believe in ghosts?
How about angels, Bigfoot or aliens?
Chad Lewis doesn’t care whether you are a believer or
a skeptic. He welcomes everyone to his paranormal
conference in Appleton Saturday.
“If you’re a skeptic, come along,” Lewis said.
“I know a lot of people have left these conferences with
a more open mind.”
Lewis, a paranormal investigator from Eau Claire, has
planned a variety of topics for conference-goers.
“I have an interest in all the paranormal, and there
were no conferences that dealt with fairies, Bigfoot,
angels, experiences in consciousness, ghost, urban
legends, all that together,” Lewis said. “I set up the
conference with myself in mind. So what people are going
to hear at this conference is four different speakers on
Lewis will give a slide show presentation on haunted
locations of Wisconsin.
Tom Franklin, a professor of psychology at the
University of Wisconsin-Stout, will speak on experiences
“It’s sort of group hypnosis,” Lewis said.
“”He uses guided imagery to get you thinking about a
place where you feel relaxed.”
Richard Hendricks, who maintains the multifaceted Weird
Wisconsin Web site, will speak on “Encounters with Weird
Wisconsin Entities: Ghosts, Aliens, Monsters, Fairies.”
“He’ll be talking about aliens in Wisconsin,
monsters, fairies, reported Bigfoots, werewolves, spirits,
vampires and every other weird, bizarre topic you could
think of,” said Lewis.
Registered Nurse Judy Meinen of Eau Claire will talk
about cases and experiences with angels and healing touch.
She will also demonstrate how to contact a personal angel.
“Thousands, if not millions, of people are
experiencing these phenomena, and based on my experience,
most of them are average, down-to-earth people, normal
people trying to explain something abnormal that has
happened to them,” Lewis said.
He said he has been doing paranormal research for the
past 10 years, and first became interested in the
paranormal as an undergraduate student in psychology.
His undergraduate research focused on two things: If
paranormal activity is not happening, what makes thousands
of people believe they have had a paranormal experience,
and if the paranormal does exist, what implications does
that have for psychology?
Lewis found the topic so interesting that he ended up
doing his master’s thesis on it.
One of the things Lewis has learned is that people
often love legends more than reality.
“I’ve taken a lot of flack from other investigators
for debunking famous hauntings,” he said. “A lot of
people like the lore of a place being haunted.”
Just recently Lewis was informed of three allegedly
haunted locations in Appleton. Two of those he won’t
name here, but Lewis has already gone public on the third
with a posting on his Web site.
Lewis was told by someone that Secura Insurance Co. on
Memorial Drive was haunted by the ghost of a child that
drowned in the company pond, and that people have heard
the screams of the child and the cries of the grieving
The drowning was supposed to have taken place about 150
A phone call to Sandy Wight, Secura marketing director,
set the record straight.
To begin with, Secura was founded in 1900, a number of
years short of the 150 years in the story.
Its original place of business was in Seymour. It
didn’t open at the current location until 1962, which is
when the pond was dug.
“It’s a man-made pond,” she said. “We’ve
heard no screams. I’ve heard nothing about it before,
and I’m in my 17th year here at Secura.”
Lewis has all this on his Web site.
“When you debunk a story, it makes the cases that
can’t be explained all the more exciting and
fascinating,” he said.
He tells of an Eau Claire man who called him about
seeing the apparition of a woman in a particular location.
“In fact, there was a woman murdered there about 30
years,” Lewis said. “I was able to get a photograph of
the woman and the gentlemen (more than one man saw the
apparition) almost fell over because that’s who they
He’ll have more stories to share Saturday night at
the conference that he said is designed for the general
Lewis said too often paranormal conferences get bogged
down in academic detail.
“I set up this one with myself in mind,” he said.
“People don’t want to get bogged down in the details.
They want to know the exciting stuff.
“We’re going to show some of our best cases.”