On the Scene with Ghost Adventures

On Friday, I found myself in the company of the Travel Channel’s most famous ghost hunters. Zak, Nick, and Aaron had come to Coles County in order to film an upcoming episode of their hit show Ghost Adventures at Ashmore Estates, a former almshouse and care facility in Coles County. Knowing I had written extensively on the history and folklore of the building, Scott Kelley, its current owner, suggested that they interview me for the episode.

For a week I spoke back and forth with Jeff Bellinger, Writer/Researcher for the show, but I was kept in the dark about their final decision until Tuesday. That Friday afternoon, eager to see my old friends at Ashmore Estates and meet the crew of Ghost Adventures, I drove 182 miles – a three hour trip – from western Illinois to the outskirts of Ashmore on the other side of the state.

From what Scott tells me, the Ghost Adventures crew wanted to do an episode on Ashmore Estates several years ago, but scheduling conflicts prevented them from working out a deal. Finally, the stars aligned and it couldn’t have been a better time. For my part, I was eager to contribute to the episode. Not only will this show attract more attention to the area, but hopefully it will encourage tourism and bring a much needed economic windfall to my beloved Coles County. Here are a couple of pictures from the filming:

Zak, Nick, and Aaron from Ghost Adventures, and I
Ghost Adventures Crew at Ashmore Estates, March 29, 2011

What is Totalitarianism? A Special Presentation at WIU

Join me at Western Illinois University in Macomb for a special presentation of “What is Totalitarianism?” sponsored by the local chapter of the Young Americans for Liberty.

Thursday, March 10 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Morgan Hall 316
Check out the event on Facebook and invite your friends!

“Is Big Brother watching you? Join Michael Kleen as he discusses the reality of totalitarianism in the contemporary world and explains how some individuals, even with good intentions, are bringing us closer to George Orwell’s nightmare.”

If the United States came under the control of a totalitarian regime, would we recognize it? This and other provocative questions are asked and answered in my reading of “What is Totalitarianism?” (Part 1 and Part 2) which will include a presentation on the reality of totalitarianism (defined as “total state control”) in the world today.


What is Totalitarianism? A Dinner and Discussion

Click for event details

If the United States came under the control of a totalitarian regime, would we recognize it? This and other provocative questions are asked and answered in my reading of “What is Totalitarianism?” (Part 1 and Part 2) which will include a presentation on the reality of totalitarianism (defined as “total state control”) in the world today, and a discussion of the subject over dinner at the Stockholm Inn in Rockford, Illinois.

To pre-order tickets, get directions to this event, or view other details, visit our event page.

General admission is $5 pre-ordered or at the door. A special $10 ticket will give you access to the event plus a copy of my book One Voice ($8 retail). Dinner is not included with the cost of admission, but the Stockholm Inn has a wonderful selection of Swedish foods and we encourage guests to order dinner or just sample their famous Swedish Pancakes during the presentation.

If you would like to help promote this event, you can download the following flyers in .jpeg format:

8.5 X 11 Flyer

Or you can invite your Facebook friends to the event.


1-Day Left Before Champaign Booksigning

People are excited about this one, I can feel it. Gillian Gabriel was kindly enough to interview me for the Champaign-Urbana art & culture blog Smile Politely. I hope this will draw a larger crowd on Saturday, but we will have a great time no matter what. I can’t wait to meet all my past and future friends in Champaign. I’ve missed the place ever since I left EIU…

A Paranormal Saturday awaits

Gillian Gabriel

Michael Kleen has a great fondness for the Midwest, a Master’s degree in History, and an insatiable thirst for ghost stories. Lucky for us, he has been able to skillfully combine all of his passions in his new book, Paranormal Illinois.

Painstakingly and lovingly compiled, Kleen’s books will be sure to become indispensable primers for both Midwestern ghost hunters and local folklore buffs alike. Michael will be appearing at Barnes and Noble this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of Paranormal Illinois. He was kind enough to answer some of our questions:

Smile Politely: Your book, Paranormal Illinois, came out recently, but it looks like you have written several others on the topic. Where does your interest in the paranormal come from? Did you have an experience that motivated you to learn more?

Michael Kleen: You know, people ask me this question all the time, and I’m never quite sure of the answer. I’ve often thought about why I’m interested in this subject, but the fact is, I always have been. When I learned to read, some of the first books I sought out on my own were about ghosts. I must have read every single collection of ghost stories that was at the library when I was in elementary school. World’s Most Spine-Tingling “True” Ghost Stories, World’s Weirdest “True” Ghost Stories, and of course, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, were all favorites. What I like most about Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is that the author took common folktales and rewrote them in a way that kids of my generation would love. That’s what I try to do with my books: I want to tell the stories, but I also want to show that they are tied to history and culture. They are windows into a side of history that is usually ignored or covered-up. Ghosts are, after all, remnants of past generations that linger long after they are physically gone. Perhaps they have something to tell us.

Check out the entire interview!


Upcoming Appearances

This summer will be an exciting time. I plan on doing a mini “tour” of a presentation I like to call “Haunting the Prairie: Legends and Lore of Frontier Illinois.” So far, I have the Rockford Public Library and the Ella Johnson Memorial Library lined up, with more on the way. Monday night I am going to be sharing some of my favorite Illinois ghost stories for Carl Jones’ Ghosts, Hauntings, and the Unexplained class at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. I will also appear on the WREX Channel 13 news in Rockford at 12pm on Tuesday May 18.

Here are a few of the dates and times for upcoming appearances:

  • Rockford Public Library in Rockford, Illinois
    July 17, 2010 – 4:00-5:30pm
  • Ella Johnson Memorial Library in Hampshire, Illinois
    June 14, 2010 – 6:00-7:30pm
  • Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois
    April 12, 2010

Pictures from the IGH Open House in DeKalb

Special thanks to Willy Adkins for inviting me to come and speak at the IGH Open House in DeKalb on Sunday. It turned out great, despite the poor weather. It was nice to finally meet Dale Kaczmarek, whose work has been indispensible.

Dale Kaczmarek and I

Kathi Kresol of the Haunted Rockford tour, Chad Griffiths of "PRI", and I

Willy Adkins of "IGH" and Afterlife Paranormal, and I

Diane Ladley of "Haunted Naperville" and I

And, as a bonus, Ursula Bielski, Scott Markus, and I at Ursula and Scott’s book signing at Horrorbles in Berwyn. On an unrelated note, my book Haunting the Prairie is now available at Horrorbles.

Ursula Bielski, Scott Markus, and I

The Story of Emma Jones

“Emma Jones,” from my appearance at the Rockford Public Library on October 17, 2009: