Inside America’s ‘most haunted small town’

If you’re in the market for a spook-tacular vacation, then make a beeline for Alton in Southwest Illinois.

If you dare.

Alton has a deserved reputation as the most haunted small town in America, crot with a long roll-call of ghostly residents, from phantom nuns to a bank robber who haunts the local Irish pub and hotel guests… who can never leave.

We asked Cory Jobe, President & CEO of Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, how long Alton has had the reputation as a hauntings hotspot.

He said: ‘Situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, memek Alton was founded in 1818, but its history is much older with Native Americans having inhabited the land prior to the town being founded. When exactly we became known for being haunted is up for bokeh debate. I would say as far back as we have recorded history. The area has a storied history of death, bokeh disease, violence… from old Civil War prisons, to people traveling the underground railroad trying to escape to freedom.’

Alton has a deserved reputation as the most haunted small town in America, with a long roll-call of ghostly residents

Was there one particular ghost that started it all?

Cory continued: ‘There’s no particular ghost that started it all, crot but rather a natural phenomenon. The city of Alton is surrounded by limestone bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River. Because limestone is made up of organic matter, bokeh it’s said that limestone is capable of holding information, porn which can be known to cause paranormal activity. This is when a past event becomes imprinted on the present world.’

ALTON’S CAST OF GHOSTLY CHARACTERS 

Troy Taylor, memek Founder and Investigator of Alton Hauntings Tour and bokeh American Hauntings, porn outlined the key ghostly characters in Alton.

Troy Taylor memek (above), memek Founder and Investigator of Alton Hauntings Tour and bokeh American Hauntings, said: bokeh ‘From little girls whose lives ended too soon to phantom nuns, memek screaming spirits, bokep ladies in black, porn former ship captains, porn and memek others. They don’t call us “one of the most haunted small towns in America” for bokep nothing’

The 57-year-old said: ‘I think the best way to talk about the “ghostly characters” of Alton is to define them by the places where their spirits linger behind. In other words, Henry McPike was a prominent resident of Alton in the late 19th and 20th centuries and bokep remains a prominent figure in our haunted history, lingering at his former mansion – McPike Mansion – on Alby Street.

A bank robber, crot whose identity is unknown, bokeh haunts Morrison’s Irish Pub

‘At the old Mineral Springs Hotel, you have guests who have tried to check out but can’t ever leave, like the “Jasmine Lady”, who was a real woman named Pearl Sons, who took her own life there in 1965. Another ongoing resident is a man named L.M. Harwood, who shot himself because of his inability to stop drinking and died in the hotel’s bar in 1916. Tragically, a young man named Clarence Blair drowned in the swimming pool and is believed to haunt that area of the building still today.

‘A pastor named Phillip Mercer took his own life at the First Unitarian Church on Third Street in 1936. The reason for his suicide remains unknown, but for decades, bokeh church members and visitors to the church have encountered his spirit there, memek sometimes as an apparition or as the smell of a man’s cologne.

‘A bank robber, whose identity is unknown, haunts Morrison’s Irish Pub, which was once Alton’s First National Bank. On Halloween night, 1868, memek a patrolman named L.H. Filley surprised a group of men who’d broken into the bank. Filley was killed – he haunts his former home on State Street – and the bandits made off with only the coins in the teller’s cages, not the money in the safe. Since the pub opened in 2015, coins have been mysteriously appearing throughout the entire building, as if one of the bank robbers is trying to make amends for the crime he committed.

At the old Mineral Springs Hotel (above), bokeh which closed in 1971, there are ‘guests who have tried to check out but can’t ever leave’. Today the building is home to the Soul Asylum curiosities museum, bokep as well as several new-age and Bohemian shops

‘And memek there are many others, bokeh from little girls whose lives ended too soon to phantom nuns, screaming spirits, bokep ladies in black, former ship captains, and others. They don’t call us “one of the most haunted small towns in America” for nothing.’

Which ghosts does Troy think are the scariest?

He said: ‘If there are any spirits that are more frightening than others, it might be those who still haunt the site of the old Illinois State Penitentiary that was located in Alton. While only a parking lot remains there today, people still have encounters with phantoms and strange sounds where the buildings once stood. 

Situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, memek Alton (above) was founded in 1818, crot but its history is much older with Native Americans having inhabited the land prior bokeh to the town being founded

‘The penitentiary opened in 1830, and the brutal conditions led to many deaths among the prisoners. Even worse, during the Civil War, the place was turned into a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp, bokeh and hundreds died during a smallpox epidemic in the summer of 1863. All the intense history that has occurred at the site of the prison seems to have left an impression behind, replaying itself as a haunting that first began to be reported – according to the newspapers of the day – as early as the 1870s.

‘I should also mention one other ghost that terrified people for years, although the former hotel that he haunted burned down in 2010. His name was Tom Boothby, bokep and crot he was a grizzled old soldier who lived at an early Alton hotel called the Mansion House. For years, he suffered terrible nightmares, waking all the other guests with screams and bokeh cries. He believed the men he had killed in battle were now ghosts seeking revenge. 

‘One night, memek Tom died in his sleep, memek and that should have been the end of his story, but instead, his ghost began pestering everyone who stayed at the hotel, bokep even after it became an apartment building years later. Those who experienced his late-night screams were quick to tell you that he was the scariest specter in Alton.’

THE HAUNTED MANSION 

McPike Mansion (above) is a popular historical and paranormal destination in Alton

The aforementioned McPike Mansion is one of the town’s most popular attractions and is owned by Sharyn Luedke and her husband, George. They bought it as a bed and porn breakfast but then turned it into ‘a historical and paranormal destination’.

