Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: midwest furfest

Midwest Furfest 2014 chemical attack: Fur And Loathing podcast Episode 2 at scene of the crime

by Patch O'Furr

May 13, 2024: The second episode of Fur and Loathing is HERE (six episodes are coming out weekly.)

The 2014 chemical attack on Midwest Furfest was one of the largest in American history. 19 people were hospitalized. Nobody was charged and the case went cold. 10 years later, never-before-reported findings are here in this Furry True Crime podcast with journalist Nicky Woolf.

In the new Episode 2, Nicky visits Midwest Furfest and traces events in the 2014 police report, gaining unexpected insight. He gets immersed in furry culture with an insider guide, then introduces a complication that stalled the case. Until now.

Last week’s launch announcement had an exclusive interview for Dogpatch Press with Nicky and Patch O’Furr. A reader requested the transcript below. Come back for surprising developments in upcoming episodes.

TRANSCRIPT: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – lightly edited for clarity from the video

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BREAKING: Midwest Furfest 2014 chemical attack – new findings by Fur And Loathing podcast

by Patch O'Furr

May 6, 2024: The first episode of Fur and Loathing is HERE

Think you’ve heard everything about the 2014 chemical attack on Midwest Furfest? Wait until you hear this.

The intentional release of chlorine gas sent 19 people to the hospital. It was one of the largest chemical weapons terrorist attacks in American history.

Who did it? And… why?

The targets deserve to know, because they were lucky to survive. The weapon’s deadly potential was only avoided by fast response. The level of crime fell just behind the 2001 anthrax attacks, but strangely, nobody was ever charged for it. The story faded into underreporting, disrespect towards the community, murky rumors, and hopes that it won’t happen again. There’s pride in resilience — but 10 years later, justice wasn’t served. It’s the biggest cold case in furry fandom.

The case revived when investigation by Dogpatch Press drew journalist Nicky Woolf and Project Brazen to seek FBI records, identify suspects, and fly across America to interview sources. Nicky is a journalist who reports on internet culture, with stories in The Guardian, and his original podcast series Finding Q and The Sound: Mystery of the Havana Syndrome. Nicky and Brazen’s series Fur And Loathing delivers never-before reported findings to empower the community.

EXCLUSIVE: Nicky Woolf’s introduction for Dogpatch Press

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DEBUNKING: The Asheville bomb arrest, Confederate Fursuiter, and Midwest Furfest attack

by Patch O'Furr

Robert “Magnus Diridian” Sojkowski

The 2014 Midwest Furfest chemical attack is one of the biggest unsolved crimes in furry fandom. It has a main suspect who was raided by the FBI, and they found physical evidence (read below). His name is Robert “Magnus Diridian” Sojkowski, also known as the Confederate Fursuiter.

In separate news from July 2022, two men in Asheville, North Carolina face terror charges in a bomb incident. One is a furry and subject of online rumors. His name is Chioke “Tech Coyote” Fugate.

That’s two separate crimes, with two separate suspects… but when the news about Fugate came out, rumors named him as the Confederate Fursuiter. This is critically misleading. Sojkowski made the suit in 2015 and stayed the ongoing owner and wearer, so the identity belongs to him. The mixup came from a meeting in 2017 where Fugate took photos with the suit and possibly wore it once. Why is it a big deal? It led to falsely naming Fugate for the Midwest Furfest attack he had nothing to do with (he was 14 in 2014).

Huge Twitter accounts fueled rumors that Fugate “was the one behind the MFF Chlorine bombing years back” (1) (2) (3), causing many deletions and corrections (4) (5) (6). It’s critical to untangle the two suspects. Remember, the mixup would help both to deny and mislead — and both have records of doing exactly that — so let’s set the record straight.

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How the furry fandom gained a new artist — Lux Operon, weaver of light

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Welcome to Lux, with a guest post about what she does when not hosting furry movie pizza parties. – Patch 

On a beautiful fall morning in Reno, the edge of sunrise starts to paint the desert mountains. The color in the sky is just right. I rush to my balcony and put on my glowing pup hood for photos, which I will share to a majority audience of people with fuzzy wolf characters. I am profoundly happy.

Electroluminescent wire is a sister material to LEDs. They look similar, but they’re functionally quite different. An LED is a diode that emits a single point of light, but EL wire works like a capacitor. Since it has no resistance within, it doesn’t heat up when lit. An exposed end might give a small shock if it touches your skin (but it won’t kill you, or I’d be dead). It’s flexible, continuously lit throughout its length, and has many applications to create an amazing glowing costume.

Like any wearable electronics, EL wire has limitations and can be finicky. Its battery packs (drivers) are each rated for a different length of wire. Knowing how to troubleshoot your costume is integral to being a fiber artist with this material. It’s easy to learn but very hard to master.

The technology has been around for some time, but it wasn’t until the late 90s and early aughts when the folks at FunHouse productions in Oakland, California decided to really develop the platform. EL wire is the unofficial signage of the Burning Man event, where you can often find people in these costumes wandering around the playa as strobing neon silhouettes in the dark.

This art was largely contained to their scene in Black Rock City until dance troupes started popping up on America’s Got Talent. For the 2012 season, Team Illuminate put together dance routines and nearly went all the way. By weaving EL wire and using the interplay of darkness to create floating shapes and coordinated blinking, they made the world aware of wearable neon, including me.

