This was the Occult Chicago conference organized by Jason Winslade at DePaul University—his take on “Chicago Quarter,” an urban orientation class that all first-year DePaul students must take.
Imagine a bright new student who, however, does not know a Theosophist from a Chicago Bear. Suddenly she (who maybe just took this section because it fit her schedule) finds herself immersed in a world yogis, magicians, witches, astrologers, hucksters, publishers, and — this being Chicago — architecture.
Those of us who attended the one-day version (see also Jason Pitzl-Waters’ review) heard some of the students’ capstone presentations, learned that the first skyscraper in Chicago was built by the Freemasons, listened to representatives of contemporary magical groups, and visited sites and building associated with occult organizations, hauntings, violent deaths, and publishing houses.
Finally came a performance by the Terra Mysterium steampunk theatre troupe. You might think that a classroom would not make the best performance space, but the performance was laced with academic parody, so it worked.