Mysterious Heartland is a place where legend trippers can gather to learn more about the folklore, ghost stories, and mysterious places and events of the American heartland. What is legend tripping? Author Lisa Hefner Heitz defines it as “Visits by young people to a locally famous site that is known to be haunted or a hangout for monsters and other supernatural creatures.” It has also been described as “a usually furtive nocturnal pilgrimage to a site which is alleged to have been the scene of some tragic, horrific, and possibly supernatural event or haunting.”
Mysterious Heartland is a direct decedent of trueillinoishaunts.com. Our website went online in December 2008 and for nearly five years provided information, interviews, news, and more about the legends and lore of Illinois. After all those years, however, we felt it was time to expand our geographic boundaries.
At Mysterious Heartland, we are fascinated by the odd and unknown. Our website will focus on unsolved mysteries, true crime, ghost stories, folklore, and books and movies about those topics. It is for everyone in the American heartland who is interested in learning more about the places, history, and events that make our hometowns unique.
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Our Editor: Michael Kleen
Michael Kleen holds a M.A. in History from Eastern Illinois University and a M.S. in Education from Western Illinois University. He is a freelance columnist, as well as the author of Haunting Illinois, Paranormal Illinois, Six Tales of Terror, and Tales of Coles County, among other works. Most recently, he edited and published the anthology Secret Rockford.
His nonfiction articles have appeared in publications like Historic Illinois and the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, and his short stories have appeared in anthologies like Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of the Paranormal and Mythos: Myths & Tales of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.
In 2011, his short story “Coed Terror in the Ivory Tower of Doom” was adapted into a short film called Headline News, which won Best Actor for Michael Wexler as Dr. Ethan Campbell at the 2011 Chicago Horror Film Festival.
Michael has spoken about local history and folklore at conventions, libraries, cafes, museums, schools, and colleges; and he has presented research papers at the 2007, 2010, and 2011 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield. He has also been a guest on radio shows like The Mothership Connection on AM-1050 WLIP, Thresholds Radio, the Michael Koolidge Show, the Kevin Smith Show, and the Bobbie Ashley Morning Show, among others. He has also appeared on 30 Odd Minutes, WGN Channel 9 News, WTVO Channel 17/FOX 39 News, WREX Channel 13 News, WICD Channel 15 News, and Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures.