Monday, September 12, 2011

Top 10 Hottest Ghosts in Illinois

This article was found on True Illinois Haunts through a link on Paranormal News

10. The Greenwood Ghost Bride

Located in Decatur, Greenwood Cemetery is rumored to be one of the most haunted locations in central Illinois. One of the most interesting stories at Greenwood concerns the so-called “Greenwood Bride,” who wanders the grounds in her wedding dress searching for her fiancé, who was murdered by bootleggers. The story begins during the era of Prohibition, when many who were down and out sought to make their living in the lucrative but illicit alcohol trade. One young Decatur man was a whiskey runner with a beautiful fiancé. One evening, the young man and his bride-to-be decided to elope, but he wanted to make one last whiskey run before the wedding. Unfortunately, some of his business rivals caught up with him and murdered him, leaving his body in the Sangamon River. When his fiancé found out, she was so grief-stricken that she drowned herself in the same spot in the river. Her parents buried her in Greenwood Cemetery in her wedding dress. She now floats among the tombstones, wiping tears from her angelic face.

9. Melody Mill Ballroom’s “Flapper Ghost”

There are several vanishing hitchhikers in Illinois, but few are as alluring as the “flapper” ghost of North Riverside’s Melody Mill Ballroom and Jewish Waldheim Cemetery. Like Archer Avenue’s Resurrection Mary, this young woman died in the 1920s or the early ‘30s, and her ghost dances the night away with strangers, only to vanish during the ride home. Unlike Mary, however, Melody Mill’s “Flapper Ghost” is much more vibrant and colorful, and is described as having brunette, “bobbed” hair. According to author Jo-Anne Christensen, she “wears a gaily colored sheath and shows plenty of shapely leg.” Melody Mill Ballroom was eventually demolished, but sightings of the flapper continued into the ‘90s.

8. The White Lady of Bachelor’s Grove

Bachelor’s Grove has been a south side enigma for over three decades and is one of the most famous haunted cemeteries in America. It is said to be home to many phantoms, including strange lights, a two-headed monster, and a vanishing house. Another popular ghost is the White Lady (or Madonna) of Bachelor’s Grove, who is said to be seen cradling her infant son. This ghost, or one very much like it, was supposedly captured on a now famous photograph taken using infrared film. Forlorn and enigmatic, she sits on a fallen headstone, her flowing, ivory gown teased by the passing breeze. In an area first settled by bachelors, it is no wonder that such a phantom appears there time and time again, desperate to be reunited with a lost love.

7. “Sarah” of McPike Mansion

Built in 1869 by Henry Guest McPike and designed in the Italianate-Victorian style, the McPike Mansion has long captured the imaginations of Alton residents. Although it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, it has sat abandoned for decades—attracting vandals and the curious alike. There are two known entities here. The mansion’s new owners named one of them Sarah, because, according to Troy Taylor, an old book found in the mansion had been inscribed with the name “Sarah Wells.” Sarah is thought to have been a hired hand in life, and teases visitors with a spectral touch or hug. She also makes her presence known with a hint of lilac perfume.

6. Elvira of the Woodstock Opera House

The Woodstock Opera House was constructed in 1889 and is almost as famous for its glamorous ghost as it is for its beauty. A Honda commercial during the Super Bowl in 1992 even played off the notoriety of the Woodstock’s ghost. The theater’s interior was designed to look like a glimmering showboat, and its exterior is an eclectic combination of styles. In the late 1940s, an actor named Shelley Berman witnessed a chair (DD113) that popped up and down during rehearsals, as if someone had been sitting there. After a number of years, the thespians began to refer to their ghost as Elvira. Actresses are warned to stay away from the theater’s tower, for fear that its sultry siren will fill them with a strange compulsion to jump. According to author Jo-Anne Christensen, Elvira has been described as “very attractive, with long, golden hair and a flattering, flowing gown.”

Check out these stories and more in Michael Kleen’s Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State!

