The GRS was among the first paranormal teams to ever to investigate Camp Douglas on May 5, 2013!
Camp Douglas which was located on the south side of Chicago became a place of brutal misery to the Confederate prisoners imprisoned there. Stories of rat infested overcrowded conditions circulated through the southern newspapers during the Civil War. And the camp soon earned the name it would later come to be known by, “Eighty Acres of Hell ".
It is now estimated that 6000 plus men died at Camp Douglas of scurvy, smallpox, and starvation. The camp was closed down in the summer of 1865 and the remaining prisoners were made to take an oath of loyalty to the United States and set free. The camp was officially closed in November of 1865 and the buildings were torn down shortly after.
Governor Yates put Colonel Joseph H.
Tucker, commanding the 60th Regiment, Illinois State Militia, in charge of
building the camp. Yates also appointed Tucker as the camp's first commander.
State militia troops called the Mechanics Fusiliers, who were apprentice and
journeyman carpenters, built the barracks in October and November 1861. These
troops mutinied on December 18, 1861 when the State of Illinois tried to press
them into service as infantry upon completion of their work on Camp Douglas. The
State further aggravated them by paying them less than they believed they were
promised for their work.
Regular troops had to suppress the rioting construction troops and restore order
to the camp. After the Mechanics Fusiliers repaired damage that they had caused
to a fence, they were allowed to return home.
By November 15, 1861, Camp Douglas
housed about 4,222 volunteer soldiers from 11 regiments. In an ominous preview
of the effects of living at the camp on the future prisoners, the recruits, who
were in better physical condition than the later prisoners, suffered forty-two
deaths from disease by February 1862. About 40,000 Union Army recruits arrived
at the camp for outfitting and training before the camp was permanently
converted to a prisoner of war camp. Colonel Tucker's job as camp commander was
not easy even before the camp was converted to a prison camp. He had to use
increasingly hard measures to curb considerable drunk and disorderly conduct by
recruits in camp and in the city of Chicago, where the soldiers abused pass
By the end of 1864, the Official
Records showed that 2,235 prisoners had died at Camp Douglas but Levy states
this may be 967 short of the true figure. Another 867 died in 1865, making it
the worst short period for mortality of prisoners at the camp. The official
death toll at Camp Douglas has been put at 4,454. Others have estimated that
from 1862 through 1865, more than 6,000 Confederate prisoners died from disease,
starvation, and the bitter cold winters (although as many as 1,500 more were
reported as "unaccounted" for), based in part on an 1880's memorial in
Chicago's Oak Woods Cemetery which states that 6,000 Confederate dead (4,275
known dead) are buried there in a mass grave. On the other hand, it was
discovered that unscrupulous contractors buried some crude empty coffins in the
relocated graves to increase their profits.
In the aftermath of the war, Camp
Douglas eventually came to be described as the North's ""
for its poor conditions and death rate of between seventeen and twenty-three per
cent, even though the death rate was lower than at Andersonville and its
conditions were better.
An exact accounting of the number of prisoner deaths at Camp Douglas is now
impossible, but despite arguments for a higher number, the best estimates, which
place the number of deaths at about 4,454 and the percentage of prisoners who
died at the camp at about 17 percent, appear to be reasonably accurate.
condominiums fill most of the site where Camp Douglas stood. For many years, the
Griffin Funeral Home built on the site maintained prisoner records and a
The African-American funeral home, located at 32nd and King Dr., was
initially founded by Ernest Griffin who died in 1995. From then until the
funeral home closed, it was being run by Alyce Griffin, who was 89 when the
business closed December 31, 2007.
Located at: within Lake Meadows Park, 3117 S. Rhodes Ave., Chicago, IL
Hauntings: It was not long before the tales of Confederate ghosts on and around the former prison camp site started. People over the years have quite often reported screams of pain and cries of help coming from the area where the prison camp once stood. Many times over the years people have claimed to smell the horrible smell of bodies decaying in the area. The sound of men marching is quite often reported.
Today the Lake Meadows Condominiums are now located where the prison camp used to be and the tales of paranormal activity continue. People who now live at the Lake Meadows Condominiums claim to hear men talking inside their units and some have claimed to see the ghosts of men in ragged clothing. A one armed man dressed in a ragged confederate uniform has been seen inside the condos of several different residents. Over the years construction projects in the area have uncovered many graves of Confederate dead. And every time a grave is disturbed the level of paranormal activity goes up.
setup: A Command Center was set up along with four
infrared cameras facing in different directions. A REM Epod was deployed near
one of the excavation sites and Stan ran a wi-fi for an audio setup.
