The Dark History Con is an annual event showcasing the darker side of history. Crime, gangsters, serial killers, spree killers, assassinations, public enemies, women’s suffrage, the civil rights struggles, Native massacres, tragic events, anything not covered in “history books”. Lest we forget, it is the victims of these events that are the most important to remember. The Dark Con isn’t to glorify any of these people or events. They are however part of our history, a part that is very important to remember and learn from. By bringing together the authors, artists and others who are intimately familiar with these events and their effects the Dark History con is a unique and entertaining show. To get the 411 we got with Brian Ward who conceived and put this convention together.
What is the Dark History Con about?
My purpose in putting it together has to do with educating people as to the events and psychology behind the events that fall into the darker realm of man’s history. There are so many aspects of history that people just are not aware of. Through no fault of their own, they just haven’t been presented with these things. Or if they have, the importance of them has been lost somewhere. All you have to do is look back through history to see so many instances that repeat each other. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could gain an understanding of that and perhaps stop the cycle? Just a thought. The stated goal of the event is to simply bring together like minds and create a network of friends and connections to share our passion for darker history and educate others as to it’s importance.
How did you come up with the idea?
I attended the Crime Scene show in 2013 in Indianapolis. That event was put together by John Borowski, Matthew Aaron, Joe Hiles and Rich Hillen Jr. and it had a three year run. It was there that I got the idea, those guys were all great and supportive of what I wanted to do. While their shows were heavier on entertainment value, they had bands and such, surrounding the genre, mine is more about growing the genre and making things educational and still fun.
What guests do you have scheduled to appear?
The list is probably too long for this article but EVERYONE is listed on our facebook pages and the website. Some highlights would be Seth Ferranti, world famous artist Jeff Gaither, John Borowski, Gary Jenkins, Corvis Nocturnum, Judith Yates, the list goes on. We have authors, artists, filmmakers and a few others scheduled to appear. We have one pretty infamous guest announcement coming up the first week of September. This guy has seen his fair share of media attention and promises to make a splash!
What can people expect at the Dark Con?
People can expect to learn about all manner of “dark things”. A large number of people will confess to being interested in true crime but feel it is still somewhat taboo. We are providing a place for those people to feel comfortable, be who they are and make some new friends along the way. We are having a number of our guests speaking and some will be screening their films as well. We have a couple fun guests that everyone will love. The original Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, the Z.O.D. St Louis chapter will be bringing their zombie hunting vehicle and equipment and who knows what else we will get!
How many people do you expect?
Being a first time type of event in a city full of events, it is tough to guess. I would really hope to have a few hundred. I personally will be happy to have an attentive audience of a couple hundred and if they are satisfied and happy, then we can only grow from there.
What special events do you have planned?
We have 9 people scheduled to speak, we have at least 3 films set to screen, one of which was shot in Champaign over 20 years ago but has NEVER been screened there so that is exciting. We have recently lined up a Hollywood make-up artist that everyone should recognize. The Z.O.D will be recruiting and showing off the skills needed to survive the zombie apocalypse and there may be more coming in the next coupls of weeks.
Tell us about your crowd funding venture?
The crowd funding venture has been enlightening to say the least. We originally launched a GoFundMe campaign back in January in an attempt to build a budget for the show. It was up for three months and never even garnered and penny contribution. I re-launched it a month or two ago and we have been fortunate enough to raise a bit over $300.00, not much but being unproven and new, it is better than where we were. Sponsors have helped a lot and every guest doing this out of their own passion and not commanding crazy fees, is really the only reason we have been able to put it together.
What is it that you like about true crime stories?
For me it has always been about the psychology behind these things. How does someone get to a point where they can do the things they do? The mind is endlessly fascinating and we will never have all of the answers. For me, that means there will always be more to learn and I truly enjoy learning all I can so I should never run out of things to read about and explore!
Check out their website: darkhistorycon.com.