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favorite haunts - Guidebooks make things simpler for those seeking local ghosts and ghoulies

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    Oct. 01, 2006 favorite haunts Guidebooks make things simpler for those seeking local ghosts and ghoulies. BY RICHARD CHIN St. Paul Pioneer Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2006
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      Oct. 01, 2006

      favorite haunts

      Guidebooks make things simpler for those seeking local ghosts and
      ghoulies.

      BY RICHARD CHIN
      St. Paul Pioneer Press
      http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/outdoors/15631732.htm

      '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
      every state."

      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
      to roam.

      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
      their armchairs.

      "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 urged.

      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 said.

      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
      its own.

      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

      Cost: $14

      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.
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