Weirdos of Whitewater, Wisconsin lined up outside the University Centers Hamilton Room in anticipation for the Highly Strange Discussion Series by paranormal researcher John E.L. Tenny on Friday, October 1st.
When using the term weirdo, it is not meant in the way some may be thinking. You know, like when you here a bully yell weirdo down the school hall in a 80’s blockbuster film. It is meant in quite the opposite light. Host of this series John E.L. Tenny starts off his lecture with a “What’s up weirdos?” telling the audience to raise their hands high if their a weirdo while he shares the history of the term. Which to summarize, means someone who thinks for their self and breaks social norms or status quo.
*October is a busy month for both the University and the town of Whitewater. It is the time when the towns old history is unburied. The past rumors of witches roaming the streets combine with the famous nickname of “Second Salem”. And the stories of spiritual institutions and seances seem to enhance the Halloween spirit. Tenny’s lecture being the kick – off event of October accented this very nicely.
Tenny’s is a very reputable admirer of all things “weird”. He has published over a dozen books, has two extremally popular podcasts, and has worked on paranormal shows such as, “Unsolved Mysteries” as a paranormal researcher. Which is why this event piqued the interest of so many.
Jada Thurrman, a senior who works in the graphic design department of the UC and helped in the creation of the posters and behind the scenes for the lecture stated, “It was a lot of work and preparation to get him on campus, so we hope everyone loves it”. And after seeing the show I can see why it was so hard to get Tenny on caompus.
The lecture from Tenny started with some basic things. Ghost, gnomes, aliens, and even some whitewater legends. But as the audience got deeper and deeper into the lecture, the unexplained “coincidences”, classified documents, science allowing us to dive in more than ever before while still leaving so much unexplained. Minds were blown and thoughts were running through everyone’s head as Tenny went on.
Madelyn Santeler, a fellow weirdo who sat next to me at the lecture, was very familiar with the name. Not for his lectures, but for his podcast “Realm of the Weird”. Madelyn said that, “Although the posters the campus promoted were a little misleading…It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It was more of a conversation than a show and I loved how involved everyone was.”
I also had the honor of getting to ask Tenny a few questions during the question portion after the show. One excited question asked was if he knew the history of whitewater and its legends of being called Second Salem. To which he responded, Yes, and began listing off a few of the legends and ending with “Whitewater is going to become a hot spot for paranormal investigators really soon. Its grabbing everyone’s attention. I think me being here now is the start of that.” So, after this night of discussion, will we begin to see Whitewater’s quiet streets fill with investigators and storytellers? Only time will tell.