Ghost hunting in the Chippewa Valley

Chippewa Valley Paranormal Investigators have helped locals for 15 years

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020

Photo by Submitted

The CVPI takes on one paranormal investigation every few months.

How can you really know what goes bump in the night? Call the Chippewa Valley Paranormal Investigators, and they just might tell you.

CVPI was founded by Chris Wiener and Shelly Johnson 15 years ago. Since then, the group has experienced fluctuating membership, but currently has about 12 investigators.

“(Our goal is) to help people come to the realization of what they have going on around them,” Wiener said. “There’s nothing scarier than the unknown and we want to make the unknown known to them.”

Wiener said the group, which is based out of Chippewa Falls, typically receives messages from people two to three times a month requesting their help. But he said the team has a process before conducting any investigation.

First, Wiener and his team meets with the person or family requesting their assistance. They then conduct a walk-through of the property.

Wiener said, most of the time, they are able to spot the problem during that walk-through. He said the supposed haunting typically ends up actually being an animal problem, a squeaky old house, old pipes or simply a wild imagination.

If CVPI can’t find an explanation during that walk-through, however, an investigation is conducted.

Wiener said the team typically takes on one investigation every few months. Eighty percent of the places they go, Wiener said, are not haunted.

On these investigations, CVPI uses audio recorders, infrared cameras, full spectrum cameras, a laser grid, infrared thermometers, electromagnetic field detectors, motion detectors and a ghost hunting tool known as a “Spirit Box.”

Wiener said the team typically looks for a combination of evidence before dubbing a location “haunted.”

“It’s hard to say that one piece of evidence is definitive proof of a haunting,” Wiener said.

Wiener said his favorite type of evidence to collect is an EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon, which is essentially a recording of an unexplainable voice or noise.

Wiener said one of his most memorable EVP’s ever collected happened when he was at a graveyard with his daughter, a friend and her daughter. Weiner said they were showing their daughters the basics of what they do in the field.

While in the graveyard, Wiener’s daughter received a spike on the EMF detector, which Wiener noted as being unusual since they were not near any sources of electricity at the time.

When they listened to their audio recordings afterwards, they heard a young girls voice come through right after Wiener’s daughter mentioned the EMF spike.

“If we were alive, they’d play with us,” the voice on the recorder said.

Wiener said the evidence collected by CVPI at any given investigation is presented to the family or business owner. It is then their decision what the team does with the evidence.

“Most people don’t necessarily want to get rid of a ghost, or whatever, but they want to know that they’re not crazy,” Wiener said.

If the family or business owner does want to “get rid” of any spirits, Wiener said the team will recommend a psychic medium.

Wiener and Johnson, his wife at the time, founded CVPI because they enjoyed exploring abandoned buildings together early on in their marriage.

Wiener said he would not recommend this to other people, but he pointed out that many paranormal investigators get their start this way.

Wiener said he has been researching the paranormal for about 30 years. He said he garnered an interest in the paranormal as a young boy after experiencing some unexplained phenomena. Wiener said his parents would tell him ghosts weren’t real, but he read about people who had similar experiences.

“I wanted to verify, in my mind, that the spirit world was real,” Wiener said.

Some of the places visited and investigated by CVPI are the Villisca Axe Murder House, the Devil’s Punch Bowl and the Palmer House Hotel.

According to the CVPI website, the team has made three appearances on Animal Planet’s “The Haunted,” as well as several radio shows, newspapers, magazines and local television broadcasts.

Despite the media attention, Wiener said CVPI prefers to stay out of the limelight. Their services are free and as confidential as the family or business owner prefers.

Wiener said it’s great for people to have an interest in paranormal investigation, but it’s not something that should be taken lightly.

“Unlike the shows, 90 percent of the places you go – you’re not going to have anything happen,” Wiener said. “But if you walk into a situation where you don’t know how to handle it, or if things go south, then you potentially put yourself – and the people you’re investigating for – you potentially put them in danger.”

If someone should feel so compelled to ghost hunt without doing extensive research and preparation ahead of time, Wiener said it is important that they bring along some sort of protection — a religious symbol or prayer book.

According to the CVPI website, Weiner is also an author of two books: “Haunted Chippewa Falls” and “Spirits of the Chippewa.” On top of paranormal investigation, the CVPI website lists some of the other services provided by the group, including haunted tours and a “Ghost Hunting 101” guide to paranormal investigation.

To check out some of their evidence and get more information on CVPI, visit their website.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected].