Conover Square Investigation

Date: October 30, 2015

Location: 201 N. 3rd St., Oregon, Illinois 61061

Telephone: 815-440-1772


History: Built in the early 1890s and originally housed a piano factory. Additions have continued on the building for decades. The Schaeffer Piano Company is said to have built the original building which is currently the south wing of this establishment. This was later bought by Schiller. A number of piano brands were manufactured here including; Schiller, Conover and Cable. The Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 featured a piano built at this very facility!

In the 1970s a great amount of this large 120,000 square foot building was converted into a shopping village. In 1975 it was converted into the Conover Square Shopping Mall.








Hauntings: In the attic, an apparition of an angry man has often been encountered. The sounds of someone laboring at a workbench; hammering and sawing sounds, the sounds objects falling over and bouncing have been reported. People feel as though they have been touched and numerous EVPs have been collected in the attic. A male presence has been both sensed and seen as a shadow figure. Some have said that a man was killed when he fell down the elevator shaft and that a young girl drowned in a nearby river.

The sound of a young girl has been heard giggling in the hallways and museum. Loud crashes emanate from the unoccupied third floor. Many have been touched in the basement.

The presence of a man and his laughter is sometimes encountered south hallway.




The Ghost Research Society investigated Conover Square on  October 30, 2015. Team members included: Stan Suho, Marge Sucha, Kathie Para, Michael Wright, Katherine Meagher and Dale Kaczmarek 








Equipment setup: This was a public event sponsored by Kathi Kresol and Haunted Rockford
Tours with help from Conover Square Tours.

Most of the GRS team members used hand-held equipment; however the station with Suho and Meagher had a small Command Center and demonstrated their equipment during the sessions throughout the evening.

Experiments performed: Each team conducted EVP sessions in their respective stations. Kathie and I conducted EVP, Ovilus X and Ghost Box sessions in the attic, Suho and Meagher manned a long hallway and the surrounding area and Wright and Sucha were on the main floor.

Personal experiences:

Stan Suho: This was another public demonstration type event, where we were invited to do a mini setup and have a Q & A session with the guest. The 2 story building was quite large and had been converted into a museum. The GRS was divided into three groups and each was given a different active location to set up a demo. Kat and I were assigned a small hall way leading to the washrooms, where a little girl was reported to have been seen wandering around.
Since we had no lead time a regular setup was not possible. For my mini setup, I chose to have a camera focused down the hall way, with the cables running across the room to a  table/command post. A monitor was set up with an Audacity Laptop and several hand held devices. The public came through in small groups and spent about 20 minutes in each section. I would give a short lecture on the IR Cameras, monitors, and Hand Held equipment, after which Kat would do an EVP demo followed by a Divining Rod demonstration which the group participated in. This led to several group discussions about the various equipment and techniques. At Kathy's command the group rotated to the next station.

Since this wasn't a real investigation nothing was recorded. Monitoring the screens turned up no little girl apparition. The participants did ask some good questions and a good time was had by all. The building could be a good candidate for a future investigation.

Katherine Meagher: I was working with Stan on the main floor in this public event. We were in the process of setting up before the first group came through when all the meters started going off. It was like Christmas for about 1 min. then everything stopped. I mean it went completely dead for the rest of the night. Stan is a great instructor when it comes to his electronics. He puts out a lot of information to enlighten the public. He also is really funny. I believe the groups were very informed when they got there and even more so when they left.

We had 5 groups come through our site. Unfortunately we could not get any activity with all of our gadgets put together but, people attending this event brought spirit with them. In every group somebody had someone attached to them, Aunts, Uncles, friends, Mothers, and Grandparents. What was more surprising was, there was a different investigating team hosting the haunt. Along with me, other stations of my group, and the other group did dowsing rod sessions. What was very interesting was that all the groups that did dowsing rod sessions came up with the same people with the same attachments to them. It makes you wonder about the how the dowsing rods work. The questions asked were exactly the same answers and spirit attached to the same people in all the other stations. I would have loved to sit and compare notes with the other group that was there.

There was something going on in that building though. When I got home to review my evidence everything was blank. I had my tape recorder going through the entire night. When the last group came through the recorder was still on but stuck or frozen. My camera would not shut off and I had to pop the battery out and put it back in. There was nothing on my memory card when I got home. I like to take pictures of the public groups and saw them in the screen before I went home.   I couldn’t even get my GPS to work until I was a block away from the building.

