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Paranormal investigator Terry Fisk is shown in a cemetery in Polk County with mysterious, unexplained mist that seems to be coming out of the graves of his great-great-grandparents. Fisk, who formerly lived in Webster, spends many hours pursuing his longtime interest in out-of-the-ordinary happenings.

Ghosts, Bigfoot, crop circles – truth or bunk?

04/22/04 - Inter-county Leader

Nancy Jappe

Former Webster resident is into paranormal investigating

Eau Claire – Have you ever seen a ghost? Have you wondered whether stories of Big Foot or UFO sightings are true or just a bunch of bunk? Have you heard about mysterious formations in fields that are known as crop circles.

The investigations of a former Webster resident into unusual happenings, his involvement in a weekly TV show and twice-weekly call-in radio program and now co-authorship of a book, are attempts to either validate or disprove these happenings.

Hearing from Terry Fisk

"I don’t know if you remember me, but I used to live in Webster," Fisk wrote in an e-mail to the Leader. "I currently live in Eau Claire and work as a paranormal investigator with fellow investigator Chad Lewis. Together, Chad and I have investigated Wisconsin Bigfoot sightings, crop circles, UFO reports and other strange anomalies. We are recognized as the state’s experts on Wisconsin ghosts and hauntings."

Ever since he was a kid, Terry Fisk has been interested in the paranormal, in things happening that are out of the ordinary. As a boy, Fisk read every book he could find about UFOs and other such topics. When he got older, however, he lost some of that interest. "Saying you wanted to grow up to be a ghost hunter wasn’t a realistic career goal," Fisk commented, realizing there would be no money in doing that.

Fisk lived in Webster for 10-12 years, working as a commercial artist. When he moved to Eau Claire about 10 years ago, he heard about the conferences related to paranormal topics that a fellow named Chad Lewis was putting on. Fisk attended one of the conferences about the same time as he purchased a digital camera.

He took that digital camera along on a visit, with his brother, to the cemetery in Polk County where their great-great-grandparents are buried. Fisk’s brother took a picture of Terry standing next to the grave. Great was their amazement to see what turned up on the picture.

Puffs of ghostly mist were coming out of the graves. The visit took place in the daytime. No one was smoking a cigarette. There was no fog or mist in the air. There was nothing in the area that could have produced that mist.
The interest in investigating supernatural happenings that was so strong in Fisk’s youth came quickly to the surface. He is now coauthoring a book on the subject and is part of a biweekly radio talk show and a weekly TV show with Lewis. Not only do the two men do shows on ghostly topics, the shows originate from the historic Banbury Place in Eau Claire, a former tire plant that is known to have its own share of ghosts.

About Chad Lewis

Paranormal investigator Chad Lewis grew up in Eau Claire. He studied psychology as an undergraduate at UW-Stout and earned a master’s degree in May 2002 in the field of applied psychology. His master’s thesis dealt with adults who believe in the paranormal.

"I have been investigating (the paranormal) for 10 years now," Lewis said. "My brother had a ghost experience when he was young and lived in a place where a man committed suicide. That sparked my interest."

WOLF 108-FM

Besides doing the weekly television series on CTV-11 (with Lewis as the host, Fisk the director), the two collaborate on The Unexplained, a live, two-hour, biweekly radio program. The program can be heard Mondays and Thursdays from 10 p.m. to midnight on WOLF 108-FM out of Eau Claire. National syndication may come about later this year.

WOLF 108-FM came on the air July 28, 2003 as a nonprofit business charity. "The station exists for the sole purpose of bringing radio, the way it used to be, back to the community," said the station’s originator, Wolf Snider.

The show is on the air seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with live volunteer disk jockeys 14 hours a day.

Snider managed retail stores and owned two successful Internet companies in the Chippewa Valley before he went into running a radio station. "Now I am just a poor radio man," he said.

The station got its permit to broadcast in 2001, but Snider didn’t have a location. He approached Jack Kaiser and Bill Cigan, owners of Banbury Place. The two men not only spent over $15,000 to build a studio, they offered Snider a year’s free rent. "You don’t find (many) truly generous people like Jack and Bill," Snider said. "We are happy tenants of Banbury Place."

A ghost haunts the station

Banbury Place has a history, a haunted history of its own to tell. There are tales of possible hauntings by people killed accidentally in machinery at the former Uniroyal tire plant. One gentleman, who was growing marijuana as well as running a computer business in rented space in the complex, was electrocuted when he tried to hook up an air conditioner for temperature control. His body wasn’t found for two weeks afterward. "We believe this is the person who has been haunting this area. On two occasions, people have seen a ghost in the studio," Snider related.
A former disk jockey reported seeing a man with a red shirt looking through a window while the disk jockey was working. Snider was the only other person in the studio at the time, and he was wearing a black shirt.
Not only did the ghost with the red shirt appear suddenly, but he seemed to come right through the window and the air, so the story goes. "What was that?" the startled disk jockey said.

Lewis and Fisk are checking out the Banbury Place stories, getting documentation and talking to eye witnesses to unusual occurrences there.

