Chad Lewis makes a living investigating just what happens when things go bump in the night.
For the past 13 years, this paranormal investigator, originally from Eau Claire, Wis., has traveled around the world in an attempt to come face-to-face with the paranormal.
On May 4, his adventures led him to Whitewater to speak about paranormal activity, something that seems to go hand-in-hand with the history of this town.
Ask a random student on a campus, and it’s likely they can rattle off several urban legends about Whitewater. Such legends include a haunted book in Andersen Library, the cemeteries that form a triangle, and that the only ways to exit the town involve crossing over water.
Some things are true. Morris Pratt founded a spiritualist institute in Whitewater, which later became a teacher’s college and then, in turn, UW-Whitewater. But what Lewis seeks to uncover is the truth about areas like Whitewater – are they really haunted or is it all just a myth?
Lewis graduated with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology from UW-Stout. He said he always planned on using his degree to help people, but never imagined that in doing so he might be hunting down the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, or chupacabras in Puerto Rico.
“What I’m interested in is why people believe in the paranormal,” Lewis said. “I’ve always really wanted to investigate that and find out if there’s any explanation to what they’re experiencing.”
Even though Lewis grew up near Elmwood, Wis., which is often linked with UFO sightings, he never had any unusual paranormal experiences while growing up.
His job as a paranormal investigator stemmed from his time as a grant writer. During his free time, he authored books on haunted places throughout the Midwest.
As these books grew in popularity, Lewis found himself on the road to investigate the phenomena he wrote about.
“I definitely think the only way to truly experience a place is to visit it – and that’s what I like to try and do,” Lewis said. “I think the scariest thing is when we have a psychic traveling with us and they pick up on something horrible that happened here and just refuse to even get out of the car. Things like that are really scary.”
Lewis has heard the legends about Whitewater, including the book in the library and the supposedly haunted Center of the Arts, throughout the paranormal investigation community and said he was eager to discuss them with students at his presentation.
Lewis also has some advice for those who may be worried they are dealing with something, or someone, other than Casper the friendly ghost.
“Just keep calm, and keep a record of things that happen to see if you can maybe begin to notice a pattern,” Lewis said. “Write everything down, even little things.”
For more information about Lewis and his adventures, go to his website at www.unexplainedresearch.com.