Evangelical Spiritualist Church

Originally this property was owned by the Duck Family consisting of Daniel Duck and Stephen Campbell as an 80 eighty acre tract of land in 1835. Around 1876 the property transferred to John H.R. Duck due to the deaths of the original owners. After a fierce court battle the land became the property of Francis Duck on April 26, 1876. In 1914 the land was being divided up into lots and then on July 24, 1915, the SS Eastland capsized on the Chicago River drowning 844 people. The citizens desperately needed funeral homes to help with the enormous task of tending to the funerals of over 800 people. The Hrejsa Mortuary, at that time, across the street, was eventually moved when that same year Mrs. Libuse Hrejsa bought the lots across the street to build a larger mortuary.

Mrs. Hrejsa was the very first female mortician in the state of Illinois. In the 1940s, living quarters were added after the house was sold and moved down the block where it is still standing today. The garage was originally a stable or barn used to house horses. The mortuary operated until 1975 when it closed down and the building was purchased by Rev. Harry M. Hilborn.

The Evangelical Spiritualist Church held its first service in November of 1934 in a different building on Austin and Lake. At that time it was called The First Spiritualist Church of Austin lead by the youngest ordained minister at that time, Rev. Harry M. Hilborn. In 1935, the church received its current name, Evangelical Spiritualist Church. When the current building came up for sale, the congregation and ministers moved. Rev. Hilborn died in October of 1997. The church’s minister then became the Rev. Mahala D. Bacon and she continues to hold services there to this day.

Located at:  5130 W. 25th St., Cicero, Illinois 60804

Telephone: 708-863-7190

Owners: Rev. Mahala D. Bacon


Hauntings: Reports of shadow images by the doorway to the right of the main altar. Laura Hannigan founder of the paranormal group SNAPIT which stands for, SuperNatural and Paranormal Investigation Team has seen a number of shadow figures within this building including one that appears to block the light coming in from the back door that leads to the parking lot on numerous occasions. A local psychic, Bill, who lives on the property, has said that he has felt a lot of spirit activity downstairs; almost like a party was going on at the time.  He also goes on to say that his cat will not enter into the church under any circumstances.





The GRS investigated the Evangelical Spiritualist Church May 28, 2016 and the team included: Stan Suho, Kathie Para, Marge Sucha, Michael Wright and Dale Kaczmarek 









Equipment setup: I placed a full spectrum camera in the church pews facing the location where they used to lay out the bodies when this building was a funeral parlor. A REM Epod was placed in that corner. The Command Center was located in a side room just off from the main part of the church.

Experiments performed: EVP, Ghostbox and Ovilus X sessions were conducted in the old embalming room located in the basement, a basement room used for meetings and assemblies for addicts and in the church pews. The X-Cam  SLS camera was used in all the sessions.

Personal experiences:

Kathie Para: Ghost research Society investigated this location on May 28, 2016. Members present were: Dale, Stan, Marge, Mike and I.

This building was originally a funeral home and was converted in the 1970’s. We had access to the basement and the first floor. The second floor consisted of private apartments.

The evening started out with a séance conducted by Mahala Bacon, which was very interested and quite amazing at times.

Equipment used in this investigation included: Ovilus, K-II meters, Melmeters, digital audio recorders, video recorders, ghost box, REM pods, X-Cam SLS camera, Tri-field natural meter, and dowsing rods.

We started off the night in the laundry room, which was originally the embalming room. Dale’s phone froze up while trying to access the Echovox app, unfortunately we didn’t get to use that. We got two names from the Ovilus, Beth and George. Stan’s video camera shut off in this room while we were there. We could find no explanation for this but the SLS camera did show a figure on the dryer right next to the camera as this happened. Could this explain it?

In the kitchen area in the basement we had an abundance of K-II hits. Four different meters, placed in various areas of this room, lit up simultaneously on and off almost the entire time we were there. We tried to debunk this but couldn’t. We think possibly it could be an outside source that we were unaware of but were not able to prove or disprove this as paranormal activity. Dowsing rods seemed to react in tandem with the meters lighting up. It would be interesting to return one day and see if this is normal for that area. Two of us felt light touches on our arms in the kitchen and Dale’s phone seemed to fly out of his hand and crash to the floor. Very interesting room!

The main floor in the church area was interesting as well. We got two more names from the Ovilus here: Chris and Rose Lin. We also got a figure on the X-Cam by the podium which seemed to be dancing and later by the drum set, where it appeared to be playing the drums! I’ve included two audio clips from this area. One was of two bangs that we didn’t hear at the time but it came right after Dale asked if someone would play the drums or hit the cymbal. The other was a ping we heard in real time that we couldn’t explain. It almost sounds like a very light tap on the cymbal. We also got sporadic K-II activity in this area.

I would be more than happy to return to this building and investigate further!

Marge Sucha: Equipment I used: FLIR, K-II, and Recorder.

The evening started out with a séance.   This was one of my favorite parts of the evening. After the séance Mahala Bacon gave us tour of the property that consisted of both inside and outside of the property. 

This church was once a funeral home so naturally we did our first EVP session in the basement in what used to be the embalming room.

A couple names came through on Dale's Ovilus, George & Beth.

Dale's phone froze and Stan's camera had shut off three times while we were doing our session.

Next we moved to another room in the basement I refer to as the meeting room.   

I personally felt something touch my arm and heard several slight knocking sounds.

We had several K-II meters’ going on and could not find the source.  We also had them lighting up on.  

We also did an EVP session upstairs in the church.  This area was pretty quiet but we did get some interesting things happen. 

Dale's Ovilus did give the names Chris and Rose Lin. (weird spelling) Dale’s X-Cam SLS camera did pick up a stick figure in the corner by the drums.  It looked like the stick figure was playing the drums and another figure on the floor in front of the podium. 

Stan Suho: Yet another fine old building of our favorite kind. It used to be a Funeral Home.  It dates back to the Eastland era when it was used as such. Minister Mahala conducted a séance which was well received. This was recorded by Dale’s IR camera.

Down in the basement is a room that was used as an embalming room. These are always my favorite spooky locations. I set up my Sony IR camera with a three way IR light focused on the rear wall. This covered the whole room. Our crack EVP Team paid us a visit which was recorded in its entirety. Spooky or not these rooms don’t always produce results. On the first floor was the Chapel. This had several reports of activity as well as a shadow figure. I focused my other IR camera on the front of the room. A laptop running Audacity software was also hooked in. The EVP team passed through once more, again being recorded. Dale also had an IR Camera running.

Conclusion: The evening passed quietly with three cameras recording. I did not find anything of interest on my videos. I don’t know why the ghosts are so camera shy. Maybe it is easier to produce audio phenomena then visual displays. But we keep on trying.

Michael Wright: The church had a special meaning to me because my Aunt was a member of the church for many years before she passed away.

The evening started off with a séance which was led by Mahala, during the séance there were several spirits that made an attempt to communicate through Mahala.

We then started the investigation in the old embalming room (from the days when the church was a funeral home) down in the basement, during our session there was heavy K-II activity from the electrical wiring, which made it difficult to get accurate meter readings. The second session was in the N.A. meeting room which had the most activity of the evening. There were several K-II meters that were going off at the same time as in response to questions we were asking during the EVP session. The dowsing rods were also moving as the meters were going off. The meters kept responding even after we moved them. We did a few more sessions in other parts of the church but I personally did not get anything unusual on the recorder, K-II meter or with the dowsing rods. Am intrigued by the history of the building and have great respect for people running the church definitely plan on going back for another séance with Mahala.

Dale Kaczmarek: During our first EVP session in the old embalming room, my X-Cam SLS system picked up a “stick figure” near the washer/dryer; almost like someone was folding clothes. I doubt that there were any appliances in that room when it was being used to prepare bodies. My cellphone had its battery drained and my Echovox application would not function. In the “no addicts” room several (4) K-II meters were alerting at the same time. Those meters are only sensitive to around eighteen inches away. My conclusion is that there were either some very strong pulsing electromagnetic fields that came through at fairly regular intervals or that something paranormal was taking place. At the same time, Wright said that his set of dowsing rods was spreading at the same time. I had almost dropped my phone from my hand. I am not 100% sure if I simply lost control of it or that some external force attempted to rip it from my hand.

In the church area several times a “stick figure” was picked up with the X-Cam SLS system in front of the podium. This figure was seen sometimes wildly waving its arm and briefly on all fours.

Words spoken by the Ovilus X in dictionary mode:

Embalming Room – cupcake, Beth and George

No Addicts Room – dominate, vast and movie

Pew area – soil, level, communicate, England, trace, thick, shuttle, who, Chris, couch, numb, work, past, harmonic, friendly and Rose Lin.

Evidence collected:

First floor in church ping evangelical.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the church area, a strange ping was heard and recorded in the background.

First floor in church two bangs evangelical.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the church area, a question was asked, “There’s drum in front of us. Can you bang on the drums?” A series of low bumps were recorded.

I am evangelical.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the church area, a question was asked, “Who is Rose Lin?” A response was captured on the audio track of the full spectrum camera, “I am.”

One evangelical.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the old embalming room, a stick figure appears on the X-Cam SLS system near the washer/dryer and a second one by Stan’s camera.

Two evangelical.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the church area, a stick figure appears on the X-Cam SLS system by the podium.

Three evangelical.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the church area, a stick figure appears on the X-Cam SLS system by the podium when Dale was attempting to interact with it. It actually appears to be kneeling on one knee.

Conclusions: I was very impressed by this building since we first visited it in March 2016 for the ITC Conference. Even though not a lot evidence was collected that evening, I personally believe that it is very likely that some spirits may still linger in this once former funeral parlor. The stick figures captured seem to have being doing things that they might have done while they were alive; kneeling in prayer, waving their arms wildly (perhaps getting into their sermons), interacting with the drums and even getting on all fours – (praying or being healed by someone?)

The names we picked up on the Ovilus X will have to be researched to see if they somehow are connected to the past occupants of the funeral home or more recent people associated with the church.

I truly believe that Rev. Bacon is very gifted and gave all participants in the séance before the investigation started some interesting and relevant information about loved ones who have passed to the other side.

Perhaps more cameras and equipment could have captured more evidence that evening but what we did come away with is awesome!

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