Tag Archives: investigation

Paranormal Investigation Highlights from the Tribune Tower, Downtown Chicago

Woodstock and the Stickney House

We were planning on resting and laying low today, recovering from our awesome weekend at the Chicago Ghost Conference….but around 2 o’clock we decided we couldn’t just sit around any more, so we decided to go on the hunt for some things we’d always wanted to see!

Turns out that one of Mickey Cohen‘s bodyguards is buried in Woodstock, Illinois! Johnny Stompanato, a strongman in the LA mafia and lover of Lana Turner, was from the small town. Stompanato was stabbed by Lana Turner’s daughter, Cheryl Crane, a crime that was later ruled as self defense. His body was taken back to Woodstock after his passing and he was interred at Oakland Cemetery.

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The cemetery is old and beautiful, and also the final resting place of Dick Tracy creator, Chester Gould.

Unfortunately, Scott and I were not very successful in locating either of the graves (if you have directions to where they are let us know!)

We did however find lots of great old graves, and even saw some great wildlife.

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They even have a small pet cemetery with a bunch of sweet send offs for fur babies!

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It was a great place to spend an afternoon.  It was very restful and there were plenty of other people and their living pets walking around too.

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After the cemetery we headed into downtown Woodstock, which is super cute, and also where they filmed “Groundhog Day!”

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After a walk around the town square and some much-needed hot coffee, we headed over to the Stickney House.

The Stickney House was one of the locations covered by Scott in his book, “Voices from the Chicago Grave.”

Built in 1856 and located in the Village of Bull Valley. George Stickney, his wife Sylvia, and their family were the original residents. The house was built without any 90 degree corners.  The Skickney’s were spiritualists and believed ghosts could become trapped in such spaces. Of the 10 Stickney children only three survived into adulthood. The family held many séances in the house trying to contact the children that passed away.  Some believe that perhaps it was Sylvia’s inabilities as a medium or cultists who moved into the house in the 1970s that have caused the home to become very haunted.

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The house has gone through much renovations since we last saw the house. Thanks to the local historic society and the Stickney Foundation. The interior and exterior are both being restored to the houses original state, and I have to say, it looks fantastic!  Note in the photos below the continued use of rounded edges – even the front door itself is curved.

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From the Stickney House, we were directed to the small cemetery down the road where the family was buried. It was starting to get dark, but as we stumbled around by cell phone light, we eventually found the family. A few of the tombstones were missing, and some of the others were damaged, but overall they were in great shape considering their age.

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There was an oddly large amount of traffic on the road, considering how far out of town we were. Still, we decided to do a small EVP session at Sylvia‘s grave.

unnamed We haven’t reviewed our recording yet.  Once we do, we’ll definitely let you know of any findings!

Video: Edgar Allan Poe & The Bunny Man Urban Legend

We’re happy to bring you to the strange world of the Bunny Man in this latest video!

We are starting a new production schedule that will take you through all aspects of ghost stories and haunted histories!  We will be posting two videos per month, with at least one of them being a California story and at least two blogs that are specifically centered around California and Los Angeles ghost stories!

Do you have any suggestions on stories you’d like us to cover?  Please let us know!

Where Masons go to rest: Mountain View Mausoleum

by Scott Markus
Mountain View MauoleumMountain View Mauoleum

Another film shoot has brought me to an amazing location that might eventually be covered in my next book.  This time it was a week long shoot in Altedena (near Pasadena), CA called Mountain View Mausoleum.  Unlike another recent film shoot that landed me in the famously haunted Linda Vista Hospital in East LA, there are no known reports of hauntings at this location.  I must also say, that in my four days at this location, I didn’t feel anything other than excitement for the location, which is not the case when it came to Linda Vista.

The initial excitement certainly came from the overall beauty of the site.  It was absolutely epic in scale.  The the building seems large from the outside, but feels even larger within.  When you think you’ve seen the entire place, you find another corridor that leads you to another chain of hallways.

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Mountain View MauoleumI snapped the top picture on my first day and immediately Dan Melone chimmed in from Chicago on it, comparing it to one of Chicago’s Freemason resting places, Acacia Park Cemetery.  So, with partner in crime Kyle Jolly, we scoured the place, finding all sorts of symbols.  Kyle had a surprising amount of knowledge and I’m entirely new to the Masonic conspiracy theories.  I haven’t even seen or read “Di Vinci Code.”

The entire place was covered with symbols, from some familiar, though still interesting like the one on the left, to the more elusive carvings over the front door (are those chickens in the above picture?).