5. The Mysterious Woman of Original Springs Hotel

During the late 1800s, Okawville was widely known for its mineral springs, which were believed to have an invigorating effect on a man’s vitality. After this particular quality of the springs was discovered in 1867, a local businessman and a farmer established the first bathhouse and spa at the location. That burnt down in 1891, and the current building, which became the Original Springs Hotel, opened in the spring of 1893. The hotel is still in operation today. Guests at the hotel have reported seeing a mysterious woman wearing a white dress in the fashion of the early 1900s sitting on the second floor balcony. Her face is always hidden beneath her hat. This voyeuristic phantom is certainly not shy. One guest reported seeing her standing near his bed, and another saw her staring out the window of a locked storage room in the men’s bathhouse.

4. Pemberton Hall’s Legendary Mary

Eastern Illinois University’s Pemberton Hall is the oldest all-female dormitory in the state of Illinois, and its ivy covered walls and old-English look and feel was well suited for its first full time matron, Mary Hawkins. Mary emigrated from Great Britain in 1901 and assumed the position of dorm director of Pemberton Hall in August 1910, when she was 33 years old. Sometime after her death, the girls of Pemberton began to believe her ghost returned to haunt the hall. The Roommate’s Death, a common folklore motif in which a student is murdered by a crazed janitor, has merged with the story of Mary Hawkins to create a unique tale. Sometimes Mary manifests herself as a prankster; a young woman who scratches at doors, leaves bloody footprints, or wanders up to the fourth floor to play the piano dressed in nothing but a thin white gown. Other times, Mary has been flirtatious. One former resident director claimed that her fiancé felt an invisible hand smack him on the behind!

3. Drake Hotel’s “Woman in Red”

Opening night at the Drake Hotel was both magnificent and tragic. It was magnificent because the Drake was to be one of Chicago’s most beautiful hotels; it was tragic because it was the night the “Woman in Red” ended her life. According to legend, on New Year’s Eve in 1920, a wealthy venture capitalist and his fiancé attended the gala held in the Drake’s Gold Coast Room on opening night. The man stepped away and did not return, so his fiancé went looking for him. She found him, enthralled by another woman, in the Palm Court parlor. Devastated, the Woman in Red climbed to the roof and jumped to her death. Since then, guests at the Drake have reported seeing her ghost in the Gold Coast Room, Palm Court, and on the top floor and the roof. She is called the “Woman in Red” because of the gleaming, crimson silk gown she wears, which compliments her long black hair and emerald eyes.

2. The Phantom Lady of Kennedy Hill Road

Between mid-December 1980 and early January 1981, dozens of people reported seeing a young woman in various stages of dress walking down Kennedy Hill Road outside of Byron. Despite the icy wind and cold, she was sometimes wearing attire more suitable for the beach, and was said to be very athletic and slender, at one point leaping over a nearby fence with ease. By January 20, 1981, the sightings had reached a fevered pitch. Motorists parked their cars in the frigid temperatures along the narrow rural road to catch a glimpse of what became known as “The Phantom Lady of Kennedy Hill Road.” It was said that the scantily-clad phantom was searching for her lost grave, which had been plowed over by a nearby farmer. Newspaper reports reached as far away as Chicago, and the Rockford Register Star ran five consecutive articles on the sightings. The phantom lady disappeared after the snow thawed that spring and was never seen again.

1. Resurrection Mary

Every year, thousands of motorists drive past the gates of Resurrection Cemetery, hoping to catch a glimpse of a girl named Mary and offer her a ride. Resurrection Mary, as she is known, is hands down the most famous legend in the Chicagoland area. She is the subject of a novel, several songs, two films, and is an indispensable part of any book on Chicago hauntings. Folklorists and ghost enthusiasts alike claim that Mary’s story dates back to the 1930s, when the ghost of a burgeoning Polish girl was first seen along Archer Avenue near Resurrection Cemetery. She dances with unsuspecting men at the Willow Brook Ballroom and then asks for a ride home, only to vanish before reaching her destination. Authors Michael Norman and Beth Scott describe her as a “captivating, blue-eyed, flaxen-haired girl in her late teens” who wears a “long, off-white ballgown and dancing shoes.” Rachel Brooks romantically portrays Mary as “an innocent young woman… stranded and alone.” She is “soaked to the bone… with beautiful blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes.” Always virginal, yet slightly dangerous, Resurrection Mary remains one of the most beloved specters of Chicagoland.

