Ghost hunters explore dark shadows in Spooner

06/09/04 - Spooner Advocate

SPOONER-- Do the spirits of the dead walk among us unseen, only appearing now and then as an unexplainable ghostly image in a photograph, or perhaps a shadow briefly glimpsed out of the corner of one’s eye?

Paranormal investigators Terry Fisk and Chad Lewis believe they do. They were in Spooner last week, investigating reports of the supernatural, part of their research into the unexplained for a book they will publish this summer, tentatively titled Road Guide to Haunted Places.

Wisconsin, said Fisk, has a wealth of paranormal activity.

Fisk and Lewis do not limit themselves to investigating ghosts.

UFO sightings, Bigfoot, crop circles, just about anything is fair game. They don’t claim to be believers or disbelievers, just a couple of guys with open minds who are fascinated by things that go “bump!” in the night.

Fisk and Lewis have worked together on paranormal investigations for about 10 years. Fisk is formerly from Webster.

The pair now operate out of Eau Claire, where they produce a twice weekly radio talk show on WOLF 108 FM from 10 p.m. to midnight on Mondays and Thursdays. Noted paranormal investigators and eye witnesses often serve as guests on the popular show – which unfortunately is not received this far north.

“In the past year we’ve investigated somewhere between 250 to 300 alleged hauntings in Wisconsin,” said Fisk. “We’ve been to every corner of the state.

“We’re writing a book about haunted places in Wisconsin. These will be current hauntings, places where people can go and maybe have a haunting experience. It will be a travel guide to haunted places.”

Fisk was asked if he really believed in the supernatural, and if he himself has ever seen a ghost or UFO.

“I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal,” he said. “I had just purchased a camera. I went to Polk County and took some pictures of my grandparents’ grave.”

What he saw when he looked at the photos made his jaw drop. Every photo was normal, except one, the one where he was standing behind the tombstone. In that photo, a strange blue mist seemed to be coming out of the stone, engulfing Fisk. He said he saw nothing at the time.

“There was no reason for the mist,” he said. “It was not cold, so it wasn’t breath. Nobody was smoking nearby. We checked it out, and the camera was working perfectly.”

The photo was examined by experts – none could explain it, though they did determine it was not faked in any way.

“There are a lot of hoaxes and urban legends, like haunted roads,” said Fisk. “Every community has a Little Valley Road. Some are obvious hoaxes or jokes. Others are not. The ones we look for are cases with multiple eyewitnesses and a long history of hauntings.

“Chad and I basically take the role of agnostics. We are criticized by hard-core believers, we are criticized by hard-core non-believers – we try to be neutral.

“Some things can be explained. Others fall into the category of unexplained. And there are a lot of things we can’t explain.”

Although hauntings and UFO investigations make up the bulk of work for Fisk and Lewis, the investigators will tackle anything eerie, strange, spooky, or bizarre. Nothing is out of bounds. From witches to werewolves, vampires to lake monsters, the duo is open to discussion.

One topic that gets discussed often, especially when it comes to Northwestern Wisconsin, is the legend of the Sasquatch, also known as bigfoot.

The legends go back generations among the Indians, and throughout the country, it seems that every Native American culture has a name for and stories about the creature that stalks the dark timbers. And that includes the Ojibwe Indians of Wisconsin.

Yet how could a creature so large hide from civilization?

“We think it might be hiding out in swampy areas,” said Fisk. “Supposedly black panthers (dark phase cougars) don’t exist in Wisconsin, but people have seen them, taken photos of them. Wisconsin does have a lot of forest, and all of the sightings have been close to the big forest areas.”
In recent years, this part of the state has had several Bigfoot sightings, including one Fisk and Lewis recently investigated in Cumberland. (See related article.)

“When we interviewed the Indians in Cumberland, the tribal elder felt it was a spiritual being,” said Fisk. “He remembered stories when he was a child from the tribal elders, stories that go back generations and generations. They felt it was bad luck to see it.

“In Cumberland a woman saw it outside her house, her son saw it, and tribal police found footprints. The sighting scared this woman so bad she moved out of her house, and refuses to go back. Obviously something happened.”

Fisk and Lewis do not come across as loonies. While in Spooner investigating an alleged haunting at the Corral Bar (See related story), bar owner Mike Tiller stated of Lewis, “I thought he was completely legitimate. He seemed very interested and serious.”

“Chad and I take two different approaches to this work,” said Fisk. “He’s more into science -- he has all the ghost hunting equipment. I have more interest in the afterlife and near death experiences. It is so interesting, for instance, talking to children who have had them. They haven’t been exposed to the stories, know nothing about it, but their descriptions are all the same.”

“Ghost hunting equipment” does not mean the old deer rifle.
“We have equipment that checks electromagnetic fields and temperature changes,” said Fisk. “ And we also use night vision video cameras and voice activated tape recorders.”

For all of their enthusiasm, however, Fisk has to admit that they have never, themselves, been able to get any concrete evidence of ghosts, UFOs, or other paranormal activity. Still, they keep their minds open and keep trying.

“No, I’m one of the unlucky ones,” said Fisk. “I’m one of those guys that never has things happen when he’s around.”

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