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Most haunted spots in Wisconsin

Paranormal researcher to speak in Manawa

By Holly Neumann

The Sturm Memorial Library will host paranormal researcher and author Chad Lewis at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Lewis’ presentation, “Wisconsin’s Most Haunted Locations,” will take the audience on a ghostly journey from wandering ghosts in the North Woods, to a haunted bed and breakfast in Milwaukee, to phantom creatures and graveyard apparitions.

Lewis has been traveling the world for 25 years now in search of the unknown. Two factors motivate him: adventure and curiosity.

“I always have an adventure,” he said. “Traveling the back roads, stopping at roadside attractions, digging up interesting history and visiting some long forgotten place.”

Not knowing the answers to things being real or not adds in the curiosity.

“I don’t know what happens when we die, or if we are alone in the universe, or if every possible animal has been discovered so I am continually searching for these answers and trying to get more insight on these legends,” he said.

He feels that following these stories, seeing how they affect people and seeing how they morph and change over the years is the most interesting part of what he does.

“I love the folklore aspect of it,” Lewis said.

One of his most memorable paranormal experience involved a giant bat-winged creature.

“We found an old 1903 article about the creature that terrorized the small town of Van Meter,” Lewis said. “Thinking it was nothing more than a hoax or misidentification of a known animal we traveled to Van Meter and discovered that the town fully battled this thing for five nights, blasting it with their guns before it sunk away into an old abandoned coal mine.”

According to Lewis, over the years the legend was forgotten.

“Once in a while someone would report seeing something strange in that vicinity,” he said. “When I was out at the old mine I got the distinct feeling that I should not be there. Like there was some zone of fear that was trying to keep visitors out.”

Lewis admits that he is not sure why paranormal activity happens.

“We are simply not sure,” he said. “Odd things happen to skeptics, believers and everyone in between.”

For those who may doubt, he tries to separate fact from fiction and provide the best research that he can.

“I then leave it up to the audience to travel to these places and decide for themselves whether or not they believe them,” he said.

He has authored several books including “The Wisconsin Road Guide to Mysterious Creatures,” “Paranormal: Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo,” “The Most Gruesome Hauntings of the Midwest” and “Hidden Headlines of Wisconsin: Strange, Unusual & Bizarre Newspaper Stories 1860-1910.”

“A lot of people attend my programs saying, “I don’t know if I believe in UFOs or ghosts, but I am curious and it looks like a lot of fun,” he said. “Not only do I want people to come and hear about these places, but I want them to visit on their own and come to their own conclusion as to whether or not they believe these legends. Hopefully, something odd will happen to them, but they will certainly have an adventure either way.”

Lewis’s presentation is part of the library’s fall lecture series and everyone is welcome to attend. There is no charge for the program and refreshments will be served following the presentation.

For more information visit www.manawalibrary.org or call 920-596-2252.

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