Unfortunately featured presenter John Borowski has withdrawn his participation from the Chicago Steampunk Exposition. We were saddened to see him leave, but more saddened by his decision to speak ill of the Exposition on his social media. In response to Mr. Borowski’s decision to publish his statements about his departure from the show, and after subsequently receiving negative messages from some of his social media followers, we felt that we should share our account of events to balance the narrative.

In July 2018, Mr. Borowski was invited to be a featured speaker at the Exposition to share his knowledge of Victorian serial killer H.H. Holmes. In exchange for two presentations on the subject, Mr. Borowski was offered and accepted an exhibitor table at the show. Between August 2018 to September 2019, we promoted Mr. Borowski and his work on H.H. Holmes and his role at the Exposition.

Friday, September 27th, 2019 saw the opening of the Chicago Steampunk Exposition and the unfortunate disagreement between Mr. Borowski and the show. Mr. Borowski has made an extensive and successful career producing documentaries about many of the most infamous serial killers, including John Wayne Gacy (AKA Pogo the Clown), the Chicago serial killer who raped, tortured and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois. A prominent part of Mr. Borowski’s display that he set up was a life size mannequin of Pogo the Clown.

We received several complaints and observations regarding the Pogo the Clown prop, including one from a member of our staff who had first hand experience of John Wayne Gacy from her childhood. Given these circumstances, and the fact that we contracted with Mr. Borowski for his expertise on H.H. Holmes, we requested that Mr. Borowski not display the Pogo the Clown mannequin on Saturday and Sunday.

At first, Mr. Borowski was amiable and cooperative about the request, but about an hour later he decided that the request was unacceptable and began to pack away his stock in order to leave. Mr. Borowski expressed that he did not want to vend at the show, but at that time said he would still honor the commitment he made to give the Saturday and Sunday presentations on the subject of H.H. Holmes. Later that evening, Mr. Borowski sent a message to the Exposition declaring his full withdrawal from the show.

Despite this unfortunate circumstance, we wish Mr. Borowski every success in his future projects and events.

While Mr. Borowski will no longer be appearing at the Exposition this weekend, another speaker will be giving a presentation on the topic of H.H. Holmes at 3PM on both Saturday and Sunday in the Gothic Parlor (Schiller).

Chicago Steampunk Exposition