After nine and a half years, 1,150 posts, and 5,220,000 site views, Mysterious Heartland is finally closing its doors. Well, you’ll still be able to see the archives at trueillinoishaunts.wordpress.com (its original name). It’s no secret posting has been sparse over the past couple of years. As I moved out of the Midwest, I wanted to focus on more generalized travel writing and photography. People seemed to just come to Mysterious Heartland for the top 10 lists anyway, and there’s only so many of those you can write. You can still follow my adventures here and the new Memento Mori photo blog:
Thank you for your readership and patronage over the years. I hope you enjoyed reading that website as much as I (once) did in creating it.
Hello friends! I’d like to announce a new blog dedicated to cemetery photography called Memento Mori. If you enjoy cemetery art, sculpture, and history, like I do, you’ll love this new blog. I hope to update it with new photos 4-5 times a week. I grew up with an interest in cemeteries. As an amateur historian, I loved the Victorian Period especially, with its romantic architecture, literature, and art. I hate everything about modern cemeteries, with their flat, cheap, and mass-produced headstones.
When I was younger, I enjoyed visiting cemeteries and looking at the artwork, and naturally, I wanted to share what I’d seen. As I got better at photography, I thought back to people like Matt Hucke, also a native Chicagoan, who captured images of this beautiful and haunting artwork, much of which is in danger due to erosion and vandalism. Although I’m not nearly as good a photographer, I created this blog to share some of my work. I hope you enjoy seeing these images as much as I enjoyed taking them!
Check it out at memento-mori.co, and follow to get daily photos in your in-box.
My first documentary, Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage, is now available on Amazon Video Direct! Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens in Rockford, Illinois has long been rumored to be haunted, but what do its ghosts teach us about the past?
Join host Amelia Cotter as she takes you inside and reveals the hidden history of this beautiful museum. This 60-minute film features interviews with museum staff, visitors, volunteers, and researchers. It is a fun and unique way to learn about Rockford’s past.
It’s available in HD to rent for $2.99, buy for $9.99, or watch free with ads. Click on the Amazon button below to watch:
My first documentary, Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage, will be released on Amazon Video Direct on March 26! Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens in Rockford, Illinois has long been rumored to be haunted, but what do its ghosts teach us about the past? Join host Amelia Cotter as she takes you inside and reveals the hidden history of this beautiful museum. Featuring interviews with museum staff, visitors, volunteers, and researchers.
FOX39 in Rockford did a great interview with Steve Litteral and Samantha Hochmann of Tinker Cottage about the project. Check it out here: Amazon to debut documentary about Tinker Swiss Cottage’s haunted history
Since I escaped the toxic swamps of Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been thinking of new ways to share projects and adventures. I always thought Instagram was a place for girls to post selfies flashing peace signs but it’s actually kinda fun. You’re just there to share pictures and video, so it seems innocuous enough. Let’s be Insta friends: www.instagram.com/ma_kleen/
After over seven years of writing, editing, and researching, my book on the history of witchcraft in Illinois is finally available on Amazon.com (coming soon to a store near you)! It is 192 pages with 37 rarely-seen images.
Although Illinois saw no dramatic witch trials, witchcraft has been a part of Illinois history and culture from French exploration to the present day.
On the Illinois frontier, pioneers pressed silver dimes into musket balls to ward off witches, while farmers dutifully erected fence posts according to phases of the moon.
In 1904, the quiet town of Quincy was shocked to learn of Bessie Bement’s suicide, after the young woman sought help from a witch doctor to break a hex.
In turn-of-the-century Chicago, Lauron William de Laurence’s occult publishing house churned out manuals for performing bizarre rituals intended to attract love and exact revenge.
For the first time in print, Michael Kleen presents the full story of the Prairie State’s dalliance with the dark arts.
With a foreword by Owen Davies, Professor of Social History, University of Hertfordshire. Author of America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft after Salem (2013).
The paperback sells for $21.99 and the Kindle edition sells for $12.99. Order today!
Just a few days remain before my new book Witchcraft in Illinois: A Cultural History officially goes on sale Monday, September 18. The paperback sells for $21.99 and the Kindle edition sells for $12.99. I don’t have a copy to show you yet, but the interior is beautifully designed, with 37 rarely-seen images.
Here are the ten most interesting highlights from the book:
- This is the first and only book to examine the subject of witchcraft in Illinois.
- It fills a large gap in the understanding of witchcraft as it relates to Illinois history.
- It examines little-known or forgotten episodes and events in Illinois history.
- It contains primary sources that have never been seen in print.
- It reveals the truth behind Illinois’ oldest tale of witchcraft—the execution of two French slaves in 1779.
- It shows the connection between witch beliefs in Illinois and those in early modern Europe.
- It shows how witch beliefs have always been a part of Illinois history, from the frontier to the present day.
- It shows how witch beliefs proliferated in both rural areas and cities like Chicago and its suburbs.
- It examines not simply cases of witchcraft, but also superstitions and beliefs about witches and folk magic.
- It reveals the startling fact that witch doctors practiced alongside modern medicine in Illinois well into the 1920s.
You can still Pre-order the book before September 18th.