Born in 1796 in
Connecticut Ward Eldred had his eye on
The Eldred’s had waited for assurances that
Ward married his first of four wives in January, 1819 and promptly
returned to west central
Early in 1821, the
Jehosaphat Eldred and his sons William and Ward purchased
When Polly Langdon-Eldred died in October of 1822, she was buried on the
Eldred’s Farm just west of the Rainey memorial statue north of
The Center for American Archaeology suggests habitation of the future
James J. Eldred House property during the 1820’s, primarily due to the
discovery of domestic debris from that decade during the 1990’s excavations.
Deed records indicate, however, that the school board commissioner did not sell
the property until 1833, and it is likely that the 1830’s occupants owned
ceramics and pearl ware dating to the mid-to-late 1820’s. Any 1820’s
homesteaders would have been a squatter without title to the land, and such
evidence as has been discovered is from excavations made within the walls of a
The land on which the Eldred House would be built was owned by one of
the early settlers of Bluffdale, Richard Robley, and several years after his
migration with an idealistic group of New Englanders. In the late 1820’s
When Ward Eldred purchased the land in the Illinois River
Ward Eldred’s first two wives had died before he purchased the Section
16 property in 1840. He would marry twice more in the coming decade while
raising cattle and growing crops on his lands. All four wives died during
childbirth. The 1850 Census reveals Ward, at age 54, as the head of household,
which also included his son James (21) along with four younger brothers and a
seven year old sister, Evaline. The widower lost his own life in 1851 after
contracting erysipelas (acute skin disease) while driving cattle during a flood
Ward had need of such a structure, and had been gathering stone,
flooring, and shingles for this purpose. At the time of his death he owned 194
head of cattle, 70 cows, 58 calves, 30 horses, and five oxen and goats. He
sold cheese to the major market in nearby
The James J Eldred house completed in 1861 was probably the most elegant
residential structure in the region and is an important surviving example of
Greek Revival architecture transplanted to the
James and Emeline Eldred raised children, managed a farm, and regularly
hosted social gatherings. The prime years of the Eldred House were not all
gaiety and light for its owners, however. All three Eldred daughters died at
Upon Cassie Wilson’s death, the property went up for sale. Robert H.
Levis of Godfrey bought 1,517 acres for nearly $27,000. Levis
bought and sold several pieces of land in the area in the 1930’s and
1940’s, but the house and immediate property remained in his hands until 1995.
made the farm part of a budding absentee agri-business enterprise, eventually
naming it Bluffdale Farms, Inc., with on-sight tenants as managers.
Over the years the house became an informal repository for farm
equipment. The great flood of 1993, advocated the creation of an information
center and a scenic byway in the area. After three years of negotiations, a non
profit organization, The Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association (IVCHA),
was granted custodianship of the house in June, 1995. IVCHA hoped to restore the
house and use it for a visitor’s center for the area. By the time Bluffdale
family) donated the property, the building was in disrepair but the structure
itself was sound.
at GPS 39.307829, -90.548598,
Hauntings: Reports of a Native American has been sighted along the tree line due to an accidental exhuming of his grave on the property. Rocks have been thrown especially in the kitchen. Other reports include phantom footsteps, knocking on the front door, conversations between a man and a woman have been heard, giggles of a young lady, equipment getting turned off on its own, small shadows in the nursery, apparitions throughout the home and the grounds and some have been touched within the house.
The Ghost Research Society investigated the Eldred House on June 11, 2011. Team members included: Stan Suho, Sandra Weber, Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Dale Kaczmarek with Mari Bushway of Hunting Haunts and Kelly Davis of Macoupin County Ghost Hunters.
Equipment setup: A static IR camera and IR illuminator was placed on
the front porch to face into the tree line where an apparition of an Indian was
reported in the past. No other equipment was set up as there were too many
people and they were being shifted from floor to floor at regular intervals.
Experiments Performed: I conducted a short EVP session near the tree line with the Ovilus X in phonetic mode. Later two group EVP sessions were conducted in the kitchen with Rosemary and a Mini-Box and the Ovilus X. I also took digital IR and digital IR trap camera pictures. During the group EVP sessions the REM Epod was placed in the center of the room but did not react at all.
Dale Kaczmarek: While doing an initial EMF sweep with the Melmeter in the Nursery I got a 13.5mg reading in the center of the room which quickly dissipated. This was quickly followed by a 2.4mg reading near the closet of the same room. The batteries in both camcorders and full spectrum cameras were drained and the one operational camcorder battery started out with only 83 minutes of power. There were some apparent rocks thrown in various EVP sessions but can’t ascertain for sure if they were paranormal or someone in the room throwing them at this time. The dog in the yard did bark at irregular intervals for no apparent reason and twice while we were conducting an EVP session. While conducting the first EVP session I felt the sensation of either something touching the left side of my neck or my hair but can’t be sure if it wasn’t some of those centipedes dropping from the ceiling as they were literally all over the place.
Sandra Weber: Date: June 11, 2011 Time: approximately 10:00 p.m. – 3:15 a.m.
Investigator: Sandra Weber
Location: Eldred House, Eldred,
Weather: outside: mid 50’s to low 60’s, partly cloudy, waxing moon, slightly smoky near bonfire
Other Investigators Present: Dale, Stan, approximately 30 other investigators from Troy Taylor’s Midwest Conference (event hosted by Kelly Davis, President of the Macoupin County Ghost Hunters and Vice President of the Eldred House Operations)
(Canon Power Shot A720 IS set on night
EMF: (Tri-Field Natural EM Meter)
Thermometer: Infrared: FLIR
Phenomena witnessed by investigator
10:30 p.m. –1:30 a.m. I walked
throughout the house (3 floors, basement) and grounds taking photos and readings
on the Tri-Field Natural EMF meter.
1:30 a.m. –2:15 a.m. A group of
approximately 15 - 20 investigators sat in an open circle in the kitchen.
Dale Kaczmarek and Rosemary Guiley led the group.
Rosemary used a device similar to a Frank’s box in an attempt to
communicate with any entities. I
could not distinguish any clear words. Dale
used the Ovilus on dictionary and phonetic modes. Again I could not distinguish
any clear words, with the possible exception of “eight” in response to a
question about how many spirits were in the house.
At one point, a small pebble hit the investigator on her right upper arm.
She was sitting to my right. I
did not see the pebble hit her, but the investigator on her right side claimed
to have seen it hit her. The
investigator who was hit pointed to an object on the floor that she believed had
hit her. It was a pebble, approximately ½ to ¾ inches in diameter and
approximately 4 inches from the wall. I
had previously taken photos of the walls. They
did not appear to have any loose materials that could have fallen on her and
been mistaken for a pebble or rock. I
failed to take any photos of the ceiling. On
Monday, June 13, I emailed Kelly Davis to ask her about the condition of the
ceiling. Her response was as
follows: “The ceiling in most of the house is bad.
However, the room that has the rocks being thrown has a brand new roof
with only wood exposed—no plaster whatsoever.
Any other rooms besides the basement I don’t look at that as evidence.
So the rooms we say are ‘legit’ are the new kitchen and basement
rooms. Any other room could just be
gravity from the aging process.” In
a follow-up email exchange, Kelly commented that “the rocks that land within 3
feet of the wall in the kitchen I throw out.”
She said she would look for a photo of the kitchen ceiling and send it to
me. I will amend my report if I get
During the session, Dale’s Geiger Counter was audible in another room.
There were occasional clicks but spaced apart.
Several EMF detectors positioned in the middle of the circle failed to
the session, my Tri-Field Natural EMF meter was on the floor in front of me, set
to alarm if the Magnetic reading went over 1.0.
It did not alarm.
2:15 – 2:45
I participated in EVP sessions in 3 corners of the property.
No response was heard at the time, but the investigator with the recorder
2:34 – 3:15
I observed Cindy from Macoupin County Ghost Hunters use dowsing rods.
The rods were made of copper and moved inside cylinders also made of
copper. A quartz crystal was
attached with copper wire to the end of one rod.
An amethyst crystal was attached with copper wire to the end of the other
rod. The rods responded to her
questions by moving apart for “yes” and together for “no”.
She did not appear to be moving her hands or shifting her body weight.
When I asked questions, the rods did not respond.
When I asked Cindy to ask the same questions, the rods responded to her
I made no paranormal findings but am at a loss to explain the falling
pebble and dowsing rods. Eldred
House is a lovely building, and I enjoyed the opportunity to gain more
experience and meet investigators from other teams.
I am kicking myself for failing to photograph the ceilings!
