Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Michael Alan Kleen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1981 in Chicago

-- Website --
-- Michael Alan Kleen on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

I have lived all over Illinois, from the Chicago suburbs, to Charleston, to Rockford, to Macomb. I attended high school at Maine West High School in Des Plaines. I received a BA in philosophy and an MA in history from Eastern Illinois University, and a MS in education from Western Illinois University. I have written several books about the folklore and ghost stories of Illinois, including "Tales of Coles County, Illinois," "Paranormal Illinois," "Haunting the Prairie," and "Legends and Lore of Illinois. "

Biographical and Professional Information

Michael A. Kleen (born October 10, 1981) is an American folklorist, publisher, and social commentator. He was born in Chicago and grew up in the northwest suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.While at Eastern, Michael began writing about local folklore, founded the publishing company Black Oak Press Illinois, and wrote a bi weekly column for the Daily Eastern News. From 2004 to 2007, he was head of an informal group at EIU that visited allegedly haunted places around Coles County, Illinois. In 2005 he wrote and published Tales of Coles County, Illinois, a collection of short historical fiction stories set in Coles County. He also authored "The Legend of Pemberton Hall" in 2008, a stand-alone electronic article highlighting the ghost story surrounding Eastern Illinois University’s Pemberton Hall, which is the oldest all-female dormitory in the State of Illinois.In 2006, Michael created Black Oak Media, a media company that currently produces two publications: Black Oak Presents, "a journal of middle American art and culture," and the Legends and Lore of Illinois, a monthly serial devoted to areas of interest in the folklore of Illinois.In the fall of 2007, Michael presented a paper on Copperheads at the 2007 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield, Illinois. His presentation led to being a featured commentator on the subject for an article on Charleston’s historical mural depicting the Charleston Riot of 1864. He also gave a presentation on local folklore at the Charleston Middle School, which made front page news in the Times-Courier. In 2010, he read a paper on the history of the Coles County Poor Farm at the 2010 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield.Michael’s opinion columns have appeared in newspapers such as the Daily Eastern News, the Daily Egyptian, and the Rock River Times, and on websites such as Strike-the-Root, WorldNetDaily, Lost Liberty Café, and VDARE. He is currently the Friday guest editor at

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Tales of Coles County, Illinois (2010)
ISBN: 0979040108

Black Oak Press, Illinois. 2010

This new edition of Michael Kleen's classic Tales of Coles County, Illinois combines both the original book and the Legends and Lore of Coles County for the first time in print. When four students from Eastern Illinois University are stranded during a violent storm, they seek shelter with an elderly couple who give them more than they bargain for. After one night, the four will never look at Coles County the same way. In the Legends and Lore of Coles County, Michael Kleen reveals over a dozen hidden stories from the area's past and present. What is the history of Coles County's ghost towns? Does a werewolf stalk the Charleston Stone Quarry? When did a poltergeist terrorize one rural family in Pleasant Grove Township? Is there buried treasure in Coles County? The answers to these questions and more can be found in this definitive volume.

Paranormal Illinois
ISBN: 0764334301

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.. 2010

Why did hundreds of people line up bumper to bumper in rural Illinois to catch a glimpse of a scantily clad phantom along Kennedy Hill Road? What is the real history behind Independence Grove and Devil's Gate? This painstakingly researched book leaves no ghost unturned.

Haunting the Prairie: A Tourists Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of Illinois
ISBN: 0979040140

Black Oak Press, Illinois. 2010

For over a decade, Michael Kleen, author of Paranormal Illinois and the Legends and Lore of Illinois, has been researching and traveling to mystery spots all over the Prairie State. Now, he has created the most organized and comprehensive guide to haunted and legendary places ever written about Illinois. Haunting the Prairie is that guide.

Haunting the Prairie contains 130 mystery sites and 60 individual illustrations, plus the only bibliographic timeline of paranormal and folklore research in Illinois over the past century. In Haunting the Prairie, Michael Kleen not only examines the sites, but also the hobbyists and professionals who have devoted their lives to exploring the strange and unusual in our great state.

Divided among eight distinct regions and listed by county, each location features a description, directions, and sources drawn from a diverse variety of books and articles where the reader can find out more information.

Haunting the Prairie challenges you to get off the couch and start exploring our wonderful State of Illinois. You might be surprised at what you discover!

One Voice
ISBN: 0979040124

Black Oak Press, Illinois. 2009

One Voice is a new collection of columns and editorials by Black Oak Media's own Michael Kleen. Topics include:

Consumerism and its harm to our society
The importance of individual liberty.
The importance of individual responsibility to family and community.
Victim-mentality and why it is harmful to the individual.
How to solve drug abuse without throwing everyone in prison.
How we can apply ancient wisdom to modern life.
And much more!

Many of these columns have been printed in an assortment of publications, including the Black Oak Report and Black Oak One Voice brings them together in one simple format!

Legends and Lore of Illinois: Case Files Volume 1
ISBN: 0979040132

Black Oak Press, Illinois. 2009

Published since January 2007, the Legends and Lore of Illinois has been defying convention to bring you Illinois ghostlore in an exciting, informative, and occasionally controversial format that has left readers begging for more.

With this new collection, you may enjoy the past two years of the Legends and Lore of Illinois in one convenient volume, distilled to its very best and featuring updated content.

This unique look at Illinois ghostlore is presented in a fun, entertaining way that sheds light on the dark recesses of our imagination. Get ready to explore infamous locations such as: Bachelor's Grove, Shoe Factory Road, Airtight Bridge, Lakey's Creek, Blood's Point Road, Peck Cemetery, Resurrection Cemetery, and many more!

But that s not all. Delve into the secret history of your favorite paranormal adventurers with two rarely-seen stories from the early days of The Fallen. Plus get a special preview of their next adventure: Black Willow Grove. This is the Legends and Lore of Illinois as you have never seen it before!

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

I can be contacted directly at my e-mail address, I prefer the speaking engagements to be within Illinois.