Monster Hunters: Tea Krulos' Search For The Unknown

73 – Monster Hunters: Tea Krulos’ Search For The Unknown

When we last caught up with author and blogger, Tea Krulos, he’d been directing the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, which was the first conference of its kind that Wendy and I had attended. We had a blast and it was our second most downloaded episode of 2015 (so you guys must have liked hearing about it too!) So, we’ve talked to him about his conference and about his experiences working with Real-Life Super Heroes (yes, that’s a thing, and it’s awesome. Listen to our episode on it!) But we haven’t talked yet about his book, Monster Hunters, which was named by cryptozoology Godfather Loren Coleman as the top cryptozoology book of 2015. In that book, he meets with ghost investigators, UFO researchers, Bigfoot trackers, cryptozoologists, and more in search of what brings these people together to try and discover the truth behind weird creatures and haunted legends. With that exciting news of Tea’s book being named top read by one of the best in the field, Wendy, Allison, and I dragged Tea back into the conversation to learn more.

UFOs, Bigfoot, and the paranormal are exciting to think about it in pop culture. Everyone loves Star Wars right now with The Force Awakens on its way to become the biggest movie of all time and Star Wars has basically all of the paranormal categories in one movie. You’ve got aliens, Bigfoot (Chewbacca), psychic powers (The Force), and ghosts (Obi-Wan is always showing up post-mortem!)

While most people love this stuff in their movies and their religion (praying is basically asking God to do magic for us, isn’t it?), they often scoff at others who want to take it a step further. Our lives are lived almost exclusively in the physical world. You might know people that have a ghost story or have seen a UFO, and you might think they believe them… but UFOs and ghosts don’t do much to help you shovel snow or fill out the paperwork at your job. So, why do people care so much?

When Tea Krulos talks about why he’s interested in subcultures outside of the mainstream he talks about his purple mohawk and spiked leather jacket in high school. Or he mentions his Goth and Metalhead friends. Music and the fashion associated with its different genres are the first things that we often bond over in modern society. It’s one of the first ways we differentiate ourselves. The more extreme the fashion, the more of an outlier you usually are.

sarah jessica parker mohawk
Even Sarah Jessica Parker “rocks” a mohawk now…

But mass media and the products that are constantly pitched to us isn’t about outliers, it’s about conformity and commonality. It’s meant to find the biggest audience to sell to. Think Coca-Cola, Pop-Country music, or even Disney’s Star Wars (TM). It’s great that these things exist, Pop songs are catchy, Star Wars is awesome, Coca-Cola is delicious. But they’re ubiquitous. You can find them in the most backwoods store of the most backwoods place in the United States.

Tea Krulos finds the people that you won’t hear about in the mainstream. Punk fashion went into mass culture over a decade ago (chances are there’s a Hot Topic in your town) and tattoos and piercings are hardly the taboo they used to be. And while the Ghost Hunters show certainly popularized the genre of investigating the paranormal on reality TV, there is still a little bit of a stigma surrounding local paranormal groups, Bigfoot hunters, and UFO enthusiasts, precisely the people that Tea set out to document in his book.

Because of that stigma, there’s a natural distrust of reporters and authors in the community and that means that most paranormal groups aren’t as inclusive as you’d expect them to be. I always thought that was unusual, wouldn’t you think that a subgroup would be interested in bringing more people in! Not when you could be the object of ridicule or derision. In the past, you might have to worry about a newspaper having an unflattering article or a book maybe making your group look foolish in a chapter, but now with social media, everyone is a publisher and everyone has an opinion and isn’t afraid to broadcast it (just look at your Facebook feed for reinforcement.)

Since Tea wasn’t interested in ridiculing these groups, but rather understanding them (and to some extent, celebrating them), he was welcomed into the circles of groups like the Paranormal investigators of Milwaukee and places like Loren Coleman’s Cryptozoology Museum or the International UFO Arizona (where a meeting with George Noory at a casino led to a successful appearance on Coast to Coast AM!)

Tea on the hunt for Bigfoot!

While researching the book, Tea had his own “weird experience” while he was out with Bigfoot Hunter, Jim Sherman, in the forests of Central Michigan. It’s late in the middle of the night and he’s in his tent, while his Sasquatch tracking partner was in his truck finishing up the watch for the night. As he’s about to drift off to sleep, Tea hears a terrifying scream outside his tent. He opens the front zipper carefully and looks around and dashes to his Jim’s truck, where he finds Jim texting him about the same scream. As they sit and try to analyze what they heard, they see a strange light in the sky, a white object with a green and red light orbiting it, something neither of them had seen before or could identify. While they seem like they’re not in the same realm, there’s been a strange Bigfoot-UFO connection for a long time where sightings of the beast are often followed by visions of something strange in the sky… that sounds like something we should do an episode on in the future.

So, it was a lot of fun to talk about Monster Hunters  and Tea’s new book, which is going to be about doomsday prophecies and people who are prepping for the end of the world (we have a related episode on apocalypses that never happened), he also gave us some exciting news about the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Convention.

The 2016 convention will take place October 14th through 16th at the Zelazo Center on the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee campus and will feature cryptozoology founding father Loren Coleman, fellow See You On The Other Side podcast guest Chad Lewisour co-contributor Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts, Wendy and I will be broadcasting from the convention as well as I’ll be hosting a panel called Paranormal Road Trip!

It was fun to have Tea on as we celebrate going into 2016 because we love to surround ourselves with cool people doing interesting paranormal projects just like us. We hope everyone out there has their best year yet and let’s use the time we have to the best all of our abilities!

As Delmore Schwarz wrote in “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day”

What will become of you and me 
(This is the school in which we learn …)   
Besides the photo and the memory? 
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)

Memory in soft focus,
dreams of the past,
a little crutch we can hold on to.
Some things weren’t made to last.

Don’t look back,
it will only make you slower,
Don’t question,
the things you cannot change.
This moment,
the only thing you can hold onto,
don’t spend it in a cage.

You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.
You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.

A hazy wave of rumination,
days gone by,
An unreliable narration,
A well that ran dry.

Don’t look back,
it will only make you slower,
Don’t question,
the things you cannot change.
This moment,
the only thing you can hold onto,
don’t spend it in a cage.

You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.
You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.

It’s later than you think,
it’s later than you planned,
It’s over in a blink,
it’s over in a flash.

And the hourglass runs out of sand.

You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.
You are free,
choose to be.
The Fire in Which We Burn.

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