Kathie Para: GRS assisted Kathi Kresol’s Haunted Rockford with a public investigation of the Conover Square Antique Mall. This very large building was originally a piano factory. GRS members taking part were Dale, Stan. Kat, Marge, Mike and myself. There were five groups that rotated to five locations throughout the building. GRS was stationed at three. I was teamed up with Dale in the attic.

The attic is said to have the spirit of a man. Feelings of anger, sounds of someone working, objects being thrown, people being touched and shadows appearing are all reported paranormal activity in the attic.

Equipment we used during our five sessions included: digital recorders, Ovilus, Melmeter, Rem pod, and ghost boxes (both SP-7 and SP-11.)

We had a few interesting responses from the Ovilus and ghost box during the night. Noises and a ringing bell were heard in the next room and a few people, upon taking pictures there, discovered shadows on their photos.

Marge Sucha: Equipment: FLIR, SB-7 Sprit Box, Dowsing Rods, And Olympus Digital Recorder

This was a public Event.  The people were broken off into 5 groups with approx. 10 per group.  We were each assigned a station for the night.  Mike Wright and I were teamed together on the main floor.  This area is a known for pictures coming off the wall, furniture is heard being dragged across the floor from the vacant store above, a gate is heard opening and closing,  and spirits are seen. 

 One of the ladies from the first group has a shop in this area.  She claims to have a spirit of a young woman in her shop.  We did a dowsing rod session and the replies matched with her experiences. 

A gentleman in one of our groups was using the FLIR and noticed when we were doing a dowsing rod session everybody was in the purple range except for the person using rods.  He was orange in the chest/stomach area. 

Despite the fact that we didn't have a lot of activity that night, we had an interesting evening and several people had personal experiences.   

Conover Square was a fun night.  I hope sometime we can do a private investigation there.

Michael Wright: GRS hosted a public event on October 30th at Conover Square in Oregon IL.

We split up into several teams and did short sessions with different groups of people that came to investigate Conover Square.

Marge and I were together on the main floor of the antique mall we did EVP/ Dowsing Rod sessions with each group of people that came through.

Did not pick up any EVPs during the evening; however we did get some activity with the dowsing rods, in 2 of the groups the dowsing rods were responding communicating that it was deceased family members of the participants that were making the rods move.

Other than the dowsing rod sessions the rest of the evening was fairly quiet.

Dale Kaczmarek: This was an interesting building and the participants were well-behaved and quiet throughout the EVP sessions. We had to remind each group not to whisper during the EVP sessions.

The attic was a large, spooky area that was one of the most active places in the building however, our sessions were fairly quiet. I did get a 2.2 hit on my Melmeter during group #2s visit and when the Ovilus X was turned on in dictionary mode, the word it said was, “Hello” which was interesting.

During group #3s session, the Ovilus said long and restore. Both could be relevant as long was received when asked for a name and they did restore and build pianos here at one time. Someone else’s Ovilus also said, “Laborer.”

During group #4s session, the word “boat” came out and we’re not far from a river. After Kathie mentioned that there was a river nearby, “captain” was then produced through the device.

During group #5s session, the Ovilus X said “curse” which could be relevant for the angry apparition of a man often encountered in the attic area.

Nothing unusual was recorded on the static IR camcorder for any sessions.

Evidence collected:

Hello conover.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in dictionary mode during session #2, the first word out of the device was, “Hello.”

Help will you help conover.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in phonetic mode during session #5, the device said, “Help, will you help.”

Stay conover.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box during session #5, earlier a question was asked about us leaving or staying, the Ghost Box responds with a clear male voice saying, “Stay.”

The Ovilus X said the following words in dictionary mode:

Session #1: mother, happens.

Session #2: Hello, various, tide December, column and boy.

Session #3: long, alright, restore, tide (laborer on someone else’s device), you, answer and quiet.

Session #4: boat, alright, captain.

Session #5: bond, more, bomb, wheat and curse.

Conclusions: Even though this was a public event with a number of people traveling throughout the building, it was fairly quiet as far as phenomena goes. Groups were well-disciplined and some did ask thought-provoking questions, even though, most of time, no response was given.

An absolutely huge building that should be properly investigated again in the future with more cameras, a Command Center and monitors to watch other areas of the building. Well worth the trip and would not hesitate to come back again in the future.

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