I have long wanted to see the “Old Slave House” for myself since first reading about it in Michael Kleen’s book “Haunting Illinois.” I knew even when that book came out in 2011 that the site was strictly off limits, currently owned by the state of Illinois. Attempting to do things ‘by the book’ I contacted the state. Saying that since it’s such a new addition to the DNR, I should contact the site directly, I was given a phone number that did not connect to anything.
Do I think I was being thrown off my goal intentionally? No. Unfortunately, I think I got a feel for how much of a priority this location is to the state, which is to say, not much of one. Despite being on the National Registry of Historic Places, this is likely an endangered location with little chance of the house ever being re-opened to the public. Part of this is due to its seclusion. Seen in this map, the nearest ‘large’ town is Harrisburg, which only boasts a population of 8,800 (Eldorado is around 4,000), so the likelihood of the location generating revenue as a museum is unlikely. However, with the location infamous for its dark history (being associated with slavery and the horrendous “reverse underground railroad”) and with paranormal activity reported here for over 160 years, there is another option. I think the building would have paranormal shows and ghost hunting teams lining up to rent the location nightly.
To hear more about the history and hauntings at Crenshaw House, watch the video above.
Scott, Wendy, Lisa, Allison, Mike & MI ParaCon organizer Tim Ellis
Allison with Josh Gates &
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For the second straight year I headed to the Michigan ParaCon with a motley crew of paranormal nerds (Allison Journlin of Milwaukee Ghosts, Lisa Van Buskirk of Madison Ghost Walks, and two-thirds of the paranormal band, Sunspot and the hosts of the “See You on the Other Side” podcast, Mike Huberty and Wendy Lynn Staats) to hear the latest news from the biggest names in the game. Feel free to check out our preview video, which we recorded on Facebook live while stuck in construction traffic. If you’ve never been to an event like this, in some ways it’s like any other trade show. New products and merch are available in the vendor area (usually in the form of books, DVD releases and clothes) while the main hall features constant programming consisting of panel discussions and lectures.
It’s a wonderful way to connect with fascinating people who share our somewhat unorthodox interests and to meet people we’d otherwise not have easy access to. Of course, one of the real treat is the exchange of ideas, experiences and theories. Naturally, a lot of the great first-hand chats happen after hours in the hotel bar (this is often worth the price of admission itself). Last year, among other amazing stories, we had a conversation with John Tenney, who had been asked to observe an exorcism. Talk about an amazing and unique (and damn, right – horrifying) story to hear straight from the horse’s mouth!
Sometimes you start to see a shift in ideas when you attend these events. That concepts and methodology changes is exciting in and of itself. The latest theory that almost became a theme this year is perhaps easiest explained in conversation rather than written out. So, enjoy my attempt to throw a fascinating concept your way in the video here.
At a glance, here we some of the highlights this year:
- John E.L. Tenney, as you may be picking up on, is a great storyteller and a wealth of information. In his lecture, he talked about some of his more recent fascinating investigations, along with a message of oneness and appreciating everything in our world. Later, at the bar, John dropped some knowledge on us in the form of the incredible story of Ted Serios, a Chicago bellhop who had the ability to psychically imprint images of locations onto Polaroid film simply by touching the camera. Challenged, he was even able to do this on live TV by touching the broadcast camera. Oddly, most video of his work on YouTube is in German or Spanish. It’s peculiar that an astonishing American is remembered more in other countries than our own today. However, a full conversation on the man can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vFNVpUhiyk
- Katrina Weidman and I talked at length about shadow people, individual stories and theories. I hope she’s working on a project on the topic as she seems very intrigued. Wendy and I were both very impressed by the “Paranormal Lockdown” star who we first met two years earlier in Milwaukee. Her memory of our meeting was so sharp, you would’ve thought we hang out all the time.
- Finding myself in an elevator ride with Jeff Mudgett, HH Holmes descendant and subject of the recent series “American Ripper.” Jeff and I have known each other for several years at this point and it’s always exciting to hear the latest news in the quest to find out all there is to know about his infamous ancestor. Meanwhile, Allison found herself sharing an elevator with Josh Gates of “Expedition Unknown,” which allowed her husband to gush to him directly over the phone.
- Getting to see Sunspot play live. Okay, I’m biased here, but take a look below for a recent live performance about staying the night in haunted locations. Let’s just say, they’re an ideal booking for a paranormal conference!
- Though I can’t really say I was a big follower of the show, “Ghost Hunters,” I was still excited to meet Grant Wilson, who is still very interested in learning about the mysteries of the unknown world and is reaching out to audiences directly with a new YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGrantwilson
- Of course, it’s also always a blast hearing the latest from Greg and Dana Newkirk and the Traveling Museum of the Haunted and Occult.
The next newsletter will come out very soon with some podcasts, haunted sites in Sault Ste Marie (where the MI ParaCon was held), and a look at the movie based on the Bell Witch, “An American Haunting.”
Wendy, Katrina Weidman, Allison & Mike
Robert Merch, Dave Schrader & Wendy
Grant Wilson & Scott
This is a review of the horror movie, “The Nun,” but we also get into a lot of real life Ghost Stories in LA, the mysterious death of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel and the Bell Witch Cave in Tennessee.