Bio

kleen_mContact: makleen2@gmail.com

Michael 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, and Tales of Coles County, among other works. Most recently, he edited and published the anthology Secret Rockford.

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

Books

  • 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

Ghost Stories
Country Magazine
October 1, 2017

Cuba Road winds five miles between Northwest Highway 14 just north of Barrington and Highway 12 in Lake Zurich. The old country road is bracketed by towering trees, spacious, off-the-road homes, hobby farms, a 780-acre marsh and a 180-year-old cemetery. It looks normal in the daylight.

Oh, by the way, at night it’s also home to least 20 reputed ghosts. We are going there because it’s almost Halloween. If you wish to experience the march of transient souls on All Hallow’s Eve, there is no more spookily busy place than Cuba Road.

Folklorist author Michael Kleen, a lifelong fan of ghost stories, has accumulated dozens of stories about Cuba Road’s ghosts. Does he believe?

“I’m not interested in the truth or falsehood of ghost stories or haunted places,” he said. “Ghost stories, which are a type of folklore, are culturally significant and can teach us a lot about our history and beliefs. Belief in ghosts is somehow part of the human experience, at least in our culture. I’ve visited hundreds of supposedly haunted places and never saw anything unusual, but who am I to discount the experiences of so many other people?”

[More…]

Interviews, Newspaper Articles, & More!

2013-2014 Archive

2011-2012 Archive

2010 Archive

Pre-2010 Archive


Live Appearances

Appearances in 2014-2018

Appearances in 2013

Appearances in 2012

Appearances in 2011

Appearances in 2010

2009 and Prior


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

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