Strange old headlines intrigue audience

09/22/07 - Marshfield News-Herald

Neillsville Public Library had about 25 people in attendance at "Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin; Strange, Unusual, and bizarre Newspaper stories 1860-1910," presented by author Chad Lewis.

And there were indeed some strange stories. For instance, did you know that they used to build coffins with motion sensors in them? If there was movement inside the coffin, the lid would open. People were very frightened about being buried alive.

I liked Chad's presentation. He presents the headlines and then asks you to decide if it is true, or if you believe the headline and story.

Chad made an interesting observation. He has noticed that if an event took place in Eau Claire, it usually was not covered in the Eau Claire paper. Instead, the La Crosse paper would carry the story. Could this mean that the newspapers were making these unusual events up, with the knowledge that it could never be verified due to the distances between the two cities? After all, even back then, the newspapers knew what sold papers. Was this the case? He doesn't know. Again, you decide.

Lewis started collecting stories for himself. But after collecting dozens, he decided to write a book. He has written several books including: "Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin" and "Hidden Headlines of Texas." He also has a series of road guides to haunted locations. These include: South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

If you have a story of an paranormal unusual or strange event that you would like to share with Chad, please e-mail him at chadlewis44@hotmail.com.

Jo Ann Gustavson is the director of the Neillsville Public Library.

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