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Furry Raiders sex crime case: Arrest for felon tied to witness tampering and Milo’s “troll school”

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s a wild story that has all this: Internet harassment, the disgraced alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos, the furry fandom pariah Foxler (known for stories in Rolling Stone and Newsweek about neo-nazi furries and his Furry Raiders group), his right-hand man “Sneps” who has a felony record, and their plan to frame a witness for sex crime that Foxler is charged for doing. There was even a bungled plan to target me for reporting. It blew up in their faces, put “Sneps” behind bars, and leaves the crime witness needing vindication after being framed.

If you were Foxler — AKA Lee Miller of Fort Collins, CO — what would you do if:

If you were Foxler, how would you defend from these charges? Maybe get a good lawyer or well-regarded community member to help clear your name?

A smart person with a good future could do that. That’s not Foxler. He got his close friend and Furry Raiders admin, known as Flare or Sneps, and they cooked up a scheme to get him out of trouble by attacking the sources. I helped uncover it and report it to the police, with this result:.

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Why is commercialism a topic for an often disparaged subculture? Compare furry fandom today to its roots. Times change, and hindsight can help to see why. Let’s look at how industry and media influenced the American roots in the 1970’s, how it grew, and changes that come with bigger scale than ever.

The 1970’s could be a hungry time for fans with a taste for comics and animation of the 1940’s-50’s Golden Age. As it faded, funny-animal comics died off while the business suffered under the Comics Code. In movies, the fall of the studio system contributed to a dark age of animation. Hanna-Barbera reigned on TV with cheap formulaic product. Disney’s feature studio almost went bankrupt with barely any new artists hired for a generation. Robin Hood (1973) spread the furry virus before it had a name, but the movie wasn’t well loved by the studio. Then a new wave of artists (such as Tim Burton and Don Bluth) came out of Disney while it had a rebirth, peaking with The Lion King (1994), which launched a thousand furry projects. But by the early 90’s the furry fandom was already fully fledged to take off on its own. It happened under the influence of the ups and downs of industry, but also in spite of it.

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Representing furries in 2018 with 10,000 at Midwest Furfest, Dogbomb’s magic, and more (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

Being fluffy is its own reward. Fun and creativity don’t need representing. What is this, a religion? But if a spotlight happens, it could be for hard work to help others, a lucky chance, or having the right dance moves at the right time.  Chasing attention might not be necessary, but it’s nice to show how cool this group is because that helps make it cooler. So here’s why the fandom is great in 2018.

Part 1 had good media: CNN’s This Is Life with Lisa Ling, Sonicfox at The Game Awards in Los Angeles, and Bucktown Tiger on Jeopardy. For Part 2 here’s conventions, charity, art, celebrities, awards, spending, and more.

Conventions and charity:

 

Midwest FurFest got the first five-figure furry con attendance! It took 29 years since ConFurence 0 to match the biggest WorldCon (started in 1939, that’s perhaps one of the longest running nerd events, where they hand out fancy awards like the Hugos). Now we’re giving Science Fiction fandom a run for its money. It’s not on Comic Con level and may never be (…good?) but that’s millions of dollars of support to build and share the wealth. And furry is still grassroots with little outside investment and high DIY power.

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A financial fuss about FurFlight – can it fend off a fandom fiasco?

by Patch O'Furr

Distressing news has come out about a furry-organized travel service, which appears to be in trouble with some big financial obligations at the moment. The fur is flying, and not in a good way.

FurFlight bundles furries together for group air travel from highly-active fandom regions to highly-attended conventions, most notably from Seattle and San Francisco to Midwest FurFest. The idea is to improve the boring parts and the endpoint arrangements. It happened successfully in 2017. (As far as I know, no fellow travelers complained about fur allergy flareups or the plane smelling like a zoo – score for fandom image!)

FurFlight isn’t affiliated with Midwest FurFest. One of the con staffers told me about previously advising people not to buy in because of no accountability for an independent operation. Trusting other fans comes with risks known to anyone who’s been burned by bad art commissions.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Furflight! West Coast to Midwest Furfest – sign up by Sept. 21

by Patch O'Furr

Sign up to fly: https://canisvulpes.com/furflight/

Super organizer MikeFolf/Canis Vulpes got in touch to share his project of herding an airplane full of furries all the way to Midwest Furfest, taking the good vibes of the con much farther than one city. If you want to go, don’t sleep on this, the seats are filling fast!

He says:

FurFlight is a series of group flights on existing commercial aircraft that extends the convention experience to the journey. That reduces stress of travel there, and eliminates PCD on return, with a lot of friends along for the trip.

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Magnus Diridian asked for an interview, so we talked about an attack on a convention.

by Patch O'Furr

An unresolved issue

You may know Magnus Diridian (AKA Rob Shokawsky) as “The Confederate fursuiter” who’s banned from furry conventions. What happens after being arrested for trespassing at Midwest FurFest 2017, and featuring in a news article about troll activity? How about a challenge to clear the air and explain things. That is, if a simple case of people being bothered by unwanted behavior needs any further explanation at all.

There don’t seem to be many people asking for it. But long story short, Magnus got in trouble and wanted to explain. I took the opportunity to talk, but not in the way he hoped. Honestly I’m not interested in rehashing what everyone already read about the 2017 arrest. He’ll have his day in court.  Something else was an open and bothersome issue, and I focused on that instead.  The previous article only hinted about it. Now I’m going to be really direct.

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