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Haunted America Conference 2017 – The Big Seance Podcast #96

Coverage of the Haunted America Conference - Big Seance Podcast: My Paranormal World - BigSeance.com


Patrick’s coverage of the 2017 Haunted America Conference in Alton, Illinois. Appearances by April Slaughter, Adam Drendel, Robb Demarest, Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult, Sarah Soderlund, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, and the History Goes Bump Podcast!


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A Pictorial Tour of Historic and Haunted Alton, Illinois (Part 2)

Greetings! Here is Part 2 of my pictorial tour of Alton, Illinois. Be sure to check out Part 1 for more sites and photos, as well as information on our day trip to Alton. 


Such a beautiful view of the Mississippi River.

Such a beautiful view of the Mississippi River.


Another view of the mighty Mississippi.

Another view of the mighty Mississippi.


The Piasa Masonic Lodge.

The old Piasa Masonic Lodge building.



The infamous, but not to be messed with (we had to take the pics while flying down the road) McPike Mansion.

The infamous, but not to be messed with (we had to take the pics while flying down the road) McPike Mansion.


The Piasa Bird.

The Piasa Bird.



The historic ruins of the Alton Military Prison walls.

The historic ruins of the Alton Military Prison walls.





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Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville, Missouri (Big Séance)

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A Pictorial Tour of Historic and Haunted Alton, Illinois (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a trip I took with a buddy of mine to The Milton Schoolhouse in Alton, Illinois. Visiting that schoolhouse was just a small part of that very memorable visit to Alton three years ago. Since this blog did not exist then, and since I’ve enjoyed my own tour down memory lane, please enjoy some photos from several of the sites on our trip from October 2010. I did my best to include accurate and up-to-date information about each location. CLICK HERE for Part 2!


Mineral Springs Hotel

This hotel, now a mall, was completed in 1914 and contained a very popular mineral pool in the lower level. 


The Hotel Stratford

The original purpose of this building, completed in 1819, is apparently unknown, but in 1909 became the Hotel Stratford. At one time it was known for lavish events involving high society, and Hollywood even used it in the filming of The Big Brass Ring from 1999. It apparently still housed guests up until 2011, though only on one level, as the rest of the building is apparently falling into disrepair.  See this newspaper article for a better shot of the front of the building. 


Enos Sanatorium

I was obsessed with this building and took tons of photographs. I particularly fell in love with the side of the building with the bumped out windows (seen in the second photo below). It was built in 1857 as a mansion, and was specifically designed to be a stop on the Underground Railroad. In 1911 it was turned into a Tuberculosis Sanatorium, and three years later the roof was literally raised and the fourth floor was added. The cupola, used to signal slaves coming from across the river, is apparently still original to the building, though the fourth floor beneath it is newer. It now serves residents as an apartment building and is rumored to be very haunted. I’d love for one of these residents to let me in for some photos and an EVP session. Pretty please?!


Grand Theater

This movie theater opened for the first time in 1920, but has been vacant and unchanged since 1977.


Kendall’s Cracker Factory

I didn’t know much about the building at the time, but fell in love with its style. As you can see, even though from through the front windows the interior was looking pretty rough, there are plenty of beautiful artifacts still standing, like the decorative glass windows in a few of the photos below. For a history of this building, check out this newspaper article

And no, that’s not a ghostly mist. This was taken through a window.

Again, not a ghostly mist.


Alton Cemetery

This cemetery is huge and beautiful. I wish I would have taken more photos. 


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The Milton Schoolhouse, Alton, IL


About three years ago, my buddy Matt and I took off for a day trip to Alton, Illinois… just for fun! I had never been and so he was going to show me around. Alton is a place full of history, absolutely beautiful buildings, and of course… ghost stories! Early this week I was chatting with friend and researcher, Randall Keller, when I remembered a specific part of that Alton trip years before. On that beautiful October day, we stopped by the Milton Schoolhouse. Earlier that year, the Ghost Hunters (T.A.P.S.) filmed an investigation there and I had been particularly impressed with that episode.

If you watch the Ghost Hunters episode, they’re quick to play up the drama of the sad and gruesome events that supposedly happened inside the building years ago. According to Troy Taylor at AltonHauntings.com, the schoolhouse was built in 1904 and served students until 1984. The local legend (because apparently there’s no actual record of the events) about the school involves a little girl who was brutally murdered and raped by a janitor in the building in the 1930s. Some time later the janitor hung himself inside the school after leaving a note with the message “I did it!” 

As much as I wanted to get into this place, we settled for being sneaky and walked around the property for some pictures. We had a very brief meeting with the current owners in the parking lot (probably something like “Hi. Um… can we help you?”), but we didn’t push for an invitation. 

After reliving this memory and digging up the forgotten photos, I decided I MUST contact the owners to get inside, if for nothing else, to just walk around with a recorder and get some good photos. I was hoping it hadn’t turned into a paranormal trap or a “pay to investigate” place. After some new research, boy was I surprised to see what is going on at The Milton Schoolhouse now! How quickly things change. If I make a visit, it definitely won’t be the kind I had in mind. 

You’ve just got to check out their beautiful site. From TheMiltonSchoolhouse.com:

“Purchased in 2009, The Milton Schoolhouse is actively undergoing renovation to host artists, small businesses, and community oriented groups as we work to infuse this beautiful riverfront town with a fresh burst of entrepreneurial spirit.”

“The Milton Schoolhouse is a place for innovators, dreamers, bold visionaries, entrepreneurs, inventors, artists, daring pioneers- and renaissance people.”

Currently you can get a massage at the Milton. The old schoolhouse also houses the office of an electrician, two different photography studios, an art studio, and a creative stained glass studio. Apparently there’s a business called Marie the Cheesecake Lady coming soon! (Cheesecake. Yup. I’ll be taking a trip back to Alton soon!)

So what do the new owners think about their haunted history? They’re apparently trying to distance themselves from it all, as according to their FAQ page, they say…

“Instead of haunted, we prefer to say the building has a lot of character. We’re working hard to infuse this building with new life- and prefer not to lean on an old urban legend to create a buzz about this awesome place. “

I would have to agree. It seems pretty awesome. This is probably something that many historic and possibly struggling communities should take note of. Wouldn’t you agree?

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