The Ghost Research Society investigated Camp Douglas on May 5, 2013. Team members included: Stan Suho, Sandy Weber, Kathie Para, Jim Piscopo, George & Vaune Martens and Dale Kaczmarek, This event was sponsored and assembled by Len Dorman.
& Vaune Martens: The evening investigation was preceded
by a presentation. George Levy author of To Die in Chicago gave a brief slide
show and overview of the history of Camp
Douglas. The following is copied from the book jacket: "The
investigation site was a public park, boarder by a school to the north. Train
tracks to the east. Apartments/Condo’s to the south and west. The park was
closed to visitors after
. The GRS set-up on the south-west side of the park near a tree with a small
hole at its base. In this location a
trigger object had been set-up. The
“Wooden Mule” was a torture device – simplistic in its design, pure evil
in its results. A thin wooden plank was suspended across two saw horse like
supports. The prisoners were sentenced to ride the wooden mule – straddling
the thin plank for hours, usually with weights added to the legs. Many passed
out and few were able to walk afterwards. Near
the trigger object was a small patch of ground – where an archeological dig
resulted in the unearthing of some camp artifacts – belt buckles- buttons etc.
A second dig site was west of this near the street side of the park. We set up
my IR camera facing east across the first dig site. Two other cameras shot the
same location one facing the north and the other facing west. Another monitoring
station was setup further north in the field – facing south.
team began scanning the area with EMF devices. I used my K-II Meter and
immediately, began getting high readings. Other members were having similar
results. I began walking a grid. George marked off my steps – we eventually found the pattern following a line to a gas main that George
found earlier. We also found cross lines every 10-20 feet. Unfortunately with so
many “natural” readings, the EMF meters were of little use in this area.
George also used his Cell Phone App to show all the available WiFi … The place
was loaded with WiFi activity most likely from all the apartments and condos.
Team began an EVP session on the first dig site. Dale began by using the Ovilus. The battery drained almost immediately. Dale switched to the ghost box.
The session didn’t seem to be having any paranormal activity, but a review of
the recordings may prove otherwise. Dale switched out the batteries on the
Ovilus and again they drained. Could this be an entity trying to manifest?
next EVP session was held on the second dig site. Dale began with the Ovilus. I seemed to work a bit better in this location.
We also used the Ghost Box in this location.
I did not take notes during the sessions so I’m not sure what responses
occurred at with location, but one question was asked – Who is the president
and the response was Jackson. Another asked for a name and the
answer was Rose – something. The readout on the Ovilus was fragmented –
the Last name was too long to show on the screen. Again review of the recordings
may shed more light.
using her FLIR (Thermal Imaging) device and noted a Cold Spot in front of the
tree. I walked over to the area and moved around until I was near the spot she
was seeing. I didn’t feel a cold spot, but a breeze area about waist high. The
temperature was reading a 2 degree difference, but it was constant and at the
same height throughout that location. I concluded that I was feeling a natural
breeze way. I do not believe the natural breeze way, was what Sandy
was picking up on the FLIR, because she was seeing a spot. And I was getting
the -2 degree reading in a straight path about 10 feet long at waist height.
I do not know what the FLIR was picking up.
did one final EVP session on the other side of the tree. Dale had been getting
some readings off the Belfry Bat Detector in this area.
Again we had some equipment issues. Sandy’s FLIR locked up. I
recorded this session and will update this report after reviewing the evidence.
evening’s investigation was not filled with over whelming personal
experiences. The area was very noisy, lit by street lights, with lots of traffic
and train noise. It will be difficult to review the audio, but I’m not so sure
we didn’t have some activity. With all the equipment issues and the few
obvious responses to EVP questions I look forward to the review to see if we do
have any hard evidence. On a personal note I was very excited to be a part of
the first ever investigation of
Final conclusion pending review of evidence. I have one EVP session to review,
the footage from the IR Camera and pictures from my digital camera. I forgot to
mention that one of the equipment failures was my film camera I believe I have
one photo, before it stopped working. I will send it in for development.
because we were outside in a public area I have to discount many of the sounds
on the tape. I do have a few sighs on the tape that I have to discount as well.
I’m pretty sure they are fellow GRS members, but you never know…..
Tossing that aside the only direct evidence comes from the Ovilus.
I’m not sure what to make of the session, initially I thought I really
didn’t have any evidence, but then after reviewing it a second time I realized
that we were getting responses to questions, even if the answers didn’t make
sense. The timing of the response seems to be in line with the questions. A
couple is relevant to the questions. Here is a brief summary:
the time to talk to us…….. STIRRED (Ovilus)
you have anything you want to tell us? ……. You
hear static coming from Stan’s equipment on the table a few feet away.
are here tonight to try and make contact with you- Now’s the time…..The
static gets louder
that you trying to tell us something……. DIGITAL (Ovilus)
you tell us what you’re doing here...ALONG (Ovilus)
you messing with Sandy’s FLIR...COMMUNICATE (Ovilus)
heard there were a lot of punishments at this camp, can you tell us about
them…… TWO (Ovilus)
you please tell us your name….Rose Lin-----? (Ovilus) The Ovilus truncated the last name/word so we do not know what LIN stand
for. Also I noticed that the Ovilus seemed to respond before or about the same
time as the question was asked.
