Saturday, November 9, 2013

Paranormal activity at the Augusta Public Library

Author and paranormal investigator Terry Fisk speaks at the Augusta Public Library.
Halloween may be over, but patrons at the Augusta Public Library were able to revisit its eeriness when paranormal investigator and author Terry Fisk spoke there on November 6. Fisk covered many of his experiences while researching unexplained phenomena, and he shared numerous stories about allegedly haunted locations throughout Wisconsin.

Fisk was inspired to begin his unusual career when a picture his brother took of him in a cemetery revealed a strange white shape hovering above him. Fisk was puzzled because the camera had never created such an anomaly before, so he took the image to many different experts in order find an explanation for it. No one who saw it, not even the most ardent skeptic, was able to adequately account for the odd white shape.

Although Fisk has never gotten to explanation he sought, he did come up with something better; in the course of his research, he made the acquaintance of paranormal investigator Chad Lewis. The two men teamed up to conduct their research into unexplained phenomena. Over the years, their collaboration has yielded numerous TV and radio projects as well as a website,

Although the pair generally brings equipment on their investigations, Fisk said, “I usually rely more on psychics and mediums than on cameras; they provide so much more detail.”

He’s worked with several, among them Allison DuBois, who inspired the TV show Medium. Fisk cited several examples of eerily accurate information DuBois provided about sites she had never previously visited and people she had never previously met.

Lewis and Fisk’s investigative work has required them to travel to numerous allegedly haunted sites, many of which were in obscure locations that were difficult to find. Fisk recalled that after getting lost so often, “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there were a road guide to haunted locations?’ Then we realized that WE could write it.”

That thought led to the Road Guide to Haunted Locations series, each book of which features an array of reputedly haunted sites in a different state as well as the results of Lewis and Fisk’s investigations into them. The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations was among the first they wrote, and Fisk’s presentation covered many of the sites the pair investigated.

Among those sites was the Green Eyes Bridge in Augusta, where numerous people claim to have witnessed glowing green eyes. When Lewis and Fisk investigated these claims, they found glow worms that seemed to account for the sightings, although Fisk did point out that many witnesses claimed to have seen the eyes in winter, when the glow worms wouldn’t be active.

Fisk’s extensive investigations have convinced him that “there’s something to” claims of supernatural activity. “It’s the one universal belief,” he explained. “In every culture throughout history, there have been stories about ghosts.”

It’s not just anthropology that convinces Fisk, though. When interviewing people about their sightings, he observed, “You could tell they weren’t making it up; their hands would be shaking, and they would be clearly terrified. I’ve had some strange things happen myself. Sometimes my wife thinks I bring my work home with me” because of strange phenomena they’ve experienced in their house.

In one case, both he and his wife were in their living room when they witnessed a glowing orange orb and saw a heavy door swing open on its own.

Lewis and Fisk wrote the Road Guide series so that people interested in supernatural phenomena would know where to begin fulfilling their curiosity. However, Fisk recommends not going to the haunted sites alone. “If something does happen, you want someone else there so you know you’re not crazy.”

In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet tells his friend, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Anyone listening to Fisk’s presentation would most likely agree.

Terry Fisk speaks about his work with medium Allison DuBois, pictured on the screen.

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