thrilled that all of our story winners (and honorable mentions) have been narrated by the extremely talented Darren Marlar on his Weird Darkness program. Light some candles and listen here:

And check out more Weird Darkness programs/ submit stories to Darren here: www.WeirdDarkness.com

We had 40 entries in our contest, a lot of unique and chilling takes. The only contest requirements were a 1500 word limit, a paranormal theme, and Wisconsin as a backdrop. Our top three stories were separated by a mere one point margin. Here is our third place contest winner.

germanwoodcut1722

Thinning the Herd

By Eric Montag

My name is Harry Swinton, and when I went looking for Leonard Crowley, I was Police Chief Swinton. My youngest brother, Isaac, was a volunteer deputy, and he went with me. So did my younger brother Carl, a retired school teacher who had moved to the Northwoods.

Isaac owned a successful taxidermy business. He called one evening to tell me that Mr. Crowley, an Ill-Annoyan with a nearby cabin, had brought him a buck’s head to mount. He told me that he was certain that something had gnawed through the deer’s neck to separate the head from the body. He had even found five puncture wounds at the base of the deer head, and that the arrangement of these wounds suggested that whatever had done the gnawing had a thumb. He said, “Something held that deer down and chewed through its neck.”

And further, he also told me that he didn’t like the looks of Mr. Crowley. Said the old guy looked like a nut, and it might not be a bad idea to stop by Crowley’s cabin and do a friendly check-up. Just to remind him that he wasn’t in a lawless territory. Isaac even got our brother Carl involved. Each got the other wound up with theories about Crowley torturing animals, or running some kind of dog fighting scheme.

I told them that I’d go myself. It wasn’t the first time I’d done such a thing to get a good look around a place. Isaac went on badgering me, and reminded me that I was the only full-time officer in town, and it wasn’t smart for me to go alone. I told Isaac that he could ride along in the cruiser and wait in the car while I did the talking. He agreed. And then he invited Carl. Both agreed to wait in the cruiser.

I knew which cabin Crowley owned, and we went there. I parked behind Crowley’s car, a black Lexus with Illinois plates and tinted windows that looked out of place in the middle of the woods.  It was damn cold that day, with a biting wind that made my eyes water and nose burn. But that didn’t stop my brothers from joining me as I walked up to the cabin door. I had just enough time to cuss at them before the cabin door opened.

It was my first good look at Leonard Crowley. I had never seen him before. He was tall, maybe six four, with gray hair pulled back in a loose tail behind his head. He was wearing jeans that were tore up on his left side, and a flannel shirt that looked like it had been put on by someone who was just learning to put on shirts. There were buttons, but some were unbuttoned and some were buttoned wrong. Parts of his skin showed. He flashed us a grin that looked friendly from farther back and descended the stairs of his tiny porch. He was a little older than me, maybe mid sixties, but he moved smoothly, like there were oiled machine parts beneath his skin. “I help you?” he asked as we approached each other.

I introduced myself and told him that I had gotten some reports from hunters about a pack of wolves or wild dogs in the area harassing and killing animals. I asked him if he had seen any evidence of that.

As he approached, I could smell him. Even with the wind, I could smell wet dog. Only one thing smells like wet dog, and that’s wet dog. “I haven’t seen anything of the kind,” Crowley said. He was still smiling, except his smile looked less friendly. More like a gash in his face. Despite several days of beard growth, I could see that the corners of his mouth were raw.

I told him that I assumed he was a hunter, and I’d just come to warn him about potential wolves. Then I asked if he had any dogs that might get hurt by a pack of wolves. He didn’t answer me right away. Instead, he turned his smile to Isaac. Crowley was close now, and I could see his eyes. They were yellow. I wondered what kind of guy wears yellow contacts. “I am a hunter,” he said, “but I’ve got no dogs. I hate dogs.” I didn’t like how Crowley was looking at my brother.

“What do you shoot?” Isaac asked.

