Hunting for the Haunted

So, as to not cast any shadows on the whole concept and theory of occult studies, let me begin by introducing you to a psychic investigator and a former member of Mensa, Maurice Schwalm. Maurice Schwalm passed away on January 3, 2001 at the age of 72 years. Yet, he spent many years and much of his life as a member of the American Society of Psychical Research and the Mensa Education & Research Foundation (MERF). His Occult Studies Special Interest Group (SIG) was somehow connected with Mensa – but his bright fame was from the mark, or impression, he placed upon the public through radio, literature, and other news outlets. Something of a ghost was nearly always present in his work whether in pictures that he captured with his camera (with a “ghost hand” inside, he felt) or in the writings he left to us. Supernatural images could be found, from premonitions of the Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse to Polaroid shots of people dancing where there was no one physically present.

During the ‘70s and ‘80s, the spirits must have been more active. A series of Mr. Schwalm’s occult studies were published as articles in the Mension (the official newsletter of Mid-America Mensa). Around Halloween every year, local news reporters would consult with our resident expert, Mr. Schwalm. Also, the Johnson County Library has multiple copies of Maurice Schwalm’s collected papers in the vertical files at the Central Resource Branch. Just look for the folder marked ‘Haunted Places – KC Area’. Or, check out his book ‘Mo-Kan Ghosts: The Casebook of a Kansas City Psychic Investigator’. Whether it’s fact or fiction depends upon your own system of belief and your best perception of things.

In the meantime, have some fun this Halloween with whatever you are wanting to do. Oh, and by the way, Mid-America Mensa is hosting a Halloween party as it does almost every year at this time. Gather up your friends, grab a costume and a few props (and maybe a good, reliable recording device!), and search for yourself for that which has never been seen or heard before. Whether the supernatural is a paranormal haunting or something else entirely is going to be strictly a matter of your interpretation and opinion.


LibAnswers –
Ghost Dance –
Haunted Kansas City –

Voting Soon on MAM’s Proposed Bylaws Revisions

Mid-America Mensa (MAM) is asking for a hand with the approval of its most recently proposed Bylaws Revisions. MAM’s Bylaws were last revised (and approved) in 1998. Now, on September 7th, 2018, we have received approval from the American Mensa Committee (AMC) Bylaws Review Committee for the revised Bylaws – as approved by the MAM Board on August 9th, 2018. This approved set of Bylaws will bring our local bylaws into compliance with the AMC’s Minimum Standard Bylaws (MSB).

Every member must now be given the opportunity to review and vote yea or nay. If approved, these recently proposed bylaws revisions will be taken as the Bylaws of Mid-America Mensa. If not approved, we are still bound to follow AMC’s Minimum Standard Bylaws. Hence, your ballot will soon be included in the next (November 2018) issue of the Mension. Details regarding the voting process will be included with the ballot. So, as a member of Mid-America Mensa, your vote counts in an important sense and way. Thus, now is a good time when you can help us shape the present and future of Mid-America Mensa.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to the Mension editors for some of the information included here, and especially to MAM’s Board and AMC’s Bylaws Review Committee for giving us this historic opportunity to exercise our participation and vote.

Climbing: A Challenging Mind & Body Sport

What is both mentally challenging and a physically demanding sport?

Many people mistakenly believe climbing is about upper body strength, as in how strong your grip is and how many pull-ups you can do. Actually, climbing relies primarily on your core; this is why climbers are known for having great-looking abs. Balance is much more relevant to successful climbing than grip strength or how many pull-ups you can do. Most types of holds aren’t really gripped at all, and for most climbing moves we push ourselves up rather than pull ourselves up. — Mark Lamendola

Recently, Mark Lamendola explained that there are two different types of climbing, both of which are done inside climbing gyms. No rock, it’s mainly plastic. One is bouldering (mostly slab bouldering) and the other is top-roping.

“We are trained, experienced climbers,” he continued; “we do have a path for new climbers to join us, but it’s not the case they can just show up and climb with us.” If you’re in the KC area and think you might like to start climbing, please contact either Ibex (Blue Springs) or Apex (Overland Park) to take their introductory course. After you’ve taken the introductory course, contact Mark ([email protected]) for one-on-one free lessons with someone in our group. If you’re not in the KC area, look for a climbing gym near you and check it out.

