Vinegar Hill Mall, Springfield, Illinois February 2012
Investigators: Dave, Dan, Wayne, Joe
Weather: 30 degrees
The Vinegar Hill Mall complex is located on the corner of Cook and First streets just about four blocks south of the Capitol building in the historic Vinegar Hill neighborhood of Springfield Illinois. The building, built in the early 1900's, originally housed the Edwards and Chapman Laundry. After they left, it was renamed as the Vinegar Hill Mall and has been occupied by a variety of businesses and is still actively used today. The name Vinegar Hill is an 18th century phrase, commonly associated with districts where the fermentation of local crops gave off that distinctive aroma.
Having investigated this location on several occasions, Dan was our main contact for this assessment. We were joined by his friends Joe and Wayne rounding out our all male team. I remarked how this was probably a good idea as perhaps the CAPS women would have been a bit too preoccupied with the idea of spending an entire night at a mall!
It was about seven when we assembled at Dublin's Pub, one of the main tenants of the complex. We started in Dublin's back rooms including the private banquet hall upstairs. During one of his previous visits, Dan told of how they had suddenly heard a huge crashing sound emanating from a storage closet located at the southern end of the upstairs bar. When they entered that room, they found a huge round table lying on the floor apparently shoved underneath a fairly large desk. This was remarkable as when they had been there just moments before, that table was standing on its edge near the door. It seemed improbable that same table now had this desk sitting on top of it.
When I examined the area I found this windowless room to be fairly large for a closet. It was filled with boxes and various pieces of furniture one might expect to find in the storage room of a bar. It would have been easier to evaluate had any of us been able to find the light switch.
Upon returning to the first floor, our tour moved across the hallway to the Pizza Machine, one of the other primary business tenants. This area of the facility is also a multilevel establishment including an old glass-walled elevator that takes patrons between the upper and lower levels. This elevator is perhaps the most famous haunt in the mall. Almost all the employees have reported that this elevator will go up and down on its own. No one has determined the cause for this, however, the claim is that it only seems to occur at night. This is also the area of the mall where there have been several reports of a lurking shadowy figure, and where Dan's daughter took the fascinating picture shown below.
Dan ended our tour by taking us to the west hallway of the mall populated mainly by small shops. The activity reported in this area includes people seeing full body apparitions in period clothing. While we waited for the final occupants to clear the facility, we set up our video cameras and did a short EVP session.
It wasn't until after nine that the place had finally cleared out and we could begin our hunt in earnest. We began in the back staircase near the old boilers and wine storage area. Almost immediately Dan and I both heard a voice. We instantly reviewed it on our digital recorders and confirmed what sounded like a fairly loud whispery male voice.
We then took the stairs up to Dublin's banquet area for a group EVP session. During that time we all heard strange noises and whispery voices. Twice within a minute we captured EVP voices that Dan and I both heard.
Returning to that infamous storage area, to our great surprise, the lights were turned on. We looked around the room, this time with better illumination than our flashlights, but were still unable to find the light switch.
On our way back downstairs we found a small semi-hidden room, which appeared to be an access way to the wine storage area. After entering, both Wayne and I felt a very cold sensation. Wayne decided to do some mild provoking at that point and we captured an incredible EVP that seems to be saying "slap your face off"!
Shortly after, Joe had to leave, so I decided to sit in the main first floor area of Dublin's alone. On those recordings I seemed to have captured what appear to be soft whispery children's voices. I was the only one in the pub at that time as Dan and Wayne were in another part of the building.
We then decided to concentrate our efforts by the elevator area. I moved my video camera to the third floor elevator landing, then the remaining two investigators and I sat in the closed elevator listening and watching with our digital recorders. Three times the elevator shook as if it were getting ready to move. At one point the door actually opened on its own. We heard sounds and voices while inside the elevator, but it remained on the first level the entire time.
To wrap up the investigation I moved the multispectral camera to the hallway on the west side of the mall. There has been reports of a full body apparition seen here on numerous occasions. Unfortunately I did not capture anything on my video surveillance.
We did a final walk through of the entire building before calling it a night. Dan again got a very bad feeling this time in the upstairs banquet area hallway of Dublin's. We checked on the opened the door of that mysterious storage room of course and this time the light was once again off, almost as though something was toying with us.
I've continued to attempt further research on the history of this location but unfortunately found very little information. I will update this report with any additional information when I find any.