Haunted conference Saturday

By Ryan Woodard, Journal staff


10/10/07 - The Rapid City Journal

RAPID CITY -- Those who would like to learn about the Black Hills' haunted places -- and maybe share a few ghost stories of their own -- are encouraged to come to the Alex Johnson this weekend.


Chad Lewis, author of "South Dakota Road Guide to Haunted Locations," will be hosting an "Unexplained Rapid City Conference" at the Alex Johnson at 7 p.m. Saturday.


"We call it the 'unexplained conference' because we really lack for any other way to describe (it)," said Lewis. "This is geared for the general public. It's going to be entertaining, visual and weird, obviously."


Lewis said there will be several authors at the conference discussing "case files of the weird."


Lewis co-authored a book focusing on the different "haunted" locales in South Dakota, including several in the Black Hills area. They include:

  • The Bullock Hotel in Deadwood.

  • The Mountain View Cemetery in Keystone.

  • The Homestake Opera House in Lead.

  • The Alex Johnson in Rapid City -- where the conference is being held.

Those topics and more will be discussed at the Rapid City conference.


This will be the first time Lewis, who has done about 50 other conferences, will ever do one in a "haunted" location, he said.


Lewis has never done a conference in South Dakota, but decided to change that after getting a number of requests.


"We decided to bring it to South Dakota because so many people were asking when we were going to come to South Dakota," he said.


During the conferences the stories from the authors usually spur additional stories from the crowd, a part of the conference Lewis enjoys.


"One thing you wouldn't believe is the number of people who come there to tell their stories," he said. "My favorite part of these conferences is just the fact that these people tell me their stories."


He says people who have witnessed the events that lead to the stories are the "experts."


"These are the people who live and work and play around these areas, so they know what they're talking about when they have experiences there," he said.


He said the average turnout for the conferences is 200-300 people. He said he usually hears about 50 or 60 stories from the crowd.


The conference was scheduled close to Halloween because it is a time when people like to hear ghost stories, Lewis said.


And if the conference isn't enough to get you in the Halloween mood, the Historic Adams House will be hosting "Spirited Tours" where visitors can learn "rare and controversial facts" about the House Oct. 25 to 27. Cost is free to members and $7 for non-members.


Contact Ryan Woodard at 394-8412 or ryan.woodard@rapidcityjournal.com


If you go:


What: "Unexplained Rapid City Conference"


When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13; doors open at 6:30 p.m.


Where: Alex Johnson Hotel, 523 Sixth Street, Rapid City


Cost: Adults, $7 at the door; children $5


More info: Call 605-342-1210 or (715) 271-1831 or visit www.unexplainedresearch.com

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