Born in 1796 in
Connecticut Ward Eldred had his eye on Illinois
while it was still a territory. He and his cousin Swift traveled by foot from
their home in
The Eldred’s had waited for assurances that Illinois
would not enter the union as a slave state before committing themselves to
moving west. A letter from
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
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 Smead 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
moved and started a grocery business in
Carrolton later in 1880, and the Eldred’s began to sell land the following
year. George Garretts bought 40 acres in Section 17 that year. In March 1883,
floods sent many bottom dwellers away from the area and threatened crops. The
Eldred’s still retained their reputation as social hosts, receiving attention
in April for another successful party, but as with several other land owners in
that area, 1883 represented a diminishment of their agricultural efforts at
Bluffdale. James J. Eldred, Jesse Flatt, Roswell Flat, Ellen Hermans, and Anton
Brichge all had “significant chunks of land” seized, presumably for debt.
Albon E. Wilson gave up the grocery trade as he became engaged to the wealthy
Cassie Robertson. He purchased title to farmland including the majority of
Eldred’s in April, 1883.
Upon Cassie Wilson’s death, the property went up for sale. Robert H.
Levis of Godfrey bought 1,517 acres for nearly $27,000.
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.
Address: GPS 39.307829, -90.548598,
Owners: Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Society
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.
Cindy Moss’s husband was hit
by a rock the first time he entered the building. The ghost of Alma, who was the
daughter of Emeline, has been
reported here along with a young black boy named William who likes to throw
rocks at people. There have been reports of whole pecans being thrown and doors
Master Bedroom or James’
Office: water bottles have been thrown here in the past. While we were doing the
initial walk-through there was some K-II activity here.
Dining Room: in the past when
investigators have brought food into the building and consumed it here, activity
Women’s Parlor: a picture of
Ward Eldred sits on the mantle. There have been reports in the past of a ghost
in front of the fireplace that walked out of the room. The apparition had no
Gentleman’s Room: somewhere in
the past a local farmer stored corn in this room and the floor collapsed into
the basement. K-II activity happened while we were in this room. Even in 1956
when the last of the families lived here, there was no floor. A traveling
salesman died in this room. Reports of knocking on the door and when
investigators try to ask questions about the door knocks, they get no responses.
Master Bedroom: many people get
dizzy or experience what is often described as a fun-house effect while entering
the room. There are many toys, marbles and other trigger objects on the mantle.
One time some marbles were placed on the floor for the spirits to interact with
and later when investigators came back, they found those marbles had been moved
and were now back on the mantle! Cameras and tape recorders left in the room are
often turned off and rocks skip across the floor.
Nursery: sometimes also referred
to as Alma’s Room there is often interaction with the toys and balls that have
been placed on the floor. Balls sometimes roll and spin around on the floor
without being touched. An apparition of a little girl was actually photographed
in the window of this room.
In another upstairs room an
apparition of a women dressed in a red dress has been seen in the past. This
woman has been seen both in the Blue and Yellow Rooms.
Ava’s or Alice’s Room:
during our initial walk-through, someone in our group had their butt grabbed by
something unseen. We also heard
thuds and the sounds of running feet nearby.
Attic: a very dizzy and nauseous effect overcame almost our entire group when we visited this area. A face of a lady has been seen looking into one of the windows. She is described as middle-aged and wearing a hat. Investigators who come here should include questions about music or dancing.
Equipment setup: Mostly hand-held equipment was used including
digital recorders and camcorders, Ovilus X, Melmeter, Tri-Field Natural EM
Meter, Mini Portal, Phasma Box, IR illuminators and digital cameras.
Experiments performed: EVP, Ovilus X and Phasma Box sessions were
conducted in the Kitchen, Dining Room, Nursery, Master Bedroom, Attic and
outside by the wall where the body of a Native American Indian was accidentally
dug up. Meagher also attempted to communicate with the possible ghosts of
children in the Nursery while reading passages from the book Alice
The Ghost Research Society investigated Eldred House September 22, 2018. Team members included: Barbara Meagher, Marge Sucha, Katie Para, Mike Rosario and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Tim Schmudlt and Melissa Johnson from Ghost Head Soup
Barbara Meagher: First investigation was done in the Kitchen where a
23 minute EVP session was done. No EVPs heard on digital recording.
Another EVP session was
conducted by this investigator and others in the Dining Room. This investigator
recorded for 12 minutes, no evidence found.
An 18 minute EVP session was
then conducted in the Nursery. Several trigger objects and singing of
children’s songs, and reading of a children’s book were implemented. No
findings on the recording.
Lastly and EVP session was
conducted at the back wall of the property. This investigator recorded for 8
minutes no EVPS heard.
Kathie Para: GRS members
present were: Dale, Mikey, Marge, Barb and me. We were joined by Ghost Head Soup
members Tim and Melissa.
With EMF meter in hand, Cindy, one of the caretakers of the building,
gave us a lengthy tour complete with the history and at times responses from
resident spirits on her meter. There were times when our various meters also
We did several EVP sessions throughout the night using several types of
equipment. The Phasma Box and the mini portal gave us the most success by far. I
have included many audio clips I recorded in this report. Many of them were in
direct response to us.
By far the two areas in the house that struck me as the most active, as
far as physically affecting me, were the Master Bedroom and the Attic.
The Master Bedroom had a heavy, creepy feeling. I actually felt it before
I even crossed the threshold to the room. I could feel very cold air swirling
around my legs during most of our time in there. I also caught a glimpse of a
shadow in the hallway outside the room.
Many of us felt dizzy and off kilter as soon as we entered the Attic. So
much so, that we cut our time short there. It was crazy!
The Eldred House definitely has a lot of paranormal activity going on. I
would love to return and spend more time there.
Rosario: I would have to put this investigation very high
on the list of paranormal exploring for sure. This place was
absolutely phenomenal in every way possible. Dating back to its roots in
1861, the house has lived through so much, even a Civil War. I've always
wanted to investigate this building for so incredibly long, and I am so thankful
that our group had a chance to do it. Many thanks to Kelly Davis and
her team for making this all possible for us! The following
information/incidences that had happened at this location over the years
include: Rocks being thrown in the kitchen room (William-child entity), picture
frames breaking, as well as bottles being thrown inside the bedroom. Other
various mischievousness incidents that have been noted to take place
here as well. I believe it was said that all of the James J. Eldred
girls died inside the house: Alma, Alice, Ava, and Emeline. A traveling
salesman is said to have passed away there, and also haunts the house as
well. It definitely has had its share of fascinating history for sure.
took off at approximately 8:30pm on Saturday, September 22, 2018.
Weather was warm, and cooled throughout the night. We had a slight breeze,
and the sky was clear and calm. Equipment used was my K-II meter, a Philips
Digital Voice Recorder, a Sony Super Night Shot Handy-Cam DCR-TRV13 NTSC 560
Digital Hi-8 20X Optical Zoom video camcorder, a Police Security Elite Blackout
615 Lumen Hands-free Heavy Duty Flashlight, Sony Handy-Cam HDR-XR160 AVCHD 42xEZ
video camcorder, a Fujifilm FinePix A-340 4.0mp digital camera, and a handheld
green laser grid device. We were guided by a lady named Cindy to
investigate several haunted locations within the house and grounds. Afterwards,
we first began investigating in the kitchen area. This is where a
prominent child entity by the name of William likes to be a bit mischievous by
throwing things at folks, especially rocks! Later, during the EVP session,
Dale used his Phasma Box device to try to see if anyone wanted to talk
with us. From there, we then took a small break, and then moved to the large Dining
Room area (1st flr.) to do another EVP session. I used my green laser grid, and
pointed it at (I believe it was the north-east side of the Dining Room area, and
at an adjacent hallway) to see if an entity would disturb the light with
its movement. We spent about a good 15 minutes here at this location
before moving upstairs to the Servant's/Nursery quarters. This was located
almost directly above the Kitchen area. This room was amazing to see, as nearly
half of the floor was revealed, and you could see right through the ceiling to
the first floor! It also had that very haunting feel as well. Nobody had lived
in this place for over half a century, and nobody had taken an interest in
fixing this beautiful structure until recently. The Servant's/Nursery Room,
however, had a creepy feel to it, though. Indeed, we did conduct a good EVP
session there, and even had trigger objects, such as toys, dolls, cracker jacks
and a bouncy ball, as well as some books that were provided; and one of our GRS
members, Barb Meagher, read for the deceased girls. From there, we proceeded to
what looked like the Master Bedroom. A very large, very haunting/creepy-looking
room there on the second floor level. From what we were told, this was one
of the rooms that at least one of the late teenaged girls had boarded. She
was an aspiring artist, and avid book reader. When I entered the room, I had an
overwhelming feeling of sadness. It wasn't a really heavy feeling, but I did
feel a lot of sadness. I really wanted to cry, because of the sheer
intensity of such emotion that I felt in this room. Standing there in this room
where beautiful things once happened, as well as not so beautiful things. I
believe there were three large windows in this room that, I could imagine, she
must've sat at the sills, just looking out into the wide-opened grassy
fields, waiting for something to happen in her life that would either inspire
her or make her heart melt in some way, or make her sad and be filled with
despair. Maybe a dream, or waiting for a long lost love, or even
waiting for one of her family members coming over the pond to visit her and
her family for a short time perhaps. I possess no psychical or empathetical
powers whatsoever, but I just immediately sensed a great deal of joy and
overwhelming sadness in this room. So much so that it nearly had me in tears.
After this EVP session, we all took a break before we headed downstairs into the
Basement. Once we descended to the Basement, another feeling was
very prominent for me: fear. This is where the family's cheese-making
business was carried out, actually. I sincerely believe that nearly 160
years really took its toll in this area, as almost every corner of the room was
empty, dark, damp, dirty, muddy, broken, disheveled, and dilapidated. During an
EVP session in this area, I felt that I was touched, and even heard (very
noticeably in my ear) the sound of a male's voice grasping/growling! This
was literally the very first time this has ever happened to me on an
investigation! It truly excited me to the core! Freaky, though, as it was a
first for me, but exciting nonetheless. The third floor Attic space was our
next place to investigate. It was a very old and rickety place to be, as you
still could see planking boards, and thin ceiling ply boards covered in plaster that
were rotting away, with paint chips peeling from the wood itself onto the floor
below. Here we did a short EVP session, as it was a very tight, and cramped
space for all if us to be in at the time. Lastly, we moved to the front
lawn of the house, where an alleged Native American burial ground is said
to be present. We also did a small EVP session in this spot as well. Afterwards,
we wrapped up our investigation. Again, I am so glad I came to this place. I
felt that it was my third home away from home, and that I, too, belong there in
a way. It's a very beautiful place, and I am so glad that the current owners are
trying to restore it to its original grandeur.
ended at approximately 3:00am on Sunday, September 23, 2018.
reviewing all of my evidence, it is sad to note that I didn't pick
up any evidence photography/video-wise. However, upon reviewing my digital
voice recorder (DVR), I did pick up a few EVPs in the Kitchen, Dining Room,
Room, second floor Master Bedroom, and the Native American Indian burial ground area.
The following EVPs are as follows:
touch that pot, its warm!"
Dining Room Area:
and a haircut (two knocks)."
Second Floor Master
"I don't know."
American Indian Burial Ground Area:
"Sister had a fight."
Again, I completely enjoyed this entire investigation, and I was so glad to
finally come to this location! It was a very interesting and emotional
experience, to say the least! It would be an honor to follow up with another
investigation some other time, however. Again, many thanks to Kelly Davis and
Cindy for letting us investigate this lovely old house. It truly does belong to
a beautiful age in time.
Marge Sucha: Equipment I used: Fuji
Film Disposable Camera, Olympus Digital Voice Recorder, K-II meter, EDI meter.
We were first given a tour of
Eldred House. The tour was very
Some of the highlights from the
Kitchen area we had some
interesting names come through the Phasma Box.
Dining Room was fairly active.
Using the Mini Portal we had some good responses to our questions.
In the Nursery while Barb was
reading Alice in Wonderland the words Alice and Rabbit came through on the Mini-Portal.
Also Kevin had a headset on and had a ghost box and Ovilus X on and he
would say a word when it would come through.
One of our investigators asked how are you feeling right after that Kevin
said "better.” Pretty cool.
In the Master Bedroom several of
us felt / heard someone walk across the room when none of us did.
At one point I felt panicky and wanted to leave the room.
I felt very dizzy in the Attic and could not stand up all the way. I'm pretty sure the floor was not level. I have been in rooms where floors aren't level but this really through me for a loop.
Using the Mini-Portal we got
some responses in all the rooms including outside.
The Eldred House is a beautiful
piece of history. I hope to go back
to explore this place again.
Dale Kaczmarek: This was my second visit to the Eldred House, the
first being a public event with a lot of people so there was some contamination
of the EVP sessions. The building looks much better than it did for that
investigation thanks to those who volunteered their time and effort to preserve
and maintain this location.
There were some equipment
fluctuations especially in the Nursery and some very direct and interesting
responses while in the Kitchen. I
got extremely dizzy with vertigo while in the attic as did many from the group
that went upstairs. It may have simply been the way the room was laid out and a
possible slant but everyone who went upstairs complained about a dizzy
2 thuds eldred.MPG – during
our initial walk-through and while inside Ava’s or Alice’s Room, two thuds
were audibly heard in the background and recorded on Kaczmarek’s camcorder.
Attic cry eldred.MPG – while
conducting a short Phasma Box session in the attic, a cry was heard and
Bye bye eldred.MPG – while
conducting a Phasma Box session Master Bedroom, a question was asked, “Can you
say good bye?” The device responded with, “Bye bye.”
Demonstration eldred.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session in the Master Bedroom, the device said,
Dining room wine eldred.MPG -
while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Dining Room, a comment was made,
“We’re in the Dining Room now eating crackers and cheese...” The device
replied with, “Wine.”
Don’t touch warm eldred.MPG -
while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Kitchen, the device said,
“Don’t touch warm.”
Don’t worry about it
eldred.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Kitchen, a comment was
made, “I just want to know if I’m going to be fed. What time is…?” The
device responded with, “Don’t worry about it.”
How eldred.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session outside by the Wall, the device said, “How.”
How we doing eldred.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session in the Kitchen, the device said, “How we
I don’t know eldred.MPG -
while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Master Bedroom, a question was
asked, “What’s your name?” The device responded with, “I don’t
I’m hoping eldred.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session in the Dining Room, above the conversation
amongst the group, the device said, “I’m hoping.”
Kelly Davis eldred.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session in the Dining Room, a question was asked, “Do
you like Kelly Davis?” The device produced a full sentence that we could not
Kitchen Emilyna eldred.MPG -
while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Kitchen, the device suddenly says a
word that sounds very much like, “Emilyna” who used to live in the house.
Kitchen Erogenous penis
eldred.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box session, a question was asked, “Can
you tell me what they use this room for?” A weird sentence came through that
did not actually answer the question but sounds like it said, “Erogenous
Kitchen he can’t talk
eldred.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Kitchen, a question
was asked, “Is your name Jesus?” The device responded with, “He can’t
Kitchen Jesus eldred.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session in the Kitchen, a question was asked, “Is
there anyone in the kitchen, if so, can you tell me your first name?” The
device responded with, “Jesus.”
Kitchen noise eldred.MPG –
while conducting an EVP in the Dining Room, a loud noise was heard and recorded
coming from the Kitchen area.
Let him go eldred.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session in the Nursery, a question was asked, “Is
James here?” The device responded with, “Let him go.”
Master bed quite secret
eldred.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Master Bedroom, a
comment was made, “Whatever you want to talk about, we’ll talk with you.”
The device said, “Quite secret.”
My name’s Emeline eldred.MPG -
while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Kitchen, the device said without a
question being asked, “My name’s Emeline.”
Nursery knocks eldred.MPG -
while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Nursery, Para attempted to elicit a
response by knocking out Shave and a Haircut. The device responded with two
sounds as if it were completing the jingle.
Please (stir) the gravy
eldred.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Kitchen, a comment was
made, “Ouch. I touched that pot. Why didn’t you tell me it was hot?” The
device responded with, “Please (stir?) the gravy.”
keyword eldred.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box session in the Master
Bedroom, a question was asked, “Are there too many people in here?” The
device responded with, “(old?) potential keyword.”
Running feet eldred.MPG
– during our initial walk-through and while in Ava’s or Alice’s Room, just
after the group had heard two thuds in the background, a question was asked,
“Can you do it again please?” Almost immediately the sound of running feet
was captured in the background on Kaczmarek’s camcorder.
Sisters had a fight eldred.MPG -
while conducting a Phasma Box session outside near the Wall, the device said,
“The sisters had a fight.”
Words spoken by the Ovilus X in dictionary mode: Nursery; soccer and
Conclusions: The Phasma Box was again the most active piece of
real-time EVP communication equipment that was used during our visit. There were
many very clear voices and sentences that came through this device; many that
answered specific questions posed. The Ovilus X only said two words during the
times it was employed.
During our first visit which was
a public event, there were too many people during our EVP sessions that
contaminated some sessions and possible real people throwing pebbles around to
gain attention from Guiley and Kaczmarek.
I believe this time a more thorough investigation was conducted with all the major “hot spots” covered. This is a fascinating place with a lot of history and ghosts it would seem.
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