I was a little disappointed when we all met at the bookstore for the start of the tour. Troy Taylor was not going to be there. Another fellow, by the name of Len Adams conducted the tour. He turned out to be a very personable and entertaining man whom I enjoyed talking to, more on that later. Our tour group was rather large. We had around 30 people, much too large for my taste.
We took what they call the "extended tour" which includes an additional hour. The first place we visited was the Enos Sanitarium. This had been a tuberculosis hospital as well as a part of the Underground Railroad. Needless to say there was a lot of activity at his location over the years. We did not get to go inside because it is a privately owned apartment building these days.
The next stop took my by surprise. A while ago, CD and I were just strolling around Alton and came across this building for rent. I fell in love with it. We talked about how it would make a perfect magic shop. We never pursued it further because it was too far from our home to make it logistically possible. Now it is home to a beauty salon and come to find out, it is a building from the 1904 St. Louis worlds' fair that a gentleman purchased and moved to its current location. He is said to still haunt it.
We stopped across the street from the Mineral Springs Hotel. http://www.prairieghosts.com/min_springs.html
I was heartbroken upon finding out that it is no longer a stop on the tour. Some of you will remember this place was the main reason for my booking this tour. So I never got to go into that basement that gave me the strange feeling.
Next stop was the Meridian Coffee House.
This is haunted by a man in a plaid shirt that no one can find a back-story on. Though we were told of several things that happened on previous tours including a member of the tour being attacked, nothing eventful occurred on our visit. (one person on the tour said they were seeing "shadow people", but I attributed that to the dozens of camera flashes)
We went to the site of the former Confederate Prison.
Conditions there were horrible and many of the men were buried in mass graves after a small pox outbreak. We were told of encounters by Alton residents of "homeless" men who appeared and disappeared just as quickly around this location.
The Franklin Building is said to be haunted by a 5 year old girl who was struck and killed while a guest in the former hotel.
For me, the most interesting stop was the First Unitarian Church. The pastor there hung himself in the study of the church in the 1930's. There are also rumors about this place also being a stop on the Underground Railroad. We were all seated inside the church when I kept being called to look into a certain corner of the church. As Len spoke, my attention wandered over to that spot again and again. I THOUGHT I saw a "light shadow" (I don't know how else to explain it) But I am still not sure of that. We were allowed to go into the original sub-basement of the building that was originally built as a Catholic church and burned to the ground twice, each time; the only thing left was the original foundation. I found the basement interesting, but got no "feelings" down there. However, upon returning to the parlor, I was standing and suddenly heard a loud whisper in my ear. A woman's voice said "Terry". When I turned, the only person standing next to me was my friend Terri Sue whom had joined me on the tour. I immediately turned behind me and bumped into a long table. So no none could have been behind me to whisper in my ear. I was simply attributing it to my over active imagination and my hopes that something would occur on my visit. But as I was telling CD about the whisper a few minutes later, Terri suddenly said that she had heard it to but she thought it was me. I cannot explain who or why but someone whispered in my ear.
One more tid-bit I will throw your way is that there was a reporter and photographer from a newspaper in Springfield paper on the tour with us. They took a lot of photos and he did ask about my experience. He told us the article will be in the paper the last week of the month. The VERY disappointing part is that he tells me the paper does not have an on line version. He is sending me a hard copy. I need to talk to the mods and see what the rules are of my doing a scan of the article and somehow linking it here.
I took lots of photos with a disposable camera that was loaded with 800 speed film. I never really SAW anything for certain, but took photos of any areas that called my attention.
The tour ended around 11:15. I ended up staying at the bookstore and talking to Len and swapping stories until 1am. He's invited me to join their ghost society and to their convention in June.
Well, my friends that is my tale of my tour of Haunted Alton Illinois!