The Beginner's Guide to EVP

This article is found on ECWPI

By Kurt

East Central Wisconsin Paranormal Investigations


THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO EVP Hi! I'm Kurt, a member of Wisconsin's ECWPI paranormal investigation group. In this article, I will be discussing EVP, what it is, possible theories behind it, and how to go about trying to capture some EVPs of your own.

EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon, which is more or less a fancy way of saying "capturing unexplained voices or sounds on an audio recorder". This is usually attempted at a location that is supposedly haunted, but many people have had success capturing EVPs in their homes, in their cars, or just about anywhere. And since it is relatively cheap to obtain the necessary equipment, trying to capture EVP is perhaps one of the easiest methods of gathering evidence of a possible haunting, and it can done both by experienced ghost hunters and new ghost hunters alike.

The general concept behind EVP, communicating with the dead, goes back a long way. Thomas Edison himself stated in the 1920s that he believed a device could be built which would enable us to communicate with the dead. But it was in the 1970's that the concept of what we know now as EVP first took shape. A woman named Sarah Estep begin picking up what she believed to be voices on a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and she went on to found the group "The American Association Of Electronic Voice Phenomenon". I can remember being utterly fascinated with EVP (and a bit creeped out by it) the first time I came across it, which was on the show "Unsolved Mysteries" back in the late 1980's or early 1990's. With the recent popularity of shows like "Ghost Hunters" or "Most Haunted", and EVP-related movies such as "White Noise", EVP has almost become a household term.

One of the lingering questions about EVP is this...why is the recorder able to pick up these noises when our ears can't? Many of the clearest EVPs were not heard in person, and were only found after reviewing the audio at a later time. Several theories exist for why this happens. Some people believe that spirits have an ability to somehow project their voices or thoughts directly onto the tape or the digital recorder, while others believe that these sounds occur at a frequency higher or lower than our ears can recognize. No definite answer exists to this question. One of the more prevalent theories about spirits is that they are a form of electromagnetism, and this could tie in with the fact that these spirits are able to communicate more easily with sensitive machines than they are with the human auditory system.

So, how does someone go about capturing an EVP? Luckily, it's quite possibly one of the cheapest methods available of experiencing and documenting paranormal activity. While people can (and do) spend tons and tons of money on good, highly sensitive equipment for getting EVP, a beginner can spend $20 - $30 and still get surprisingly good results.

The main piece of equipment needed is, of course, a recorder of some kind. There is much debate in the ghost hunting community about whether magnetic (also known as "analog") tape recorders or digital recorders are better. Some people claim to a much higher success rate using one or the other. Both recorders have their advantages and disadvantages.

People who swear by magnetic cassette recorders claim that the actual process of using magnetic tape is better, since paranormal activity is often accompanied by electromagnetic forces and may produce better and more frequent EVPs. One downside to using cassette recorders is that cassette tapes must be constantly bought to use, since using the same tape over and over will cause sound to bleed through and create false evidence. Plus, most tapes have a 60 or 90 minute time limit, so the investigator must constantly change cassettes as time runs out. Couple this with the belief that only one side of a tape should be used, since sounds on the other side of the tape can bleed through, and you will find yourself spending a LOT of money on blank tapes. Having an actual cassette tape to study and hold as evidence, however, is a benefit for those who use cassette recorders. Cassette tapes are also noisier than digital recorder, and they quite often pick up the sound of the internal mechanisms of the recorder itself. Both of these problems can be fixed using a good attachable microphone and placing it away from the recorder, however.

