Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter - Sept. 26, 2002

Much ‘unexplained’ in UFO session

Conference explores strange phenomena

By Alex Hummel
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

NEENAH – Beer.


Crop circles?

Submitted photo

Mysterious crop circles appeared on this farm in Wausau in 1997. A similar event happened in Port Washington in 1998.


Aside from the Packers’ recent on-field performance, the Badger State boasts quite a file of “the unexplained” — as in Bigfoot sightings, eerie farmland apparitions and crop circles.

For the price of a movie and soda, a conference Sunday in Neenah invites the public to witness Wisconsin’s weird side, from homegrown UFO phenomena to heavenly angels to evidence of past lives.

“I think people have always had these questions, and now it has become so mainstream that they feel like they can go to a conference and it’s not going to be new-agers with crystal balls,” said Chad Lewis, a 28 year-old Eau Claire resident and conference speaker on “Strange Wisconsin.” “It’s regular people going to these conferences.”

Lewis dubs himself a paranormal researcher. He recently earned a degree in applied psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a thesis on college students’ beliefs in the paranormal.

He has been touring the state with conferences like the one planned for Neenah’s Park Plaza Valley Inn. The forums last about two-and-a-half hours and typically draw between 100 to 200 people, Lewis said.

Manitowoc County has a long tradition of UFO sightings, dating to the 1897 “airship” flap and most recently this Christmas when two separate encounters were reported. The city of Manitowoc is a point on what is internationally known as the "Lake Michigan Triangle."

Those who believe in UFOs ride a recent wave of sci-fi seasoned skepticism. “The X-Files” struck a nerve with the black-helicopter crowd about a decade ago, but most recently the crop-circle flic “Signs” and T.V. guru John Edward, who reunites dead or “crossed over” people with the living have made waves.

Lewis’ presentation is billed as a discussion of “his investigations of Ghosts, UFO’s, Alien Abductions, Crop Circles, Bigfoot and Haunted Sites from Wisconsin” He said he always caters his portion of the conference to the area he is visiting.

Lewis said he’d discuss a 1903 mass sighting of a UFO in the Appleton area and, among other things like the Oshkosh woman who died yawning the same year, a 1910 report of a large alligator in Lake Winnebago south of Oshkosh.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is when we have a bigfoot sighting such as we had in Granton in 2000, a lot of these things make national news,” he said. “Wisconsin also has the second highest rate of reported UFO sightings after New Mexico.”

Lewis will be joined by Judy Meinen, an Eau Claire-area registered nurse and healing touch practitioner who will “demonstrate various techniques to use while encountering an ‘eerie’ feeling:” i.e., the possibility of the presence of angels. Also on the bill is Bob Salt, a UW-Stout professor of human development and a past life therapist discussing reincarnation.

“I’m not talking about faith,” Salt said. “I’m talking about people who actually remember other lifetimes. There are little children who just spontaneously remember previous lifetimes and adults can do it through hypnosis or maybe a repeated dream. What I’m going to do is describe the research done by scholars compiling cases, and there are thousands.”

Lewis said, at their core, the conferences always appeal to those folks with the big questions.

“It’s the basic questions we humans have always had,” he said. “Are we alone in the universe? What happens when we die? They are all these questions people ask when they sit down and talk about stuff Even if they don’t necessarily believe, a lot of people say, ‘I’m a skeptic, but I really like the information. It’s given me a lot to think about.”

Alex Hummel: (920) 426-6669 or ahummel@smgpo.gannett.com.




The Unexplained

-What: A conference Sunday delving into Wisconsin’s homegrown UFO, crop circle phenomena and presentations on angels, ghosts, past lives and reincarnation

-Where: Park Plaza Valley Inn, Neenah

-When: 4 p.m., doors open at 3:30 p.m. Sunday

-Cost: $10 at the door

Designed by Terry Fisk
Copyright © 2002 Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter. All rights reserved.
Revised: September 28, 2004

Designed by Terry Fisk
Copyright © Unexplained Research. All rights reserved.
Revised: September 28, 2004