Crown Point Jail Investigation

Date: July 26 , 2014

Location: 226 S. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307


GRS Members present: Stan Suho, Kathie Para, Marge Sucha, Michael Wright, Katherine Meagher, Sandy Weber and Dale Kaczmarek   

History: Built in 1882 in the Second Empire style, the house and jail were the county's first permanent buildings for this purpose. By 1910 the facility was inadequate and the first of a series of additions was built. 

The jail was closed in 1974 when a new facility was completed. The Sheriff's House and Jail were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. There were a total of 144 cells. The people that built the building were ship builders.

The Crown Point jail was considered to be one of the finest in Indiana and thought to be escape-proof. However, on March 3, 1934, a young gangster named John Dillinger proved it to be otherwise when he made his daring escape.

Dillinger was arrested in Tucson, Arizona in January of that year for a bank robbery in East Chicago that resulted in the death of Detective William Patrick O'Malley.  He was extradited to Indiana on January 28th and placed in the Lake County Jail in Crown Point.

Legend has it that Dillinger carved a gun from a piece of wooden washboard others say he acquired a real gun (the story varies) and forced  a trustee and others to lock up 14  jailers including the Warden and a fingerprint expert. With a fellow prisoner and two hostages, he made his escape over the state line into Illinois in the sheriff’s car that was being serviced in a garage north of the jail. The hostages were released unharmed. On July 22nd of that same year, Dillinger was shot and killed by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theatre in Chicago.

James "Fur" Sammons (alleged to be a notorious hit man for Al Capone) was known throughout gangland circles as a psychopath.  He was a career criminal from the age of 16 until he was arrested for the last time on November 6th 1933 while intoxicated in Cedar Lake Indiana.  He became a 'resident' of the Old Lake County Jail on November 6th 1933 until his conviction on November 31st of that same year.





Hauntings: A female apparition has been seen in the booking area on the stairs. In the 1928 edition, one past investigator with a backpack was slammed into the bars and her sweatshirt ha the marks of the bars on it. The last cell is creepy and tour guides don’t go inside. They say they feel “something low to the ground” that they feel might grab their ankles.

There has been past reports of the sounds of a harmonic playing. Dillinger was said to have played this instrument while a prisoner here at this jail.  Cell doors open and close by themselves and frequent reports of shadow figures throughout the building have been reported. Lights turn off and on and the sound of bars rattling have been heard. Voices and footsteps are discerned on occasion.







The Ghost Research Society investigated Crown Point Jail on  July 26, 2014. Team members included: Stan Suho, Marge Sucha, Kathie Para, Sandy Weber, Michael Wright, Katherine Meagher and Dale Kaczmarek 









Equipment setup: I did not set up any cameras due to the size and layout of the location. Plus it would have taken too long after our initial walk through of the building with staff. Mostly handheld equipment was used at each station.

Experiments performed: EVP, Ovilus X and Ghost Box sessions were performed near Dillinger’s cell, the Juvenile detention area, long hallway, 2nd Universal Room, drunk tank and the booking room at the bottom of the stairs.

Personal experiences:

Stan Suho:  A really big jail for a small town, made famous by John Dillinger and his bar of soap. It was added to over the years, giving two separate sections of cell blocks. I was impressed with the overall size of the place and number of cells. The Dillinger cell was in the rear block, right side.
    After the tour which I tapped we made our decisions on what to do. Because of the layout of the place, I chose not to set up G.E.I.S.T., but would use two IR Cameras, one being monitored at a makeshift command post. Both cameras were connected to DVRs and the one at the command post was monitored by a laptop running Audacity software. While I setup, the EVP group disappeared into the abyss. Eventually I caught up with them and trailed behind taking photos. One good picture was with Dillinger and the sheriff which Dale and I duplicated in front of the Jail. One thing I noticed when we are in Jails, I am constantly picking up the sound of banging cell doors. I don't recall hearing the sounds in real time.
Something to keep in mind. After about two hours we decided to pack up and head north.

  Except for the constant clanging of cell doors, I have nothing to report. Watch out for that last step.

Katherine Meagher: I really enjoyed the tour and the history of this Jail. The individuals that gave us the tour were wonderful an informative. Unfortunately the contamination was extreme. There is a bar next door which had loud guests. There is a loud humming from equipment upstairs. A truck was also unloading something outside, through the night. We had set up command post down stars where there was an opening that went all the way to the top floor so the echoing from command was bleeding through the hallway.

EVP session in the long section on the 3rd floor we did have some K-II fluctuation readings in the doorway of the jail cells. Listening to the recording was extremely hard with the noise from the generator that was on the 3rd floor along with the outside noise.

All in all it was a nice evening.

Marge Sucha; When we first arrived we were given a tour of the jailhouse.

We did our first EVP session on the 2nd floor outside John Dillinger's jail cell.

Other than a couple of K-II hits it was pretty quiet.    

Cell's on the third floor.  Dales meter was drained.  We did get some activity with the Ovilus X.  Kathie P. got pinched.  After about 30 minutes we were getting ready to end our session.  We all heard a loud bang and at the same time I saw a shadow in the cell in front of me.     

2nd Floor Universal Room was overall pretty quiet.  We did hear shuffling in the guard walk way area.  Unfortunately my recorder did not pick this up.  

2nd Floor drunk tank.  We were only in here approx. 10 minutes.  The Ovilus X was very active.  Sounded like help me, throw up.  When asked if they liked whiskey the reply was yes.   One investigator was referred to as an asshole.  We weren't able to make up most of the words.   

