Bio, Publications & Appearances

Writer, traveler, and raconteur with a passion for history, photography, and the unusual. MA in History, MS in Education.

M.A. Kleen

Writer, traveler, and raconteur with a passion for history, photography, and the unusual.

Michael A. Kleen has a M.A. in History from Eastern Illinois University and M.S. in Education from Western Illinois University. He is the author of Haunting Illinois, Paranormal Illinois, Six Tales of Terror, Tales of Coles County, and Witchcraft in Illinois. He was also editor of the anthology Secret Rockford, and recently directed the documentary Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage.

His nonfiction articles have appeared in publications like Historic Illinois and the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, and his short stories have appeared in anthologies like Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of the Paranormal and Mythos: Myths & Tales of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.

In 2011, his short story “Coed Terror in the Ivory Tower of Doom” was adapted into a short film called Headline News, which won Best Actor for Michael Wexler as Dr. Ethan Campbell at the 2011 Chicago Horror Film Festival.

Michael has spoken about local history and folklore at conventions, libraries, cafes, museums, schools, and colleges; and he has presented research papers at the 2007, 2010, and 2011 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield.

He has also been a guest on radio shows like The Mothership Connection on AM-1050 WLIP, Thresholds Radio, the Michael Koolidge Show, the Kevin Smith Show, and the Bobbie Ashley Morning Show, among others. He has also appeared on 30 Odd Minutes, WGN Channel 9 News, WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News, WREX Channel 13 News, WICD Channel 15 News, and Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures.

Published Works

Photography

  • “Fire Equipment Neon Sign” in Society for Commercial Archeology 38 (Fall 2020): 30.
  • “Death’s Eternal Peace”, Memento Mori, Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory Arts Center, Alexandria, Virginia, 2019.

Books

  • Tales of Coles County, Illinois, 6th Edition. Woodbridge: Lake Ridge Press, 2020.
  • Witchcraft in Illinois: A Cultural History. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2017.
  • Ghostlore of Illinois Colleges and Universities. Hertford, NC: Crossroad Press, 2015.
  • Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State, 3rd Ed. Holt: Thunder Bay Press, 2014.
  • Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection. Rockford: Black Oak Media, Inc., 2013.
  • Tales of Coles County, Illinois, 5th Edition. Rockford: Black Oak Media, Inc., 2013.
  • Home of the Brave, Part 1. Rockford: Black Oak Media, Inc., 2011.
  • Shades of Gray: Tales of Ghosts from the Battlefields of Virginia. Wever: Quixote Press, 2011.
  • Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State, 2nd Ed. Holt: Thunder Bay Press, 2011.
  • Tales of Coles County, Illinois (2010). Rockford: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2010.
  • Paranormal Illinois. Atglen: Schiffer Publishing, 2010.
  • Haunting the Prairie: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of Illinois. Rockford: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2010.
  • One Voice. Rockford: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2009.
  • Legends and Lore of Illinois: Case Files Volume 1. Rockford: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2009.
  • One Voice. Charleston: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2008. (pamphlet)
  • Six Tales of Terror. Charleston: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2005. (pamphlet*)
  • Tales of Coles County, Illinois. Charleston: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2004, 2005. (pamphlet*)
  • New Ideas: Short Essays on Contemporary Thought and Culture. Charleston: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2004. (pamphlet*)
  • The Distance of Sorrow: Special Edition. Charleston: Black Oak Press, Illinois, 2004. (pamphlet*)
  • Autumn and Winter: Seasons of Gray. Bloomington: Xlibris, 2003.
  • Tales of the Supernatural: and Other Mysteries of the Universe. Bloomington: Xlibris, 2000.
  • The River of Rain: or The Natural Man. Bloomington: Xlibris, 2000.

