The Ghost Research Society was the first paranormal team to investigate Rico D's on May 2, 2005!
BUILDING LOCATION: 8933 S. Archer Ave., Willow Springs, Illinois 60480.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Dale Kaczmarek, Stan Suho, Jim Graczyk, Mike Ganster, Mark & Chris Wallbruch, Alana Grelyak and Roy Baggio.
INVESTIGATION TIME: Monday, May 2nd, 2006 7 pm - 11pm.
HISTORY OF THE BUILDING: Rico D's has been several eating establishments over the years, most notably "O'Henry's 2" in the 1920s. The building reportedly has had a colorful past, holding within it walls a brothel, illegal gambling and drinking parlors, and a mob hangout. Al Capone is rumored to have been on the premises more than once. Several violent deaths (and possible on ground location burials) are reported to have occurred on the premises. One interesting feature of Rico D's is the basement's alleged underground tunnels. These tunnels lead to a number of locations including the Willowbrook Ballroom, local forest preserves, and a mausoleum (no longer existing). The tunnels have been boarded up as many of them have caved in. The building consists of four floors - the basement, main level, upper level and attic area. The building is quite possibly much older then the reported date of 1916-1919. Rico's is located on Archer Avenue, a legendary locale for ghosts.
Current owner of Rico D's is Don Kress and his family.
PRESENT DAY HAUNTINGS: The current owner has had a number of reported encounters with the supernatural. At one point he had a lengthy conversation with a presence who indicated that she was pleased with the changes he was making in the building. Other employees have reported visual apparitions as well as phantom scents and sounds. The owner states that he has had an interesting experience with the rightmost pane of glass in the attic. He states that he felt as if he were being pushed and pulled toward the pane of glass by an unknown presence. He further went on to state that the glass and frame actually fell out and hit the parking lot below but did not shatter. Only a small crack in the glass can be seen. During the preliminary and hand-held sweeps, Mark W. and Roy B. did get higher "hits" with hand-held devices on the third (rightmost) pane of glass. Further examination of the spot is needed to find it there is a logical explanation for this, i.e. electrical wiring or conduit.
There is an older story of a lady-of-the-evening's romance with a former bartender and a overly jealous gangster also interested in her. The gangster found out about this affair and waited in the basement below the stairs for the bartender to come down for more booze. He allegedly grabbed his feet, causing him to fall down the stairs and breaking his neck. From time to time, employees have caught a fleeting glimpse of a figure in an overcoat rushing up the stairs, only to disappear. The story doesn't stop there though. The gangster also allegedly beat up this hooker very badly. Sometimes a bloody woman's face appears in a mirror in a restroom.
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION/HAND-HELD SWEEPS/INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: The GRS began their investigation with a cold sweep of the building's premises. Many of the members reported odd sensations on various floors. Mark W. felt a "hot localized area" on his face in the upstairs office room and a strange unidentifiable odor, different from the other upstairs rooms. There seemed to be a much higher reading on the hand-held EMF detectors in the hallway right outside the main floor bathrooms. A large security system is installed at the back end of the hall which might explain an increase in electric fields, but it seems too far away from where the detector had an increase in the hallway. The area right in front of the security system, to about a foot away, was very "hot" but quickly died down only a couple of feet away. It was only when crossing over the doorway threshold that a sudden increase in EMF was detectable in the hallway. The increase extended the entire length of the hallway and the room opened up into the main dining hall. Dale K. experienced several electric shocks by the backdoor as well as a weird feeling in the basement near the low overhang. Roy B. experienced a feeling of unease in the basement as well as a cold spot in the ladies' bathroom. He also felt uncomfortable walking on the exposed soil outside the furnace area, stating that it was like "trying to avoid a recently covered plot at a cemetery." Roy B.'s EMF detector picked up a higher reading along the windows facing the second parking lot area. Jim G. also experienced this same feeling of unease in the basement and an 'off balance' sensation. The other members experienced nothing out of the ordinary.
PHOTOGRAPHIC/GEIST/EVP FINDINGS: Several interesting events occurred during the investigation.
POST-INVESTIGATION ANALYSIS: While we cannot definitively say that Rico D's is haunted, the investigation did reveal some interesting phenomena that should be explored further. The potential for ghosts is definitely present given the colorful history of the building. A further examination of the establishment is warranted.
RECENT UPDATES: Rico D's was renamed Frankie's Roadhouse and turned into a bed and breakfast upstairs until being shut down and now plans to reopen it as the Stag's Head Irish Restaurant and has since been renamed The Irish Legend.
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