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Illinois College - Jacksonville IL Real Haunts

  • 1101 W. College Ave.
  • Jacksonville, IL
  • (217) 245-3000
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Illinois College was founded in 1829 and is believed to have several haunted buildings on campus. Sturtevant Hall and Beecher Hall are two locations where people have reported footsteps, strange noises and apparitions. According to talk around campus, Beecher Hall was once a medical building and the top floor was a space for storing cadavers. One of the ghosts that is said to haunt this hall is Williams Jenning Bryan. Another haunted spot is The Smith House, which is said to be haunted by its original owner's daughter, Effie, around whom many campus legends have been told. Whipple Hall is known to be the home to a Gray Ghost who has no face. A mischievous ghost named Gail, who died while living here, haunts Ellis Hall and Fayerweather House is haunted by Susie, who hanged herself in the closet of Room 5. Crampton Hall, the McGaw building and the Rammelkamp Chapel are also on the long list of Illinois College’s haunted places.
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  • Absolutely Haunted

    Since there are no experiences listed, I will gladly be the first since I have had a lot of paranormal experiences here during my time at this college. For reference, I'm giving the haunts 5/5 pumpkins because it truly is haunted. The college itself gets 0/5 pumpkins for terrible administration. I lived in the Fayerweather House all four years that I was at this institution and that dorm is definitely haunted. The first year that I was there in 2019, I heard of some spooks and ghost stories from the upperclassman, but hadn't experienced anything yet since it was still early on in the fall semester. I was living on the second floor with my roommate at the time. I had fallen asleep while my roommate usually stayed up a bit later and watched movies on her laptop. I was woken up by my phone going off. I had looked at it and seen that it was the GroupMe for the dorm. My roommate had told me not to read it and I had just said I wasn't going to and I was just going to turn it on vibrate so it wouldn't wake me up anymore. The next morning, I looked at the chat and the first message was from the people who lived directly below us asking if we had dropped something. Everyone on the second floor was like, "No, none of us dropped anything. That noise was from the attic." Everyone in the entire house (besides me who was dead asleep) heard what sounded like a chair or something being thrown hard against the attic floor. Everyone was spooked after that. I had heard stories from when it was a sorority house from upperclassmen that TV remotes would go flying up there all the time. The attic actually has more rooms and a bathroom up there, but has since been deemed unsafe since the floors are dipping in from the water and humidity damage. Now, at this time, the attic was unlocked. My friends and I are pretty into the paranormal so, we decided to go up there and investigate not too long after. The stairs into the attic are so narrow and steep. It was honestly scary because of the real danger of possibly falling through the floorboards. The energy up there was very heavy. It felt like someone was holding their breath the entire time we were up there. It also didn't help that we found a dead bird up there even though the windows to the attic were closed and locked. Nothing much after happened for a bit until some seniors who were staying in Fayerweather decided to do an Ouija board session during fall break. I was not on campus during the time, but my roommate was. This group of seniors (possibly also underclassmen) on the swim team did Ouija sessions in the lounge, basement, and attic of the dorm. One of the people who I know who was with them was able to cleanse the space and make sure they properly said goodbye for the basement and lounge. I don't think they were there for the attic one. So, the attic becomes even more haunted! I come back from fall break and within a few days of being back after those sessions, I got three claw marks on my stomach. They were gone within a day and I had never gotten any since. I don't scratch in my sleep at all either. My room was right next to the stairs that lead to the door of the attic, so now there's a silly lil demon guy in the attic from those sessions that I'll talk about later. Nothing much happened my first year after those encounters. My second year, one of our friends wanted to start a ghost hunting YouTube channel. What better place to start than our own campus? We started filming and doing a spirit box session in the basement of Fay with some other friends who were helping us out. I'm hard of hearing so honestly to me the spirit box just sounded like garbled static. However, many of my friends heard that it was saying our friends' name who was the one asking the questions to the spirit box. On the video, you can hear it. It wasn't too long into the spirit box session that one of my friends who was filming gasped and ran out of the room. I had to chase after them to ask what happened and they told me that something had breathed into their ear. They had actually caught it on the video and when I heard it I got chills. The