Sure, we've heard of the UFOs in
Area 51, crop circles in the
2002 movie "Signs" and Vampires
in Transylvania. But as Chad
Lewis shared Tuesday night at
the Geneseo Library, "it's
another matter when the places
are in your back yard."
was among those "brave enough to
come out," as he put it, to
listen to his presentation. And
as I crossed the parking lot,
I'll admit that I was skeptical.
Would this be a stereotypical
"paranormal researcher" shoving
taglines like "The aliens are
coming!" down our throats?
front of the cozy library room
held a table covered in books by
Mr. Lewis and Terry Fisk,
another paranormal researcher,
along with four "vampire
hunting" kits complete with
crucifixes, holy water, wooden
stakes, mirrors and Bibles.
Scenes from the movie
"Underworld" flashed through my
mind as I took my seat.
Lewis spoke on several topics
involving paranormal activity in
Illinois and elsewhere,
Crop circles or formations: Mr.
Lewis wasn't the guy I thought
he'd be at all. He took a very
relaxed approach, explaining
there is "no rhyme or reason"
for the crop formations that
have been reported throughout
"There's a high correlation with
UFO sightings and crop circles,"
he said, adding that isn't
always the automatic assumption
with the creepy events. Earth
energy, military operations and
even the weather may be to blame
as well, as he's heard from
Mysterious creatures: Hell
hounds, werewolves and devil
creatures that have been spotted
in Illinois cities like
Collinsville and Chicago.
ahead and insert laughter here,"
Mr. Lewis said. But his research
on spotted biped werewolves
matched that of Linda Godfrey
who had been researching them in
a different area.
Ghosts: In cemeteries, houses
and theaters, reports of ghastly
floating creatures have been
reported throughout the area.
Mr. Lewis also noted people tend
to hear voices, smell perfume or
see doors open and close instead
of actually seeing a ghost.
Audience member David Powell of
Cambridge said he's had
first-hand experience of this
while cleaning the home where a
woman recently had died. "I
heard footsteps and could smell
perfume," he said.
Although many are skeptical of
paranormal activity, audience
member Dawn Stock of Geneseo
urged people to keep an open
"You've got to see it to believe
it!" she said.
Whether the room was filled with
believers, the audience
definitely was interested.
consider myself a skeptic," Mr.
Lewis told me after his talk.
"The best research is to do it
yourself, and don't take
anyone's word for it."