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Ghost Stories, Exorcisms and Other Scary Tales

The Crenshaw history of the mansion portrays it as the warm family home of one of the state`s earliest business, political and church leaders. In that version, children frolic on the lawn and pies cool on the windowsills. George Sisk`s version forgoes the Rockwellian images and summons up mayhem more fitting of Edgar Allan Poe. [3]Ever since the Old Slave House opened as a tourist destination in the late 1920’s, visitors began reporting strange noises coming from the third floor such as whispers, singing, and moving chains. Those that spent time in the attic have also experienced the sensation of being touched by invisible hands or the feeling of being watched by shadowy figures.  [1]Soon after, self-described exorcist Hickman Whittington from Benton, IL, visited the house where he allegedly witnessed ghosts of the dead slaves. Although in perfect health before his visit, Whittington later became ill and died the same night, according to the American Ghost Society webpage. [2] This claim however, has been disputed.

Another tale took place a few decades later, where two Vietnam veterans, challenged to stay overnight in the attic, ran out of the house screaming in fright. They reported being surrounded by ghostly shapes and non-human figures.  [2]After a small fire broke out from an overturned lantern, then-owner George Sisk halted any visits to the house. It wasn’t until 1978 that he allowed a reporter from Harrisburg named David Rodgers to spend the night in the attic as a Halloween stunt for a local television station. The reporter managed to beat out nearly 150 previous challengers and became the first person to spend the night in the slave quarters in more than a century. Rodgers later admitted that he was ‘queasy’ going into the house and also said that his experience in the attic was anything but mundane. He heard many sounds that he could not identify and later, he would discover that his recorder picked up voices that he himself could not hear. [1]These reported hauntings caught the attention of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who in a 1978 tabloid described their visit to the house as “the most demoniacal place” they had ever visited.  [3]The amount of reported paranormal experiences at the house has been overwhelming, and also led to problems with trespassing over the years, especially around Halloween time.  [4]

[1]www.prairieghosts.com/slave.html

[2]https://dailyegyptian.com/42655/archives/there-are-places-throughout-southern-illinois-with-dark-histories-unspoken-pasts-and-skeletons-in-the-closets-at-the-top-of-hickory-hill-near-equality-stands-an-old-house-that-not-only-has-skeletons/

[3]http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991-07-08/features/9103170871_1_mansion-slave-house-tourist/3

[4]http://thesouthern.com/news/local/future-of-crenshaw-house-or-old-slave-house-in-question/article_40effc33-b49f-564e-a733-249c7324478d.html

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