Mountain View MauoleumI hadn’t seen so much stained glass in a mausoleum (or anywhere for that matter) since Chicago’s famed Rosehill Cemetery, which has the largest collection of real Tiffany glass in the world, but, even Rosehill doesn’t have entire, long, hallways of stained glass ceilings.

Beauty and majesty aside for a moment, one chilling moment (though not at all paranormal) happened when we were filming in one room that was referred to in the script as the “storage room.”  Turned out it was the room where the cremations happened.  Being a production that had rented out the entire place, we had full access to both the viewing room and the “business end.”  Again, a chilling place to be standing, but nothing paranormal (pictures of both are posted below).

There are apparently 120,000 interments in the mausoleum and surrounding cemetery, so I wouldn’t at all be surprised if there were some ghost stories associated with the place.  If you have any stories of your own or even just any additional interesting facts about this location OR if you want to start a discussion about the Freemasons, conspiracies, etc, just leave it in the comments below!
Mountain View Mauoleum Mountain View MauoleumI did return to this location a week later with friend Max Timm.  He has similar interests in the unknown, the paranormal and conspiracy theories, so I knew he would appreciate this place.  In addition, I brought along an EMF detector.  This was far from a formal investigation, but I was curious if I would get any strange readings.  Mountain View Mausoleum did not disappoint.  I had one of my most direct responses ever after requesting, “If anyone is here with us, can you please come up and touch the device in my hand.”  The needle started jumping around almost instantly.

Max wasn’t present by that point.  He had been overcome, feeling sick to his stomach.  His only concern was leaving the building immediately.  Sitting outside of the mausoleum was the only remedy that made him feel any better.  Was there something from the other side that was effecting Max?  We don’t know for sure, but his feelings would not be considered uncommon at a strongly haunted location.

Video from our trip, including the incident with the EMF detector, can be found here (skip ahead to the 6 minute mark to see the Mountain View footage:

A ghost hunter in training / Frank Lloyd Wright

This same letter was sent to fellow ghost hunters/researchers Henry Pena, Dale Kaczmarek and John Cachel

Question: My wife and I have been interested in “ghost hunting” for years.  We have also been researching the subject for years.  We recently broke down and started buying some equipment (no touch infra red thermometer, EMF detector, assorted audio recorders) along with our existing Sony camcorder w/ night vision, digital and analog cameras.  So I assure you this interest is not seasonal.  Now I am starting to reach out to the Chicagoland paranormal community and see what is going on.  Does your club get together often, share info, that kinda stuff?

We have a little tour scheduled for the 22nd of October, kinda for my wife’s birthday on the 21st.  Nothing truly scientific, more for fun, seeing that we have 14 chicagoland spots to hit.  But I truly hope to begin scientific and professional investigations for fun.   We have taken a few popular ghost tours and always came away saying “we can do better”.  These tours always make me feel like a tourist in my own town.

Like I said I am just beginning to reach out to the community and see what is going on outside.

Have you heard of any activity at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park IL?  I work in Oak Park and have dealt with the “Home and studio” often.  I think I might get permission for an opportunity to conduct an extensive study in the building.  Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Steve

Reply:  There are certainly a lot of drawbacks to bus tours, just the nature of the beast: it’s hard to create an intimate atmosphere.  However, they are great for getting an overview of a bunch of interesting locations that you can then go back to on your own.  It’s like window shopping!  Before you go on  your self-guided tour, please send me your list of locations.  Likely I’ve been to most of them and I may have a good tip to share with you from my experience.

Unlike the others you eMailed, my organization is a production company that does a lot of different work.  It just so happens that we have produced a video and a book/CD-ROM about Chicago ghosts.  I consider myself a ghost researcher rather than hunter (though I respect anyone looking to learn more).  Other than speeches, we do not have events or meetings.  (UPDATE in 2013: We now lead tours and participate in investigations that are open to the public)  Of all of Chicago’s ‘names’ in this field, I would endorse anything Ursula Bielski does.

Not being a ghost hunter I cannot contribute much technical information, however I would say this:  don’t go anywhere without infrared camcorder or analog camera.  There are debates regarding whether or not digital cameras pick anything up.  I’m undecided, but tend to lean away from digital.  Troy Taylor would have most anything you’d want to know on prairieghosts.com.

As for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, I have heard that it was haunted, but that’s all I heard.  We were given that tip too close to the deadline of our book to be able to research it.  Good luck and above all, be safe out there!