Milwaukee got a visit from Hollywood as Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on the classic CBS sitcomThe Munsters, had a booth set up at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference. Patrick posed for a few photos with fans while showcasing Herman Munster on his shirt. He was also selling and autographing photos and other Munsters memorabilia.
Just in time for Halloween, the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference drew in local lovers of everything eerie andhair-raising to UWM on October 15 and 16.
The event was held in the UWM Union where 50 vendors displayed their work between the Union Ballroom and Wisconsin Room. Guest speakers lectured and gave workshops in the Ballroom West and Room 191.
The overwhelming smell of incense filled the Union Ballroom where local venders and experts on the paranormal set up their tables. Everything from Bigfoot to ghouls were represented by their believers.
Videographer for the Old Baraboo Inn documentary, Ben Wydeven, explains that while he loves the genre, he’s still always skeptical with the paranormal.
“As opposed to zombies and vampires- that kind of stuff is definitely fiction, whereas ghosts and the supernatural it’s a little more believable than the other stuff, it kind of has a grey area,” said Wydeven.
Another believer of urban legends at the event was Jay Bachochin who is on the hunt for Sasquatch. Bachochin’s love for the paranormal started when he was 10 years old and experienced his first UFO sighting.
Now founder of WPI Hunts the Truth, Bachochin said that, during a February hike this year, he was questioning whether to continue his hunt when he saw a huge auburn figure flash past him and his daughter.
“I was ready to hang my backpack up and stop right there,” said Bachochin as he lost the twinkle in his eye that he had earlier when talking about Sasquatch.
For those who don’t believe in all things that go bump in the night, Celeste Contreras had a beautiful table set up with mini ofrendas that included brightly colored sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos. She also wore a flower headband with yellow and purple flowers, much like the marigolds used for the holiday.
Contreras was also a guest speaker at the event and found it exciting that Halloween in The United States is incorporating Dia de los Muertos more as the years go on. Instead of viewing it as people mocking Mexicans and their traditional holiday, Contreras said people need to educate everyone about both holidays.
“I’m just excited to see people talking about death just because it’s one of those things we’re all going to do and there’s no escaping it,” said Contreras.
Supernatural products available for purchase included candles made from real bones, numerous paranormal books and CDs with spooky sounds of ghosts caught on tape, Ouija boards and $5 tarot card “quickies” for the curious souls.
During the guest speaker and workshop events, speakers were able to have a more one-on-one experience with their audience about a specific topic.
Allison Jornlin gave a presentation on “Milwaukee Forteana vol. II” where she spoke about Charles Fort, the father of the paranormal. He was also responsible for the term forteana which loosely means a strange, naturally occurring phenomena such as when it rained frogs in Milwaukee in 1937.
Jornlin also told the audience about Milwaukee’s connection with the film The Exorcist. A Father Theophilus Riesinger was involved in an exorcism in 1928 called the Earling possession that involved a woman who came from Milwaukee. This woman was the inspiration behind the film’s vomiting of pea soup, levitating and hanging from the ceiling to be pulled down and crawling of a foreign object under the skin.
In a dreams workshop, Ron Schaefer told his audience that we dream in symbols with our subconscious. He encouraged everyone to start a dream journal in order to be able to connect with one’s subconscious and beyond.
When Schaefer opened the floor for audience members to tell him about their reoccurring or odd dreams, he made it a point to tell them that he’s not analyzing their dreams.
“Don’t read those books that are 10,000 dreams analyzed, those are horse s**t,” said Schaefer along with a laugh from the crowd. “The best person who can analyze you is you.”
The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Director, Tea Krulos, is the author of a non-fiction book titled Monster Hunter. Krulos had the idea of a small conference when he wanted to present people and subject matter that related to his book. After the success and following that the first conference in June 2015 brought, Krulos knew he had to follow up with an event twice as big for the second year.