Jacksonville Journal Courier May 23, 2010

 

 

On a cool and breezy night, Loren Hamilton walks slowly through a former World War II-era airplane hangar that is said to be haunted.

Hamilton, a tall and soft-spoken man, instructs his followers to tell him about anything they feel or see in the dank and dusty building that for many years housed a seed corn business in the Illinois River valley near Glasgow.

The tour of the building was sponsored by Bump in the Night Tours, a Chicago-based company that investigates paranormal activities all over the United States.

Among the group of six tourists were Fred Bauerle and Danielle Cox, both of Edgewood, Ky.

“This is our first official ghost hunt,” Bauerle said.

Cox said she had been on “unofficial” cemetery tours in Cincinnati. Bauerle and Cox said they had been on a tour of old houses, cemeteries and a lighthouse in St. Augustine, Fla., where Bauerle had an unusual experience.

A long-ago lighthouse keeper was known to have an affinity for cigars, which he was only allowed to smoke outdoors. “I got a whiff of cigar smoke outside the lighthouse,” Bauerle said. The only problem was no one around was smoking cigars.

During the summer and the Halloween season, Hamilton and other Bump in the Night guides lead tours of haunted Illinois locations such as Chicago, Alton, Decatur, Lebanon and Jacksonville.

Hamilton, 47, has been interested in unexplained phenomena since he was a teenager, but that interest grew when he met Troy Taylor, an author of paranormal and crime books, about 15 years ago.

“He has definitely influenced my interest in the paranormal and taught me what to look for,” Hamilton said.

During the past four years, Hamilton has been leading tours of haunted locations.

“The tours have definitely increased my interest and business is good,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton’s schedule is already booked for the next few months. “I will be leading tours every weekend this summer in various locations throughout the United States,” he said.

Some of the tours involve walking around sites, where Hamilton tells the haunted history of the location, while other tours focus on paranormal investigations.

During paranormal investigations, Hamilton and tourists use video, audio and other equipment to record sights and sounds of activity in houses, buildings and cemeteries.

“During the tour [of the old seed corn building in Scott County], I asked if any presence was with us and for it to make some type of noise or move some object,” Hamilton recalled.

“Soon after that, we began hearing rattling in a kitchen about 50 yards away and that was followed by footsteps on a plywood board near the front door.”

Ten minutes later, after the noises ceased, Hamilton and another guide checked the building inside and out and found nothing. No one was there.

Hamilton said he has had similar experiences but nothing that loud.

“Later on in the night, we heard faint voices, almost like a conversation,” he said.


Paranormal investigator Loren Hamilton also conducts an Internet radio call-in show, Bump in the Night, that can be found at blogtalkradio.com. For more information about haunted tours, go to jacksonvilleilparanormal.com.



HISTORIC ELDRED HOUSE SAID TO BE HAUNTED

Things have been known to go bump in the night at the historic James J. Eldred House, an old stone mansion just off the Hillview Blacktop in Greene County.

Some people claim the house has been haunted for years, while others say it’s all humbug.

But paranormal investigator Loren Hamilton of Jacksonville has experienced some strange happenings within and outside the massive limestone walls of the house.

Hamilton says some people claim the long-vacant house is inhabited by the spirits of Eldred’s three daughters, all of whom died of tuberculosis before age 18.

“One unexplained occurrence that I have experienced several times has been a knocking at the front door of the Eldred House,” Hamilton said.

“One time, tourists accused me of knocking on the door, not knowing that I had been outside in the front yard for at least an hour before observing their movements in the house,” he recalled. “There was no physical presence at the front door when I was in the front yard.”

Visitors to the Eldred House have also claimed to have heard mysterious footsteps, faint conversations between a man and a woman in the kitchen and the giggles of a girl, Hamilton said.

In addition, video equipment in the house has inexplicably been turned off and apparitions have been seen in the house and on the grounds.