Grid Room.  This was used for fingerprinting.  Dentist would set his chair up in there.  While we were listening to the explanation of this room Kathie Para and my K-II meters were going off.  One of our investigators asked everyone to stop talking at that moment the K-II meters stopped.   

Michael Wright: Upon arriving at the jail we received a tour of the building from the facilitators. The jail housed Dillinger for a short time and there also was a popular movie that was filmed at the jail.

The EVP sessions at this location were difficult to go through because there was a significant amount of noise coming from the bar next door. In the upstairs in our EVP session a flashlight was used to ask questions. It appeared to be answering the questions by going on and off.
There were several places in the jail that had unexplained K-II spikes and temperature fluctuations but could not pick out any EVPs because of the back ground noise.
We did manage to get some entertainment from the Ovilus, which was very talkative in the Drunk holding cell.

After our last session we packed up our gear and were carrying the equipment outside when Stan fell on the stairs going outside. He broke his Femur bone and had to be hospitalized for a short time, it made for an unfortunate close to our investigation.

Am glad that Stan was able to recover because it is just not the same investigating without him.

Kathie Para: GRS members present for this investigation were Stan, Dale, Sandy, Mike, Kat, Marge and me.

Although there was contamination due to windows being broken and the building being located in a busy section of the downtown area, I believe we did get some valid audio evidence.

Things I experienced that night included: *being touched on the rear in the “log room” cell area * flashlight responses in the juvenile area *interesting Ovilus and ghost box responses in several areas *K-II activity in several areas *breathy whisper heard in a cell block *high Melmeter spikes *dizzy and disoriented feelings *odor of paint with no apparent source *noises heard in real time such as a cell door closing *several voices and cries heard on audio during review * shadows seen and an overwhelming feeling of heaviness a few times.

I feel there truly is paranormal activity in the jail and I would like to go back and explore more thoroughly.

Dale Kaczmarek: This was a vast and confusing maze of corridors and passageways, all which lead to the promise of paranormal activity. At first, the tour guides frowned upon allowing me to videotape our walkthrough until I assured them that the entire segment would never be downloaded in one lump at any time. Many times while videotaping our walkthrough, voices or even visual phenomena has been captured in the past and this was no exception. Three very extraordinary voices were captured; one in the Universal Room saying “asshole”,  another in the long hallway off of the booking room saying “who’s that” and a scream in the background while walking through the jail cells.

The Melmeter’s proximity sensor positioned in the doorway of a cell of the long hallway. That was pretty amazing as that device rarely goes off and whatever breaks the energy field emanating from the device had to be very close to the meter. The Ovilus X was extremely active in the Drunk Tank throwing out obscenities apparently from long-dead inmates.

The name James did come through the Ovilus in the Universal Room along with Frank. Was James the same James “Fur” Sammons who was once a prisoner here? Some other words that were relevant were: soap, rope and cry.

Evidence collected:

Asshole crown point.MPG – while conducting our walkthrough in the Universal Room, a loud male voice yells out, “Asshole.”

Door slam crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the long hallway, a loud door slam is heard and recorded in the background followed by one of our researchers claiming to have just seen a shadowy figure pass by.

Drunk Tank weird cry crown point.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the Drunk Tank, a weird cry is recorded in the background.

First floor yell crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP on the 1st floor, a faint distant yell is heard in the background.

Fuck you crown point.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the Drunk Tank the Ovilus says, “Fuck you!”

Grid Room cell door above crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Booking area, a door is heard slamming in the distance.

Grid Room noise crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Booking area, a noise is heard in the background.

Growl crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Booking Room at the bottom of the stairs, a growl was heard and recorded.

Hey asshole crown point.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the Drunk Tank, the Ovilus says, “Hey asshole!”

Meter go off crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Long Hallway, the Melmeter’s proximity probe suddenly begins to go off while positioned stationary in the doorway of a cell.

No crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session near Dillinger’s cell, a question was asked, “Is there any with us here now?” A whispery voice responds with, “No.”

Probably crown point.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the Juvenile Area, a question was asked, “Were you found guilty?” The Ovilus responds with, “Probably.”

Scream1 crown point.MPG – while conducting our initial walkthrough, a high-pitched scream is recorded.

Scream2 crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session near Dillinger’s cell, a question was asked, “What was that little orange ball that you just had in there?” A high-pitched scream was recorded in the background.

Scream3 crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session near Dillinger’s cell, another high-pitched scream was recorded in the background.

Scream4 crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Juvenile Area, a question was asked, “Is there an article about you?” A scream is recorded in the background.

Strange sound crown point.MPG – while conducting an EVP session, a number of strange sounds were recorded.

Who’s that crown point.MPG – while conducting our initial walkthrough, we stopped in the Booking Area near a long hallway. A loud male voice is heard shouting, “Who’s that?”

Conclusions: This location was extremely active and the kind of responses we received would be consistent of that of unhappy inmates who might still be hanging around. The walkthrough evidence was amazing along with the Melmeter’s proximity probe being set off, shadows being seen, disembodied voices, numerous EVPs and activity on the Ovilus in the Drunk Tank. It seems that most of the hotspots were indeed active for us this evening.

In the Universal Room alone in dictionary mode, the Ovilus said: natural, trace, man, Frank, all right, turning, P, cry, spell, talk, float, exit, column, less, each, James, corner, rope, wonder, soap, Buddha, dig, freeze, notice and mite.

While there was some outdoor contamination from a nearby tavern, I believe we gathered some quality evidence while here and believe most of it to be intelligent rather than residual. So, in conclusion, I believe that there may be quite a number of earthbound spirits still lingering at the old Crown Point Jail.

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