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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Josie Doerr is looking for stories from people in and around Colfax who have had paranormal experiences in their houses or at their places of employment.
Josie is planning to collect the stories so she can write a book, for which she already has a title: “Ghosts of Colfax, Wisconsin.”
“I want to write this because I love everything having to do with ghosts and the paranormal. I’ve been watching a show called ‘Ghost Adventures’ where they go and investigate haunted places. I want to write a book about some of the haunted places that are in Colfax,” she said, noting that she also is looking for stories from the area around Colfax.
Josie, who will be entering eighth grade at Colfax Middle School this fall, is the daughter of Michelle and Troy Knutson.
The Knutsons recently finished writing a book titled “The 1958 Colfax Tornado,” so Josie already has some idea of the amount of work that goes into writing a book.
“I am hoping people will be able to come forward and talk about stories of the paranormal or things they can’t explain in their houses or in houses they used to live or where they have worked,” she said.
Josie has a list of about a dozen places where she would like to start looking for paranormal activity.
One of the places on her list is the Colfax Municipal Building.
“I know there have been reports of (sounds) of people walking around up in the auditorium when there is no one up there,” Josie said.
There are also reports of someone who had died in the auditorium whose spirit is said to still reside on the second floor, she noted.
“I’m hoping people who live in the houses on my list, and from other houses I don’t know about yet, will be able to come forward and let me know about the stories they have,” Josie said.
“I’m really excited because it’s something I love. I don’t know how to explain how much fun the paranormal is and how much fun it is when I see something paranormal in my house,” she said.
“My old cat, Jake, who we had to put down two years ago, I’ve seen him in the house, a lot. Just walking around or sitting. One of my chores at home is to clean the sinks in the bathrooms, and one day, I was downstairs cleaning that sink, and I saw his back legs and his tail run past the door. It made me really happy knowing he is there,” Josie said.
“My best friend, Brooke, and I did an EVP — electronic voice phenomenon — session in my house because my phone has an audio recorder. We also used her tablet. We captured some weird sounds and knocks that we didn’t hear when we were asking questions,” she said.
“The only thing that’s scared me due to activity in my house is one day when my mom, my brother and I were playing cards on the carpet, and our cat Ace looked underneath a little cabinet that we had and then started to back away and hiss,” Josie recalled.
“I looked under there, and there was nothing there. It was weird because Ace never hisses, and he never acts like that. Both of our cats are pretty chill and relaxed. That struck me as weird and gave me a little sense of unease. Otherwise I’m pretty used to everything I hear in the house, and it comforts me to know there is something else there when I am home alone,” she said.
“One of the weirdest things I like doing experiments with is this little toy I have in my room. In the middle of the night, when I’m not awake, it will move by itself. Sometimes the sword will be up or the shield will be up. One time it was facing me. That was a little creepy. I’ve tried to debunk that it’s the train (causing it to change positions). The arms are hard to move, so that’s not the train,” she said.
The house where Josie lives is not very far from the railroad tracks, and like any thorough paranormal researcher, she tries to find a logical explanation for things that cannot seem to be explained.
Josie said she hopes to buy an infrared camera at some point to see if she can capture any pictures of the paranormal.
And while Josie says she does not necessarily have a timeline for writing her book, because she wants to have plenty of time to gather the stories and see where any investigation might take her, she would like to start writing soon, too, if possible.
If you have had paranormal experiences and would like to write your own story, you can mail stories to Josie at P.O. Box 322, Colfax WI 54730.
Or you can call Josie at 715-962-3027.
Josie says she could arrange to meet with people but would like to visit the places, too, if possible.
“I’d like to do a mini investigation if I could,” she said.