Link To My Interview On The Paranormal View

2

Franklin Castle, Gore Orphanage, Mudhouse Mansion, headless motorcycle ghosts, Vanishing Hitchhikers, phantom joggers, and more! All during the course of one radio interview!

Click here to go directly to the archived interview and listen to your heart’s content. BTW, there are audio issues for the first 30 seconds of the show, so don’t panic when you hear all the echo. It goes away!

11215742_982893715095383_8485390068603142561_n

Advertisements

Information On My Thurber House Appearance

0

10606137_10204142846084180_6290159644910375519_n

On Wednesday, July 29th, I will be the featured speaker at one of Thurber House’s Literary Picnics. What’s a Literary Picnic? Simply put, it’s an opportunity for people to come out and hear an author speak while enjoying a picnic-style dinner on the front lawn of the historic Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. How cool is that?

If you’ve ever been to one of my presentations, you know that I tend to enjoy assaulting my guests’ eyes and ears with all sorts of weird visuals and audio clips. Not sure how much of that I do while standing in the middle of a yard with the bright summer sun shining, so for now, exactly what I’ll be doing is still up in the air. But rest assured, it will be memorable!

Thurber House -- via thurberhouse.org

Thurber House — via thurberhouse.org

In terms of tickets, there are several packages available: you can get the whole “dinner and a show” ticket or, if you prefer, you can bring your own dinner and just buy a ticket to my talk. Either way, the Thurber House will be open for tours during the entire evening and you can even BYOB!

There will be copies of my books available for purchase. However, I am not handling the book sales, so I have no idea which ones they will have on-hand (Weird Ohio and The Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories are safe bets, though). I’ll be hanging around after my talk to sign books, shake hands, and consume any of your leftover reubens, if you let me.

But perhaps the biggest question people have been asking me is “are you going to talk about your new book?” The answer to that is “yes”. While Ohio’s Historic Haunts isn’t due out for a few more months, I will indeed be spending a bit of time discussing the book and maybe even giving a sneak peek or two at what readers can expect to see when it finally comes out.

For more information about Thurber House’s 2105 Summer Literary Picnics, click here. Or, if you’re chomping at the bit to get your tickets, click here to review the different packages available and order your tickets online. 

No idea how many tickets are available, but I’ve been told they do sell out quickly. So if you’re thinking about coming, don’t wait to get your tickets.

Hope to see you there!

October 2014…And Beyond!

2

It’s October 1st, which means the Halloween season has officially begun for me! So this seemed the perfect time to address what so many of you have been e-mailing and texting me about recently. Namely, the fact that it doesn’t look like I’m doing very much this year in terms of presentations, appearances, and ghost tours. The simple answer is that I’ve decided to take this October off for the most part. Don’t worry; I’m not going anywhere. Just taking a break to gear up for some craziness that’s going to pick up the first of the year and continue straight through next October, when all heck is going to break loose…in a ghostly good way!

So that’s the simple answer. If you care for a longer, more in-depth explanation, then read on! I’ll even throw in a couple of random spooky pictures just to sort of break things up.

Still there, huh? OK, then let me start by saying that I’ve been overwhelmed with the outpouring of e-mails I’ve received from people who appear to be downright depressed that they aren’t going to be able to see me this Halloween season. You guys touch me in all the right ways (and none of the wrong ways) and to you, I say “thank you”. Some of you have even said that you plan on boycotting some of the events/conferences/locations to show your displeasure at my not being there. Please don’t do that. Look, I appreciate the gesture, but to make it clear, not a single one of those events/conferences/locations asked that I not return. Across the board, it was my decision and mine alone. Since all of these events/conferences/locations depend on your attendance in more ways than one, I ask that you continue to attend and support them. And don’t think you’ve seen the last of me at those events, either. I’m taking a break, not going away.