 

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Weai-Fm Radio October 15, 2010


The Jacksonville Theatre Guild building looms over West College.

Haunted Jacksonville Tours is going where no tour has gone.

Loren Hamilton is the western Illinois representative of the American Ghost Society, and leads Haunted Jacksonville Tours in the city. This weekend’s edition of the spooky experience takes more than 15 ghost hunters to the Jacksonville Theatre Guild building at West College and Sandy.

Hamilton says the facility is a hotspot for paranormal activity, as it used to house the Williamson Funeral Home and, at one time, was a boarding house.

The paranormal veteran says even he’s excited.

"The big reason is that it's never been done before," says Hamilton. "To the best of my knowledge it's never been open to the public to check out the stories and rumors and things of that nature. I personally have never investigated there, so I'm looking forward to it."

Hamilton says parts of downtown Jacksonville and the city’s two college campuses lend themselves to many ghost stories.

He says the older structure of the buildings and their history make them very active sites, a fact that leaves new ghost hunters wanting to see the real thing on the Haunted Jacksonville Tours.

"We laughingly refer to that as 'The Holy Grail'," says Hamilton. "I think people are constantly looking for that. They might find some other things along the way. They might hear footsteps, they might hear voices, they might smell odd smells in the building, or see shadows. I think everybody keeps coming just like a fisherman looking for that big fish."

The tours are also featured in Illinois cities like Chicago, Lebanon, Decatur and Alton. Saturday’s tour is sold out.

 

 

Congress Hotel   Been there, the front desk say's it isn't haunted ?

 

Congress Plaza Hotel(© Thomas Hawk, Getty Images)

Al Capone's headquarters were once in the Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago.

 

Congress Plaza Hotel (Chicago)
In a hotel with 850 rooms, you'll almost always hear someone coming or going. But local lore and plenty of locals suggest that you might hear someone at this hotel even when no one's there. The Congress Plaza Hotel was built in 1893 to house visitors coming to town for the World's Columbian Exposition. Al Capone once used the hotel as his headquarters. Guests report phenomena such as seeing curtains and doors opening and closing on their own, finding belongings moved across the room and hearing unexplained noises from the grand ballroom. The hotel is conveniently located on Michigan Avenue, so it is easy for you to pop in and check it out for yourself. We dare you. Margaret Littman

 

Visited here last year and will again in March 2011 . Check the website store for more details soon !

 

St. Louis Cemetery(© Philip Gould, Corbis)

One of the country's oldest cemeteries, St. Louis houses the remains of voodoo queens, pirates and chessmasters.

 

St Louis Cemetery #1, Basin Street & St. Louis Street (New Orleans)
Located a couple of blocks north of New Orleans' French Quarter, St. Louis #1 is one of the oldest raised cemeteries in the United States -- and it may be the most haunted. The ornate 19th-century white mausoleums seem to create a miniature city of the dead, and the crumbling marble, tottering columns and random withered flowers just add to the atmosphere for a sighting -- perhaps one of the hundreds of city residents felled in a horrible way by yellow fever, or brilliant 19th-century chess master Paul Morphy. (Although it occupies but a city block, some 100,000 souls have been entombed here, making for a very crowded All Hallows Eve.) And did we mention the cemetery has an active shrine to famed voodoo queen Marie Laveau? Look for the tomb with the unusual markings, the tribute left behind and the candle wax. Wayne Curtis

 

My 15 Mins of Fame

Cemetery ghost hunt unearths spirited debate

Journal-Courier

Plans to have a pre-Halloween paranormal event in a Chandlerville cemetery are drawing fire from the family members of some of those buried there, who say the event is sacrilegious.

Village trustee Jeffrey Owens called for a special meeting at 5 p.m. today because of the concerns.

“Some concerns have been voiced to me and other board members,” he said. “We have had some people saying it’s definitely contrary to their beliefs.”

