Afterlife Paranormal Conference & Film Festival


DEKALB, IL 60115

Discounted Rooms!

2018 Guests

Check out the awesome Special Guests we have lined up for the 2018 Afterlife Paranormal Conference!

Ursula Bielski

Ursula Bielski is the founder of Chicago Hauntings, Inc. and the host of PBS' "The Hauntings of Chicago" (WYCC). 

An historian, author, and parapsychologist, she has been writing and lecturing about Chicago's supernatural folklore and the paranormal for two decades and is recognized as a leading authority on the Chicago region's ghostlore and cemetery history. She is the author of ten popular and critically acclaimed books on the same subjects including the Chicago Haunts series and Graveyards of Chicago.

Ursula's interests in Chicago ghost hunting began at a young age. She grew up in a haunted house on Chicago's north side and received an early education in Chicago history from her father, a Chicago police officer, who introduced Ursula to the ghosts at Graceland Cemetery, Montrose Point and the old lockup at the storied Maxwell Street Police Station. Since that time Ursula has been involved in countless investigations of haunted sites in and around Chicago, including such notorious locales as Wrigley Field, the Congress Hotel, the Indiana Dunes, the Red Lion Pub, Hull House, Bachelors Grove Cemetery, Rosehill Cemetery, Archer Avenue, Chinatown, the Eastland disaster site, Death Alley, The House of 200 Demons, Dillinger's Alley and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre site. Her paranormal travels have also led her to investigate sites as diverse and infamous as the Bell Witch Cave in Tennessee; the Oshkosh, Wisconsin Opera House; New Orleans' House of the Rising Sun; the City Cemetery in Key West, Florida; Linda Vista Hospital in Los Angeles, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, and the Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Aside from her writing, Ursula has been featured on numerous television documentaries, including productions by the A&E Network, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, SyFy, The Travel Channel, and PBS. She's been a judge on "Paranormal Challenge" and a regular guest on "Ghost Adventures" and the "Maury Show"s paranormal specials.  She also appears regularly on local Chicago television and radio and lectures throughout the year at various libraries, historical and professional societies and designs and hosts tours for Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum.  In addition to her books, Ursula is the author of numerous scholarly articles exploring the links between history and the paranormal, including articles published in the International Journal of Parapsychology. Ursula is a past editor of PA News, the quarterly newsletter of the Parapsychological Association, a past president and board member of the Pi Gamma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, and holds membership in the Society of Midland Authors.  She also edits children's books on the paranormal for Bearport Publishing in New York  and teaches courses in Paranormal Studies for Harper College.

A graduate of St. Benedict High School in Chicago, Ursula holds a B.A. degree in history from Benedictine University and an M.A. in American cultural and intellectual history from Northeastern Illinois University. Her academic explorations include the Spiritualist movement of the 19th century and its transformation into psychical research and parapsychology, and the relationships among belief, experience, science, and religion.

Mike Ricksecker

Mike Ricksecker is the author of the Chase Michael DeBarlo mystery novels Deadly Heirs and System of the Dead, and the paranormal books Ghosts of Maryland, Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma, and CampfireTales: Midwest and the hybrid paranormal research written work of his new “Ghostorian Case Files” series. He has appeared on multiple television shows and programs as a paranormal historian, including Animal Planet’s The Haunted and Bio Channel’s My Ghost Story, Fox 5 News (Washington DC) and Fox 25 News (Oklahoma City), and he produces his own Internet shows Ghosts and Legends and Paranormal Roads. Recently, he has formed his own publishing company, Haunted Road Media.

Mike’s historic paranormal articles have been published in The Baltimore Sun, Paranormal Underground Magazine, and he writes an Oklahoma City paranormal column for His work has also been featured in The Oklahoman, The Frederick News Post, and Marshall University’s The Parthenon.

With over 20 years of experience, he’s also a paranormal investigator and “Ghostorian” with Society of the Haunted and regularly travels to speak about the paranormal and writing.

Dale Kaczmarek

Dale Kaczmarek, President of the Ghost Research Society, will be returning to the Afterlife Paranormal Conference in 2018 with a great presentation!