Note: The word was Rose Line.
that your wife...Are you a women or a child...Is your name Rose…. WED (Ovilus)
you miss Your Wife...MAP (Ovilus) We all
had copies of a Map of Camp
ended the EVP session when Sandy’s FLIR showed a cold spot moving slowing in
front of the tree.
Evidence: IR Camera
reviewing the tape we found no evidence of paranormal activity. The area was to
public with traffic noise, people talking, and wind contaminating the audio. The
visual is contaminated with street lights, people walking about and car lights
throwing all kinds of shadows. The bunny hopping around in the background was
cute, but not paranormal.
found no evidence of paranormal activity on any of the photos.
Film Pictures: 35MM Cannon
found no evidence of paranormal activity. The camera malfunctioned – the film
Conclusion: The investigation did not produce any major evidence of paranormal activity. However there seemed to be a few incidents that could point in that direction. The overwhelming equipment malfunctions throughout the evening- was this just a strange coincidence or was something trying to use the energy from the equipment to manifest? The Ovilus during EVP sessions appears to be responding to questions, even though some of the responses were odd, the timing, lead us to believe they are response. The history of the area combined with the few incidents described above, makes it impossible to say –no there is no activity. George & I personally believe this investigation should be tagged as inconclusive, but feel that the Camp Douglas area warrants a second look, and would love to give it another try.
Para: I attended the first-ever paranormal investigation
of this site with several members of our group. The location was once part of
the 80 acre Army Camp Douglas that also housed several thousand Confederate
prisoners of war during the civil war. The prisoners were treated so badly that
some 4,000 died. Record keeping of these poor souls deaths were pretty much
non-existent. The biggest area of the Camp
site now houses condos, town homes and businesses. We investigated the Lake
set up cameras in various locations. Other equipment used by the team included
audio recorders, a flare camera, digital cameras, Melmeters, Ovilus and a ghost
box. Throughout the night we had several malfunctions of our equipment such as
batteries draining and cameras shutting off. Sandy’s FLIR camera would not
allow her to take a picture while she was tracking something cold and circular.
We could not find the source of this. She also could not turn the camera off no
matter how she tried. There was also a trigger object placed in the area, a
replica of the wooded “mule” that was used as a horrible punishment for the
did EVP session is both of the excavation sites with some curious results. The
ghost box seemed to give us the best results. There was also an area that had
strange infrared readings that we chose for EVP session.
outdoors and in close proximity to Lake Shore Drive made for a lot of noise
contamination. It was also windy during part of the night.
did, however get some interesting evidence. Specifically for me, recordings I
believe were communication through the ghost box and Ovilus.
since this was the first time this place was investigated, we were eager to do
it. The weather held up for us (no
rain) but it was a bit chilly. Since this wasn’t going to be a normal
investigation, different techniques would be used. G.E.I.S.T. was not setup and
there would be no cables running hither and yon. Instead a wireless TV link was
setup using Stan's Cantennas to send the signals back to the makeshift command
This functioned fine until my Sony
IR Camera started to act up. At the command post everything was recorded on a
DVR and Laptop running Audacity.
When not busy at the command post
I was walking around taking IR pictures of the EVP sessions. Since this was a
With a limited setup and shorter
investigating time I had less media to review. Nothing showed up on any of my
media. As usual we could have used more cameras and more crew to give us better
coverage of the entire camp. A follow up investigation would be in order but
during warmer months. I think the cold weather just saps the spirit out of
everyone, both investigators and investigatees.
Piscopo: The night started with a brief history by George
Levy. After that we set up some equipment. I set up my night shot camera facing
Weber: Date: May 4-5, 2013
Time: approximately 7:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Location: grounds of
the former Camp Douglas, 3117 S. Rhodes Avenue, Chicago, IL
Weather: outside: low
40’s to upper 50’s, partly cloudy, dry, waning moon, somewhat dark except
for lights in the park outside the area where we were stationed and lights in
Present: Dale Kaczmarek, Stan Suho, Vaune Martens, George Martens, Kathie Para,
Video camera set
on night shot
(Tri-Field Natural EM Meter)
witnessed by investigator
Approximately 7:00 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
setting up, George Levy, author of To Die in Chicago, gave a presentation on
Camp Douglas, consisting mainly of a slide show and question/answer session in
a city park that covers much of the old camp site.