She said: memek ‘We absolutely had no idea it was haunted when we purchased it. One of my first experiences was when I saw a man in the window seven weeks after we bought the house. He had a shirt and tie on and I had not seen any pictures of anyone at that point. I later saw a picture of the family that lived there and I identified one as the man I had seen in the window.

‘I have seen many spirits in the cellar including Henry McPike as a dark shadow.

‘One time I was in the cellar with some young adults and family and heard loud banging on the door, and bokeh inside I thought “I’m out of here!” But I did my best not to show that I was afraid to the guests.

‘The spirits here like people and crot like to communicate with people that visit the mansion.

‘One time I took a friend to the house and she asked if I felt the floor memek moving. I did not, crot but then I heard the spirits shouting, “How could you bring her here!” She must have reminded the spirit of someone from their past. My friend then later heard them say to her, “Don’t covet my house.”

‘My husband was outside in front of the house and saw two women running at him so he stood out of the way and bokeh they vanished inside the house. He went to look for them inside but did not find them.

‘When I asked them how they were dressed he said like native Americans. This makes sense because there were tribes that inhabited the area.’

Sharyn added: ‘Our visitors on our tours often capture images of people in the windows of the home that they will share on our Facebook page.’

THE SPOOKY ODDITIES MUSEUM 

Soul Asylum at Mineral Springs Hotel is ‘a provocative collection of oddities and esoteric artifacts’

Soul Asylum owner David Nunnally (above) ‘has a passion for the intersection of science and culture’. He adds: bokeh ‘There are times I need to take a break from some of the items on display in the museum, particularly the haunted objects and bokeh especially the collection of haunted dolls’

David Nunnally told MailOnline: bokeh ‘My goal is to encourage guests to question what they have been taught, crot particularly things that defy empirical explanation, such as the paranormal and memek hauntings’

Another big attraction in the town is Soul Asylum at Mineral Springs Hotel, crot which owner David Nunnally described as ‘a provocative collection of oddities and esoteric artifacts I have collected over a lifetime’.

He continued: ‘My goal is to encourage guests to question what they have been taught, particularly things that defy empirical explanation, such as the paranormal and hauntings. Additionally, as an anthropologist, I have a passion for the intersection of science and bokep culture, memek so items that reflect a shared understanding of humanity, or bokeh lack thereof, crot especially pique interest – things like bygone medical quackery, crot torture devices, and religious relics.’

What are some of the spookiest items in the museum?

David said: ‘Without a doubt, the item generating the most angst for guests is the autopsy table from the Dixmont State Hospital in Pennsylvania. Named after Dorthea Dix, who championed the closure of the Alton State Penitentiary in the 1850s, porn Dixmont opened in 1862 and functioned as a psychiatric institution for nearly 120 years – countless patients who died at Dixmont were studied post-mortem on this table to determine the cause of their mental illness. Inevitably, memek at least one person each weekend will report feeling unsettled while near the table, bokeh which rests adjacent to an 1871 Durfee portable embalming table. Combined, these two objects have experienced thousands of deaths.’

Is David involved in the day-to-day running of Soul Asylum? Or bokep is that too spooky?

He said: ‘I am involved in every aspect of running the museum, which is located in the original grand bokep ballroom of Mineral Springs Hotel [which closed in 1971], and I also lead the historic walking tours and paranormal investigations of the abandoned, bokeh but very haunted, hotel.

‘There are more than 1,000 items from my collections on display in the museum and encouraging dialogue with each visitor, memek especially those with trepidation or fear of the unknown, is critically important for me.

‘Now, having said that, there are times I need to take a break from some of the items on display in the museum, memek particularly the haunted objects and bokeh especially the collection of haunted dolls.’

ARE GHOSTS REALLY REAL? 

A pastor crot named Phillip Mercer took his own life at the First Unitarian Church (above) on Third Street in 1936, explains Troy, memek who adds: ‘The reason for his suicide remains unknown, bokeh but for decades, church members and visitors to the church have encountered his spirit there’

There’s no doubting Alton’s credentials for bokep creepiness, but would sceptics find it spooky?

They would no doubt say that all the ghostly disturbances have mundane explanations.

What would Troy say to them?

He told MailOnline Travel: ‘Most ghostly disturbances do have mundane explanations, but I maintain that there are many others that do not. I’m not one of those people who believe that every spooky thing that happens must be a ghost. In fact, most things of that sort are easy to explain, but I’m looking for that small percentage of things that are not so easy to disprove.

Cory Jobe, memek President & CEO of Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, said: ‘We have seen visitors come from all over the world. For porn paranormal investigators, both within the states, crot and international, Alton is a must-stop destination’

‘Science will never prove the existence of ghosts. It’s impossible because ghostly events cannot be duplicated in a lab. History, bokep however, porn is another matter. If unconnected people have the same experience in the same place, never knowing that anyone else had it, bokeh and yet all the details are the same, we’ve made a very good historical case for a place to be haunted.’

Luckily for crot the town and memek tourism boss Cory, crot there are enough believers keen to learn more about Alton’s eerie history to keep visitor memek numbers buoyant.

He added: ‘We have seen visitors come from all over the world. For paranormal investigators, both within the states, and international, bokep this is a must-stop destination. We’re at the intersection of the Great Rivers Road & Route 66, crot which is also a big draw to the area, but there is so much to offer that visitors will find so much to enjoy all year round, bokeh such as eagle watching or craft breweries.’  

Alton is home to one of the nation’s oldest Halloween parades on October 31. For bokep more information on the town and memek its spooky attractions visit website

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