The BeginningAugust 22nd, 2011
As a child growing up in Georgia, dinner-table discussions often drifted into the realm of the bizarre. Photographs of my grandfather’s ghost, sightings of lizard men, and rumors of Native American curses were topics discussed as matter-of-factly as the weather.
These topics scared me (perhaps even scarred me). But I couldn’t stop listening. I needed to know every detail, no matter how many bad dreams it caused me. Thus began my obsession with the paranormal.
Let’s skip ahead a couple of decades to 2007. My fiancé—the reason I transplanted to Wisconsin—accepted a job at the Washington County Historical Society. Goodbye Milwaukee, hello West Bend.
I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn my soon-to-be wife would be working in not one, but two, haunted museums. Both The Old Courthouse Museum and The Old Sheriff’s Residence and Jail report paranormal phenomena. The Society’s haunted reputation encouraged me to volunteer often. That’s how I become interested in the county. It’s also where I met Mike and Kellie.
Let’s skip ahead a little more, to the start of 2011. Fellow Society volunteers Mike Hoke and Kellie Wirtz sent me an e-mail. The paranormal group they’d been a part of for the last few years was disbanding and they were forming a new one. They knew about my passion for the paranormal and wanted me on-board as a researcher.
I’d been considering writing a book about the paranormal for a long, long time. My wife had often suggested I write one about Washington County. That sounded fine to me, but being relatively new to the area I wasn’t sure exactly how to begin my research. Joining a group of paranormal investigators seemed the most interesting and logical way to start. I accepted Kellie and Mike’s invitation and joined what would become the Paranormal Investigation and Research Society.
The most valuable thing I’ve learned since becoming a member of P.I.R.S. is how easy it is to get people talking about the paranormal. Often, all you have to do is ask. Some people do shy away from the topic, yet many can’t wait to talk about ghosts, cryptids, or UFOs.
Since June of this year, armed with only a Facebook page, I’ve collected information on more than 40 different locations that are reported to have paranormal phenomena ranging from ghostly apparitions to foul-mouthed satyrs.
The Washington County Paranormal book is going to be a reality. As I continue to work on the first draft, I eagerly encourage the citizens of my new-found home to relate their paranormal knowledge and experiences.
The book will be self-published. I anticipate the book to be available in 2012, sometime between late summer and early autumn. Of course, given the independent nature of the project, the actual date of publication may come a bit sooner, or it may come a bit later.
I’ll end this inaugural post by thanking the many writers, paranormal investigators, graphic designers, and Washington County citizens that have so far assisted me. Without your enthusiasm and willingness to share your expertise, I doubt the project would be moving along so quickly and smoothly.
Check this blog often for more information regarding the project. “Like” the project’s Facebook page for even more frequently updated content.
Until next time,
J. Nathan Couch