The self-described ghost-hunting event is planned as a benefit for the Chandlerville Community Library. Well-known paranormal investigator Loren Hamilton “will lead participants through the process of seeking out and communicating with someone from the past,” according to the website jacksonvilleilparanormal.webs.com.

Organizers said it was the first time an official event has been allowed in the cemetery, which is “the final resting place for generations of local families [and] exhibits 19th century tombstones and a panoramic view of farmlands, bluffs and the river’s tree line.”

Village President Dean Eilers said that since Wednesday he has had four “concerned citizens” call him.

“It’s not real clear to me, but I think some people kind of got upset about a fundraiser that was suppose to be a walk through the cemetery,” Eilers said. “A lot of people thought it was a satanic cult kind of deal or devil worship.”

Owens said he believed some people were circulating a petition in protest of the event.

Trustee Michael Turner also received phone calls from residents.

“They wanted more information about what was going on,” Turner said.

Both Turner and Owens urged people to attend the meeting to address the issue.

Hamilton said two students who live in Virginia were the first to mention that there was a concern growing about the event.

He said that what he was expecting to do wasn't exactly a ghost hunt.

“What I was planning on doing was about past cemetery customs, funeral customs, rather than an investigation,” Hamilton said. He said he wasn’t bringing out any video equipment but expected some people would bring digital cameras to see if the could find anything.”

He said he respected the feelings, “but I don’t think anything we do is disrespectful to them.”

Hamilton said the same television shows that “are great because they brought this interest to the forefront, at the same time give a misconception about that we do and what it’s about.”

While he wasn't going to be “raising the dead in the middle of Chandlerville,” he added that priority should be given to the concerns of its citizens.

“Whatever the board decides, if they feel they need to cancel that in respect to the feelings of the group, that's fine,” Hamilton said.

 

One Of my first Tours

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Haunted Jacksonville

Loren Hamilton, of Chapin, leads a History and Hauntings Tour in Jacksonville Friday evening. One of the stops on the two-plus hour walking tour was the Times Theater, where Mr. Hamilton said employees have seen shadows and heard people crying late at night, and that the right screen is the haunted side. Other hauntings include the old Emporium building with footsteps, whispers, cold spots and the sound of old-fashioned cash registers; sightings of a priest who likes to flip on radios to listen to Cardinals games at the Old Rectory; and tales of nuns haunting the old Norris Hospital building and the spurned Blue Lady at MacMurray College. Other stops included the Hockenhull Building, Old High School and Jacksonville Theatre Guild office. The tour was also peppered with historical facts about the city, and eerie history such as Turner Junior High School is built on the site of an old graveyard. "Was all the bodies moved? Probably not," said Mr. Hamilton. This is the first year for the tours, and six more are scheduled. See IllinoisHauntings.com or call (888) 446-7859 for details.


WEAI-FM Radio June 9, 2011

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There’s something strange in the Jacksonville neighborhood tomorrow and Saturday.

The 15th annual Haunted America Midwest Conference will take place at Illinois College. It’s previously been held in Decatur and Alton.

Loren Hamilton is the host of the “Haunted Jacksonville” tour and will be one of the hosts of the conference. He says hauntings that have reportedly taken place in Jacksonville will be something the speakers talk about, including hauntings at IC.

“Troy Taylor has highlighted Illinois College and some of its ghost stories in several of his books, Haunted Illinois being the number one book, Weird Illinois being another. He’s written about the spirit tales from Whipple Hall, Sturtevant, the David Smith House, and even the McGaw Theatre,” says Hamilton.

All of the speakers are authors on the subject of paranormal activity and have made appearances in TV or radio. The TV appearances include the SyFy Network’s “Ghost Hunters” and TruTV’s “Haunting Evidence.”

Hamilton says the increased media presence of paranormal activity has given credence to people’s belief in the supernatural.

“Everybody either had a ghost story or they knew a family member or someone who had a ghost story. Now, those are just coming out the woodwork, so to speak, and I think it’s because of the acceptance that the media has brought to the whole field,” says Hamilton.

Hamilton says there will be events happening after the conference that include walking tours of Jacksonville that he’ll conduct, some overnight investigations of locations in and around Jacksonville, and paranormal seminars.

He says Jacksonville is a great spot for the event.

“We have a city that’s rich in history. We’ve got a downtown square that’s rich in history. A lot of those buildings are late 1800s if not early 1900 buildings and it’s amazing to me,” say Hamilton. “I haven’t investigated all of those buildings obviously, but even business owners that I haven’t investigated their building still will tell me, ‘I’ve got this building too.’ Or, when MacMurray had the old nursing school down at the old Norris Hospital, I had people tell me about that building. Jacksonville’s rich in haunted history,” he adds.

 Doors open for the Haunted America Midwest Conference at McGaw Theatre at Illinois College at 5 p-m tomorrow and then again at 8 a-m on Saturday. You can to go americanspookshows.com to view the full schedule of events and prices of the after-hours events.

 

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Jacksonville Journal Courier Oct. 13, 2011

The cast of the television program "Paranormal Generation" along with author Loren Hamilton will be hosting a public meet and greet Tuesday in Jacksonville.

The event will be at Annabelle's Tea Room at 611 E. State St. from 3-5:30 p.m. Those who attend the free event will get the chance to get a signed copy of Hamilton’s book “Haunted Illlinois” and meet the cast of “Paranormal Generation,” who will be on hand to discuss the paranormal, talk about their show, and share detailed ghost stories.

“Paranormal Generation” airs on various cable television channels and also can be watched online at mypara.net. The show features a realistic look at paranormal investigations and ghost hunting techniques with cast members Curt Strutz, Amanda Schenk, Justin Krogstad and Matt Schenk.

“Haunted Illinois” is co-written by Hamilton, Troy Taylor and the staff of the American Hauntings tour company. It tells of first-hand experiences from the investigators of locations throughout Illinois, many locations never before documented.

Okawville Times January 11, 2012

Ghost Hunters Find Things
That Bump In The Night
At The Original Springs Hotel

 


Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:54 AM CST
Ghost Hunters Find Things

That Bump In The Night

At The Original Springs Hotel

American Ghost Society members used video, electronic, and audio equipment to capture the presence of ghosts at The Original Springs Hotel Saturday night.

*
From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. the group of about 20 went through the Bath House, hallways, guests rooms, and dining room to find the ghosts that have been seen in the past. The ghosts are assumed to be those of at least four people who have died at the historic hotel.

Ghost tour leader Loren Hamilton said that they didn’t see the visual ghost apparitions, which are the “holy grail” of ghost hunting.

But they did get audio evidence in digital recordings and a change in the electrical magnetic field. When they recorded what seemed to be silence, it had voices when played back.

The electrical magnetic meter detected a change in atmosphere in rooms, which indicates the presence of a ghost. They also looked for a temperature drop of 10-15 degrees in an area of a room that can’t be explained by a draft.

Hamilton will be on the A & E cable television show “My Ghost Story” at the end of January for a presentation on the Eldred House in Greene County. He is writing a sequel to his book “Illinois Hauntings” that will include ghost stories of The Original Springs Hotel.


 

Cass County News Gazette March 1, 2012

Ghost investigators coming to Beardstown Opera House PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jody Woltman   
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 4:10 PM

By Jody Woltman
Star-Gazette publisher

Ghost hunting has been around for a long time, but a renewed interest has grown since the 2004 debut of SyFy cable channel’s “Ghost Hunters,” which has an average following of 1.65 million weekly viewers.
Enter ghost hunter Loren Hamilton, who will guide a first-ever tour and ghost hunt at the historic Beardstown Grand Opera House.
The opera house was built in 1872 and rebuilt a year later after a tornado almost completely destroyed it on July 4 1872. The first star to appear at the opera house was General Tom Thumb, a sideshow performer made famous by P.T. Barnum. In 1878 the only dramatic production was performed on Dec. 21. The Wallace Sisters - Jeanie, Minnie, and Maude appeared in John Troughame’s drama, “Minnie's Luck or The Ups and Downs of New York Life.” In 1880, a March 24 production of Crown and Shields " Bumps" was performed, and Aug. 28 saw John Dillion in “ The Electric Light.”
In other historical performances, the great comedian John Thompson, Sam T. Jacks military drama “The French Spy”, Miss Claire Scott and her comedy company and Charles L. Davis with his famous production of “Alvin Joslyn”. Beardstown was also thrilled with the great European tragedian James Owen O'Connor, in a thrilling play of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, supported by sixteen Shakespearian artists from the principal New York theatre. Another favorite was Jenny Lind, a famous opera singer known as the “Swedish Nightingale.”
Hamilton has been trying for a long time to investigate in the old opera house, and his wish finally will be a reality. The investigative company American Hauntings and guide Hamilton will search for spirits on Saturday, March 31 from 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
“With recent renovations at the opera house, ghost spirits can stir,” stated Hamilton, “Over the course of the last few years, reports have started to circulate about strange activity at the opera house, from ghostly footsteps to knocking sounds, whispers, voices in the dressing rooms, doors opening and closing, mysterious shadows and even a woman in black.”
Hamilton has had an interest in the paranormal his entire life and joined the staff of American Hauntings five years ago. He has investigated such places as Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif. and Tombstone, Ariz. He is currently the Western Illinois Rep for the American Ghost Society and is the host of many of the Illinois Hauntings Special Event Tours, including ghost hunts and overnights at the Our Savior Rectory in Jacksonville, Ghost Hollow, and notably at the James Eldred House, where he has helped to raise awareness of the haunted sites historical significance in the Illinois Valley. He is a Community Service Officer for the Jacksonville Police Department and is on the state and national Crime Stoppers Board of Directors. Hamilton also writes for the Cass County Star-Gazette. He resides in Chapin.
For more information on the Beardstown Grand Opera House ghost investigation or to inquire about joining in, check out the website www.bumpinthenight.net/opera.

WEAI-FM May 24, 2012

Eldred haunted house to be talked about on TV show
Friday, 25 May 2012 13:26 | Written by Jim McCabe |
West Central Illinois will be featured in a TV show about ghosts next weekend.

The show “My Ghost Stories” on the Biography Channel will feature the James G. Eldred house in Eldred. The show will feature members of local chapters of the American Ghost Society.
...
Loren Hamilton is part of the AGS in Jacksonville. He’s done private and public investigations at the location before the cable network featured it.

“It has always had a lot of activity there. It’s really a popular place over the years. We guesstimate that we probably brought about 800 investigators down to Greene County,” says Hamilton. “I have a friend of mine that knows the producers for a couple of shows in California, and we were approached by A&E to do a show for Biography.”

Kelly Davis with the American Ghost Society in Greene and Macoupin Counties says the Eldred house has been haunted for decades, but it has become public only recently.

“We met one of the last residents of the house in the 1950s. She had a paranormal experience within the house before it was closed up and just used for storage,” says Davis.

The show is in its fourth year. It started off as a show strictly about ghost stories, but has grown to include photo and video evidence.

Hamilton says they submitted a lot of material to Biography, but the channel didn’t have room for it all. They wanted the show to talk about an Indian that was dug up from his burial ground in the front yard.

Davis says paranormal activity started outside the house after the Indian was dug up.

“His grave was disturbed, and when we tried to put him back in the ground- they blessed all four corners of the property- and he just didn’t go back to rest,” she says.

Davis says for some reason, this part of the state seems to be very haunted. Hamilton hopes to have My Ghost Stories focus on other haunted locations in the Jacksonville area in future episodes.

The show on the haunted Eldred house is next Saturday at 9 p.m. You can also view the episode online at myghoststory.com.