“Whatever’s handy,” Crowley said. “Aren’t you the owner of that little shop that I was in yesterday? Isaac, right? Isaac Swinton. And you two are Swintons, too.” He nodded like he had just told a little joke. “Three Swinton brothers, come all this way out to the woods to see me. How about that?”

Isaac crossed his arms in front of him as the wind picked up. “Just checking up. For your safety, Mister Crowley.”

Crowley nodded again, and turned back to me. The wind didn’t seem to bother him at all. It flapped the loose flannel around his body, but he didn’t so much as shiver. “Perhaps you three would like to come inside? We can talk about all this business where it isn’t so cold.”

“No,” Carl said. I turned to him, and saw that he was staring over at the edge of the clearing. There wasn’t too much snow on the ground to tell that there were dead animals over there. A deer, a cow, and something else that had either black or dark brown fur. From where I stood, it looked like a small bear. Or maybe a large bear. I wondered what in the hell was a bear doing out in winter.

Crowley followed Carl’s gaze. “The cold gets animals great and small. I found that cow there, froze to death. Must have wandered away from its herd. Meat’s probably okay.” It looked like the thought of a cow freezing to death amused him, and I decided to get my brothers out of there. Isaac, the fool, had left his gun in the cruiser, Carl had no gun at all, and I did not like Leonard Crowley one tiny bit. I told him that we had others to check in with, and thanked him for his time. Then he stuck a hand out for me to shake.  I didn’t realize until I had already taken it that my gun was hanging on my right side, and it would be unreachable if Crowley didn’t let my hand go. He did let it go, but before he did, he bent toward me, and sniffed. He sniffed me, and thanked us for stopping by to warn him. I remember that sniffing sound very well. I hear it in my nightmares now.

We left. On the way back to town, I asked Carl and Isaac what they made of Leonard Crowley. They both agreed that he was “odd,” but Carl reminded us that being odd was not a criminal offense. And he didn’t think that Mr. Crowley was into animal torture at all. He suggested that maybe Crowley was just a man who was passing off dead animals as hunting trophies. Isaac, the one who had gotten us all involved to begin with, agreed. He even said that he was probably wrong about the puncture marks. Probably just sloppy knife work, and not worth pursuing further. We should drop it.

That was the last we ever talked about it, the three of us. We came face to face with something evil that day, and we looked away and pretended it wasn’t there. Crowley had been completely without fear before us, and we had turned tail and not looked back. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I am sure that he came to the Northwoods just to see us. Must have heard about three little Swinton brothers, and had to come see.

Carl didn’t have to live with that knowledge long. He died a month later. Heart attack while shoveling his driveway.

Isaac abruptly decided to close his taxidermy business. Didn’t even try to sell it, just packed up and left town. Told me he had the urge to move to a bigger city where there was more to do. Maybe live in an apartment building in downtown Minneapolis. And that’s what he did. Except that two months after moving, he vanished. I have not heard from him since.

I moved to Wausau, into the senior community that I live in now. There are lots of people around me, and I like that. But two nights ago, I woke up and saw a black Lexus parked in the parking lot. I could not go back to sleep. I stayed up last night to watch, and saw the Lexus again.

I’m going to stay inside and keep my gun handy, but I’m also going to write this down. Just in case.

Leonard Crowley.

Black Lexus.

Chicago, Illinois.

If you meet him, don’t look away.

Please support the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference and our programming by making a donation today. More info: www.gofundme.com/savempc

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2016 Report

By Tea Krulos, Milwaukee Paranormal Conference director

I want to start by thanking all the conference guest speakers, volunteers, vendors, attendees, everyone who participated in the event. I think it was a great conference and proud I was able to get so many wonderful people to work with me. We brought a few guest speakers– Loren Coleman, Katrina Weidman, Elizabeth Saint, Chase Kloetzke– to Milwaukee for the first time.

We worked hard to create an event that had cultural relevance and was accessible to both people heavily involved in paranormal research and people who were attending a conference like this for the first time.

I’m going to go through things day by day. I’m going to focus on the positive– and I’m glad to say there’s a lot. That being said, 2016 was a major learning experience for us and I think I realize a lot of ways we can do a really great but more cost effective event in the future.

Friday, October 14

There was some confusion in our advertising. Was this a 3 day or a 2 day event? It was a 2 day event with some pre-conference activity the night before. Some people apparently thought there was one price point: $75. Tickets actually ranged from $10-$75, the $75 being a ticket level that included a dinner party, 2 days of conference, Raven’s Ball, and a gift bag.

VIP Dinner Party

krulos

L-R: Keynote speaker Loren Coleman, conference director Tea Krulos, special guest Katrina Weidman

Our VIP dinner party was held at the Mitchell Park Pavilion on the Lagoon and was for conference guest speakers and people who paid for a VIP pass. It was a nice social event, a chance for guest speakers to meet each other and conference attendees. We had great food from a guest Chef and wonderful music from cellist Janet Schiff. VIP sales led to the event breaking even. Breaking even isn’t bad, but we were hoping the event would act as a fundraiser for other parts of the conference. It was such a good time, we would definitely consider doing something similar in 2017.

vipmary

Guest speaker Mary Marshall explains a mystery to her table.

Paranormal Social Mixer at 42 Ale House

42 Ale House is awesome, our DJ Max Holiday was awesome, thanks much to BR Productions and the Racine Paranormal Investigators for help setting up the party room. It was fun talking to people, attendance was lower than the big dance party we expected. Perhaps people were wisely resting up for the big day that followed.

Milwaukee Theater Investigation with Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Ghosts Third Ward Walking Tour

PIM did two investigation sessions Friday night, both of which were SOLD OUT. We hear there was strange activity captured– theater seats moving on their own and a ghostly toliet flush. We’ll pass on any evidence/ reports PIM puts out on investigation. Sounds like an intriguing night! Our friend Allison Jornlin’s Milwaukee Ghosts-Tours and Investigations also hosted Third Ward walking tours Friday and Saturday night, both also SOLD OUT.

Saturday, October 15

Big day number 1! So much going on, so let’s break it down room by room.

Vendor & Exhibition Hall

I thought the vendor floor looked really great, just what I envisioned– a great mix of authors, artists, investigation and tour groups, lots of stuff that defies categorization. We had 50 tables and a wide variety of people and interests represented. The ballroom was a nice facility for it.

vendor2

Our correspondents Kristan T. Harris and Cat Ries talk with special guest Butch Patrick, who signed autographs on the vendor floor Saturday. Photo by Amanda Lillian Photography.

vendor3

Astralfae was one of 50 vendors on our vendor floor. They sold charms, bath salts, and all sorts of good smelling stuff.  Photo by Amanda Lillian Photography.

vendor5

Guest speaker Jay Bachochin tabled with info on his group WPI Hunts the Truth, one of several paranormal investigation groups represented on the vendor floor. Photo by Amanda Lillian Photography.

mediatable

Our MPC-TV Live table livestreamed on Facebook and featured interviews between podcasters and other media interviewing conference guests. Here Kristin Ryan of Bloody Mary podcast interviews guest Katrina Weidman (Paranormal Lockdown).

Room 191

Saturday featured workshops by Brew City Paranormal, Ron Schaefer, Society for Anomalous Studies, and Dark Star Ministry. Lots of positive feedback, the room really worked out well.

dark

Dark Star Ministry had a great crowd for their “Ouija and Tarot: Occult Tools and the Paranormal” workshop.

Ballroom West

Everything went well in Ballroom West, and the room was often pretty full. We had presentations from Celeste Contreras, Kristan T. Harris as well as the “Best UFO Reports 2016” and “Searching for Wisconsin’s Sasquatch” panels.

ufopanel

First panel of the conference was a well attended “Best UFO Reports 2016” w/ Nick Roesler, Kevin Malek, and Chase Kloetzke.

kristan

Kristan T. Harris gives a “Hidden History of Giants” talk.

