Terry Fisk

In his research as a paranormal investigator, Terry Fisk challenges what he enjoys chasing most: the unexplained.

From UFOs to mysterious lights to reported ghosts, Fisk travels the country investigating sights of reported paranormal activity and trying to explain – or debunk – the phenomena with normal reasoning. He works with paranormal investigator Chad Lewis, who lives in Sun Prairie.

Fisk’s and Lewis’ partnership stems from curiosity about the same event that led Fisk to become a paranormal researcher. On a bright, sunny day a few years ago, Fisk and his brother were visiting the cemetery where their great-great-grandparents are buried. They were the first of the Fisk family to settle in Wisconsin, and Fisk wanted a picture of the headstone.

He also asked his brother to take a picture of him standing beside the headstone. When he got home to look at the photos, something stood out in that picture.

“All the pictures taken that day were perfectly fine, except the picture of me standing by the headstone,” Fisk said. “That had what appeared to be a mist that seemed to be coming out of the headstone and surrounding me.”

Fisk said there was no mist, smoke or fog at the time the photo was taken that could explain what he saw in the photograph. It sparked his interest and he began thinking about life after death.

After showing the photo to Lewis, the two teamed up and investigated all kinds of unexplained phenomena, including ghosts, Bigfoot, UFOs and crop circles. They organized the Unexplained Conference in Madison, produced a live video talk show and kept up the website unexplainedresearch.com – all the while collecting information from people who would recommend haunted locations to them.

Hunting for ghosts

Fisk said they kept a notebook with information on reportedly haunted locations, and one day it was full. They hit the road to do some investigations.

“It didn’t take us very long to realize that a lot of time the information people gave us was false, directions were horrible, addresses were sometimes wrong,” he said.

At the same time, if they ended up in a place where their original lead turned out to be a dead-end, Fisk said there were always more people telling stories of odd happenings and no end to the haunted locations they would hear about from locals.

The locations are spread throughout the state, but often the places that hold rumors of paranormal activity share a common thread.

“A lot of times it’s a building that has had a lot of emotional energy, like old schools or an old hospital, an old prison, an old theater – places like that,” Fisk said.

One of the locations Fisk and Lewis have explored is Aztalan State Park in Lake Mills. Fisk said people have reported a shadowy or ghostly figure at the park, and some have captured anomalies on photographs.

“People have gone out there and just had an uneasy feeling while being there,” Fisk said. “Sometimes they’ll have headaches and they’ll feel nauseous, lightheaded, dizzy – and they feel that it’s because of haunting activity there.”

The two have also investigated Weary Road in Edgerton. As if it doesn’t already boast a name that invokes thoughts of a tired traveler at nightfall, Fisk said the road and accompanying bridge are home to reports of strange voices, scratches mysteriously appearing on people’s bodies and mysterious screams after dark. The most common occurrence people report to him, Fisk said, is that they are unable to start their car back up after stopping it on the bridge on Weary Road.

Fisk said the location gives off a creepy vibe.

“During the day, the road is very beautiful. There’s a line of trees that overhang the road, and it’s just a beautiful place to be. But once the sun starts going down it has a whole different feel to it,” he said.

Sharing ghost stories

Though the dead-ends on their investigations still led Fisk and Lewis to new stories, when they couldn’t find locations or had been given incorrect addresses, they often thought how nice it would be to have a road guide to paranormal spots in the state.

It sparked a new idea, Fisk said: since they were doing the research, they could write the book.

They published “The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations” in 2004, and its success spurred a series of books for other states’ mysterious locations. Fisk said he and Lewis are planning to release a second volume for Wisconsin haunts next year.

To this day, Fisk said he and Lewis still get a lot of emails from people with information about reported hauntings. They also travel around the country individually for speaking engagements and have people who will share their stories with them, either to the full group or afterward, Fisk said.

“Sometimes this might have happened 20, 30 years ago and they’ve never shared that with anybody because they were just afraid that people would think they were crazy,” he said. But hearing others’ experiences at his talks often leads people to open up about their own experiences.

Fisk will speak at the Waunakee Public Library, at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16.

He and Lewis are all about investigating the unexplained, Fisk said, but looking for those answers creates some mixed feelings.

“Even though I’m out there trying to explain those things, if I was to explain something, sometimes there’s a certain disappointment in it because the mystery’s gone now,” he said, giving the example that if someone were to find a Bigfoot carcass and have physical evidence the creature exists, the mystery would be done. “I would find that exciting but at the same time disappointing. It would be bittersweet.”

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