Dale Kaczmarek is also director of Excursions Into The Unknown, Inc., hosting ghost tours of haunted Chicagoland locations.  Kaczmarek has been actively investigating ghosts, hauntings and poltergeist phenomena since 1975 and is active in a number of organizations, including: American Association for Electronic Voice Phenomena, Society of the Investigation of the Unexplained, International Fortean Organization, and the prestigious Ghost Club of England.

Kaczmarek’s writings have appeared in numerous books, publications, newspapers, and periodicals.  He has been a guest on “Oprah”, “Encounters”, “Sightings”, “The Other Side”, “Rolanda”, “Mysteries Magic and Miracles”, “Exploring the Unknown”, and was called on by the Discovery Channel to help produce and appear in two segments: “Real Ghosthunters”, and “Phantom Photos.

Kaczmarek is CEO of Ghost Research Society Press, and has himself authored six books, including Windy City Ghosts, and Field Guide to Ghost Hunting Techniques.

Amelia Cotter

Amelia Cotter is an author and storyteller with a special interest in the supernatural, history, and folklore. Her books include This House: The True Story of a Girl and a Ghost, Maryland Ghosts: Paranormal Encounters in the Free State, and the children's book Breakfast with Bigfoot. She is also a cast member of the show The R.I.P. Files.

Amelia grew up in Bel Air, Maryland, where she developed a love for historic, abandoned, and haunted places as a young child. She was fascinated by scary stories and urban legends, and fancied herself one day writing about the supernatural. When she was eleven, Amelia fell in love with a local abandoned house and its resident ghost that later became the inspiration for her first book, This House. As a teenager, Amelia had many nighttime adventures with friends, ghost hunting and suburban exploring around Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Amelia attended Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, graduating in 2007 with a degree in German and History. While at Hood, Amelia studied abroad in Heidelberg, Germany for a year, where she honed her skills in language and storytelling through immersing herself in the melting pot of European cultures and history. Shortly after graduating, Amelia was diagnosed with late-stage Hodgkin lymphoma and spent six months in chemotherapy. Those six months proved to be a strange period of respite that allowed her to complete the first drafts of This House and Breakfast with Bigfoot, and give serious consideration to fulfilling her dreams sooner rather than later. After completing her treatments, Amelia moved to Chicago in early 2008 to start a new life and dive into the publishing world. She has dabbled in various sectors of publishing and enjoys a diverse writing life as an author and award-winning poet. Amelia was invited to become a member of the Society of Midland Authors in fall 2013, and also holds memberships in the Haiku Society of America and United Haiku and Tanka Society.

Amelia's favorite featured shot as jewelry model for Sandpiper Imports.
Photo by Jonathan Montgomery Pollock.
Upon moving to Chicago, Amelia also dove into the world of Midwest ghostlore. Her nostalgia for the haunted history of her home state prompted her to research and compile Maryland Ghosts, and she became a tour guide with Chicago Hauntings ghost tours, giving tours around the city. Amelia has traveled throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, exploring haunted places and speaking to audiences of all ages about the supernatural and why it fascinates us.

In mid-2014, after attracting attention from television producers for her expertise on Maryland and Chicago ghostlore, Amelia joined the cast of the paranormal reality show The R.I.P. Files. In mid-2016, Amelia expanded her on-camera portfolio beyond the realm of the unknown and became the official jewelry model for the Chicago-based fair trade company Sandpiper Imports.

Snooping around creepy old places with her partner
in life and crime, Jonathan (Whispers Estate in Mitchell, Indiana).
All this, and Amelia has a day job, too. She has worked for more than a decade in museum and nonprofit management, and has volunteered for a number of animal welfare and wildlife conservation organizations and projects. Amelia loves the outdoors and has hiked around Maryland and Illinois as well as Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah. She has also braved the rainforests of Nicaragua and Ecuador. Amelia loves animals and has a dog named Oskar, a ball python named Sunshine, a spotted python named Moonlight, and a corn snake named Miles. Amelia also plays the banjo.

Today Amelia is living cancer-free, working hard, loving life, and appreciating every minute of her "supernatural" career. She enjoys all of this with her husband and best friend, recording engineer and photographer Jonathan Montgomery Pollock. Amelia shares her love for the many wonders of the world, while hopefully inspiring others to explore it, through her books, stories, poetry, and on- and off-screen appearances.


Vendor Tables!