Stan Suho: Well
there's really not much to report on this investigation. We were part of a
rather large group and there was no power in the house. This prevented us from
doing the usual equipment setup. However I did set up some G.E.I.S.T. devices in
the middle room. I set up the Ion Detector, Geiger Counter, and the Tri-Field on
a table. I was able to monitor them visually. The three devices were very quiet,
probably because there was no power available. I walked around the house taking
pictures. I also walked around with my Night Vision Viewer monitoring the
several groups. When not doing that I sat in on the EVP sessions conducted by
Dale and Rosemary and witnessed several stone throwings.
While nothing showed up on my instruments or my
pictures, and I have some doubts about the stones, this place has possibilities
and I think we should take up the offer to do a follow up with a full setup by
Lots of audio evidence was
collected during two live group sessions with Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Dale
Kaczmarek leading the sessions. Rosemary used a Mini-Box while Dale demonstrated
the Ovilus X. Both had interesting results.
Better.MPG when Rosemary
changed to a different scan on the Mini-Box, she asked if this were better and
the immediate response was, “Better.”
Cant.MPG a question was
asked to make the meter go off in the middle of the floor and the reply through
the Ovilus X was “Can’t.”
Cool.MPG in an attempt to get rocks thrown, Kelly said, “I’ll give you a dollar if you can do it” and the response was, “Cool.”
Get out of here.MPG a Mini-Box statement said “Get out of here.”
Give me that ball.MPG during
a Mini-Box session a comment was made that the money for throwing rocks was to be
spent to buy a ball for the next time, others were attempting to use more money
and candy to illicit more rock throwing but the Mini-Box response was plain and
clear, “Give me that ball.”
Give me that ball ENHANCED.MPG is the enhanced version of this same
Give me that ball ENHANCED.MPG is the enhanced version of this same recording.
Help.MPG a question was
asked, “Is there anyone here that wishes to communicate?” The reply on the
Ovilus X was, “Help.”
Hit the bucket.MPG Rosemary
asks, “Can you throw a rock in the center and hit the bucket?” The Mini-Box
response was, “Hit the bucket.”
Important.MPG a statement
from the Ovilus X was, “Important.”
Itseasy.MPG Rosemary asks,
“Why do you throw rocks at people?” The Mini-Box responds with, “It’s
No.MPG Rosemary asked,
“Did you turn the camera on and off?” (Referring to another researcher’s
encounter of her camera being shut off) The
Mini-box responds with, “No.”
Perhaps.MPG A question is
asked, “William, can you talk on this device?” The Ovilus X responds with,
Question about Epod.MPG
Kelly was asking the spirits to interact with the Epod and turn on the LED
lights when the Ovilus X responds with a long sentence in phonetic mode which is
unrecognizable at present. (Answer about Epod.MP3)
Skinbrown.MPG A question is
asked, “William is your skin brown?” The Mini-Box responds with, “Pink.”
Sorry.MPG A question is
asked, “Will you throw another rock for us?” The Ovilus X responds with,
Thatsme.MPG A question about
a previous session about someone who was possibly a slave is asked, “Are you
still with us?” The Mini-Box
responds with, “That’s me.”
Trouble Ovilus.MPG People
are trying to illicit a rock throwing when the Ovilus X responds with,
Trouble.MPG An earlier
session before the Ovilus trouble with the Mini-Box which responds with,
Voice1.MPG picked up on the audio track of the static IR camera positioned on the porch a female whispering voice sounds like, “Dale, help us…” and can’t make out the rest.
Voice2.MPG also picked on
audio track of camcorder a female whisper is said to say, “Hi.”
Whosasking.MPG a question is
asked about the spirits in the house and the Mini-Box responds with, “Who’s
Yes.MPG Dale asks, “Is
there money hidden in the house?” The Ovilus X responds with, “Yes.”
Conclusions: All in all, there were some interesting audio interactions both with the Ovilus X and the Mini-Box during the group EVP sessions. During the first group EVP session there were a lot more people who had IR cameras and camcorders running and we only had one small possible pebble thrown while in the second session, which was much smaller, there were much fewer cameras in operation which allows the possibility of deception or outright fraud in throwing stones. While I’m not suggesting anyone in particular, I find it highly unlikely that the all those stones were thrown by a supernatural entity within a 19 minute EVP session.
With the large group of people present, conditions were not ideal for a proper investigation as there was lots of contamination from other floors, walking around, dog barking and general movement.
I did find the place of interest especially due to its lack of power therefore no AC fields or false readings on EMF detectors. I would like to investigate this place again with a smaller group and much more equipment and cameras set up and a command center.
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