Wisconsin Room

Really solid and well attended presentations by Linda S. Godfrey, Allison Jornlin, Mary Marshall, Q and A w/ Katrina Weidman, The Roswell Debate, Loren Coleman.

allison

Allison Jornlin gave a well received “Milwaukee Forteana vol.II” talk and was awarded the 2016 Wisconsin Researcher of the Year Award.

katrina

Mike Huberty and Wendy Staats interviewed Katrina Weidman onstage and the audience was treated to some exclusive sneak peek footage of the upcoming Paranormal Lockdown Halloween Special!

debate

The Roswell Debate! It happened! Mark O’Connell (left) and Donald Schmitt engaged in a debate moderated by David Henning of Lakeland College (in the foreground). Many said it was much more civil than the Trump vs Clinton debates! Con director Tea Krulos will be writing an article on the debate in the near future.

loren

Keynote speaker Loren Coleman gave a presentation in Milwaukee for the first time. He gave con director Tea Krulos a great honor– a limited (only 20) replica of the International Cryptozoology Museum.

colemanaward

And we actually have an award for Loren! I was so overwhelmed rushing between 4 different rooms I forgot to get onstage to give Loren our first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be shipped out to him soon. Thanks for all of your work in the field of cryptozoology, Loren!

The Raven’s Ball

The Raven’s Ball after party at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center was a wonderful event. Attendance needed to be a bit higher, but the environment and performances were perfect. The Irish Center was great to work with and we’d love to do a similar event next year.

rb1

Special guests Sunspot opened the show. A lot of their songs fits into a paranormal theme so be sure to check out their music.

rb2

Quasimondo Theater did an AMAZING performance inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.”

rb3

Special surprise guest Mark Borchardt gave a dramatic reading of “The Raven” to go along with the performance.

rb4

Local folk group Gnarrenschiff teamed up for a performance with Tamarind Tribal Belly Dance.

rb6

rb10

Dead Man’s Carnival also rolled out some amazing performances.

rb7

Prof. Pinkerton and the Magnificents scorched it!

rb9

Lots of great costumes entered in a variety of categories. We were seriously impressed!

rb8

Head Judge Christen Johnson announces contestants. DJs Subspace closed the night out with dancing in the lounge. Skully Sati read tarot and Michele Blaylock did intuitive readings.

Sunday, October 16

Forest Home Cemetery Tour

foresthome

We were worried about rain, but it turned out to be a beautiful fall morning. Our volunteer Brooke coordinated check in and had a very positive report on the tour, which was SOLD OUT. We would definitely do this again next year and might offer a morning and afternoon tour instead of just one.

Vendor & Exhibition Hall

Day 2 saw a couple of new vendors switch in. Here’s some more photos from the vendor floor.

vendor6

American Science & Surplus. So much cool stuff, like Bigfoot Christmas tree ornaments.

vendor7

Creepy cool Grave Digger Candles.

soundbooth

The 88Nine Mystery Sound Booth was a fun, interactive experience. We are going to try to get the three listening station programs uploaded to our website so you can listen if you missed it.

Room 191

More great workshops from Nick Roesler, Mary Marshall, luna, and Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee.

marymarshall

Mary Marshall leads a workshop on “Ghost and Spirit Entities.”

Ballroom West

We did three panels: “Haunted Road Trip,” “Wisconsin’s Wildest Urban Legends,” “Yow! My Business is Haunted!” and also had a reading by the winners of the MPC/ Cult of Weird short fiction contest winners.

hauntedroadtrip

Mike Huberty leads the “Haunted Road Trip” panel w/ Lisa Von Buskirk, Mike Hoke, and Kathi Kresol.

urbanlegends

Tea Krulos moderates the “Wisconsin’s Wildest Urban Legends” panel with J.Nathan Couch, Valerie Kedrowski, Christina Rickman, and Charlie Hintz.

krampus

Minnesota Krampus made the most dramatic speaker entrance with a parade through the Union and vendor hall.

krampus2

Minnesota Krampus surprises one of our vendors from House of the Gypsy!

backroads

Back Roads Lore parked their paranormal adventure seeking hotrods outside the Union on Spaights Plaza for a meet and greet.

