Paranormal investigator visits UW-W


Lochlainn Patterson

Willie the Warhalk poses next to security Guard Justin Wesolek, who is there to “look for all forms of life forms be it living, dead, zombies or aliens not of this world.”

Witches and demons and ghouls, Oh-my!

What a time to be alive where instead of fearing “all-hallows eve” we embrace it with arms wide open along with everything else the holiday has to offer. With the spooky season upon us, it is time to act now on all the fear-tacular events going around the UW Whitewater campus and in the city. Students of UW-Whitewater couldn’t agree more with this notion and in the evening of spooky day number one, October 1st, there were over a hundred students who made their way over to the University center for a thought-inducing “weird lecture” about the paranormal and in general strangeness of our world. 

The lecturer, Paranormal investigator John E.L. Tenney has decades of experience working with paranormal investigation television shows such as Unsolved mysteries, Ghost Stalkers and Very Scary Stories. He was unafraid to share his skepticisms and open-minded opinions with all who dared to listen.

“What I do beforehand is listen to people in line and what they are talking about and then I try and figure out what they are interested in hearing. After thirty years I start out my lectures and I know how it’s going to end and I know how it’s going to begin but the middle is always a mish-mash of what I think the audience wants to hear,” said Tenney. “Having students who are receptive to weird ideas just makes me so happy because there are so many people that do not want to talk about strangeness or weirdness in any shape or form so everybody here at Whitewater has been fantastically open minded and wonderful sharing their experiences as well.” 

The beginning of the lecture was indeed a planned spectacle of chaos. Before Tenney was introduced onstage, along with his co-podcaster Jess, the crowd was first shown an array of kooky and maybe to some, spooky, characters. There was the raven witch with her tall black hat, drenched in a robe of black feathers. A large furry beast came in from the left and was revealed to be “Sassy” the sasquatch. Another fur-shedding creature strides in and is welcomed on the stage as “Brayden” the Werewolf. As all this commotion went on a small girl with pigtails and a doll mask rocked eerily in a tiny wooden chair. This performance was well received by the audience and even the staff members who couldn’t help but be entranced by the events going on stage as well.

“The fact we have a paranormal theme is especially unique because many of our events do not circulate around that Halloween theme and I feel a lot of Halloween buffs are going to be coming out of the woodwork tonight. I myself am really excited because of the theme,” said UC Live staff member Sophia Fenger, a senior English education major. “There were a lot of different moving parts to the event. I was helping with the attendance and clicking people in. Making sure that we had a good track record for all the students.”

Among the audience there were students who were skeptical of the paranormal and would never consider the reality of ghosts, ghouls and bigfoot to be roaming around on our earthly plane.

“I am a hard evidence guy. I have personally never experienced anything. I am not necessarily saying you have to see it to believe it, but I feel enough people need to see something to believe it. I don’t have much going on tonight, so me and my friend saw this as a fun source of entertainment,” said DJ McCall, a sophomore criminology major. 

Others in the audience were indeed full-fledged believers in all things supernatural and unnatural. You could spot some of them by their crucifixes and pentagram themed attire. While others made themselves known by asking questions at the end of the show. 

“I loved the show so much. I have always been fascinated with the paranormal as I see myself as a medium. Whitewater is the Second Salem so there are a lot of weird things that have happened here. Many of my friends who do not even believe in ghosts have often told me that there are so many things that happen on this campus or just in Whitewater in general that are crazy. Things they can’t explain. They have heard voices and seen things. In Young Auditorium there is a ghost of a little girl and whenever anyone goes in there says, ‘Oh-man there’s a ghost in here.’ So, having the show be brought to Whitewater is such a great thing as we got to hear from someone who has been on these credible shows. It was a wonderful experience,” said Sarah Keller, a music education major.

It is well known that Whitewater is the “second Salam,” yet we rarely see or hear any mention of this outside of Second Salem Brewing company and the occasional mention from the Royal Purple every few years in the fall.

“I wish that towns would embrace their strangeness just as people embrace their strangeness and I see with events like this that whitewater is starting to do that because towns can flourish, and communities really grow when they accept that part of themselves that they are sometimes uncomfortable with mentioning,” said Tenney.

We no longer live in the 1800s where there needs to be controversy surrounding the town’s hair-raising history. Instead, there should be investigations and celebrations to remind the people of Whitewater and all who visit that the paranormal is among us. We can remember this by heeding John Tenney’s words, “What you think is weird is weirder than you think.”

To learn more about the paranormal from John and Jess visit: