favorite haunts - Guidebooks make things simpler for those seeking local ghosts and ghoulies
- Oct. 01, 2006
Guidebooks make things simpler for those seeking local ghosts and
BY RICHARD CHIN
St. Paul Pioneer Press
'The first thing I recommend is: Bring someone with you."
That's what Chad Lewis says about hunting for ghosts.
He should know. Lewis, who lives in Minneapolis and Eau Claire, and
co-author Terry Fisk, of Eau Claire, have written and published "The
Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations" (2004), "The Minnesota Road
Guide to Haunted Locations" (2005) and "The South Dakota Road Guide to
Haunted Locations" (2006).
"Iowa should be done any day," Lewis said. "Our main goal is to do
Lewis, 32, has long had an interest in things that go bump in the
night. For his master's degree in applied psychology, he studied
people's beliefs in the paranormal.
And in the past 13 years, he estimates he has been to 2,500 sites
where something weird is supposed to have taken place, including Area
51 in Nevada, Scotland's Loch Ness and Transylvania.
Fisk, 51, also has a longtime interest in the paranormal. When he
joined Lewis checking out sites in Wisconsin that had reputations for
being haunted, they often found themselves getting lost. They decided
a guidebook was needed for the sightseer searching for spooks.
For each state, the authors solicited tips of good places to explore.
They researched historical records and traveled to each location to
interview local residents. They also sometimes tried to capture
paranormal activity at the sites with video recorders, cameras and
electromagnetic field detectors. Lewis said the two have logged about
50,000 miles a year for their investigations.
"This is what I mainly do right now," said Lewis, who was a grant
writer for a nonprofit organization.
The Minnesota guidebook includes segments on haunted restaurants,
theaters, mansions, hotels and even a Laundromat and a skating rink.
But there are also lots of spooky outdoor sites for the fresh-air
ghost hunter. For example:
Bertha's grave, in the Lakeside Cemetery in Coleraine, the reputed
resting place of a witch whose headstone supposedly moves around.
Haunted train trestles in Moose Lake on the Willard Munger State Trail.
Sturges Park in Buffalo, reportedly home of the ghost of a wealthy
pioneer man and where strange glowing balls of lights and bathroom
mirrors defaced with blood have supposedly been seen.
Dead Man's Trail in Thief River Falls, where Indian spirits are
supposed to wander.
Montgomery Golf Course in Montgomery, where gravestones are located at
the first hole.
Ross, Minn., where a windigo, a cannibalistic Indian spirit, is said
Washington Street Bridge in Minneapolis, legendary for supposed
spirits of suicide victims.
The Minnesota State Fairgrounds, where a phantom pig is said to haunt
the swine barn and a bird that is the reincarnated spirit of a former
Fair worker supposedly visits the Ye Old Mill ride.
The ghost guides describe what the authors found and give directions
for readers who aren't content with giving themselves goose bumps in
"There's a large segment of the population that wants to go to these
places. They want to experience something first-hand," Fisk said.
"Maybe something's going to happen. Maybe not," Lewis said. "I
recommend people be patient. I compare it to fishing. It's a lot of
sitting around and waiting. But you're not going to find anything
unless you have your pole in the water."
Lewis also says to take a companion with you. Then, if something
spooky happens, it's less scary and there is someone to corroborate
the ghostly goings-on, Lewis said. A camera can be helpful, as well as
"a sense of curiosity." But don't trespass and don't cause any damage,
Lewis said they've sold about 25,000 copies of the Wisconsin guide and
about 6,000 of the Minnesota guide. "They've been runaway successes,"
He and Fisk are also planning to publish books by other authors,
starting with a guide to UFOs in Wisconsin.
Despite all of his searching, Lewis said he has yet to see a ghost.
He's not even sure he believes in them.
"I don't know. I believe people believe they've seen them," he said.
"I've seen strange things. Experienced strange things. Heard strange
things," Fisk said.
Among the most unusual, he said, was seeing a nebulous orange presence
that appeared in a room at the same time a door mysteriously opened on
But it didn't happen during one of Fisk's ghost-hunting expeditions.
"Actually, it was in my own home."
Richard Chin can be reached at rchin@... or 651-228-5560.
What: Numerous versions of "Road Guide to Haunted Locations" by Chad
Lewis and Terry Fisk
For more information: www.unexplainedresearch
Authors appear: Lewis and Fisk will appear at "The Unexplained
Conference" at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at the St. Cloud Civic Center, 10 Fourth
Ave. S., St. Cloud. Admission is $9.