Annabel Lee Tea Room, Jacksonville, Ill March 2012
Investigators: Trish, Zach, Brittany,Mary,April and Dave
On a cool March night CAPS along with April and Mary were given the opportunity to investigate Annabel Lee's Tea Room, the former Transport building in Jacksonville. The beautiful building is owned by April. CAPS were given the opportunity to investigate because of the many strange occurrences that have been taking place in this building. The current owner has had the building for two years now. We are the first to investigate as far as we know having found no evidence of prior investigations.
I will give a description of the claims before discussing what CAPS found during the two-hour investigation. Former employees prior to April taking over the building had reported seeing a full body apparition, that of an older male, in the kitchen area. A cook and waitress saw this. April reports coming in one morning through the back door and being hit instantly with a very sick feeling for no apparent reason. One interesting event that occurred was with a wine topper that has a light. When the owner came in on Monday morning she found that the light was on. She assumed for some reason that she had left it on but an employee told her that he specifically remembers turning it off and there was no way that it was on when they left!! It is not something that can happen by accident, it cannot turn itself on. A voice saying "hello" was heard on one occasion.
Doors have been heard to open, and footsteps with no one around. The kitchen seems to be the most active location on the first floor. On at least one occasion the burner on the stove inexplicably came on, and there was an item on one of the shelves which flew across the room on its own accord. Banging has been heard coming from the unoccupied basement, which at one time was an apartment, but is now used for storage. April reports constantly having to change light bulbs even though it is an updated electrical system.
We had the opportunity to interview a current tenant who has been renting an area upstairs in the 38,000 sq. foot building since October of 2011. He is often the first person in the building in the morning, and the last one to leave in the evening. One evening as he was leaving he glanced up from his car at the second floor window where his business is located and saw a candle flickering. He stated he is very cautious about making sure that all the lights are off, candles are out etc. He just figured that he must have forgotten so went back upstairs to take care of it. When he checked it out, the candle was not going, and there was no smell in the air that would have indicated the candle had been snuffed out anytime recent. It was as if it had never been lit! One time while he was washing the hair of a client he heard a door open down the hallway. He and the client were the only ones in the building. The client also heard it and the tenant went to check it out, sure someone had to be upstairs. Of course, they were alone. Similarly, on a different occasion, the tenant had an overpowering feeling that someone was with him upstairs, and the client even asked him who else was there, not knowing that the tenant had the same exact feeling and they were also alone in the building.
One night he heard a noise downstairs, and again was alone in the building so went to check it out. When he came back upstairs and got near his studio he noticed that it seemed dark. He looked up and noticed that all the lights in the chandelier were off. He thought it was odd that all the lights would burn out at once, and then walked over and noticed that the light switch had been turned off! He went downstairs another time for a few minutes and came back up and noticed that his fully charged MP3 player had turned off by itself. It had never done that before, or since.
One day while he was in the small upstairs room above the kitchen he heard an elderly male voice clearly say, "Get the door". He not only heard it once but twice! On another occasion he looked over the railing where you can see all the way to the basement, he says he regularly does this out of habit. The light in the basement was on, then when he looked back it was off, and then it was on again!! He was alone, like he often was and no one could have been walking around downstairs because the security system was set. He himself uses a different staircase and exit as to not set off the system.
In the evening he will leave the heavy bathroom doors open just a crack. There have been several mornings, when he, being the last one out and first one in, will find the doors wide open. They are heavy and the air system etc. cannot possibly cause this to happen. One of the strangest incidences took place in the conference room upstairs where he keeps drinks in a small refrigerator. One night he was getting ready to leave and went into the room to get a drink. He noticed a folding chair pulled out away from the end of the table because he just about ran into. He remembers pushing it all the way under the table because he was thinking he, or someone else, would trip over the chair. Next to the refrigerator there were also two heavy kitchen chairs, one stacked on top of the other. Once again he was the last one out and the first one in the next morning. When he arrived to work the folding chair had totally disappeared!!! He never did figure out where it went. Making this incident more interesting is the fact that one of the kitchen chairs that were stacked was sitting right in front of the refrigerator!!!
One morning he decided to take his trash out, using the private staircase since he occupied the building alone and the alarms were set. He heard loud cooking noises from the kitchen, which he thought was strange because there were no other cars parked outside. He saw no sign of anyone being in the building but he would have sworn someone was working. About a half an hour later someone did show up for work, and he never heard this person at all. In an attempt to ensure no one leaves the upstairs area when the downstairs is vacant and alarm is set, he has installed a chain over the staircase entrance upstairs. One day when he was alone the chain was swaying violently as if someone had just moved it. He often hears noises, footsteps etc when alone and has grown accustomed to it, and has never felt any kind of fear from whatever is causing all of this.
We arrived around 7:30 and were given a tour of the building by April who told us about her experiences. We started on the main floor, went to the basement, which is massive, and an area she says she seldom goes too, and then went to the third floor where we met the tenant who told us his experiences. We then divided into teams as to cover as much ground as possible. We took many photos and focused on taking as many audio recordings as possible during the two hours. We captured several Evps, including male, female, possibly a child, and even came away with possible names to further research. Trish and Brittany heard loud noises while alone in the room upstairs with the refrigerator, with audio recordings confirming. April felt very uncomfortable while sitting downstairs with Mary at a dining room table on the main floor. She kept seeing strange light coming from near a doorway and eventually got so uncomfortable that they needed to turn the lights on. We captured a recording during this time, but cannot ascertain exactly what it says. It appears to be a male voice however. While Zach and Dave were investigating the kitchen area we heard music for a few minutes. We tried to find the source, thinking it was coming from outside, but never could figure it out. It seemed to come from near the area where the apparition has been seen. Trish and Dave are certain that a door in the basement closed some time while only they were downstairs. We look forward to further investigating this fascinating site and hope a thorough research of the property will help us answer some of the many questions we have about of the building, and its former and perhaps current residents!
This one seems to say, "Don't Commit" (or is it don't come in?).
Seems to say... "Chill Out"
Seems to be a male voice at about 3 sec and then a female at about 5 sec.
Addendum, October 2012
The third floor also seemed most active this summer, with a few investigators stating they saw a shadow figure near the back stairwell. At one point, the chain at the top of the main staircase was found vibrating and rattling when no one had been anywhere near the area.
The bathroom door was also found wide open at one point, when the door had been left intentionally opened just a crack. This corroborated with experiences from the tenants.
The strangest event occurred in the upstairs room rented out by a tenant as a hair studio. The investigators found a lit candle in windowsill along the North side of the building. The candle was clearly not lit earlier in the evening as at least 6 people can attest. The door to the room was locked and the tenant had left earlier that morning. The candle was spotted lit around 8pm. The owner did not even have a key so we had to call her husband to come unlock the room so the candle could be extinguished. The owner called her tenant who told her he had been in the building that morning but had left well before noon. He stated he was sure he had never lit the candle, and certainly had not left it burning if he had. Investigators wanted to se if it was possible however that it had been going the whole time so found an identical candle and lit it to see how long it would take for the amount of melted wax in the new candle to equal that of the candle in the loft. It took only about 20-30 minutes for the wax to melt to the same level, making it impossible for the candle to have been lit for 8-10 hours.
We did a follow-up interview with the buildings owner in late October and she said it has been very active. One evening she and another individual walked in after everyone had left the building and heard a conversation in the kitchen. The ladies left the building immediately but called the cook to see if perhaps he was in the kitchen. He was apparently working at his other job when he answered.
The tenant upstairs has found child handprints on his windows and stated he has never had any children there. The owner subsequently cleaned the windows and the handprints have apparently returned!
One other recent event worth noting is the evening two teenagers went into the building on a dare but ran out of the after they felt being touched in the kitchen. Unexplainable scratches subsequently appear on the pair of frightened boys and they have not returned since.