basement of Fay has been said to have been part of the Underground Railroad and that it connects to the David A. Smith House. Obviously, it's walled off now if that was the case. Another creepy thing about that basement, our first year my friends and I went down there and we found this little opening to another room that had been walled off and there was a chair just in it. By itself. Later on, at least by the time I was a senior, that chair was gone. That room had been walled off since I had been there so we have no idea how the chair disappeared. When we were doing ghost investigations our second year there, we did another session in the lounge of Fay. We used those phone apps that can pick up what you can't hear and they generate a word and say it out loud. We were filming and doing that and we were actually talking to Susie for awhile. Susie is very nice and she really liked communicating with one of our upperclassmen friends. However, there has always been something a bit unnerving about room 101. It's literally right across the hall from the lounge so when you're in the lounge you can just see the door the entire time. And a lot of the rooms in the house are actually connected, but the doors have been sealed off with paint and glue. That room is always cold and friends who have lived in the room that has the connecting door to room 101 have heard knocks and scratches coming from that room when no one has lived in it. Some say it's the ghost cat that Fay allegedly has. I had one person tell me it was a Hat Man like entity. Either way, that room freaks me out. There's other ghosts and entities my friends have seen in the house of the shadow man that likes to be near the kitchen which that kitchen has always given me a weird vibe. One of my really close friend has always since day one of ever being in Fay seen this lady on the stairs. My friend has always described her as having long, black hair that covers her face and she's usually around the top of the second floor stairs. She usually looks over the top ledge of the staircase down onto the hallway of the first floor. Another friend I'm close with has also seen her and heard her a few times. I don't know if it's her, but I've heard a woman singing while I'm in the second floor bathroom as well as what sounds like people having conversations and then all of a sudden they'll just stop as soon as I enter the bathroom. I've heard footsteps and creaking and thuds coming from the attic while I'm in my room. As well as whistling and whispers while I was in my dorm room alone. Honestly, nothing much happened to me in Fay until my last year there as a student. Fay up until my senior year had been sparsely inhabited since the pandemic so having an almost full house with mostly first years was nice for a change. I got to show them and tell them all the spooky stories of campus and of Fayerweather House. I remember one of my friends who lived on the first floor found the key to the attic because after the whole Ouija board stuff they decided to lock up the door to the attic. The key was just on the floor near the microwave downstairs and they just had this thought it might have been to the attic so they went up and tried it and it worked. So, of course my friend, me, and their roommate had to investigate. The flooring had honestly gotten worse so it was harder to walk around safely up there. I remember it being so incredibly hot up there even though it was winter time. The only thing I can think of that could explain it would be the heat rising from the radiators downstairs, but it was hot as if it was summer up there and it wasn't even that warm downstairs. I remember seeing rope in one of the rooms as well as just random chairs. The rope gave me such a bad feeling because it's the type that reminded me of gallows rope if you know what I mean. Needless to say, we got out of there pretty quickly. Not too long after that, I remember giving some friends a tour of Fay since they had never been before. Of course I had to show them the basement and lead them to the stairs of the attic. I showed them the stairs up to the attic door first and my friends felt their heartbeats race when they reached the door to the attic. A few of them said they felt the demon/entity's presence. That silly guy loves to spook new people. When I had led them down to the basement, it honestly freaked them out even more. One person actually started to feel nauseous while being down there. I don't think the spirits liked him very much since they made him feel so sick. I've also had spooky encounters around campus as well. I remember on Halloween night me and my friend were walking around and telling our other friends the ghost stories of the places on campus. We had gotten to Beecher Hall. I was telling the story about how it was once used by the medical students to hide stolen cadavers. During the time it was a medical school, using human cadavers for educational purposes was illegal so the students had been grave robbing and stealing cadavers to practice on. Some president's body at the time (don't remember whose) had been stolen and rumors about the students stealing his body had reached the campus staff. They had stormed Beecher Hall to find him, but no bodies were ever found. They used the top floor for the cadavers. As I was telling this story, my friend suddenly gasped and ran off. I quickly followed after them and asked them what had happened and they told me that they had seen someone in the window when I was talking about the bodies. This gave everyone chills because no one was there at Beecher Hall and no one has access to the building besides societies and staff. The David A. Smith House is also very much haunted. I have never been inside the house because it's used only by societies as well, but some nights/mornings I'll see a light on in the second floor/attic window with no other lights on in the house. It's usually when I'm walking back from the dining hall from breakfast or dinner that I'll see the light on in the window. One morning, I was leaving from eating breakfast and it was kind of cloudy/gloomy morning so the light was easy to see. I remember as I was approaching the house that there were no other lights on besides the one upstairs and that it looked like someone was peaking out through the curtains. I remember I kept on looking up at the window as I crossed the street and that as I got closer to it I realized it was someone or something looking out the window at me. It freaked me out so badly that I started speed walking away towards Fay and as I did that the curtain was drawn back and the thing had disappeared. I've heard the stories that the family that owned the David A. Smith House had two daughters. One of the daughters was disabled and because of the stigma during that time, she was locked up in the attic so no one could see her. People who have been up in the attic have heard chairs creaking/rocking back and forth, heard whispers, and have seen scratch marks on the door as if someone was trying to get out. A lot of people say it's her sister who haunts the house, but if you say her sister's name she'll get mad. If you say her name then she tends to calm down. I can't tell you if Effie was her name or her sister's name because I think they had similar names. Another place on campus that is definitely haunted is the chapel. But it's a church so what do you expect? They have classrooms down in the basement of Rammelkamp and it's so dark and creepy down there. I refuse to go there at night. I remember my first year my friend and I were helping my roommate with a video project for a class and they were filming it at night in the chapel. We were upstairs and not downstairs, but it was still creepy. I remember me and my friend kept noticing this blinking orange/red light near the organ inside the actual chapel part of the building. It freaked us both out because the light also was moving side to side. And lastly, the most recent experiences I had just before I graduated from this awful college. One night, my friend and I were in the upstairs of Caine. The upstairs is used for storage of clubs/organizations events and things. There's also a lounge up there that's used for club meetings. We had been working in the lounge on some homework and we had been there for probably an hour or two before we had to go back to our dorms. It was nightfall at this point so the hallway outside the lounge was pitch black. We had packed up our stuff and we had just turned off the light to the lounge and were about to walk out the door and into the hallway when I heard footsteps coming towards us. I was really confused and then all of a sudden a shadow ran right past me and into another room. I gasped and had turned to my friend and had asked her if she heard/saw it and she said yes and then urged us to leave. We did, very quickly. My last week on campus, which was senior week, had the most terrifying experience yet. I had been closing the door to my walk-in closet in my dorm at Fay since my roommate had left. I don't like it open at night unless someone is there with me. I remember waking up one morning and the door was completely open when I swore I had closed it the night before. I remember I told one of the my friends about it who also lived in Fay at the time and they lived directly below me. They told me that they heard my closet door open and hit the wardrobe that was next to it at like 4 AM and they thought it was weird since they knew I would be asleep. I was dead asleep in fact. The next night, I had closed the closet door again because I didn't want to let this thing win. That whole night I had paranormal nightmares of the closet door opening and me running to my friend downstairs for help on repeat. I woke up the next morning and the door was still closed, but the spirits won because I kept it open the rest of the time I was there before I graduated later that week. But honestly, those aren't the only paranormal experiences I've had while I was going to college there. Jacksonville is a very haunted town and the towns around it are also very haunted. If you go around driving at night into the corn fields and into the middle of nowhere then you might just see the Lantern People. Or if you go to specific towns at night you'll notice how all the houses lights are on, but no one and no furniture are inside. Or better yet, you could just see a creature the size of a water tower. I would definitely recommend this place for spooks, but not for the actual college. That college is going to close within four years tops.

    Posted 6/16/23

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