The Lewis and Fisk investigative team

"People need to know that there is serious research going on in this field," Lewis said. When he first started in the paranormal field, he wanted to hear what the experts had to say about the subject. Because of the lack of local opportunities to do this, he decided to bring experts in to talk at conferences. That was between seven and eight years ago. The conferences are geared for the general population, and they attract as many as 250 people. The next one is scheduled for April 24 in Stevens Point, with a second to be held Aug. 29 in Janesville.

Lewis reported that most of the inquiries and e-mails he receives involve the ghost phenomena. These are normal people, usually credible people who want to remain anonymous but who had had something bizarre happen or believe it happened to them.

Lewis’ Web site, at http://www.chadlewis.com, averages about 1,500 hits each month. Fisk is the Web site manager.

Every weekend during the summer of 2003, Lewis and Fisk traveled around Wisconsin investigating occurrences that have been reported to them. They are collaborating on a book, A Road Guide to Haunted Places in Wisconsin, which is to be published later this year.

Examples of investigations

The strangest, but not the most unusual case, involved the old Caryville Schoolhouse in Dunn County, which is known as the Spring Brook School. Stories say that a young boy who attended school there died at his desk under mysterious circumstances. One version of the story is that the little boy refused to go home to his abusive father. The boy hid in the schoolhouse on a chilly winter night. The teacher found his frozen body at his desk the next morning. Another version is that a preacher killed all the school children, then hung himself in the school belfry.

During the Lewis/Fisk investigation, nothing of a paranormal nature was substantiated. The investigation showed that a 7-year-old boy who had attended the school died of bulbar polio at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire. The examining physician found nothing mysterious or unexpected about his death. There was no evidence that his father was abusive or that a preacher ever committed murder or suicide in the school.

Fisk and Lewis have investigated between 250 and 300 sites in Wisconsin that are rumored to be haunted. They eliminated some of them completely after checking out the facts and talking to the people in the area and finding out they never heard the stories or anything about such events happening.

"In some places, we can say, ‘Yes, there are several people who can report on haunting activity, multiple witnesses or (stories) that have gone on for a long time," Fisk said.

The two went to Mayville, three hours from Eau Claire, to investigate the report of crop circles in a wheat field that appeared mysteriously overnight. As the story goes, an older, retired gentleman got up one morning as a storm was coming up. He went into his shop where he saw his neighbor’s wheat fields form into three circles. Fisk and Lewis interviewed this witness and took wheat samples that were sent away for analysis. They talked to a meteorologist in Eau Claire and noted that the formations seemed to be related to the storm. The circles were still there two weeks after the storm.

Fisk and Lewis investigated a Bigfoot sighting in Cumberland and spoke with several witnesses who reported seeing footprints. They tried to track down a photo that supposedly had been taken. Residents spoke of hearing scratching around their house and seeing claw marks, all at the same height and in a vertical line. People were missing animals. The investigators found no footprints nor other evidence of Bigfoot.

As they go around the state, the two men are trying to find places to visit where they can maybe have a haunting experience. "If you are afraid of ghosts, the best place to hang out is with ghost investigators. We never see them," Lewis said.

"To people who say they have knowledge that ghosts are here, I say, ‘Where did you get your information,’" he commented. The research that he and Fisk are involved in is science-based research. They are not running around with a crystal ball. What they are doing is taking reports of out-of-the-ordinary incidences and doing some very careful checking to see if they can determine that the reports have any truth to them.

Because of his training in psychology, Lewis is trained to watch for eye contact, body posture and whether a witness to whom he is talking shows signs of nervousness, indicating the validity of what they are saying.

The Midwest’s only paranormal radio talk show

The Unexplained radio talk show, which Fisk said is the Midwest’s only paranormal radio talk show features Wisconsin guests and topics but also includes big-name guests, well-known authors in the field and physicist Stanton T. Friedman, who is known as the biggest name in the unidentified flying object field.

The world-famous psychic Peter James called Fisk and requested to be on the program. James has been featured on the television series Sightings numerous times. He is on schedule for the May 17 radio show.
"Our radio topics are diverse and include everything from UFOs to ESP, from Bigfoot to little green men; (and) from Buddhism to nudism," Fisk said.

"Chad and I take the middle ground when it comes to the paranormal," he continued. "Unlike closed-minded cynics and closed-minded believers, we take the approach of open-minded skeptics or agnostics. We try to maintain an open mind, but not so open that our brains fall out."

People mainly interested in ghosts

Of all the bizarre happenings that occur, people seem to be the most interested in anything involving ghosts, according to the experience of Lewis and Fisk.

"We could do this full time all year around and never run out of cases," Lewis said. "People believe they are the only one who had a ghost experience, like nobody is having that experience. People are starting to feel more comfortable coming out and talking about (the experience), knowing they are not being criticized, that they are not crazy.

When we can’t find any evidence to substantiate claims, it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. It means we haven’t been able to confirm (the happening). There is still bizarre activity going on and other phenomenon happening there," he said.

Note of interest: In May, Lewis will be on location at Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania. Fisk will be hosting the show in Eau Claire, talking live with Lewis in Transylvania. Vampires are the topic of this show. Fisk will be interviewing an authority on the subject. The show coincides with the release of the new Dracula movie, Van Helsing. The schedule for the shows can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.chadlewis.com/radio/schedule.html
  Listeners can hear the actual show on the Internet at this site.


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