Articles

  • “A Long, Dark Night: The Simon Peter Nelson Murders,” Secret Rockford (Rockford: Black Oak Media, Inc., 2014): 227-260.
  • “The Copperhead Threat in Illinois: Peace Democrats, Loyalty Leagues, and the Charleston Riot of 1864,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 105 (Spring 2012): 69-92.
  • “From Poor House to Haunted House: The Coles County Poor Farm,” Historic Illinois 34 (August 2011): 3-6.
  • “’Peering into the Cauldron’… Part 2: ‘Dark Egypt’ and the Williams Sisters,” KILTER, no. 10 (Winter 2010/2011): 22-24.
  • “’Peering into the Cauldron’… Part 1: The Hanging of Moreau,” KILTER, no. 9 (Fall 2010): 22-23.
  • “The Cambridge ‘Death Curve’,” KILTER, no. 4 (Summer 2009): 8-10.
  • “’Chicago’s Flaxen Fantasy’: The Legend of Resurrection Mary,” Paranormal Underground 2, no. 3 (March 2009): 38-42.
  • “’Our Flaxen Fantasy’: The Legend of Resurrection Mary,” KILTER, no. 3 (Spring 2009): 13-14, 54.
  • “The Legend of Pemberton Hall,” KILTER, no. 2 (Winter 2008/2009): 7-8, 51-52.
  • “In a League of Their Own: The Windy City Rollers,” Black Oak Presents 2 (Winter 2008): 6-8.
  • “The Legend of Pemberton Hall,” Paranormal Underground 1, no. 11 (November 2008): 16-19.
  • “The Most Remarkable Proceedings: Witchcraft in England 1640-1690,” Paranormal Underground 1, no. 10 (October 2008): 68-73.
  • “The Allure of Thanatos,” KILTER, no. 1 (Fall 2008): 14-16.
  • “The Allure of Thanatos,” Paranormal Underground 1, no. 9 (September 2008): 62-64.
  • “Der Schlieffenplan: Interpreting the Shadows on the Cave Wall,” Historia 16 (2007): 33-53.
  • “Fickle Little Machine: A Fickle Little Zine,” Black Oak Presents 1 (Autumn 2007): 6-7.

Short Stories

  • “Sonic Fear,” in Lost in the Witching Hour, ed. Kim Young (Breaking Fate Publishing, 2014).
  • “The Old House,” in Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of the Paranormal, ed. Buck Weiss (Rockford: Black Oak Media, Inc., 2013): 223-228.
  • “Cthulhu Dawn,” in Mythos: Myths & Tales of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, ed. Gwendolyn Toynton (Numen Books, 2011): 305-309.
  • “Sonic Fear,” KILTER, no. 8 (Summer 2010): 41-42.
  • “Cthulhu Dawn,” Paranormal Underground 3, no. 7 (July 2010): 48-51.
  • “Lair in the Mouth of Evil,” KILTER, no. 6 (Winter 2009/2010): 17-18.

Newspaper/Web Articles

  • A Report From Sackets Harbor War of 1812 Weekend,” The New York History Blog (13 August 2017).
  • A Visit To Marilla Civil War Days in Erie County,” The New York History Blog (10 August 2017).
  • Montcalm’s Cross: Report from Carillon Reenactment Weekend,” The New York History Blog (30 July 2017).
  • “A Brief History of Witchcraft in Illinois,” Market Street Press (1 October 2016).
  • “Rockford Tries ‘End Demand’ Approach to Curb Prostitution,” Market Street Press (1 April 2016).
  • Funds available in Rockford to help get women off the streets,” Rockford Register Star (27 February 2016).
  • “Prostitution: Shedding light on Rockford’s sex trade,” Rockford Advocate (18 November 2015).
  • “Ghosts of the Past Haunt Tinker Swiss Cottage,” Rock River Times (30 October 2013).
  • “A Self-Guided Tour of Rockford’s Most Haunted Places,” Rock River Times (31 October 2012).
  • “Local Author Shares Rockford Area’s Top Five Creepiest Places,” Rock River Times (26 October 2011).
  • “Mad Gasser terrified Mattoon in ’44,” Mattoon Messenger (27 October 2009).
  • “Real haunted houses of Coles County,” Mattoon Messenger (20 October 2009).
  • “Eeriness of murder surrounds Airtight Bridge,” Mattoon Messenger (13 October 2009).
  • “The ‘Witch’s Grave’ of St. Omer Cemetery,” Mattoon Messenger (6 October 2009).
  • “Mysterious Morgan Township,” Mattoon Messenger (1 October 2009).

Poetry

  • “The Winter Queen,” West Words 4 (Spring 2000): 100.

