Mysterious Heartland is Freshly Pressed on WordPress

My recent post at Mysterious Heartland, “Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest,” was picked by WordPress editors to be featured on their “Freshly Pressed” page today, a distinction given to only the best blog posts on WordPress. What an honor to be selected for this distinction! Already, I’ve had over two dozen new website subscribers and about a dozen new comments. Hopefully there will be more good news like this in the future.

Freshly Pressed

Media Coverage Piles on for Mysterious Heartland

My recent post at Mysterious Heartland, “Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest,” continues to gain steam, with over 107,530 views and counting since Monday. A variety of local newspapers and blogs all over the Midwest have picked up the story. Strangely, not a single media outlet in Illinois has done so — despite the fact that there are two Illinois colleges on the list. Where are you, Illinois media?

Here is a quick list of some of the coverage, with more to come:

Exciting things are happening at Mysterious Heartland

I didn’t think I would be able to surpass the traffic I received at Mysterious Heartland in December, but my latest top 10 list (and the first to feature locations from all over the Midwest) “Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest” has exploded in popularity over the past several days, getting over 69,000 views since Monday. I also broke my record for most site views in one day – 44,109 on Tuesday, and today it looks like it might surpass even that. Needless to say, this is very exciting! My top 10 list is getting coverage from some local media, and a WordPress editor has picked it to be featured on their “fresh pressed” page in a few days!

Maureen Hoff from the Kenyon College blog The Thrill posted this funny article today: Kenyon is #1 At Being Haunted!

An article was recently released on the top ten most haunted colleges in the Midwest, and Kenyon crushed all competition, sliding smoothly into first. And if you didn’t read that article, or weren’t already told the moment you stepped onto campus, then you are getting this info here first. I’m the first person to tell you. It’s as if I knew that Kenyon was haunted before anyone else. And are we really that surprised that I was the Nancy Drew of this situation, and you’re the dance teacher who lost her music tapes? Too obscure of a reference? I drop it after the jump!

Read the entire post here, and stay tuned for more great news about!


A Pleasant Surprise at the End of 2013

Thanks to the strange forces that make posts go viral, Mysterious Heartland has set a new record for site visits in one day – 33,383 on December 29th, and has received more than 70,000 visits in the past three days. That made December 2013 our best month for visits since the website launched in 2009. Thanks to a related sales boost, my book Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State reached #1 in Midwestern travel guides and #4,535 in Books overall on today. That’s the highest ranking any of my books has ever achieved. That, coupled with the unexpected surge in website traffic, made for a great end to 2013. surprise

1st in Midwest Travel December 30 2013

Pictures from Roads Less Traveled

Last weekend’s presentation at White Trash Gallery in LaSalle went very well. I have to give a big thanks to White Trash Peg for helping put together another successful event! We had 15 people attend and I presented for a little over an hour and a half. It was great to finally meet Travis and Chad, who came all the way from Rockford. Everyone had a good time and hopefully learned something as well. Here are a couple of pictures from the event – I might have some video to post as well in a few days.




Announcing Roads Less Traveled: Haunted Highways of Illinois, Dec. 7th

Roads Less Traveled

A solitary figure wanders the dark road. A ghostly hand writes “help me” over and over on the blood stained pavement, desperate to reach out to the living. The wind whispers of unspeakable crimes through the rusted trestles of a rural bridge. These are the roads less traveled.

Join author Michael Kleen as he takes you on a visual tour of some of the most mysterious roads in Illinois and tells their tales. This special multimedia presentation will feature stories, pictures, and video from haunted roads all over the state: from Cuba Road in Barrington, to southwest suburban Archer Avenue, to Lebanon Road’s “Gates to Hell” and the phantom lady of Kennedy Hill Road and beyond.

Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive CollectionThis presentation will be held on Saturday, December 7th from 7-9:00 pm at White Trash Gallery (139 Gooding St.) in LaSalle, Illinois. LaSalle is conveniently located right off Interstate 39, just south of I-80, near Starved Rock State Park.

Entrance to this event is $10 and you can pay at the door. Paying attendees will receive a 16% discount (-$3.00) off signed copies of Michael Kleen’s new book Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection (retails for $18.95). There will also be a free reception and book signing after the presentation.

RSVP on Facebook, and don’t forget to invite your friends!

Council Appointment Shows Democracy Inaction

By Michael Kleen ~ Published November 13, 2013 at the Rock River Times

CityofRockfordLogoIn April 2013, Vernon Hilton (D) won a narrow victory over Pamela Connell (R) to become alderman of Rockford’s 6th Ward. Less than six months later, Mr. Hilton resigned and moved to Texas for a job opportunity. Before leaving, he recommended that his friend Marcus Hill be appointed to fill the vacancy. After interviewing five applicants and reviewing their résumés, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) chose to appoint Marcus Hill.

The appointment made the front page of the Rockford Register Star. Their sub headline read, “Mayor says Safer Foundation rep Marcus Hill is best of 5 candidates for 6th Ward.” Given the information presented in the article, we are led to believe that yes, this was a wonderful decision. The Register Star, however, did not report the full story. A more complete view of the facts about the candidates will show that this was far from the best decision the mayor could have made.

Let me make one thing clear; my purpose is not to denigrate or disparage the appointee. I’m sure Mr. Hill is an upstanding man and might make a perfectly fine alderman. My purpose is 1) to point out that Mayor Morrissey’s argument in favor of his decision is either questionable, disingenuous, or both, and 2) to point out the Register Star’s omission of certain important facts from their coverage of that decision.

Continue reading “Council Appointment Shows Democracy Inaction”