So why am I taking a break? For no other reason than I needed one. My upcoming project, the one I keep teasing the heck out of, took over 2 and a half years (and literally thousands of miles) to complete. While that was going on, I was still trying to keep the Halloween tour schedule running full-steam ahead and attempting to balance all that madness out with my personal life. Late last summer, when the project was finally put to bed, I realized something that depressed the hell out of me: 3 Halloweens had passed and I had yet to take my daughter, Courtney, trick-or-treating.

10703551_10204053784297691_748754582718789147_n

Courtney wears Batman stuff because he’s her “buddy”. But for Halloween this year, she wants to be Batgirl. She also wants her dad to be the Riddler. I’m still trying to convince her dads are not supposed to wear spandex. Wish me luck!

That’s right: James A. Willis, the self-proclaimed strange and spooky guy who’s addicted to all things weird has yet to take his daughter trick-or-treating. How sad and pathetic is that? Sure, I could try to blame it on Ohio’s asinine habit of randomly assigning what 2-hour window I’m allowed to celebrate Halloween during, but the simple fact is that it was usually because I was either hopping around some stage/auditorium/haunted house/carriage, entertaining everyone with tales of weird and ghostly things.

And that was when I made the decision to take a break this Halloween season and focus on my family. I’m planning on taking Courtney trick-or-treating. Not only that, but as a family, we’re going to be carving a whole mess of pumpkins, decorating the house, bobbing for apples, watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on TV, and rolling around in the 25,000 pounds of leaves that fall in my front yard every year. In short, this Halloween, I plan on being nothing more than a strange and spooky father and husband.

10157146_10152750290874917_1056649572181467326_n

One of our latest acquisitions. After helping me put him together, Courtney asked if we could keep him in her bedroom.

But I’m not going anywhere. Far from it. In fact, I would suggest that most of you take this opportunity to enjoy a break from me. Because come next year, you just might get sick of seeing my ugly mug.

You see, the other reason I felt I needed a break was to sort of rest up for what is going to be nothing short of a strange and spooky assault on all of you in 2015. One that I’m sure you’re all going to enjoy: new projects, new appearances, and new presentation topics. Trust me, 2015 is going to be hopping around here!

It’s probably going to start picking up right after the first of the year. By the end of the summer, things will more than likely be bordering on “strange and spooky overload.” Put it this way, if you or someone you know is planning on having me out for an October event, etc. in 2015, you might want to look at getting something confirmed with me before this coming summer. The sooner the better, too. To put things in perspective, my latest project involves 21 specific locations in Ohio and 20 of them have already expressed having some type of event in October of 2015. So do the math…and get excited because, as I said, you’re probably going to get sick of seeing my face in 2015!

603692_10152408648429917_977461411070996811_n

Contrary to popular belief, Steph and I really ARE wearing Halloween costumes in this photograph.

Of course, all of this is calling for a bit of re-branding of myself. Well, perhaps “re-branding” is a bit strong. But by and large, people tend to develop incorrect preconceived notions about what they’ll get from one of my presentations/appearances. Their conclusions come from them thinking I fall into one of two categories:

  1. A published author, meaning that I will spend most of the time reading from my books
  2. A ghost hunter, meaning that I will spend most of the time trying to convince people everything is a ghost and that demons regularly pick me up, scratch me, and then chuck me across the room

Now, I’m sure those of you who have seen me live are probably chuckling as those descriptions, but it’s true: that’s what people who have yet to experience my Strange & Spooky World expect. That’s probably why most people walk away from one of my presentations muttering “I’m not sure what just happened, but it was fun.” Allow me to throw modesty to the wind here and state that since I first starting giving presentations in Ohio some 15 years ago, the only complaint I have ever heard was “it was too short.” Well, ok, one woman wrote to me and told me my stories gave her nightmares, but I take that as a compliment. I have always felt that my job, once I take that stage, is to entertain each and every member of the audience and to have them all smiling, laughing, and perhaps shrieking, by the time I’m finished with them.

4788_91394729916_7649351_n

Preparing to unleash the video of my infamous Blue Flash video on Kenwood Elementary School. The kids with their hands up are the ones who said they’d be willing to ride the Blue Flash with me!

But while people walk away happy after the presentation, there’s still some confusion among the general public about what to expect going into one of my presentations. So I have my work cut out for me, especially since I’m planning on upping my game in 2015. If you thought my presentations were over the top before, just you wait! 2015 is going to bring all-new topics, bigger and better photos, audio, and videos, and even special guests! I’m even looking into the logistics (and legalities) of incorporating lasers, t-shirt guns, and confetti cannons. Yes, I’m serious.

So please, get out there and enjoy the Halloween season this year. You’ll be fine without me, I promise! Just know that I’m busy stocking up on Monster drinks and Boo Berry cereal in preparation for next year!

2014's Box #1

2014’s Box #1

When Does The Author Alley Open This Saturday?

0

AuthorAlley-art-2014-m Glad you asked! The Author Alley will be open from noon until 4:00 pm this Saturday, July 5th. The Larchmere Festival, which the Author Alley is part of, will run from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. But participating authors, including yours truly, will only be available in the Alley between the hours of noon and 4:00 pm, so please plan your day accordingly. I will have copies of Weird Ohio, The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories, Weird Indiana, and Haunted Indiana available for purchase, but all sales are being handled by the Festival. In other words, after 4:00 pm, I won’t have any copies with me.

Of course, with all the cool things to see and do at the Festival, I’m sure I’ll be wandering around, looking to score a shrunken head for my Strange & Spooky Museum, so feel free to tag along. Hope to see you all Saturday! For more information on the Author Alley, go here. Or go here to find out more about the Larchmere Festival.

Author Alley Releases List Of Featured Authors

0

AuthorAlley-art-2014-m

Author Alley has just released their list of Featured Authors for their July 5th event. And yes, I’m still on the list. Of course, having the last name “Willis” means that I’m almost at the bottom of the list (thank you, Mary R. Woldering), but I’m on it!

I’ll be signing copies of my 4 most recent works, including The Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories, so come on out and say “hi”. Heck, drag out your old dog-eared copy of Weird Ohio and I’ll sign that for you, too. I’ve never been to the Author Alley before, but it’s tied in with the annual Larchmere Festival, so there should be lots of cool stuff to see and do. So if nothing else, you can help me try to find some new and exciting pieces to add to The Strange & Spooky Museum.

Hope to see you all there!

For more information on Author Alley, go here.

Want to know more about the Larchmere Festival? Give a little click here.

Updated Bio Now Available

0

Recently, I’ve gotten a few requests from people wanting my most recent bio. I’m guessing they need a bit more information in order to help them decide whether or not they want to be associated with a “weirdo”!

Regardless, the 2014 version of my bio is now available and links to it have been sprinkled throughout this site. But if you’re just dying to get a peek at it, go ahead and click here and in mere seconds, my giant head will magically appear on your desktop!

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 12.45.43 PM

I’ll Be Part Of An Author Panel At The Ohioana Book Festival

0

bookfestivallogo

I have officially been added to an Author Panel for the Ohioana Book Festival. It looks like it will be taking place at 12:45. No word yet on if hoagies will be made available for all to enjoy. But feel free to bring along one for me as I often get a bit peckish at these types of engagements.

Continue reading

Update On Ohioana Book Festival

0

bookfestivallogo

If you were looking for a quick, easy way to stock up on autographed copies of my books, here’s your chance! For the Ohioana Book Festival, in addition to my latest, The Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories, I will have three additional titles available for purchase:

  • Weird Ohio
  • Haunted Indiana
  • Weird Indiana

Since that is more titles than usual for the Book Festival, supplies are probably going to be limited. So you might want to get there early. As for me, I’ll be there signing all day until either the books are all gone or else my left arm falls off…which would make for a pretty cool photo-op.

