Is Beloit Haunted?

By Debra Jensen-De Hart, Features Editor

04/13/06 - Beloit Daily News

Chad Lewis has traveled the globe investigating reportedly haunted places, but sometimes the most intriguing sites are in a person's own community, he said recently.

On May 19, the paranormal investigator will give a presentation at the Beloit Historical Society on reported haunted places in Beloit and other locations in the state.

Lewis also is the co-author of “Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations”, along with Terry Fisk. Lewis will have copies of his book available at the evening presentation which is the society's spring program and includes a buffet dinner.

In a recent telephone interview, Lewis, who resides in Eau Claire, talked about his background and answered questions about paranormal sightings.

He has a master's degree in applied psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, but his research concerning unexplained mysteries began when he was still an undergraduate student, he said.

“I was an undergraduate at UW-Stout about 10 years ago when UFOs were very popular. I started researching this and alien abductors,” he said.

About the same time, people also started telling Lewis about what they believed to be haunted houses, crop circles and other mysterious happenings, he said.

His research into the paranormal spawned from there, he said.

Since then, he's been to hundreds of places to investigate reports of ghosts, spirits, things that go bump in the night and much more.

But when asked if he has experienced any unusual sights he believes to be paranormal, himself, he said no.

However, that doesn't discount that they exist, he also said.

“Certain people have the ability to pick up on this, some don't” is what it may mean.

The question is, “Does believing equal seeing or does seeing equal believing?”

And, perhaps more people are coming forward today and telling of their experiences, he said.

“A lot of people don't come forward until they've been to a presentation.”

The media has a lot to do with that, with more and more television and radio programs aired on mysterious and unexplained incidents, he said.

His presentation in Beloit will include a talk on ghosts and ghost lore as well as a slide presentation on some of the places he has investigated. It also will include places like McNeel Middle School, Turner High School and The Manor in Beloit and a few more surprise locations, he said.

The former Manor restaurant, above, has long been rumored to be haunted by a woman looking through a window and perhaps a little girl.

“When I give my presentations, I tend to focus some stuff on what is in people's own backyards,” he pointed out.

While his book tells of many investigations in the state, there also is a disclaimer stated in the front of the work.

It states: The places in the book have neither been proved nor disproved to be haunted. Their inclusion in the book is based on the anecdotal reports we have received from numerous individuals. This book is for reference purposes only.

“I put out the evidence and let people make up their own minds. I encourage people to use the book as an adventure guide,” Lewis said.

People can see parts of Wisconsin they've never seen before and have fun, he added.

“And don't be disappointed if you don't see anything,” he said.

Lewis also pointed out that many people interested in ghosts also are interested in history which is why he often makes his presentations at historical societies.

Lewis also has hosted “The Unexplained” paranormal radio talk show and television series. He is the author of “Eerie Eau Claire and Unexplained: From Angels to UFOs” and also has co-authored books on haunted sites in Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.

He has traveled to Area 51 in Nevada, Loch Ness in Scotland, Transylvania in Romania, Lough Ree in Ireland and haunted castles and tunnels in London. He works as a research specialist for the Mutual UFO Network, is a former member of the American Ghost Society and works with BLT Crop Circle Investigations.

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