Ashley "Asherz" Hilt is a native of southwestern Ohio and brings a fresh, new perspective to the paranormal world. After attending the annual Mothman Festival in 2019, she went head first into researching the sightings and overall Mothman phenomenon from the late 60s to the present day. As she delved deeper into the world of forteana, she came to realize she herself had been an eyewitness to a Mothman experience. Asherz and her podcast partner Pat O. host weekly episodes of "On Wednesdays We Talk Weird" which covers current events, occasional guests and a main topic to discuss that may include anything from the paranormal events to conspiracies. Asherz will also be our host throughout the day as we welcome a variety of guests to the stage to share their interests.
Dee has been enamored with stories about the most strange and bizarre parts of our world ever since they were very young. While other kids got books about cars and basketball players, they got books about Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Ever since then, they’ve been memorizing any and all weird stories they can to spread far and wide around the world. Dee got their Masters of Art in Popular Culture with a focus in Folklore from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. There, they completed their Masters Thesis on how West Virginia urban legends like Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster have affected the towns around them. Currently, they work for West Virginia University at the West Virginia and Regional History Center, as well as for the Metazoo trading card game! Their favorite cryptid is a tie between Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster, and they always love hearing new stories to tell!
Heather Moser grew up in the foothills of Appalachia, and her heart is squarely in collecting spooky tales from the region and diving into historical and genealogical records. She is a classics professor, author, and researcher. She is most proud, however, of her roles as a researcher and producer for the film production company Small Town Monsters as well as helping launch Small Town Monsters Publishing! You can read some of her work in the first and third volume of The Feminine Macabre as well as in the archives of the Into the Fray Weird Writer blog. You can contact her on Instagram @paganhistorian or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
James A. Willis
Not since the Headless Horseman went charging through Sleepy Hollow has something come out of the Hudson Highlands of upstate New York as thrilling and chilling as author and paranormal researcher James A. Willis. Fueled by a steady childhood diet of Boo Berry cereal, Creepy magazine, and late-night Vincent Price movies, Willis soon developed a taste for the unexplained and quickly began seeking out all things strange and spooky. When he wasn’t trying to coax the boogeyman out from under his bed for a photo shoot, Willis pondered such eternal questions as what happens to us when we die, is there life on other planets, and what possesses someone to decorate their house with 1,001 milk jugs? In 1999, after spending more than 15 years chasing after ghosts and visiting crybaby bridges, Willis moved to Ohio and founded The Ghosts of Ohio (ghostsofohio.org), a nationally recognized paranormal research organization. In 2004, in what seemed to be destiny, Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman, the brainchilds of the Weird US series of books, approached Willis and asked him to contribute to their latest volume, Weird US. He is the co-author of Weird Ohio (2005) and Weird Indiana (2008) and was also a contributing author to Weird US (2004), Weird Hauntings (2006), Weird US II: The ODDyssey Continues (2008), and Weird Encounters (2010). In addition, Willis has been a contributing author to several books in the Armchair Reader series. In 2012, Willis struck out on his own with the publication of Haunted Indiana. For 2013’s The Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories, Willis crisscrossed Ohio to bring readers over 75 of the Buckeye state’s most famous (and infamous) ghosts. In 2015, Willis released Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Investigating the Paranormal in the Buckeye State. A joint effort with Kent State University Press, the book approached hauntings and ghost stories from a historical perspective and chronicled Willis’ personal experiences when locked inside of some of Ohio’s most haunted locations. The next book, Central Ohio Legends & Lore, had him chasing down some of the Buckeye State’s most legendary characters, including Johnny Appleseed, Annie Oakley, and Chief Leatherlips. Along the way, Willis took the time to explore some of central Ohio’s stranger legends, such as the Ohio Grassman and even UFOs. His latest book, Southern Ohio Legends & Lore gives the reader a great selection of stories that are researched in-depth by Willis to provide details often glossed over or forgotten to the ages. In this book, we learn about the Frogman of Loveland, a pentragram around Athens and ghost stories across the region including a victim of George Remus, often considered the inspiration for The Great Gatsby. A sought-after public speaker, Willis has given presentations throughout the United States, during which he has educated and entertained tens of thousands of people of all ages in crowd sizes ranging from 10 to well over 600. He has also been featured in more than 75 media sources, including CNN, USA Today, Columbus Business First, Midwest Living, The Canadian Press, and even the Kuwait Times. Willis currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and daughter, a Queen-loving parrot, and three narcoleptic cats.