Q&A with a Smart Artist: Wes Benson

Q-1/ How did you become interested in art?

Wes/ I’ve been interested in art as long as I can remember. I recall, vividly, drawing when I was a child, and the magic of being able to render whatever I wanted. I always had a knack for drawing and was always known for it. My parents are both artists, so I grew up surrounded by art supplies. I’ve studied art my entire life, through high school, college, and grad school in NYC.

Q-2/ How did you get started in Mensa?

Wes/ I became interested in Mensa only after taking an IQ test. My score qualified, and I was aware of Mensa, so I applied, knowing it would be interesting.

Q-3/ What kind of artist would you say that you are?

Wes/ I’m an oil painter. My style could be called a mix between Impressionism and Pop art. My work is representational, rather than abstract, meaning I paint things as you see them in the world around you. My background is in illustration (drawing), rather than in painting. I intended to be a commercial illustrator, but found I had more ability as an oil painter.

Q-4/ In which direction is the business going?

Wes/ My business is going in the direction of fine art, works that sell through galleries and private commissions.

Q-5/ If you were at a party, the talk in your same corner of the room would be about what?

Wes/ If I was at a party I’d likely be talking about paleontology. It’s my primary love outside of art. I dig for fossils locally and occasionally travel to Montana where I dig for dinosaurs with my friends in the paleontology department from the University of Kansas.

[Note: Portions of this interview were edited for style, but not for content.]

Mid-America Mensa Membership Information

Mensa is an international society that has one – and only one – qualification for membership, a score in the top 2% of the population on a standardized intelligence test. Prior test evidence is accepted. The American Mensa website has details on the more than 200 tests along with eligible scores. Tests are administered locally on a regular basis; see the testing information. With over five hundred members in the eastern Kansas-western Missouri area, Mid-America Mensa sponsors a number of activities each month. Special Interest Groups (SIGs), including Games, Book Lovers, Climbing, and Ethnic Eats meet each month. Members also gather at local restaurants and pubs for social occasions. Float trips on rivers within an easy drive of Kansas City have been summer highlights in the past as well as the Annual Picnic and White Elephant Auction. Special meetings with debates and/or speakers are also scheduled. Gatherings range from strictly fun to serious and everything in between.

As a member of the Mid-America Chapter of American Mensa, Ltd., you will receive our local newsletter, Mension, and the national publication, Mensa Bulletin. These will keep you in touch with Mensa happenings at the local, national, and international levels. For more information about membership, click here to send an email.

To learn more about Mid-America Mensa, click here. And click here for a history of Mensa itself.

Testing for Mensa The tests are administered once a month, usually on a Saturday or Sunday at a local library. For information on upcoming test sessions please contact MAM’s Testing Coordinator at [email protected] or visit the Mensa Testing Calendar at Currently the fee for testing is $60 and may be paid in advance by purchasing a voucher at the America Mensa website or paid at the time by cash, check, or credit/debit card.

Your test will be sent directly to the professional staff at our Arlington, TX, headquarters for grading. Your scores are kept confidential and should be returned to you within a few weeks.

Two tests are administered: a version of the Wonderlic Personnel Test and the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test (RAIT). You are required to score at or above the 98th percentile on either test for Mensa membership. The tests are designed to measure your thinking abilities rather than specific knowledge. We will supply all necessary testing materials; calculators and other mechanical devices are not permitted. Please be advised that if you have taken either of these tests before with the Mensa organization you may not take them again.

Candidates under 14 should contact the Testing Coordinator for additional information as these tests are not calibrated for that age range. If English is not your primary language, or if for any other reason you would prefer a non-language based test, please contact us so that arrangements may be made. If you have any further questions please feel free to email me at [email protected].

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Flashback: Nine members volunteer at Ronald McDonald House

For several years now, a group of Mid-America Mensa members has gathered to prepare and serve dinner for visitors at Ronald McDonald House near Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. On Sunday, March 18th 2018, about 30 guests and our crew of volunteers – including Chris & Rhonda Johnston, Karin Miller, Susannah Sulsar, Paul Hough, Shawn & Diana Dyer, Al McMahon, and Jean Matzeder – helped to entertain with a tasty meal and fellowship. If you missed volunteering this year for this event, we look forward to more events, like this one at Ronald McDonald House, in the future.

MAM volunteers

MAM volunteers at Ronald McDonald House in March 2018