Audience eats up authors of book on state spooks

By Matt Ollwerther
01/24/05 -  Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune

People packed a Marshfield bookstore's back room, sharing their stories with the authors of a book about paranormal sites in Wisconsin in a campfire-like environment Saturday night.

Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk signed copies of their book, "The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations," which features nearly 100 of Wisconsin's most haunted places and provides readers with history from the site, photos, investigation details and directions, so people can experience the paranormal for themselves.

Scheduled as a two-hour event at Thimbleberry Books, Lewis and Fisk stayed an additional hour, swapping tales and talking with locals. Store owner Kim Hartley said the shop was the busiest she's seen during eight years of running the place, the authors said.

All the talk of the paranormal left Tom Mathias of Marshfield feeling unsettled.

"It sends shivers down your spine," he said. The dialogue between the audience and the investigators was a "two-way street of eerie feelings."
Crop circles, curses, Bigfoot sightings, UFOs and alien abductions were a few of the topics brought up.

"That's the way we usually do book signings," Lewis said. The fun part of the signings is sitting back and letting people tell stories that haven't been brought up for years, he added.

"We wanted to give them to opportunity to share with us experiences they had," Fisk said. Book signings provide a safe environment for people to tell stories they've kept to themselves for fear of ridicule, he added.

As stories were shared, the authors continued to sign copies of the book. It answers the basic questions that people kept asking, the authors said, which is reflected in the number of sales.

"We've had trouble keeping this in supply," Lewis said.

The audience gave the authors a few new sites and ideas to investigate. The old Norwood Hospital, which supposedly is haunted, and a number of local UFO sightings will be added to Fisk and Lewis' growing list.

"A lot of people came forward and said they saw something in the sky ... in the last year," Lewis said.

One of those people was Diane Luchterhand of Spencer.

"I've been watching the sky for a long time ... and I've seen some really weird things," she said, describing numerous accounts of unexplained activity above.

Susan Gaulke of Marshfield enjoyed the breadth of issues the pair spoke about.

"They really addressed a lot of things," she said. "They're credible."
Sometimes it's after they return home that they pair gets their biggest breaks on investigations. Photos taken at the scene reveal anomalies or paranormal activity afterward.

Lewis and Fisk often will bring psychics to paranormal sites - when they agree to go.

"A lot of the time, they won't go to these places," Fisk said.

While others stay away, Lewis said he never hesitates. In the past 10 years, he's circled the globe seeking the paranormal and is yet to see something himself.

"If you're afraid of ghosts, the best place to be is with ghost hunters. You're not going to see anything," Lewis told the crowd. Afterward, he added he now thinks an individual's makeup and perceptions determine whether they are able to see the unusual.

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