Erin is a park ranger and naturalist at Caesar Creek State Park in Warren County. In 2014 she was named Ohio State Parks' Naturalist of the Year! Erin also teaches in the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program in conjunction with the Ohio State University and was a primary instructor when Frogman Fest event founder/organizer, Jeff Craig, took her courses in 2016 to become an OCVN. Erin has a background studying recreation & outdoor leadership at Miami University. She has a masters in Education Science from Southern Adventist University. She has a diverse background with previous work as an instructor at Morgan's Canoe and Outdoor Adventures, a Facilitator at World Leadership Forum, 5th grade teacher, and Outdoor Education and Leadership Facilitator at Cohutta Springs, a retreat center in the northern Georgia mountains.
Tobias Wayland is a passionate fortean who has been actively investigating the unusual for over a decade; the first several years of his investigative career were spent as a MUFON field investigator, and following that he investigated independently prior to becoming the head writer and editor for the Singular Fortean Society. Tobias is a frequent guest on various podcasts and radio shows, has contributed to several books and periodicals on the paranormal, and is often invited to speak at paranormal conferences and events. He was featured in the series premiere of Expedition X, and the Small Town Monsters documentaries Terror in the Skies and On the Trail of the Lake Michigan Mothman for his work investigating Mothman sightings around Lake Michigan. He and his wife Emily have been involved with the Lake Michigan Mothman investigation since its advent in the spring of 2017, and published a book chronicling the experience, The Lake Michigan Mothman: High Strangeness in the Midwest. His second book about unusual phenomena, Strange Tales of the Impossible, continues their work in investigating a variety of seemingly impossible events. His years as an investigator have served him best by illustrating that when it comes to the anomalous, the preternatural, and the paranormal, any answers he's found are still hopelessly outnumbered by questions.
Born in Maine, and raised among the countryside of south central Ohio, Bea Mills is no stranger to the stranger aspects of the outdoors. After working with MUFON as a Field Investigator for some years, she turned back to her roots, accepting the invitation to join the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. Over the past several years, she has led and participated in numerous investigations throughout Ohio and surrounding areas. In addition to her outdoor endeavors, she volunteers regularly with various regional Ohio Parks, preserves, and land owners. She is currently the President of the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program, Hocking Hills Chapter, to further her education and pursuit of knowledge. She also organizes the Hocking Hills Bigfoot Conference, a charity fundraiser, to support Camp Oty'Okwa's camper scholarship to foster youth in the outdoors and founded the Hocking Hills Bigfoot Festival in 2022 which was held in Logan.Over the last past several years, she has studied and deployed different applications to long duration field recording, utilizing techniques from traditional to bizarre. With welcoming results that support the Sasquatch phenomena in Ohio, her goals include continuing to build the case of a strong core population of the Sasquatch along the central and southern Ohio corridor, as well as fostering the conservation and preservation of natural areas and potential habitats for prolonged field research, data collection and investigation.
Jessica Jones is the host of "Into the Portal" on KGRA digital broadcasting network. She is a paranormal investigator and remote viewer based in northwest Georgia. She is an active field researcher and member of Enigma Research Group (ERG), Anomalous Studies and Observation Group (ASOG), and North Georgia Cryptid Researchers (NGCR). All are action-oriented research groups which conduct field research associated with all things paranormal, particularly Bigfoot. These groups have obtained ground-breaking evidence at several paranormal hot-spot hubs in the southeastern United States, comparable to the infamous Skinwalker Ranch. What sets her team apart from other groups is they are all trained in remote viewing (RV). In addition to utilizing RV in the research field, Jessica assists in missing persons/cold cases. Jessica has been a very "switched-on" human since childhood. Her interests included studying ghosts and the afterlife, cryptids, watching the sky for UFOs at night, and astrology, which led her to be a tarot and oracle card reader. Jessica spent nearly twenty years as the Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on Women, a state agency advocating for women across the state of Georgia. She now has a small business, War Woman Goods. Jessica posts videos of her adventures on her YouTube channel, "The Cryptid Huntress." You can watch her live show on cryptids and paranormal field research, "Into the Portal," every Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. EST on KGRA digital broadcasting. SHe is a featured guest
speaker at the 2022 and 2023 Georgia Bigfoot Conference in Dillard Georgia (outside of Clayton, GA).