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Wisconsin Gangster Guide

local paranormal author/investigator goes gangster on us

Andrew Patrie

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With a number of historical titles under
his belt, local author/researcher Chad
Lewis has turned his attention to Wisconsin’s
gangster hotspots.

The man who made his name as a seeker of things that go bump in the night is about to exhume the pasts of people who could bump you off. Chad Lewis is returning to the region with tales that tread the realm of the natural despite his predilection for the supernatural. In short, he has dropped the extra for a wholly terrestrial phenomenon: gangsters. Before crying, “Sell out!” allow Chad to assuage any thoughts of mutual exclusivity.

“Many of the haunted locations I had been investigating claimed to have been haunted by the spirits of former gangsters with ties to the location. Because both fields deal heavily in legend, the manner in which I research them is similar. All cases start out with a story, and it is my goal to sort out fact from fiction,” clarifies Chad.

Yes, Chad is still very much wired into the weird. “I truly believe that weird is weird regardless of whether it is ghosts or gangsters. Limiting myself to investigating the paranormal would be shutting myself off from too many extraordinary topics. Ironically, some people have told me they find the gangster history more bizarre than my paranormal research.”

The palpable evidence for our propensity towards violence should be more chilling than apocryphal anecdotes of hook handed killers or hellhounds. In fact, the idea for Chad’s new book, Wisconsin Road Guide to Gangster Hot Spots, came to him while repairing a blown tire outside of a restaurant notable for the patronage of the Dillinger gang prior to a shootout with the FBI. “I was taken by the history in this restaurant and decided to venture around Wisconsin to see how much was out there,” says Chad.

Regarding his presentation, Chad promises, “The program is a visual road trip back to the days when gangsters turned our state into their own criminal vacationland. As the talk is in Menomonie, I will spend time on the grisly bank robbery of 1931, where the residents decided to shoot it out with the outlaws, not knowing just how deadly their decision would turn out to be.”

Wisconsin’s Gangster Past • May 15 • Russell J Rassbach Heritage Museum, 1820 Wakanda St., Menomonie • 1:30pm • FREE • 232-8685 • UnexplainedResearch.com