Paranormal researcher Chad Lewis, happy at work in a cemetery in Ireland.

Courtesy photo

Researcher: ‘If it’s weird,

I’m out looking for it’

Paranormal expert has studied haunted sites in South Dakota

By Tom Lawrence

10/31/08 - Black Hills Pioneer & Rapid City Weekly News

Chad Lewis isn’t sure if ghosts, strange creatures and UFOs are real. 

But he’s spending his life trying to find out.

“You name it -- if it’s weird, I’m out looking for it,” Lewis said.

The 34-year-old Eau Claire, Wis., native tours the nation and the world looking for the paranormal. For the past 14 years, he has poked around reportedly haunted sites, hosted TV and radio shows, written books and conducted conferences on the paranormal.

Lewis was in Rapid City earlier this month for a conference at the Hotel Alex Johnson. It’s the second year in a row he and his team of paranormal investigators have come to the allegedly haunted hotel to hold a conference. A cold rain kept the crowd small but Lewis and his cohorts put on a spirited show that included a slideshow, lectures and a short tour of spooky spots in the 80-year-old hotel, where, according to Lewis, “a medium picked up on some cold spots in a few of the rooms and a couple of the tourgoers felt as through they were not alone in the rooms.”

He has written 14 books on hauntings in states, including one on South Dakota, with his co-author, Terry Fisk. He has visited every place he writes about in his books.

He got the creeps at Spirit Mound, also known as Paha Wakan, outside Vermillion, where Native American legend claims tiny men with large heads sometimes appear.

Explorers Lewis and Clark visited the mound on Aug. 25, 1804, and looked for the little plainsmen, whom they referred to as “Deavels” with their typically bizarre spelling in their account of the climb to the top of the mound.

“They didn’t see them,” Lewis said of the search of the little men. “But they wrote about them in their journals.”

There are other South Dakota ghost stories that are “scarier,” Lewis said, but he likes the Spirit Mound legend.

“That’s my favorite all-around story,” he said.

He’s never seen anything paranormal but believes people who have reported seeing a ghost, a UFO or a otherworldly creature should be respected. They’ve seen something, he said.

“I don’t what it is,” Lewis said.

The paranormal has always fascinated the slender, soft-spoken Wisconsin native. “I think I was always interested in the weird, as most kids are,” he said.

Lewis has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. His wife Nisa Giaquinto has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s in counseling psychology from the University of Minnesota, but she differs from him on the paranormal.

“She’s a skeptic. She doesn’t believe in any of it,” he said with a smile. “We have some good conversations.”

Despite have a domestic doubter to debate, Lewis said he plans to continue his quest. He’s looked for vampires in Transylvania, chased Chupacabras in Puerto Rico, sought the Loch Ness Monster and toured Irish castles looking for ghosts.

“I would like to investigate the paranormal until I find some sort of answer,” he said.

If you have a South Dakota ghost story or paranormal tale to share, call Lewis at 715-271-1831 or go to www.unexplainedresearch.com.

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