Travel anywhere in the nation and you’ll probably hear stories of something strange sure to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
The Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo area are not immune to several local legends with sightings of UFO’s, ghosts and mysteries creatures. On Oct. 6, Paranormal Author, Researcher and Lecturer Chad Lewis took a room of over 40 people at the Reedsburg Public Library on a journey through some of the areas famous legends through his presentation of Paranormal Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo.
Lewis has written over 20 books on the paranormal and local legends. Copies of all his books were available for purchase after his presentation.
Lewis, an Eau Claire native whose background is in psychology, has researched and collected strange and bizarre stories from around the world for over 25 years, told through eyewitness accounts, photos, folklore’s and case history claiming to see these mysterious creatures lurking around.
He also provided directions for people who want to travel to these places and see for themselves what they experience, a fitting aspect with Halloween approaching.
Lewis doesn’t say if the place is haunted, but leaves it up to one hearing the story and reported accounts to form their own conclusion and even take a road trip to see for themselves.
“Whether you’re a die hard skeptic or a true believer or somewhere in between, I’m leaving it up to you to come to your own conclusion as to whether or not you believe these legends are real,” Lewis said. “But I should warn you. It’s much easier watching these places on television than it is visiting when you’re out in the middle of nowhere and that shadowy creature is lurking from tree to tree, you simply can’t turn to another channel and forget all about it.”
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Some of the local legends Lewis told in his presentation were of Ghost Molly at Molly’s Showboat Saloon in the Wisconsin Dells, a cowboy figure at the Baraboo Inn in Baraboo or those seeing the ghost of Al Ringling at Circus World and the Al Ringling Theater.
Some stories related to mysterious creatures, like the vanishing hitchhiker on Highway 12 and tales of a sea serpent still swimming in Devil’s Lake. He didn’t have a story specific to Reedsburg, he said.
While Hope Bartels, 18, of Reedsburg enjoyed all the stories Lewis shared in his presentation the story of Molly’s Showboat Saloon one that interested her the most because its one she’s familiar with. She hadn’t been inside the saloon to see for herself but said she would when she turned 21. She plans to visit some of the other places Lewis mentioned in his presentation, she said.
Lewis said people in Wisconsin were seeing UFO’s long before Hollywood adopted the concept, especially because the state has three towns claiming to be the “UFO Capital of the World” and sightings in Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells date back to the 1800s, he said. It was information twelve-year-old Reedsburg resident Phoenix Pomani took interest in.
“It’s just something I don’t understand and I really want to keep learning more about this stuff,” Pomani said.
Library Director Sue Ann Kucher said the library hosted Lewis five times in the past and whether or not one is a believer in anything haunted, the stories still interest people.
“His presentations are so interactive and people love hearing the stories it’s great to bring it back,” she said. “Whether you believe in it or not, they’re good stories, they’re interesting.”
The library has copies of Lewis books available for check out and through the South Central library system, Kucher said. More information on Chad Lewis is on his website www.chadlewisresearch.com