This past weekend I did something I’ve always wanted to do…A paranormal investigation. Yeah, that’s right I’ve always wanted to participate in a paranormal investigation. To those who know me well that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Growing up in what I affectionately refer to as the asshole of the Ozarks I grew up on a steady diet of local ghost stories. When you live in a town of 400 as a kid you have to make your own entertainment and along with the occasional snipe hunt, ghost stories were one of the best entertainments. Unlike most people now though we didn’t wait for Halloween to roll around. It also didn’t hurt that I grew up in a haunted house or that my mom was a sensitive (which I discovered I inherited to some extent).
On August 30, 2014 along with my best friend and her teenage son I attended the Festival of Haunts at the James Eldred House in Eldred, Illinois. The weather did not want to cooperate in the least, but those hardy souls who could give a shit less about getting wet from the sporadic storms moving through Scott County ended up having an enjoyable time. From noon until six pm we were entertained by live music, wandering the grounds and first floor of the James Eldred House which is purported to be haunted.
Speaking from my own view point I have no doubt there is something there. Whether it is residual or intelligent I couldn’t say for sure. What I do know is whatever lingers within the walls of the house and on the grounds isn’t anything dark despite the sad history of the Eldred family. For me the energy was light and it spoke to me of hearth and home, of belonging. There was one area on the east side of the property just on the other side of what appeared to be a dry creek bed that drew me to it like a bee to a flower. Again nothing negative, but I got the impression something was lingering there in the shadows of the cliff. None of the photos I took showed anything other than beautiful scenery.
The only other place I picked up on a strong energy was in the basement of the house. In particular the center room where the folks who are restoring the house were in the process of setting concrete bases for pillars to shore up the first floor. Now the couple of photos I took in this area included a few orbs. Now I’m not one to believe orbs are always spirits considering there are far too many other causes such as humidity, dust, bugs, etc. Of course, I do find it odd these orbs only showed up in photos of that room.
Later that evening we drove 17 miles to the camp site in the field at the base of the hill where the Great River Road Opry (or rather what remains of it) stands. It was here we would participate in a paranormal investigation along side a number of other intrepid ghost hunters hosted by local author (and one of my favorites) Troy Taylor. Earlier he’d given a lecture at Eldred House about one of the most infamous haunted locations in Iowa the Villisca Ax Murder House.
To be honest I didn’t hold out much hope for picking up on anything at the Opry. Most of the places I’ve been (not all) that have a reputation for being haunted end up being about as haunted as your local Wal-Mart. Color me surprised when I was proven wrong the moment I entered what remained of the front door and walked into a wall of energy thick enough to slice with a bread knife. As the minutes ticked by I adjusted to the energy levels. They pretty much let you explore the area on your own. The only thing they told people was some quick history on the building (which was originally a hanger relocated from Scott Air Force Base after the second World War) and then that a suicide did occur, but no details about where or who other than it was a man.
During my wanderings I got a great number of photos with what appear to be either orbs or shadow masses (the shadows were in the area behind the stage where the old dressing rooms were). You can check out those and the photos of Eldred House on my Facebook page HERE.
The only spot in the entire place that made me anything close to uncomfortable was the old dining area. When I stepped into that area it felt as if someone were squeezing me so hard my ribs were about to crack. Despite that feeling and leaving more than once I continued returning to the area. I told my friend that I was certain that the man who committed suicide had done so in that area. It wasn’t until the next day that she told me where the suicide occurred. It had been in the rafters right at the opening to the old dining area.
For me that was no surprise. Although I believe I’m not one of those people who thinks every creak and groan is a ghost. I suppose you could call me a skeptical believer. I’ve experienced enough to make me believe, but I still come at any so-called proof with a skeptic’s senses.
In the end it is left up to people to make up their own minds. All I know is now the bug has bitten and I hope this will not be my last investigation.