With the advances made in digital technology, good digital recorders have become available at relatively low cost, but are still a bit more expensive than cassette recorders. Digital recorders have quite a few benefits, though. The most important benefit is probably the length of time that can be recorded. Even the cheapest digital recorders can record for 5-8 hours on their internal memory, and when you look at the fact that 8 hours on a cassette recorder could require anywhere from 8 to 16 cassette tapes, the expense of the digital recorder pays off in the end since the user doesn't have to buy blank tapes. The sound is also much clearer on digital recorders, and many digital recorders have a USB connection. This helps tremendously, because long sessions of audio can be downloaded within seconds onto a computer for study, rather than the real-time recording onto a computer that is required for a cassette. Some people believe, however, that downloading hours of audio into a computer using a USB cord lessens the quality of the audio.

In the end, I think it comes down to a matter of preference. I have used both types of recorders, and my personal opinion is that digital recorders are better. Due to the amount of available time, the clarity of the audio, and the small size of the recorder, it seems to be the better choice. But again, it's a matter of preference. you've got your recorder and you are in a supposedly haunted location. Now what do you do?

There are two main methods used for gathering EVPs. In the first method, the recorder is activated and is placed in a quiet location while the investigators go somewhere else, leaving the machine to record in the quiet room in the hopes that a voice or a noise will appear and the recorder will pick it up. One benefit of this type of recording is that if you DO get a voice, there won't be any confusion as to if it's one of the investigators voices or not, since there weren't any people in the room. Some people who use this method like to use the voice-activated feature of their recorders to only record when the machine picks up a noise. Most investigators advise against this, however, as the EVP could be so fleeting that, by the time the recorder kicks in, it could catch only the last few seconds of the EVP or miss it entirely.

The second main method of gathering EVPs is to have the recorder with you while you ask questions out loud in the hopes of getting a response on the recorder. This can be done alone or with a group. While this method may be more difficult because there is a chance that a captured voice could be someone in the group, there seems to be more success with this method than the first. Sometimes, the person doesn't even need to be asking questions to have an unknown voice appear and say something.

Again, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and the investigator can go with whichever he or she prefers. Personally, I use both. I have a recorder running on me at all times for when we are asking questions or are talking to each other, and I leave another recorder in a quiet room where it won't be disturbed. I have captured possible EVP using both methods. you have a potential EVP on your tape. Now what?

The easiest way to get the EVP onto a computer so it can be shared or studied is by using a patch cord (available at any Radio Shack or electronic store) and a sound editing program (such as Audacity, which is free to download). Or, if your recorder has a USB port, you can use it to load the sound file directly to the computer. In a future article, I will write more about the technical specifics of how to do this.

Once you have the sound file on your computer, you can use your sound editing software to clean the file, analyze the file, and clip the file so you can save it and send it to people. The best EVPs are the ones that you don't have to clean, because excessive cleaning can distort the original clip and can result in sounds that weren't there to start with.

There are three major classifications of EVP. They are:

Class A: This is an EVP that can be heard clearly by anyone listening to it and does not require cleaning or editing. What is being said in the EVP can be understood by everyone without being told beforehand what words or sounds to listen for. In other words, a perfect EVP.

Class B: This is an EVP that is audible, but may require some editing or cleaning. People will often have differing opinions on what is being said or what the noise is, or may not even be able to understand it. But the sound should be fairly clear and words should be fairly understandable to be a Class B. This is the most commonly found class of EVP.

Class C: This is a clip that is cleaned, edited, cleaned again, and is still a mess. There might be mumbling or an undecipherable whisper, but nothing intelligible can be picked out. But if the investigator is 100% sure that the voice came from an empty room or isn't the voice of an investigator, it still is an EVP. Just not a very good one.

Sometimes there are other classifications. Some groups use a "Class R" or a "Class D", which means that the EVP is gibberish forwards, but is intelligible when played backwards. But, for the most part, Class A, B, and C are the three major classifications.

