Not since the Headless Horseman went charging through Sleepy Hollow has something come out of upstate New York as thrilling and chilling as author & paranormal researcher James A. Willis.
Willis has been chasing after all things strange, spooky or just plain weird for over 25 years. His unnatural passion resulted in over a dozen books chronicling his exploits, including Weird Ohio, Haunted Indiana, and Armchair Reader Goes Hollywood.
A sought after public speaker, Willis has given multimedia presentations throughout the US, educating and entertaining tens of thousands of people of all ages on a wide range of topics including ghosts, urban legends, and roadside oddities.
Price Range: Contact for rates
Gig Length: 30 - 120 minutes
What to Expect
The unexpected! Every presentation I offer is jam-packed with strange and spooky video, audio, and photographs. Plus, space permitting, I can bring along pieces from my Strange & Spooky Museum--everything from alleged Bigfoot casts to haunted items!
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 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 ((link hidden)), a nationally recognized paranormal research organization. Willis has grown the organization to well over 35 members in three divisions throughout the state: Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.
In 2004, in what seemed to be destiny, Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman, the brainchild’s of the Weird US series of books, approached Willis and asked him to contribute to their latest volume, Weird US. To date, Willis has been involved with 6 books in the Weird US series. 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). Willis’ unique and offbeat writing style was officially recognized in 2006 with his induction into the Grand Order of Weird Writers.
In addition, Willis has been a contributing author to several books in the Armchair Reader series, beginning with Weird, Scary & Unusual (2008) and continuing with several books released in 2010: Armchair Reader Goes Hollywood, Armchair Reader’s All about Ohio, and The Mammoth Armchair Reader. 2011 marked the release of Willis' latest collaboration with Armchair Reader, Haunted America. For 2012, Willis released Haunted Indiana, his first work with Stackpole Books. In the fall of 2012, Willis' The Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories was unleashed.
Look for Willis' next book, Ohio's Historic Haunts, to be released in late summer of 2015.
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 50 media sources, including CNN, USA Today, Columbus Business First, Midwest Living, The Canadian Press, and even the Kuwait Times. He is also currently a contributing author to Mysteries Magazine.
Willis currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and daughter, a Queen-loving parrot, and three narcoleptic cats
Additional Booking Notes
Other than a screen (or a blank wall) and possibly a microphone, I bring all my own stuff and set it up, too!
Influences & Inspiration
Ambrose Bierce, HP Lovecraft, Barnabas Collins, Freddie Mercury, Batman '66, and The Little Rascals