This sketch was made of a Bigfoot spotted near Neillsville in 2000.  Bigfoot, ghosts, UFOs and other mysteries are the focus of the Unexplained Conference: Strange Stevens Point on Saturday, April 5, at the Ramada Stevens Point.  (Contributed photo)

Conference will attempt to explain unexplained

By Scott Steuck of the Gazette


04/04/08 - The Portage County Gazette

Bigfoot in nearby Neillsville?  A ghost on a Highway 66 bridge?  A haunted restaurant in Plover?  A portal to hell in Stevens Point?

Many of these questions will be answered, or at least addressed, at the Unexplained Conference: Strange Stevens Point on Saturday, April 5, at the Ramada Stevens Point (formerly the Country Springs Hotel), 1501 North Point Drive, Stevens Point, beginning at 7 p.m.

Chad Lewis, a paranormal investigator for Unexplained Research LLC and a research specialist for the Mutual UFO Network, said doors for the conference will "officially" open at 6:30 p.m., although many people attending the conference will get there two hours earlier in order to share their own stories with the paranormal experts that will attend and give presentations at the conference.

"We're there two hours before and two hours after the conference to listen to people's stories," said Lewis.  "More and more people feel like they can come forward and tell their stories, where in the past they may not have felt comfortable doing so."

These stories, said Lewis, provide the material he and other paranormal investigators use in their own investigations of the unexplained.

For example, after the first Stevens Point conference four years ago, Lewis and other investigators went with one attendee to learn more about an alleged ghost at a local bridge.  They learned the story at that bridge was very similar to a story about a bridge on Highway 66 between Stevens Point and Rosholt Lewis wrote about in his book he co-authored with Terry Fisk, another conference presenter, called "The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations."

Lewis said the Highway 66 bridge is also known as the "Bloody Bride Bridge" because a bride allegedly died at the bridge on her wedding night following an accident and her ghost, wearing a bloody wedding dress, has been spotted there throughout the years.

Through investigation Lewis learned the Portage County Sheriff's Department doesn't have any records of any bridge dying at the bridge on her wedding night and that the story about the bridge has changed over the years.  He said people now claim that the ghost appears in a person's rearview mirror if someone parks there at night.

"Strangely, nobody has ever stopped after seeing her," he said.  "Most people thought they were imagining it."  He said he has been at the bridge multiple times and has never spotted the ghost.

Lewis said he and the other paranormal investigators will talk more about the "Bloody Bride Bridge" and other unexplained stories pertaining to central Wisconsin at the conference.

"We try to center the conference around central Wisconsin," he said.  "People are always interested in the unexplained, but it's a whole other matter if it's in your backyard."

The conference will include three presentations, a film about a werewolf hunt Lewis and other went on and a period for questions and answers, as well as discussion.

Lewis will deliver a slide presentation of Wisconsin's strangest paranormal activity.  He will talk about mysterious creatures that roam the Wisconsin forests, real-life ghost cases, UFOs in the sky, crop circles and more.

Fisk, who is also a paranormal investigator for Unexplained Research LLC, will discuss the evolution of the Western concept of the afterlife, exploring Sumerian, Hebrew, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Gnostic and Christian beliefs.  His talk will culminate with an examination of the recent scientific studies of near-death experiences, past-life regressions, out-of-body experiences and mediums.

Paranormal investigators Noah Voss and Kevil Nelson will talk about searching the woods for Bigfoot, conducting a UFO investigation and tracking down ghosts in haunted locations.  Voss runs three Web sites, including GetGhostGear.com, UFOWisconsin.com and the W-Files.com, and Nelson has investigated haunting on ABC's "Scariest Places on Earth," searched for werewolves on Discovery Channel's "Mystery Hunters" and tracked vampirism in America on Discovery Channel's "Travelers."

Each presentation will be approximately 35 minutes in length and include slides and other audio and visual aids.

"These presentations are geared to the general public," said Lewis.  "They are more entertaining than if they were geared to other paranormal investigators and diehards.  "We're giving the blood and gusts, the best stuff, of these stories.  That's what people want."

Lewis said that making the presentations more entertaining allows the investigators to present the evidence, but it allows people to make up their own minds as to whether they are true or not.

"We investigators sometimes question whether or not these stories are true," he said.  "We tell the stories in a way to allow the individual to determine if it is to be believed."

Some of the local stories they will present information about include a haunted restaurant in Plover, a local Bigfoot spotting and the Stevens Point portal to hell.

The Plover restaurant, which is now closed, was located at the home of a very religious family, Lewis said.  Ghost of family members upset by people drinking in the bar area of the restaurant allegedly threw glasses across the bar and knocked down stools, he said.

Lewis said a Bigfoot spotting near Neillsville in 2000 garnered national attention.  He said a farmer spotted the Bigfoot near a swamp early in the morning and it was carrying a dead goat or sheep.

Kids dare other kids to jump through a portal in Stevens Point that will take them to hell, said Lewis.

"Do I really believe there is a portal to hell in Stevens Point?" said Lewis.  "I doubt it, but it shows a lot about what people believe in.  A lot of these stories make up our folklore and urban legends."

The discussions generated by the material he and the other investigators will present, as well as the stories people attending the conference will tell, are the main reasons for holding the conference, Lewis said.  "My goal is for people to talk about these things and really hash them over."

Lewis and Fisk will also autograph copies of their book at the conference.  Lewis said he is currently working on a sequel, "The Wisconsin Road Guide to Mysterious Creatures."

Tickets are available at the door and cost $8 for people 13 and older and $5 for people 12 and younger.  Lewis said the cost is cheap compared to other similar conferences, allowing people that may be more skeptical and not willing to pay a lot of money for something they're not sure about to attend.

"It's cheaper than going to the movies," he said.

The conference is hosted by Todd Roll of the Wausau Paranormal Research Society.

For more information call the Ramada Stevens Point at 341-1340 or Lewis at (715) 271-1831, or go online at www.unexplainedresearch.com.

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