The Virgil Hickox Home, Springfield, Illinois August 2011
Investigators: Dave, Trish, Zach, Brittany and Vicki
Weather conditions: warm, clear summer night.
It was about 10pm when we met Mr. Ridenour, the kindly owner of this beautiful historic home originally built in 1839. Some people may recognize that the bottom portion of this home as the famous (or infamous) historic Norb Andy's Tabarin. Both of these locations have reported paranormal activity; however our investigation this night would focus on the main house itself. We hope to have an in-depth investigation of the lower level in the near future, an exciting opportunity to explore spirits both ethereal and intoxicating.
During our initial walkthrough of the house I was enthralled with this historic, stunning building and it didn't take long before we began having unexplained phenomenon. Shortly after our arrival Dave had found the stereo on the main floor running, so he decided to turn it off. Moments later, it turned itself back on! I immediately pulled my EMF detector out and detected high readings right away. The readings lasted for only a couple minutes before they completely disappeared. When Dave turned off the stereo for the second time it remained off for the rest of our investigation. I would like it noted that it is indeed a rare event for my EMF to register readings that high. Mr. Ridenour just smiled as if he was familiar with these occurrences.
After getting most of our equipment set up, (which really didn't take too long), we decided to wait until Norb Andy's was closed for the evening to help eliminate potential audio contamination. In the meanwhile, I decided to go to the second floor and see if I could connect with Alice, a little girl that has been reported in the home. The dowsing rods seemed to indicate there was someone or something claiming to be Alice. Upon subsequent review of that digital recording we had captured a child's voice, (clearly not from the bar two floors away). Unfortunately, I can't quite make out what is being said.
When it was time to turn on the video cameras, to my dismay, the battery I had painstakingly made sure was fully charged was completely drained! Fortunately, the second battery seemed to work fine. Then, after only a few minutes, I was rather bemused to find the camera turned off?!? It seemed to function perfectly after I turned it back on. A review of that footage provided no apparent explanation for the power glitch.
When CAPS members Dave and Trish had been there a few days prior, they too had several batteries drain on them. This night was no different as Dave ran into issues with one of his flashlights. After going through several changes of batteries, he assumed his flashlight must have broken. Just seconds after he left the front room however, Trish and I watched as his flashlight suddenly turned back on all by itself.
Zach and Brittany had to leave about 1:30am, and at that point Dave went outside to take some pictures. Trish was investigating on the main level and I was on the 2nd floor. At that point, Trish heard an extremely loud noise that sounded like rattling dishes. She came upstairs looking for me, but unfortunately I was wearing my earphones and didn't hear the noise. It was captured on our recorders and one of the video cameras; it certainly was loud! We were unable to trace the source of this sound, but believed it came from the bar area below, even though this was well after closing time. Soon after, a shrill sounding alarm went off and scared us all...let's just say some of the words that came spewing out of CAPS members would have made a sailor blush!
At one point, Trish felt a cool breeze of air as she was ascending the main staircase; at the top of the stairs Dave felt it too. I was on the second floor a few feet away from Dave and I felt a serious cold chill that gave me goose bumps! I must say it actually felt quite refreshing as it was rather warm that evening!
As our investigation was winding down, Trish mentioned that shrill noise we had all heard previously, wondering aloud what it could have been. We didn't have long to wait before there it was again as loud as before. After more blushing sailors, we never did track down that noise.
Once we had packed up our equipment, we began our final walkthrough; suddenly Dave's phone started playing music. He was baffled by this because he didn't seem to think he had ever programed it to do that! At that time, he also started to have some problems with change falling out of his pocket. Listening back to this recording, whether it was due to paranormal activity or not, Dave certainly seemed a bit anxious! From an investigators point of view, I cock my eyebrow up with interest. From a colleague's point of view it was hilarious!
This was certainly one of my most fascinating investigations to date. Between the battery drainage, things turning on and off, higher than normal EMF detector and K2 meter readings, and all the unexplained sounds; it was certainly a very fruitful investigation.
Although we captured no video evidence on our camcorders, we did capture many of the unexplained sounds and some EVPs on the digital recorders. Dave also took this intriguing photo (shown below) by the staircase where we all felt that cool breeze. It appears to be the size of a child and happens to be in the same location where my EMF detector had gone off earlier that evening.
We took several pictures outside as we were leaving and in two of those photos there is an unexplained light in one of the windows. The question remains, was that a spirit beacon of light trying to guide us back to them or were they simply having a big party now that we were gone!
Photo Taken from Top of Stairs
Dave talking on the Staircase, Intruding?
First floor, recorder by itself, "Where are they?"
Vicki talking to Alice...
Final walkthough, Dave asking "Let us know you're here?"