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Tacos and Tales

by Brice Simmons/Campus & Features Editor

The wonder of things we do not understand, the things that none of our senses can comprehend or decode: all of this is connected to the idea of what could be; the things we do not know, but that we still believe to be possible. All this and more is what Michael Kleen dedicates his life work to. Kleen will be presenting at the Lake Land College’s event, Tacos and Tales. He will be telling stories about the most obscure and interesting things that have happened in the Coles County area.

Photo of Michael Kleen's book "Tales of Coles County." Book image from Cole County Tales Facebook page

Photo of Michael Kleen’s book “Tales of Coles County.”
Book image from Cole County Tales Facebook page

Michael Kleen is an author, publisher, local historian and freelance columnist. Some of the many books he has written include “Tales of Coles County, Illinois”, “Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State” and “Paranormal Illinois.” On top of all this, he owns a publishing company called Black Oak Media, Inc. that, according to him was incorporated in 2011 and has “published about 25 titles [from various authors] since then.” He is also the editor of the website MysteriousHeartland.com.

In an interview with Kleen, he stated that he has been writing since he was in elementary school, and has been interested in history and folklore for “at least that long.” He “actually started out writing fiction, and the first couple of books I wrote were all novellas.” Kleen started publishing because of his intense enjoyment of writing and he decided he wanted to make a living doing just that. In 2008, he received a M.A. in history from Eastern Illinois University. The research skill that was learned there has helped him approach the folklore subject from different perspectives.

In his interview, referring to his Tacos and Tales talk at Lake Land Colleges, Kleen said “My presentation is going to be nothing short of spectacular.” He is planning on taking students on a “visual journey to some of Coles County’s most interesting and mysterious places.” The presentation will consist of photos and videos and will discuss the history and background of many legends and ghost stories from “the most famous to some of the more obscure.” He guarantees that “everyone will learn something, even if they were born and raised in the area.”

Come to the event Tacos and Tales, on February 12 and enjoy some of the most interesting stories you could hope to hear.


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