Wisconsin Room

A second day of great talks.

ursula

Ursula Bielski led talks in the Wisconsin Room with a presentation on her new book “Haunted Bachelors Grove.”

chad

Chad Lewis gave our first talk on Lake Monsters!

saint

Elizabeth Saint of Ghosts of Shepherdstown talked on her line of Ghostly Gadgets.

ghoststory

Deadgar Winter and Celeste Parker hosted the Ghost Story Open Mic, a chance forr people to share their own stories. Mike Nettesheim from Dark Star Ministry shared a hair-raising story to start off.

ghoststory2

Want to share a story? We’re doing another Ghost Story Open Mic on Oct.30 at Riverwest Public House. More info at the bottom of this post.

chase

Renowned UFO researcher Chase Kloetzke gave our final talk and was a fantastic note to close on.

MPC Film Fest

We followed Sunday with a small film fest at the Underground Collaborative. I’m going to admit there were organization problems that were on me. I tried to do too much this year. More on that in a minute. Attendance wasn’t great, but we had a small enthusiastic crowd and some great films. Thanks to Milwaukee Twisted Dreams Film Fest for helping run the show.

filmfestmpc

Stephen Milek from Milwaukee Twisted Dreams Film Festival helped lead Q and As. Here he talks to Jay Bachochin and Scott Markus about their film The Hidden Truth?

See more pictures from the conference here:https://www.facebook.com/milwaukeeparanormalconference/photos/

Important: 2017

Will a 2017 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference happen? I hope so, I really do. I think we are developing a fantastic network of people from all over the state and beyond, I think 2016 was a huge success despite some financial setbacks. We’ve already got some great ideas brewing about some things we would do the same and things should be done differently. But first, three VERY IMPORTANT things need to happen. None of these are optional:

  1. We need to raise funds to pay back money we owe for 2016. I need to be clear– this debt is not money I spent. I lost money, and that’s a different story. The money I need to fundraise is money I owe other people. So please help. There are a list of ways you can help below.
  2. We need a Board of Directors. I did most of the organization of the event this year and my personal life suffered greatly. In order to do it again I need a board of dedicated, hardworking people that can help me organize specific components of the conference. Some examples: Volunteer Coordinator, Vendor Hall Coordinator, Guest Services, Masquerade Ball Coordinator, Sponsorships. If point one on this list happens, we will be putting up a post about all the positions we are looking for and what they entail.
  3. We need a successful campaign to raise money in advance for 2017. I can not pay for advance costs (deposits on venues, printing, insurance, etc.) again next year. I just don’t have the means. So that means even more fundraising! The board of directors will have to determine how to accomplish such a task– a series of small fundraisers, benefit shows/ tours, sponsorships, bake sale, Sasquatch car wash, successfully pre-selling conference tickets, all of the above.Back to point one. Here’s how you can help us fundraise for our immediate debt:

    -We currently have a GoFundMe rolling. Please contribute: https://www.gofundme.com/savempc

    -We are doing an awesome MPC Fundraiser show Sunday, Oct.30 5-7pm at the Riverwest Public House:
    paraconfundraiser_flyergags_102316_f-page-001
    -Both the Singular Fortean Society and Terrestrial Tarot are generously helping us out by donating a percent of their profits to us. Thanks so much! Click on their names to go to their sites. If you’re interested in fundraising for us, let us know: milwaukeeparacon@gmail.com

    -Our awesome volunteer Marty is putting together a punk/metal benefit CD with a lot of awesome bands. Want to contribute? E-mail us at milwaukeeparacon@gmail.com and we’ll pass your message on to Marty. More details, including a release party TBA.

    -Last, go to our Square store and buy our merch. We got a little of everything left over: https://squareup.com/market/milwaukee-para-con

    mpc-2016-tshirts-1mpc-2016-tshirts-4mpc-2016-tshirts-5

I want to end by saying I hope the conference can go on. I appreciate everyone’s efforts to help. There are so many awesome people involved in a variety of capacities that seeing this end right when we’re really just getting going is a heartbreaking notion to me. With your help, we can return for a great event in 2017!

MPC at Haunted Central

MPC’s Tea Krulos and Allison Jornlin are Appearing at the Haunted Central Festivities this Weekend

hcbanner

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference director (and author of Monster Hunters) Tea Krulos and Allison Jornlin of Milwaukee Ghosts-Tours and Investigations (and recipient of the MPC 2016 Wisconsin Researcher of the Year Award) are both happy to be at Central Library for their “Haunted Central” festivities this weekend. Tea is giving a talk titled “Wisconsin Monster Sightings” and Allison will talk on “Milwaukee’s Most Famous Ghosts.” They’ll each give the same talk twice each day in Central’s Humanities Room, so you’ll have 4 chances to see them. Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, Oct.22, Humanities Room

6:30-7pm: Tea Krulos

7:15-7:45pm: Allison Jornlin

8-8:30pm: Tea

8:45-9:15pm: Allison

Sunday, Oct.23, Humanities Room

1:30-2pm: Allison

2:15-2:45pm: Tea

3-3:30pm: Allison

3:45-4:15pm:  Tea

There’s lots of other cool stuff going on at Haunted Central including activities, photo booths, crafting, a scream contest, a screening of The Blob, and a lot more. Check out more at: http://www.mpl.org/special_events_and_programs/libraryloud/

And Later That Evening…MPC is Also Teaming up with Sex Ed for Adults for a special, adult oriented presentation! @Riverwest Public House Cooperative (815 E. Locust St., MKE, 53212)

Sunday, October 23, 6pm/Free/ Must be 21 or older:Sex Ed For Adults and the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference are teaming up in October to host a one-night only event that is not to be missed!

Join us for “Unleashing Sacred Energies with Sex Magick” with featured presenters Christopher Lee Jensen of Anwar Firestorm and Vonnie Rich of Cackling Crones and Milwaukee Pagan Unity Council. They have been practicing witchcraft for over fifty years combined. Together they will be sharing the powerful secrets of Sex Magick, its history, safe practice, end results and controversies surrounding it.

mpc-2016-tshirts-4

We will have leftover conference merch available at a discount!

We have a fundraising effort underway to help MPC get out of debt so we can plan a 2017 event. Please contribute here: https://www.gofundme.com/savempc

Buy up merch, now at a discounted price: https://squareup.com/market/milwaukee-para-con

MPC Was Great, We Need Your Help, We’re Participating in Events this Week

krulosmic

Conference director Tea Krulos questions audience members on the legend of Haunchyville during the “Wisconsin’s Wildest Urban Legends” panel.

It is really hard for me to list just a few highlights of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference for me. There are just too, too many. I’m hoping to give you all a more detailed day by day report about all the awesome stuff that happened over the weekend next week, but first I need to ask you something: please help us out.

Putting on an event like this is very expensive. Right now we are hosting a GoFundMe campaign to help us out of the red. This money is not going in our pocket, it is being used to pay of things like venue and to pay back loans. We are off to a strong start today, but have a ways to go. Thank you to everyone who has contributed, every bit helps. Here’s the page: https://www.gofundme.com/savempc

Another way people can help support us is by buying merch. We have a fair amount of merch left over including t-shirts, tank tops, wooden buttons, stickers, prints, coffee mugs, and more. You can find it all on our Square store and get it shipped or arrange a pick up with us: https://squareup.com/market/milwaukee-para-con

I also want to plug a couple of events:

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference offers a lot of all ages programming, but we’re glad to be pairing up with Sex Ed for Adults to present an adult only “Unleashing Sacred Energies with Sex Magickwith featured presenters Christopher Lee Jensen of Anwar Firestorm and Vonnie Rich of Milwaukee Pagan Unity Council. It’s happening Sunday, October 23rd at the Riverwest Public House Cooperative (815 E. Locust St., MKE, 53212) 6pm / Must be 21 years old or older / Free
We will also be tabling with leftover conference merch, so stop in and buy some at a discount!
Facebook Event page:https://www.facebook.com/events/319209708455288/

Also, Tea Krulos and Allison Jornlin (winner of the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Wisconsin Researcher of the Year Award) will both have short talks as part of the Central Library’s “Haunted Central” activities this weekend. On Saturday, Oct. 22 from 5:57pm (official time for sundown) to 10pm, and Sunday, Oct.23 1-5pm the Central Library will have a variety of fun activities including a Sleepy Hollow photo booth, a screening of The Blob, mask making, displays, a screaming contest, and a stargazing session on the roof.

We’ll both be giving the same talk twice each day, so you’ll have 4 opportunities to see it.

More info: http://www.mpl.org/special_events_and_programs/libraryloud/

awardallison

Tea Krulos and Allison Jornlin

 

 

Paranormal Display is up at the Learning Commons @UWM’s Golda Meir Library!

golda_meir_library
This is such a cool addition to the con– between speakers walk over to the
Golda Meir Library-UWM (behind the Student Union) where they’ve set up a display of paranormal artifacts:
“Come check out our peculiar displays of paranormal books and materials in the glass cases of the Learning Commons! Feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end with our selection of chilling photographs, news articles, stories, and books. A big thank you to UWM Libraries Special Collections for providing the Learning Commons with some of the beautiful and bewitching materials that are available to you here at the library!”
Free and open to the public.

Be the Sharpest Dressed Paranormal Fan on the Block with an MPC T!

MPC 2016 Tshirts-1.jpg

2016 Logo Shirt $15 S-XL, $20 2x, 3x

mpc-2016-tshirts-5

Poster Print shirt, $25 ($30 2x, 3x)

mpc-2016-tshirts-3

Program cover art, $15 S-XL

mpc-2016-tshirts-4

Tank top, $15 S-XL

mpc-2016-tshirts-2

Timeless Chup logo, $22 S-XL ($27, 2x and 3x)

All shirts available at our merch table, cash or card. Thanks to all our gorgeous models– Cheyenne, Kavon, David, Courtney, and Garrett!

Milwaukee Paranormal Conference tickets available here: milwaukeeparacon.brownpapertickets.com

Enter the Raven’s Ball Costume Contest!

ravens_ball_letter

Our Saturday night after party is taking place Oct. 15 at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center (2133 W. Wisconsin Ave.) at 8pm. Admission is free with Two Day Super Pass or VIP pass or $8 advance (available at the conference) or $10 at the door.

We will have performances by Dead Man’s Carnival, Quasimondo Theater, Sunspot, Tamarind Tribal Belly Dance & Gnarrenschiff, and the Subspace DJs.

There will also be a costume contest (emceed by burlesque performer Raven McCaw) with prize packs in the following categories:

*Best Use of a Paranormal Theme

*Best Costume Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe 

*Best Steampunk Costume

*Best Costume Inspired by a TV Show, Cartoon, or Comic Book

*Best of Show

Your panel of judges: Head Judge and quizmaster Christen Johnson, fashion designer Miranda Kay Levy, Real Life Superhero and costume designer Razorhawk, art and fashion guru Michael Weiss, Ghosts of Shepherdstown star Elizabeth Saint, and Alcoholmanac editor Angie West!

Sponsored by Alcoholmanac

Buy your Milwaukee Paranormal Conference/ Raven’s Ball tickets here: milwaukeeparacon.brownpapertickets.com

Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/milwaukeeparanormalconference
Twitter: @MKEparacon #MKEparacon2016
Instagram: @paracon_mke