I will be appearing tonight on the Kevin Smith Show to talk about my brand new book, Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State. The Kevin Smith Show is an international talk radio show broadcast via internet radio, AM/FM/Shortwave, cell phones, and internet TV, and has millions of listeners around the world. I am very excited to connect with fans of the Kevin Smith Show and share some of Illinois’ most compelling stories of the strange and usual. FYI: There is a possibility that the video feed of the interview will be available to view on the website, www.kevinsmithshow.com. Check it out at 9pm central time.
On Tuesday evening, I appeared on Jeff Belanger’s show “30 Odd Minutes,” which can be seen on more than a dozen channels around the US, as well as downloaded from iTunes. We talked about my new book, Haunting Illinois, as well as stories from a few places like Western Illinois University and Chanute Air Force Base.
Yesterday morning, my new book, Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State, briefly hit #5 in the category of Travel/Midwest and 31,755 out of all books on Amazon.com! That means more and more people must be sensing that there is something different about this book from anything that has come before it.
Even if you already own the first edition, Haunting the Prairie, you won’t want to miss upgrading to the new version. Haunting Illinois lists 200 haunted or unusual places from ever corner of the state, 70 more than the original version. Plus, this version has many more pictures and new icons, and an exceptional cover photo by the very talented Rachel Black, who has won awards for her photography of the ruins of Manteno State Hospital.
Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State is now available for order on Amazon.com. If you are a lover of Illinois ghost lore, you won’t want to leave the house this summer without this book!
For over a decade, Michael Kleen, author of the Legends and Lore of Illinois, has researched and traveled to mystery spots all over the Prairie State. Now, he has created the most organized and comprehensive guide to haunted and legendary places ever written about Illinois. Haunting Illinois is that guide. Haunting Illinois contains 200 mystery sites and 85 individual illustrations. In this book, Michael not only examines the sites, but also the hobbyists and professionals who have devoted their lives to exploring the strange and unusual in our great state. Divided among eight distinct regions and listed by county, each location features a description, directions, and sources drawn from a diverse variety of books and articles. Haunting Illinois challenges you to get off the couch and start exploring our wonderful State of Illinois. You might be surprised at what you discover!
Listen to a special announcement from the author:
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:
After months of preparation, editing, and travel, a totally revised and expanded edition of Haunting the Prairie is here. Published by Thunder Bay Press, this edition is called “Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State.”
It contains 200 locations and 85 pictures, with brand new icons! Also, it features cover art by the very talented Rachel Black. I personally visited many of the new places listed in this book, so that I could bring my readers the most up-to-date information possible.
By Robyn Winker
March 11, 2011
What if instead of continuing to reject totalitarian ideas in the United States, we slowly began to embrace them? And even worse, what if we didn’t even notice it was happening?
Thursday, students gathered in Western Illinois University’s Morgan Hall to hear Michael Kleen’s discussion entitled, “What Is Totalitarianism?” Thoughts were challenged and several points were made to compel attendees to question the intentions of the government. The lecture suggested that while we are not a totalitarian country, we have all of the necessary components to put the ideology in place.
The purpose of the presentation was to explain the realities behind totalitarianism and look at it as a form of social control, not simply just a form of government. In addition, this presentation helped students realize that the media representation of totalitarianism doesn’t match the reality.
According to Kleen, “Totalitarianism is total state control over both public and private life. There can be varying degrees of totalitarianism, but essentially it requires two things: the tools and the ideology. The ‘tools’ of totalitarianism are state control over industry, mass surveillance, state-run media, cults of personality, political oppression, strict gun control, etc.” Alone, these tools do not translate to totalitarianism. Only when they are partnered with ideology will totalitarianism become a reality.