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Ghost Hunting in ILLINOISouth

Tiffany Garavaglia
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Fall

Paranormal enthusiast rejoice! In honor of Halloween and this spooky time of year, we have put together a self-guided tour for you to explore the haunted sites around ILLINOISouth. This is a great overnight trip idea that takes you through 3 cities in ILLINOISouth that are said to have strange happenings at some of their sites. It is best to get an early start to make sure you have plenty of time at each site.

We start this ghost hunt in Collinsville, Illinois. Collinsville is home to the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle and a rich history of mining, horseradish, and a ghostly past. The city once was home to one of the largest Native American Civilizations north of Mexico.   At Cahokia Mounds, visitors can get a glimpse of what life was like for the first inhabitants of this area. Cahokia Mounds consists of several mounds made for shelter and for public works. There are over 100 mounds near Cahokia Mounds but the one that is the most interesting for paranormal enthusiasts is Monks Mound. This is the largest mound on site as well as the largest in North America. Visitors to this mound often have the strong feeling of being watched and uneasy feelings. Some people have also reported hearing tribal drums as they were climbing the mound and seeing strange, unexplained shadows while on top.

All the walking and climbing at Cahokia Mounds may make you a bit hungry. A great place to stop for lunch is Sloan’s Pub House. This bar and grill serves up fresh food at great prices. We recommend the Buffalo Chicken Pizza or the Gyro and a cold one to drink.

After you finish your lunch the next stop is the Acid Bridge. Lebanon Road in Collinsville is said to be one of the most haunted places in the state. This road is home to 7 railway bridges passing over it giving it the nickname “The Seven Gates of Hell”. Legend has it that if you pass below all 7 at midnight you will enter a portal into hell. Even though this tour doesn’t have us here at this time you can still experience paranormal activity any time of the day. Visitors report extreme uneasiness and feelings of cold spots and unexplained noises. Make sure to take photos at the Acid Bridge and check them for any strange shadows or orbs.

 

The next stop is Okawville, Illinois. This small town is full of charm and home to the Original Springs Hotel. This hotel opened in 1867 and has a sad history. Aside from the many deaths that have been reported in the hotel, it also had a terrible fire that devastated the hotel for years. Now it is back open and still offers mineral baths to its guests. To get the full experience you are urged to stay the night here so you can hunt throughout the night. Visitors have reported mists and apparitions and also reports of distant music, footsteps and doors opening and closing by themselves. Make sure to ask for a room on the second floor in the older wing. This seems to be the most haunted with many reports of a ghostly lady in white wearing 1900s attire is said to be roaming the halls. If you can’t make it the whole night there is also a Super 8 in town you can finish the night off at.

The next day sends us to the historic city of Lebanon. This city has deep ties to the Victorian era and celebrates it throughout the year with several events such as Dicken’s Fest and a Victorian Christmas. Although many places in the city have reports of paranormal happenings, our first stop is at the Mermaid House. The Mermaid House is only opened certain hours so you must call the Historical Society ahead of time to arrange a tour (618-537-8420). This house was built in 1830 and functioned as a hotel for people traveling to St. Louis, MO. At one time Charles Dickens stayed and wrote about the city of Lebanon in “American Notes for General Circulation” and made it known that this was his favorite stop in the Metro East. There have been several deaths reported on site and strange noise throughout this almost 200 year old home.

After you tour the Mermaid House you can travel right down the street for the next stop and lunch. Although it has changed names now, the restaurant formally known as the Tapestry Room is said to be home to strange phenomena. The restaurant is now El Rey Sol and opened for lunch and dinner. Make sure to get a Big Papa Burrito and a margarita while you watch for moving furniture and full body apparitions.

The last place to stop in Lebanon is McKendree University. The campus is said to be home to many spirits and strange happenings. On the main campus, reports are that a student hung himself and his spirit is seen on the upper floors. The Alumni House also has several reports due to its history of an elderly woman falling down the stairs to her death and her husband hanging himself shortly after. There is also reports of a baby passing away in the back office which was said to be the nursery. This room is reported to stay very cold and footsteps can be heard throughout the floors. In Carnegie Hall reports include TVs turning on or changing channels, strange feelings, and reports of students being grabbed. Lastly, reports have been made at the chapel where the organ is known to play itself and footsteps can be heard running down a non-existent center aisle. Although many of the mentioned places on campus are not going to be open to the public, you can still visit the gorgeous campus and get photos of the buildings. Make sure to check the windows in your pictures to see if you got any footage.

On behalf of ILLINOISouth, we would like to wish you good luck in exploring. Please remember during your travels to be mindful of the people that live in these cities and please send us any footage you have via email at photos@illinoisouth.org or by using #ILSouthHaunts.

Know somewhere else we should check out? Email us and let us know!

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