Illinois happens to be one of those states where the list of paranormal attraction goes on an on…I’ve compiled a handful of these locations as they are listed down below. Follow along and find out just how haunted Illinois is…
Ashmore Estates outside Ashmore
Built in 1916, operated until 1959, it was once an almshouse and once part of the Coles County Poor Farm. After it was purchased by Ashmore Estates, Inc. it was used as a private psychiatric care facility. Before the current estate that still stands, another stood in its place—the Coles County Almshouse from 1857-1869. In 1870, another farm was built on a piece of land that had been bought from the county.
The death toll of the farm was quite high—deaths of former inmates, recording 32 out of 250 inmates who stayed between 1870 and 1879. A cemetery was constructed on the grounds that contained the graves of 60-100 people.
Abandonment and Hauntings
In 1990, Paul Swinford requested to re-open the current Ashmore Estates to be used as a mental health facility for young boys, though his request was denied. Another man, a Sullivan resident named Arthur Colclasure bought the property, stating that he was going to renovate and turn it into his home but due to ongoing vandalism, his plans never came to fruition. But then again, in August of 2006, Scott Kelley purchased the building from Arthur and began renovating. He opened a haunted house in which visitors could have the chance to stay in the building, calling it “Night of Insanity.” When the Estates were subject to vandalism and trespassing, rumors spread that the location was haunted, based off of tales of pagan rituals and dismembered bodies. People claim to see a ghost girl named Elva Skinner, who supposedly died in the fire of the previous home that resided across the road. Other reports of paranormal activity include full-body apparitions, black mists, all powered by its death-filled history…
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Bremen Township
In Chicago’s southwest suburbs, lies a cemetery well-known for paranormal activity. The first burials on the land were in 1836, now containing 82 plots and 200 graves. The site was often reported to be a resting place for Chicago’s organized crime families of the 1920s and 30s, although there isn’t solid evidence to back up the rumors.
Paranormal Activity: There’s plenty so brace yourself…
- a near-collision with a phantom vehicle
- floating orbs of light
- The “White Lady” that roams the grounds, carrying an infant during the full moon
- a two-headed ghost
- religious monk ghosts
- a ghost farmer and his plow horse has been spotted
- a phantom farmhouse-shimmers, floats, then vanishes
- a black dog near the entrance, disappears when you approach it
- The infamous “woman sitting on the grave” photo was taken here, published in the Chicago Sun-Times
Needless to say, there is not a shortage of paranormal, ghostly, and phantom activity at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, proven by the Ghost Adventures Crew, the Ghost Research Society, and a number of paranormal researchers. I’ll be adding this location to my bucket list!
McPike Mansion in Alton
Built in 1869 by Henry Guest Pike, it’s no mystery that this house has a long and detailed history. McPike served the Alton community as mayor and was an admired businessman, involved with real estate. He was also a librarian at the Alton-Southern Illinois Horticultural Society in the 1880s. McPike died in 1910 and in 1925, the mansion was bought by a man named Paul A. Laichinger, who rented out rooms to others and resided there until his death in 1945. After, the mansion was abandoned for quite some time. It was purposed that it be demolished and turned into a shopping center but thankfully, this idea fell through. The home would then become a victim of vandalism and theft, for its furnishings were stolen-even toilets. After being placed on the National Register of Historic Places, in 1994, it was purchased by Sharyn and George Luedke at an auction. It was intended for use as a hotel and thanks to grants and funds, the restoration of the mansion building began.
Though the life of the mansion is being renewed, there are stories that the dead lingering, specifically, the ghost of a former owner and a former domestic servant. This location appeared on Ghost Adventures, Scariest Places on Earth, Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, and Ghost Lab.
Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville
Construction at the site began in 1895, the main building built in 1897 but oddly enough, the building wasn’t utilized when abandoned mine shafts were found on the property. It was left empty until 1902, then reconstruction of the building was completed. Among all of the buildings were patient and caretaker housing, a power station, a store, and a communal utility building. From 1907-1909, this building was dubbed the name, “Illinois General Hospital For The Insane,” then in 1909, “Peoria State Hospital.”
Hauntings & Ghost Stories
This hospital has a reputation for its ghost stories and its legends, one of them being about Manuel A. Bookbinder, aka, “Old Book,” a ghost that haunts a cemetery and a tree on the grounds of Peoria. He was a patient that worked with the burial crew up until his own death. It is said that after he passed, Dr. Zeller saw his physical manifestation. Zeller later wrote a book in the 1920’s called, Befriending The Bereft, which is based on the many strange experiences he had at the hospital. The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS from Ghost Hunters) investigated here…
Villa Kathrine in Quincy
This Moroccan-style home was built in 1900 by architect George Behrensmeyer for a wealthy Quincy resident named W. George Metz. He used this unique, castle-like home to reside when he wasn’t travelling, though sold it in 1912. It fell into despair until it the non-profit Friends of the Castle began work on restoration in 1978, which was completed in 1998. Today, it features a harem, a courtyard, and a reflecting pool which was based on Metz’s sketches of Islamic architecture. Currently, the castle serves as an official tourist center for Quincy and tours of the location are available to those who set appointments beforehand.
According to legend, Metz met a woman on a trip to Germany and intended to bring her to Quincy, though she refused to move into the lavish home, and Metz returned to the United States, alone and heartbroken. There’s another version of the story: The woman died on the way to Quincy but Metz, despite the heartbreak, still hosted parties at his home. The next twelve years, he would only share his dream with his Great Dane named Bingo. After the dog’s death, Metz fell into a depression and sold the home at the request of his family. Later, when he saw the neglect of his once dream home, he vowed to never return. Today, it is said that the property is haunted by Bingo as he is buried which a large stockpile of gold, though the dog’s remains have never been found and this legend is unable to be verified.
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Main Photo: By Mark Bergner – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Edited by Myself https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36392753
The following articles are under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashmore_Estates https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachelor%27s_Grove_Cemetery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McPike_Mansion https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peoria_State_Hospital https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Kathrine
Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.