Ghost Hunting in Door County
Bethany Rucinski believes in ghosts. And after watching her documentary, "The Ghosts of Door County," you just might too.
"There are several great ghost stories in Door County, some of which are well-known and others that very few people know about," says Bethany Rucinski, line producer for the production and a writer/producer for the Zizzo Group. "Door County is absolutely beautiful, rich with history and folklore. The quality of this project has kicked into high gear and is being shot in high definition and looks like a Hollywood film -- it is stunning."
Rucinski has already had some success with a previous documentary about the paranormal: "Ghost Hunting: Serious Business." Her work won her a Golden Reel award, which led to her involvement with this project.
"Marc Stevens from Spot Productions in Green Bay always had an interest in creating a spec project about ghost stories in Door County. So when he read the interview about my project, he got in contact with me to see if I would be interested in working on that with him," she says. "I began researching ghost stories in Door County over a year ago and we have also added another film genius to the project, Steve Oakley of Practical Illusions in Wausau. What began as a fairly small project that is turning into something much larger than we expected."
"The Ghosts of Door County" works with a group of paranormal investigators called the Southern Wisconsin Paranormal Research Group (SWPRG), who uses high-tech equipment to investigate whether or not there is paranormal activity in the area.
"After they complete the investigation, they will go through hours of footage, pictures, recordings, etc. to determine if something out of the norm was occurring," Rucinski says. "SWPRG is extremely scientific and I find them to be more skeptical than anything. It is as if they are trying to prove themselves wrong, that science can't explain certain occurrences."
She says that SWPRG tries to prove whether or not what is happening can be explained scientifically. The group is looking for proof when it comes to ghosts.
The locations that the group investigates, including their own base of operations, The Landmark Resort, include everything from bars to a waterway.
"Shipwrecked is a bar/restaurant that boasts its ghostly history," Rucinski says. "Since it was once a famous hangout of Al Capone's, there are stories about people seeing Capone's illegitimate son who committed suicide."
Another spot is Nelsen's Hall Bitters Pub on Washington Island, which Rucinski says has an amazing history, but is also supposedly haunted.
"During prohibition, Tom served 90 proof bitters as a stomach tonic. Today, more than 10, 000 patrons each year take a shot of bitters to join the Bitters Club -- and, yes, I recently took my shot of bitters to became a member of the Bitters Club," she says. "A number of strange things happen there and many people believe it is Tom. I'm easily spooked, but not intuitive when it comes to 'feelings' about a presence, but I must say, the bathroom at Nelsen's was definitely giving me a creepy feeling."
Rucinski says that hunting ghosts wasn't something that she initially wanted to pursue, but it's becoming something more interesting as she's learned more.
"I think it might be the 'unknown' factor: Do ghosts really exist? So over the years working on these projects has sparked my interest in the paranormal," she says. "I never intended to go and search for ghosts or the paranormal, it sort of found me."
"The Ghosts of Door County," the group hopes, will be available on DVD early to mid-summer.
"Not only will this be an entertaining piece that features the vast beauty of Door County, but is a tool people can use to come and explore the area on their own," Rucinski says. "The DVD will include details about where these places can be found and some fun interactive games. Viewers will be able to see what actually goes into a paranormal investigation."
After the DVD is done, there are hopes of turning the DVD into a television format that a network will possibly pick up and turn into a recurring series. There are several possibilities in the world of paranormal for "The Ghosts of Door County" crew, from discovering other haunted Wisconsin locations to traveling across the country.
"The folklore and stories about the ghosts and how they got there are ingrained into culture," Rucinski says. "These stories say a lot about the people and their history in the region."
The documentary sounds really interesting. I look forward to seeing it. I know it will spark an interest in me getting up to Door County for a visit :-)
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