Chad Lewis, happy at work in a cemetery
Researcher: ‘If it’s weird,
looking for it’
Paranormal expert has
studied haunted sites in South Dakota
By Tom Lawrence
Black Hills Pioneer & Rapid City Weekly
Chad Lewis isn’t sure if ghosts, strange
creatures and UFOs are real.
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.”
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
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’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
“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
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