Sure, we've heard of the UFOs in Area 51, crop circles in the 2002 movie "Signs" and Vampires in Transylvania. But as Chad Lewis shared Tuesday night at the Geneseo Library, "it's another matter when the places are in your back yard."

I was among those "brave enough to come out," as he put it, to listen to his presentation. And as I crossed the parking lot, I'll admit that I was skeptical. Would this be a stereotypical "paranormal researcher" shoving taglines like "The aliens are coming!" down our throats?

The front of the cozy library room held a table covered in books by Mr. Lewis and Terry Fisk, another paranormal researcher, along with four "vampire hunting" kits complete with crucifixes, holy water, wooden stakes, mirrors and Bibles.

Scenes from the movie "Underworld" flashed through my mind as I took my seat.

Mr. Lewis spoke on several topics involving paranormal activity in Illinois and elsewhere, including:

- Crop circles or formations: Mr. Lewis wasn't the guy I thought he'd be at all. He took a very relaxed approach, explaining there is "no rhyme or reason" for the crop formations that have been reported throughout the world.

"There's a high correlation with UFO sightings and crop circles," he said, adding that isn't always the automatic assumption with the creepy events. Earth energy, military operations and even the weather may be to blame as well, as he's heard from first-hand reports.

- Mysterious creatures: Hell hounds, werewolves and devil creatures that have been spotted in Illinois cities like Collinsville and Chicago.

"Go ahead and insert laughter here," Mr. Lewis said. But his research on spotted biped werewolves matched that of Linda Godfrey who had been researching them in a different area.

- Ghosts: In cemeteries, houses and theaters, reports of ghastly floating creatures have been reported throughout the area. Mr. Lewis also noted people tend to hear voices, smell perfume or see doors open and close instead of actually seeing a ghost.

Audience member David Powell of Cambridge said he's had first-hand experience of this while cleaning the home where a woman recently had died. "I heard footsteps and could smell perfume," he said.

Although many are skeptical of paranormal activity, audience member Dawn Stock of Geneseo urged people to keep an open mind.

"You've got to see it to believe it!" she said.

Whether the room was filled with believers, the audience definitely was interested.

"I consider myself a skeptic," Mr. Lewis told me after his talk. "The best research is to do it yourself, and don't take anyone's word for it."