The presentation highlighted the poor record keeping at the prisoner of
war camp which failed to account for the burial of a huge number of prisoners
who died at the camp, mainly from disease in the overcrowded, unhealthy
environment, in spite of efforts to improve sanitation.
the presentation we set up our equipment in an area that was part of the former
parade grounds. I set the Tri-Field
Natural EM Meter on “electromagnetic” and took readings throughout the area.
Since the meter is very sensitive to movement, I held the meter at
arm’s length and braced against my body, stopping every few paces to allow the
needle to settle down before taking a reading.
I had one interesting spike to 4.0, which remained in that area for about
15 seconds but no further spikes. Several
more times throughout the investigation I repeated my measurements but found
nothing above 0.5.
walked the area with my night shot camera, but even though I was using an
ultraviolet/infrared light attachment, I found the video to be too dark to be of
of my time was spent using the FLIR, particularly during EVP sessions, when I
continually scanned a circle around the group gathered for the sessions.
At one point, Dale pointed to an area where he had a positive reading on
the “ghost radar,” but I was unable to detect a difference in temperature in
that area. I attempted to take photos with the FLIR but later in the
investigation, the FLIR was unable to take photos due to the cold.
I do not think that the cold compromised my ability to read temperature
differences with the FLIR because occasionally I detected a rabbit, sometimes
two rabbits, at a distance of approximately 200 feet from the area where
equipment was set up. The rabbits
never came close to us. Actually, I
found it odd that there were not more animals in the vicinity, given that we
were set up in a park. Since we were
probably displacing wild animals from their nests or grazing/hunting areas, I
would have expected more animals to be hovering near the periphery of the area
we were investigating, waiting for us to leave.
However, I do not know enough about the numbers and habits of wild
animals in the area to draw any conclusions.
area was quite noisy. There were
railroad tracks adjacent to the park, and a night crew was making repairs.
A noisy expressway (South Lake Shore Drive) and street (31st
Street) were nearby. Occasionally
people walked past the park, and there were homes nearby.
Rolls of film used:
Audio tapes used:
Video tapes used:
Number of Psychic
Number of EVP
Phenomena captured in
I made no paranormal findings.
Investigator initials: SJW
Digital.MPG while conducting an EVP session near the Command Center, Stan’s wi-fi
begins to act up and make noise. A question was asked, “Is that you trying to
tell us something?” The Ovilus says, “Digital.”
Fight.MPG a whispery voice is heard in the background saying, “Fight.”
a problem.MPG right after I had numerous battery problems with the Ovilus, a
Ghost Box session was attempted and the first phrase out of the Ghost Box was,
“Got a problem.”
hurts.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session, “It hurts” comes
Jackson.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session, a question was asked, “Who is the
current president of the United States?” The Ghost Box responds with,
camp.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session, a question was asked, “Did
you die here in this prison camp?” The Ghost Box responds with, “prison
Line.MPG while conducting on Ovilus session a question was asked, “Can you
please tell us your name?” The Ovilus responds with, “Rose Line.”
Sigh.MPG while conducting an EVP session near the Command Center, a question was
asked, “Are you messing with Sandy’s FLIR?” A sigh is heard in the
Sigh2.MPG Jim Piscopo’s static IR camera picks up what sounds like a sigh followed
by the sound of grass crunching underfoot.
Sweet.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session, a comment made, “The war is long
over.” The Ghost Box responds with, “Sweet!”
States.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session, a question was asked,
“Tell us who the President of the United States is right now?” The Ghost Box
responds with, “United States.”
voices.MPG whispery voices are heard in the background but they are hard to
Whistle.MPG Jim Piscopo’s static IR camera picks up the sound of someone whistling
followed by a strange streak of light.
Yeah.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session, a question was asked, “Anybody from
the 14th Kentucky Calvary here tonight?” The Ghost Box instantly
responds with, “Yeah.”
I found this to be an interesting investigation on a somewhat chilly Chicago
evening by the lakefront. The area to be investigated was actually quite small
but claims were interesting and some of the responses from the Ghost Box seemed
to indicate that those responding still believed that they were in the time
period of the former prison camp. We did not get the chance to travel to the
other locations like the site of the former barracks, latrines or the smallpox
hospital due to not wanting to leave our equipment completely unattended and we
weren’t informed that the group was leaving. Interesting equipment hits
included high infrasound readings, inexplicable FLIR contacts and other EMF
I believe that many people nearby are probably experiencing some form of paranormal phenomena from the old prison camp whether they be living in the nearby apartments or just drive-by or drop-in friends. Those who died and suffered there probably still haven’t moved on or are emotionally attached or earthbound to this location to this day.
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