Hope to see you all there!

For more information about the Ohioana Book Festival, click here.

More information about my books can be found here. 

 

Ohioana Book Festival

0

bookfestivallogo

I’m very happy (and excited) to announce that for the first time ever in my Ohio-based writing career, my application was accepted and I will be attending the 2014 Ohioana Book Festival. Rumor has it I may even be involved in a panel discussion or two!

Their website is in the process of being updated, but it does already have the basics up (directions, times, etc). If you’re not in the clicking mood, it’s going to be held from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus.

I will definitely be signing copies of my Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories. No confirmation yet, but several of my other books (Weird Ohio, Weird Indiana, Haunted Indiana) are still on the table as being other titles that will be available at the Festival.

More as it develops!

The Top 10 Strange And Spooky Of 2013

0

Happy new year!

One of the things I enjoy doing on New Year’s Day is looking back at the stats for my blog. I really get a kick out of seeing not only what people were typing into search engines to end up here, but also which stories were the most popular. For the most part, stats for particular pages will be really high right out of the gate and then decline over time as it becomes “old news”. Same with the search terms. Still, for every random The Tokoloshe He Eat My Dog, there were several terms and phrases that kept popping up time and time again.

So here they are (in reverse order to build suspense): The Top 10 Search Terms for 2013:

10.    Mothman
Over 1,000 people landed on my site searching for Mothman, which is interesting to me since apart from a   couple of mentions of my appearing at various Mothman Festivals over the years and the Mothman Plush in my Museum, I don’t have that much stuff on my blog about Mothman.
 
9.     Eggshelland
Still can’t believe that Eggshelland is gone. 
  
8.     Paul Is Dead
Since this conspiracy is well over 40 years old, it makes me smile to see that so many people are still intrigued with it!
 
7.     Ghost Sightings
With all my strange and spooky stuff, good to know people still come to me for what started it all: ghosts.  
 
6.     Strange And Spooky World
There was a huge number of hits from this term in October, no doubt caused by my presentations and public appearances. 
 
5.     Amanda Berry
When the whole Amanda Berry/Sylvia Browne thing blew up, I couldn’t keep up with all the hits to my site. It died down shortly afterwards, only to spike again when Browne passed away later in November of 2013. 
 
4.     What Is A Tokoloshe
I’m still asking myself that very question!
 
3.     Fiji Mermaid
I get at least 5 e-mails a month from people asking me if the mermaid I have in my museum is real. I simply tell them I can see it sitting on my shelf, so of course it’s real!
 
2.     Tokoloshe
To be honest, I was a little surprised this wasn’t #1. And it wasn’t even close.
 
1.     Big Butter Jesus 
Guess it doesn’t matter if you call him Touchdown Jesus, Cream Cheese Jesus, Terminator Jesus, or even the 5-Dollar Footlong Jesus. Folks just can’t get enough of that giant weird statue alongside I-75 North.
 

So what were the top 10 stories/posts from 2013? Glad you asked! BTW, you can click on them if you need to do a little catchup reading.

10.  The Final Eggshelland

eggsignsnow

9.    Roadside Oddities

Centralia Road

8.    The Museum

Ghost Town Assayer Office

7.    My Books

61keplatqUL._SL1000_

6.    The Boy With The Boot

boy with boot figure stamp

5.    The Paul McCartney Death Clues

OPP Badge

4.    ONW: In 2004, Sylvia Browne Told Amanda Berry Mother Her Daughter Was “Not Alive

psychic_6824

3.    My Strange & Spooky World Is Coming To Oxford, Ohio

PEO FUNDRAISER_FINAL_FRONT.jpg

2.    What Magical Spell Did Ghost Adventures Cast Over Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery?

--via the Travel Channel

1.    Behold the Power of Hug Me Jesus

Apparently, Jesus will even welcome highway speeders with open arms. (via Fox 19)

And there you have it. Happy 2014! Hope it is a strange and spooky one!