So, now that you understand the basics, grab a recorder and try to capture some EVPs for yourself! It's one of the cheapest, easiest, and most rewarding methods of paranormal investigation, and who might even be the person who finds definitive proof of life after death! Good luck!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


This article is from Ghost Investigations


When I first set out to write this article, I wanted to address preternatural (demonic) activity and possession. However, I thought it best to start at the beginning and to look at what a demon really is and how they came to be on our earthly realm.

"For by Him were all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him." (Colossians 1:16)

If all things were created by God, than God created demons, but these beings, because of pride did not return God's love. "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Revelation 12:7-9) God did not destroy these 'fallen angels' but instead allows them a limited scope of activity.

Now I suppose I could get into the many different 'species' of demons, but I really don't see the point. I know if I was being attacked by the demonic I could really care less what species it is or what name it goes by. Instead, I will concentrate on what demons really are. We know they are fallen angels but are they just emanations, or influences, or powers? Or are demons a personality? Let us take a look at the attributes required for something to be considered a personality.

1: Intelligence

The word 'demon' comes from the Greek word 'daimon' which means intelligent. Demons are intelligent beings. They have the ability to communicate by speech. They know that God is One. "And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And He rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that He was Christ." (Luke 4:41) Demons also know their future doom. "And when He was come to the other side into the country of the Ger'ge-senes, there met Him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:28-29)


Demons do have will. They have the will to make requests. They have the will to obey commands and orders. They have the will to leave a person they inhabit and seek a new place to live or to return to the place where they came from.


Demons do have emotion and we can observe this in a couple of ways. They have the emotion of anger and fierceness and they have the emotion of fear.

Since demons do possess these three attributes I think it is safe to say that they are a personality. That is to say that they have distinctive character and individuality.


Now let's talk about the appearance of the demonic. Has anyone ever seen a demon in its natural form? If so, what does it look like? When I polled my family and friends for their impression of what a demon might look like, their responses were virtually identical. A monster with horns protruding from its head and a forked tail, residing in some fiery abyss.

"And the shape of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails." (Revelation 9:7-10)

Visions of the demonic, however, are almost a complete rarity. Instead they lash out in total invisibility, at least at first. They gain the upper hand and frighten by lashing out undetected. It relies on this anonymity to conceal its identity and by causing disbelief and confusion it operates at its full strength.

In cases where the demonic does reveal itself, it is most often seen as a dark black, wispy shape. These black shapes have been described as being blacker than the blackest night.

Ultimately, the demonic can take on any form that it chooses. Whether it be as a human, a ghost, or even an animal. Whatever it chooses to manifest itself as, there is always a flaw.

Always. There will always be something unnatural about its appearance.


So we have covered what demons are, what characteristics they have, where they originated ,and the appearance they take on. I pray to God that none of you ever have to come in contact with one of these inhuman spirits, but if you ever find yourself in that situation, "Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken." (Proverbs 3:25-26) Put your trust in the Lord and contact WISPIR

Why do Ghosts Stay Around

This article is from Ghost Investigations

We cannot know why a ghost sticks around after death, but there are certain variables that clearly heighten the chance that a ghost will remain on the physical plain.

If a person dies young, especially violently, it is likely that a ghost will remain. A young person’s natural tendency is to live out a full life span.

Perhaps when an older person chooses to stay after death it’s because of a strong connection to the physical world. In other cases, people simply do not want to leave their home behind. And in some cases it seems that spirits stay around because they truly do not realize that they are dead.

Then there are people who stay around because they don’t want to leave someone behind.

Ghost may sometimes haunt their widowed spouses. They can be possessive and often do more harm than good by continuing to stay on this plane attached to one person.

Murder victims frequently haunt their killers, obsessed with exacting revenge.

Those with a guilty conscious may choose to stay as well. They fear the consequences of possible moving on to a realm of judgment.