13-year-old Fond du Lac boy, educated principally on
dime novels, armed himself with a revolver and a
knife and set out to hunt Indians on April 13, 1900.
Ray Marsday made it to Milwaukee, where he was
arrested and disarmed by police, who made him
promise to return home.
He was never seen again.
Headlines of Wisconsin" by Chad Lewis is
available locally at Book World, 85 S. Main
St. and Waldenbooks at the Forest Mall on
East Johnson Street, or from the author's
The tale is included in a new book by Wisconsin
author Chad Lewis:
"Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin:
Strange, Unusual and Bizarre Newspaper Stories
The book contains over 275 bizarre newspaper
stories from Wisconsin that have not been seen in
over 100 years, the author claims, including several
from Fond du Lac County.
"These unbelievable stories were not lost, they
were simply hidden," he said.
The story of young Ray came from a brief that
appeared in the Milwaukee Journal. Apparently the
boy had also disappeared for two weeks six months
earlier and was found wandering in the woods of
"There was never another story in the paper about
it, so I'm hoping a reader will be related to this
boy and know what happened," Lewis said. "You'd be
surprised how common it was back then for newspapers
to print a sensational story and then have no
The Eau Claire author — whose books include
Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations" — said
his research took him to locations throughout the
"I had to go through newspapers day-by-day
searching an 1860 to 1910 time frame. I started with
the bigger newspapers, like the Milwaukee Journal,"
It was Friday the 13th in 1899 when Lydia Piatt
of Waucousta — who had been a bedridden invalid for
20 years — suddenly rose from her bed as a "healthy,
sprightly woman," according to another Milwaukee
"She was a very religious woman and a member of
the Division Street Methodist Church. She came down
the stairs and nearly gave the people who knew her a
heart attack," Lewis explained.
Other stories originating from Fond du Lac
include a medium predicting three big fires in 1902,
a meteor sighting in 1879 and a ghost seen around a
box of human bones in 1902.
Asked to name a favorite story of the weird Lewis
recited the one from Oct. 10, 1900, about a Madison
girl named Myrtle Downing who paraded around in
shoes made from human skin taken from the leg of a
man murdered in the streets of Chicago.
"The skin came from a medical student she knew.
She was so proud she was going to have the rest of
the skin made into a pocketbook," Lewis said. "She
probably wasn't arrested for it, it wasn't illegal,
but with a lot of these stories you wonder."
Lewis, 32, is a paranormal investigator for
Unexplained Research, LLC. He earned a master's
degree in applied psychology from the University of