; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wisconsin Paranormal Group Gathers Evidence and Lore

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leadertelegram - The first time Devon Bell had a paranormal experience, she thought her husband, Tony, was playing a joke on her.

After investigating the Charlotte Mills Bridge near the small Clark County community of Christie, the couple played back sound recordings from a recorder they had used.

They could hear their voices, which was normal. But there were three separate phrases on the recording they could not place.

One was of a man yelling for help. The second, Devon said, was an order to "Take them," with the third voice asking if they felt nervous, with a whispered "no" response.

Devon told her husband to fess up to his prank. He told her the added sounds were no joke.

"We could feel like there was something behind us," Tony said. "I could feel the hairs rise against the back of my neck."

Devon and Tony Bell are the co-founders of The Haunting Experiments, a local group that researches legends of paranormal activities in Wisconsin. The five-person group is currently working on season one of their webisodes, the most recent of which was released two weeks ago on their website and on YouTube.

Devon said the project process works like this: She researches and writes the stories about the legend while Tony does the video work and occasional special effects. Then she, or another group member narrates the video.

However, these are not necessarily paranormal investigation videos. Devon described most of the webisodes and videos they have produced as "travel videos" of the legends. The Charlotte Mills Bridge project was one of the few paranormal investigations they have done.

"We get more into the ghost lore part of it," she said.

Ghost legends aren't in short supply, according to Chris Weiner, the lead investigator of the Chippewa Valley Paranormal Investigators. The Chippewa Valley is rich with paranormal activity, he said, describing the area as a "virtual paranormal investigator's playground."

Even with the rich supply of lore in the area, The Haunting Experiments has traveled beyond the Chippewa Valley to pursue ghost lore, traveling as far as Clark County, Devon said.

The group itself began in 2008 as a way for the self-proclaimed "legend trippers" to delve deeper into paranormal lore, which Devon has been interested in since childhood. She said she chose the name, ‘The Haunting Experiments' because it was different from other groups she had heard of, and because she did not want to be known as the Eau Claire investigators.

"I knew that's not what we wanted to specialize in," she said in an e-mail.

The video work started on a whim in 2009 when Tony decided to record footage while they were at the Soo Line Bridge, or the "S" bridge in Eau Claire, with their digital camera. Since then, they've upgraded equipment, Tony said.

To date, the group has released about 12 videos, and there will be 12 webisodes at the end of season one, Devon said. The idea for a season of webisodes stemmed from a friend at Eau Claire Public Access who told them about the increasing popularity of the medium.

"We had already made other ghost lore videos, so why not launch something brand new for our group?" Devon said.

The couple said they plan to make a second season of webisodes as well. For now, the couple is pursuing their affinity for paranormal activity as a hobby, Devon said, although someday she and Tony could see themselves pursuing film for a living.

Along with the videos and season one of their webisodes, the group is working on a documentary focusing on the paranormal lore in Caryville, which Tony said will be completed by next spring.

For the documentary, they interviewed Weiner, who said working with the couple is a joy.

"They don't just go in looking for a thrill," he said. "They're in it for the research, the history, and of course to make their documentaries, which is a job in and of itself ... the viewers of these documentaries can live vicariously through those episodes."

NOTE: I looked over the website...very nicely categorized. Take a look at Haunting Experiences website...Lon

Wisconsin Paranormal Group Gathers Evidence and Lore

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