When you open up the
OBSERVER, most of the time you see the usual
news of the day. Town board meetings, sports,
local happenings and features. But if you were
alive in 1910, you may have seen a much
different kind of story.
It is this type of out-of-the-ordinary, offbeat
story that appears in Chad Lewis’ new book, “Hidden
Headlines of New York: Strange, Unusual and
Bizarre Newspaper Stories 1860-1910.”
According to the article that appeared in the
Sept. 23, 1910 issue of the Dunkirk Evening
Observer, which Lewis found through extensive
research, there was an unusual sighting.
“Several people report that an air ship passed
over Dunkirk Thursday evening between six and
seven o’clock, traveling in a westerly
direction,” the 1910 article states. “Dennis
Ready, chief engineer at the city water works
plants, says that he saw the aircraft for at
least an hour, observing it though a telescope.
Mr. Ready says that the airship consisted of two
large cigar shaped gas bags, one over the other,
and from the lower one was suspended a basket.”
Lewis said that during his research, he found
hundreds of stories like this one from Dunkirk,
but had to make room for other bizarre New York
“You could spend years looking for strange
stories in your own town and paper and write a
whole book,” he said.
Lewis, who is a paranormal investigator for
Unexplained Research LLC, first became
interested in the paranormal after he received
his master’s degree in applied psychology.
“I was interested in why people believed in
paranormal things, like UFOs and ghosts. But, as
I did psychological research, I found people
asking me to investigate occurrences for them.
So that’s what I do now, although I am still
interested in the psychology behind it,” he
Lewis started looking through newspaper archives
for his first “Headlines” book, “Hidden
Headlines of Wisconsin,” his home state. Then he
went on to do a book about Texas. It was his
research for these two books that led Lewis to
investigate New York’s paranormal newspaper
“In both Wisconsin and Texas I found strange
stories in the papers relating to New York. I
thought, ‘If these are appearing in Wisconsin
and Texas papers, then I wonder what stories New
York papers have,’” he related.
And Lewis found plenty of stories. After doing
research of around 20 different papers in more
than 100 different cities through the Internet,
historical societies and newspaper archives,
Lewis had more than enough material to work
Lewis said it isn’t just the paranormal aspects
of the book that are interesting. He said that
the history is also fascinating.
“These older newspaper stories have more of
these type of bizarre stories. But there are
still some today. You have to remember that back
then, there wasn’t television, Internet and the
media we have today. Newspapers were where
people got not just the news, but entertainment
and local gossip,” he said.
Currently, Lewis is working on a similar book
about California’s unusual stories. He says
that, if he had enough time, he would like to do
a book for all 50 states.
“These books are a time portal. Like the book
about New York, you really get sucked back into
that time period. You really feel like you just
picked up the paper off your front step and read
these articles for the first time. For a minute,
you really feel like you’re back in that time,”
To order Lewis’ book, go to
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