Voss and Chad Lewis must have the
most interesting and unusual jobs in
Wisconsin. They are professional
investigators of the unexplained.
encounters with Bigfoot, UFOs,
ghosts, crop circles and even gnomes
and pixies will be covered at a
conference on unexplained phenomena
Saturday evening at the Alliant
Energy Center's Exhibition Hall. A
variety of experts will share case
studies and witness testimony, and
will present photos and sketches in
Whatever this Unidentified
Flying Object really is, it
was videotaped flying near
Beaver Dam June 9, 2001.
A similar object was
reported that evening over
other southern Wisconsin
it like to go out and investigate
these strange doings? In as few
words possible, an adventure!" says
Voss, author of
UFO Wisconsin. "We get reports
of many fantastic events, all of
them mysterious and unique."
Prairie resident adds, however, that
keeping the adventure grounded in
science can tone things down. Says
Voss, "For us as paranormal
investigators, we spend lots of
nights sitting in the dark with
recording equipment, and trying to
recreate any anomalous instances
reported to us."
as a real-life Fox Mulder is fun,
says Lewis, lead organizer of the
conference and an Eau Claire
resident who has a master 's degree
in applied psychology. But his
favorite part of the job is meeting
the general public at presentations.
Sightings of this strange,
panther-like beast were
alleged by several witnesses
near Eau Claire in the fall
of people come looking to hear
stories, but a lot of them want to
tell their own stories," he says.
"They don't know who to tell.
They've had experiences maybe 20
years ago and they've never told
those experiences are nearby.
"Seminole Highway right here in
Madison has decades of unusual
reports," says Voss. "People
traveling along this road in horse
and buggy would report mysterious
balls of lights floating along and
giving chase as they fled the area.
Just to the north of Madison near
the airport and Token Creek used to
ride a phantom on horseback."
there 's the state Capitol.
are believed to be several ghosts
there," says Lewis. "Many staff will
report the ghost of a heavyset man
walking through the Capitol. He was
a citizen who would sit in on all
the meetings, and then after he
passed away people kept seeing him
the conference will be Terry Fisk of
Eau Claire, who will discuss the
evolution of the Western concept of
afterlife and examine recent
scientific studies of near-death
experiences, past-life regressions
and out-of-body experiences. Fisk is
coauthor with Lewis of "The
Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted
Locations." Another presenter
will be Kevin Lee Nelson, a Sun
Prairie paranormal investigator
who's looked into hauntings for ABC
television's "Scariest Places on
Earth" and the Discovery Channel's
Dennis Murphy made this
plaster cast from a track
left near Danbury, Wis., by
a creature he describes as
Photo courtesy Unexplained
it's a flying saucer, ghost or
Bigfoot, the witnesses are a
cross-section of society, says Voss.
"From the richest to the poorest,
from those with years of additional
schooling to those who learned
everything from doing, it seems
after awhile that everyone we
interact with has a story to share,"
has been conducting paranormal
research for more than a decade, but
only in the last year and a half has
he been able to do it full time, as
a career. In working with witnesses,
he finds that his psychology
training comes in handy.
part social work," he says. "It's
more so dealing with human nature
than the sighting itself."
Sometimes people just want to be
reassured that what they've
experienced is real. And often it
is, though not in the way they might
expect. In the case of ghostly bumps
in the night, "sometimes we can
narrow it down to faulty wiring or a
unique set of variables specific to
their immediate environment, such as
a water leak, high ambient
electromagnetic radiation from
nearby towers, or a malfunctioning
microwave," says Voss.
curious trend is that fewer people
these days want their uninvited
visitors to leave. "More and more
they just want to understand them
better," says Voss. "That's not to
say we prove what is happening is a
haunting or officially a ghost, just
that perhaps something not yet fully
understood is being experienced."
search for understanding is what
drives Lewis, whatever paranormal
phenomenon he happens to be working
on. "I'm interested in them, but I'm
not necessarily sure I believe in
them," he says. "But like most
people I'm curious. That's what
keeps me going, that curiosity. Are
we alone in the universe? What
happens when we die?"
IF YOU GO
When: 7 p.m. Saturday;
doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Exhibition Hall of
the Alliant Energy Center, 1919
Alliant Energy Center Way.
Admission: $9, $5 for
children age 12 and under, and are
available at the door or online.