WABASHA -- It takes balls to be a ghost hunter. No,
little Nerf-like balls. You tape them to the floor to
see if a spirit moves them. Easy as that.
technique is one of the lesser-known methods of ghost
hunting, but it’s a trick of the trade that paranormal
researcher Chad Lewis has come to use often.
got the snazzy motion and microwave detectors, the
laser-sighted temperature gauge, the night-vision
cameras and audio recorders. They get plenty of use as
he treks from spooky cemeteries to haunted houses.
found that simple things like leaving out balls and a
pen and paper for spirits to move could be just as
helpful at turning up ghosts.
That’s the operative word.
this week, while Lewis once again began the process of
strategically laying out his equipment -- this time at
Wabasha’s Historic Anderson House -- he noted how his
research can be frustrating.
fishing,” Lewis said. “You just have to sit and wait.”
fishing in a dead lake. After 10 years of pursuing
ghosts in some of the world’s most supposedly haunted
places, he’s never seen anything.
On rare occasions, floating orbs and eerie flashes
turn up in photos he’s taken. But that’s about it.
He’s never seen apparitions, never been touched on the
shoulder by something supernatural.
searching for that personal experience,” he said.
“Nothing’s said, ‘Here I am.’”
he tries to keep his emotions and hopes in check while
he’s in haunted places because “it’s foolish to think
that this might be the one night” that a ghost will
finally appear before him.
And has he
ever searched. As he ran an electricity sensor along a
wall at the Anderson House, he said the Wabasha trip
was one of the more than 500 such area hauntings he’s
investigated over the past 10 years.
hundred strikeouts. Lewis noted that if he were a
baseball player, he wouldn’t have much of a career.
just bad luck. Or maybe it’s because of the way he
treats his investigations.
running wild-eyed from place to scary place, his mind
filled with images of poltergeists, Lewis conducts the
investigations in a much more scientific manner.
is fairly simple. After he’s through with an
investigation he compiles his research and presents
what looks soberingly like a businessman’s executive
the ghostlore of the place -- the stories people tell
him about whatever haunted territory he’s covering.
Then he goes to the nearest library where he does most
of his research. Did a 33-year-old man really kill
himself around the summer of 1896 at the site? He lets
the facts do the ghosthunting there.
reviews all the high-tech gadgets and recording
devices he’s laid out over the previous night to see
if there’s anything anomalous about their content.
Essentially, he’s looking to debunk the lore with
logical explanations -- but with just a tinge of hope
that something else lies in the unexplainable.
debunking, the cases we can’t explain seem all that
much more interesting,” Lewis said.
presents his findings -- he’ll let the curious party
know and often posts them on his Web site -- there’s
nothing that says “this place is haunted.”
“I leave it
up to the reader,” Lewis said. “If they come away
believing ghosts don’t exist, fine. I’m not trying to
convert them one way or another.”
arranged his gear for the night, Anderson House owner
Teresa Smith fingered some of the photos her sister
took during a stay at the hotel.
One of the
photos shows an orb floating above a bed. The other
photo appears unexplainable. Unknown how it was taken
or by whom, the recent photo appears to be an image of
a shrouded human face. Or a stone face. Or, maybe, if
you turn it sideways, it’s a birdbath.
It’s one of
those apparently unexplainable things Lewis says could
something to Smith, all right. It means her hotel is
believe there are spirits here,” Smith said. “And
they’re all at peace.”
with guests of all dimensions staying at her hotel,
Smith said she strives to be polite to everyone.
‘Good night, rest well,’” Smith said. “I’m not saying
it to the guests. I’m saying it to the spirits.”
quick to scratch notes when this discussion comes up
says that a
woman named Sarah died in the hotel sometime in the
late 19th century. Jilted by her lover leaving and
never returning, Sarah is believed to have killed
herself out of sorrow and now supposedly haunts the
remembers traveling the hotel’s hallway one morning
when she unexpectedly found a stray dollar bill.
‘Thank you Sarah, please send more,’” Smith said she
told the empty hallway.
after, Smith began finding many stray dimes lying
about the hotel. She said she mentioned to someone how
the spirits had been leaving the small change in her
hotel. The person, a true believer in spirits,
reminded Smith that she was, in fact, in their house.
the case, then fork over the mortgage payment, because
these dimes aren’t going to make it,” Smith said she
told the person.
paranormal investigation earlier this year supposedly
revealed floating orbs and eerie voices on recordings.
Lewis’ research is still pending.
notes that hotels and B&Bs that promote their
paranormal activity don’t have a “no vacancies” sign
hanging long. Being haunted, he said, can be a major
boon for business.
yet sure if she’s ready to flat-out advertise that the
hotel may be haunted. She noted how, earlier that day,
two men walked out when they learned what Lewis was
check out, Smith might query them to see if they
noticed anything out of the ordinary. If they ask why,
she’ll tell them.
she wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out -- guests or
here, I just want them to be happy,” she said.
Longaecker can be reached at
email@example.com or 388-2914, ext.