on the lookout for real ghosts and
spirits this Halloween.
Self-published author and paranormal
researcher Chad Lewis' new book
"Haunted St. Paul" looks at 17
haunted locations in the city and
the ghosts who live there.
Lewis describes the history of each
spot and what happened there -- or
didn't -- when he stopped in. He
visited the ill-fated couple who
haunts Forepaugh's restaurant and
the multiple spirits hanging around
the Griggs Mansion on Summit Avenue,
to name a couple.
This is Lewis' first book examining
an individual city; he has written a
series of "Hidden Headlines" books
about Wisconsin, Texas and New York,
and he co-wrote the "Road Guide to
Haunted Locations" series for
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South
Dakota and Illinois with fellow
author and researcher Terry Fisk.
Lewis got his start researching UFO
stories in 1995 in Wisconsin after
hearing stories of sightings in and
around his hometown of Eau Claire.
He now lives in Minneapolis, but his
fascination with the subject hasn't
After presenting his research on the
paranormal at University of
Wisconsin-Stout, his alma mater,
audience members started feeding him
stories of hauntings in their own
hometowns, giving Lewis an
opportunity to travel nationally and
internationally tracking down
Fifteen years later, Lewis is still
researching ghosts and observing
haunted locations, and he says he's
still astonished by the stories he
Q: How are actual hauntings
different from what happens in
movies and on television?
A: It's not as sexy in real life.
What people see on TV are things
flying across the room and people
speaking in tongues. In real life,
it's more subdued than that; it's
things people try to rationalize.
Maybe they'll hear or accidentally
record a weird voice that they'll
try to blame on someone passing by.
They'll see a ball of light in a
photo that they'll try to
rationalize as a glare or a bug. For
me, it's half paranormal and half
adventure. Half the time you'll see
something, and maybe half the time
you won't. I think you're going to
have an adventure either way.
Q: What do you think about people
who say that there's no such thing
A: I try to present people with the
best research I can do and present
what I saw and felt when I went to
these places. I leave it up to the
reader to go to these places on
their own and make up their own
minds. I'm skeptical as well. After
15 years of doing this, I'm left
with more questions than answers.
The more I dig, the weirder things
get. So much happens that no one can
really explain. Who can say they
know for sure what exists and what
Q: Besides the ghosts at the Griggs
Mansion, it seems like most of the
ones in the book aren't there to do
any harm. Is that something you've
consistently found to be true?
A: Very rarely have I found someone
talking about the spirit doing them
harm. The majority of stories I get
deal with a loved one coming back.
People will tell me they smell their
grandmother's perfume on the
anniversary of her death or their
grandpa's cigars. They take solace
in the fact that a loved one is
coming back to them.
In public places, spirits seem to go
about their business. They rarely
harm anyone; they just create an
atmosphere of fear. It's mentioned
in the book; people don't like
working alone at night in haunted
places, people don't want to close
up Forepaugh's restaurant alone at
Q: What made you want to write
specifically about St. Paul?
A: My research partner (Fisk) and I
have done research and explored the
whole state and seven or eight other
states in the "Road Guide to Haunted
Locations" series, and that was a
lot of fun, but I never had time to
dig deep into one city and explore
all the weirdness going on. I think
when I did that, I missed getting
deeper and exploring the whole
history of the city, especially one
with a history like St. Paul's.
There's Pig's Eye, there's
gangsters, there's the bootlegging
and the river. There really is a
little bit of everything.
IF YOU GO
Chad Lewis will speak about St. Paul
hauntings at 2 p.m. Saturday at the
White Bear Lake Library, 4698 Clark
Ave. in White Bear Lake. Call
651-407-5302 for more information.