Press (2004-2017)

Live Appearances (2007-2018)


Other Appearances

Films, TV Shows, & Documentaries

  • For the Incurable Insane. Directed by Janette Marie. 117 Min. J Films, 2013.
  • Headline News. Directed by Willy Adkins. 20 min. Spook Show Entertainment, 2012.
  • Children Of The Grave 2. Directed by Philip and Christopher Saint Booth. 80 Min. Spooked Television Releasing, 2012.
  • “Ashmore Estates,” Ghost Adventures, Season 5 Episode 1.
  • Episode 65 – Illinois Haunts with Michael Kleen,” 30 Odd Minutes. 8 June 2011.
  • Strange Williamsburg Hill. Produced and directed by Larry Wilson. 56 min. Field of Screams Films, 2010.
  • “Fear in the Flatlands,” American Horrors. Directed by John Specht. 30 min. Royalty-N-Exile.22, 2009.
  • “Bloods Point Road,” Streets of Fear. FEARnet, 2009.
  • The Legends and Lore Collection. Rockford: Black Oak Media, 2008.

News Segments

  • Comcast Connects with Gloria Cudia. Channel 57 at 10:15pm. 5 March 2014.
  • Comcast Connects with Gloria Cudia. Channel 17 at 6pm. 4 March 2014.
  • “The Forest City’s Hidden Side is Revealed,” WTVO Channel 17 News at 6am. 11 February 2014.
  • FOX 39 News at 7am. 10 February 2014.
  • “‘Secret Rockford’ book released,” WREX Channel 13 News at 10pm. 3 February 2014.
  • WREX Channel 13 News at 6pm. 4 November 2013.
  • “3rd Annual Paracon and Psychic Fair in Mattoon,” WICD Channel 15 News. 7 September 2013.
  • WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News. 6 September 2013.
  • “Mayoral Candidate Calls for Report on TIF Appropriations,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 8 April 2013.
  • “Rockford Mayoral candidates debate historic districts and crime,” WREX Channel 13 News. 6 April 2013.
  • “Different Views… When It Comes to Economic Development,” WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News. 5 April 2013.
  • “Rockford Mayoral Candidates Talk About Declining Property Values,” WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News. 4 April 2013.
  • “Rockford Mayor’s Race – Different Ideas When It Comes to Relationship with Police,” WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News. 3 April 2013.
  • “Candidates Discuss Crime at Mayoral Forum,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 3 April 2013.
  • “Rockford Mayoral Candidates Share Their Views on Violent Crime,” WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News. 2 April 2013.
  • “Rockford residents mixed about mayoral candidate debate,” WREX Channel 13 News. 2 April 2013.
  • “LIVE Interview with Rockford Mayoral Candidate Michael Kleen,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 1 April 2013.
  • “Citizens for Michael Kleen Hold Mayoral Rally in Rockford,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 29 March 2013.
  • “Rockord Mayoral Candidates Create Custom Lipstick Shades To Encourage Engagement,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 20 March 2013.
  • “Kleen Calls Ad Dispute a Distraction,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 19 March 2013.
  • “Rockford Mayoral Candidates Square Off On Taxes, Public Safety,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 15 March 2013.
  • “Rockford state of the city address, advocating for change or campaigning?” WREX Channel 13 News. 6 March 2013.
  • “Rockford Mayoral Candidates Criticize State of the City Speech,” WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News. 6 March 2013.
  • “Forbes Names Rockford 3rd Most Miserable City,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 22 February 2013.
  • “Mayoral Candidates Sound Off on WROK,” WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News. 26 February 2013.
  • “Mayoral and Aldermanic candidates discuss hot topics at forum,” WREX Channel 13 News. 10 February 2013.
  • “Rockford Mayoral Candidates Speak in Forum,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 10 February 2013.
  • “Controversial Super Bowl Ad Hits Home,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 4 February 2013.
  • “Mayoral Candidate Vows To Give Pay Raise To Charity,” WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News. 8 January 2013.
  • “Rockford mayoral candidate promises to donate part of pay to charity,” WREX Channel 13 News. 8 January 2013.
  • “New Challenger for Mayor Morrissey,” WIFR Channel 23 News. 1 October 2012.
  • WGN  News at Nine. 28 October 2011.
  • WREX Channel 13 News. 27 October 2011.
  • WREX Channel 13 News. 24 October 2011.
  • Interview, WREX Channel 13 News. 18 May 2010.
  • “Haunted Rockford Special Report 2,” WTVO Channel 17 News. 30 October 2009.
  • “Ashmore Haunted House Gets National Attention,” WCIA Channel 3 News. 2 July 2008.