Somethin' strange in the neighborhood'
Paranormal researchers investigate legends at Book World, Casa Loma

By Matt Conn
10/29/05 - Marshfield News-Herald

Whispers of local ghost stories may grow louder as Halloween approaches.

Some are right here in Marshfield, where residents' whispers include
Book World, the old county hospital that was located in what is now
Norwood Industrial Park and Casa Loma Fine Dining & Bistro.

"There are some local legends about the restaurant here. At one time there was a tunnel connecting the old cheese factory to the house next door," said Jayson Carrington, dining coordinator at Casa Loma. "The story has it that the tunnel collapsed on a young girl, tragically ending her life right under the restaurant.

"Her name is Annie, and that is still what we call her."

When Terry Fisk hears these stories, he tends to check out all of them, regardless of how outlandish they sound. He and Chad Lewis - both of the Eau Claire-based business Unexplained Research - authored "The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations," from Unexplained Research Publishing Company.

"It doesn't take that long to figure out whether it's just a legend or
we need to spend more time with it," he said. "A lot turn out to be
urban legends."

Fisk said he researches old newspapers, death records, court cases - many ghost stories originate from murders or suicides - and other
background information.

If a story checks out, the team then heads to the location with
equipment that tests physical properties such as electrical, magnetic, radio wave or temperature changes.

At Book World, which previously was a barber shop, Lewis said he tested the building and found something unexplained.

"We found a spot in the middle of the store where the barber shop would have been and picked up on the equipment that it was much colder than any part of the store," Lewis said. "We looked for obvious vents or anything that would lead to that, but we couldn't find it."

Things just don't get cold without reason, he said.

"A lot of people tend to think when there's a haunting or a ghost, often a cold spot is correlated with ghostly activity, but for me, it's just something unexplained," Lewis said.

Lewis and Fisk also have visited Casa Loma and hope to test it with
equipment sometime in the near future. In their book, they documented their investigation of Charlotte Mills Bridge in Christie.

They are also mapping haunted areas in other states, including Minnesota and South Dakota.

Different states have different legends. In Wisconsin, many of them
swirled around the Chicago mob bosses, like Al Capone, who were known to hide out in Wisconsin. Minnesota has similar legends, Fisk said. South Dakota has the legends of mining towns such as Deadwood, a city that was the subject of the HBO series by the same name.

As more people become interested in the unexplained, businesses such as getghostgear.com have tapped into the demand for ghost-seeking equipment, Fisk said.

Matt Conn can be reached at 384-3131 or 800-967-2087, ext. 328 or at mconn@marshfieldnewsherald.com.

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