in 1923 to serve two of the local schools, the gym is now home to park
district activities. The area of Havana was first surveyed
in 1827 for Ossian Ross, who started a canoe ferry across the nearby
Spoon River. It is an area rich in Illinois history and lore and the
town gained its unusual name because of a river island that they dubbed
"Cuba," thanks to the fact that it was shaped like the
Caribbean nation. Locals eventually called their town "Havana"
because it was next to "Cuba Island." It was incorporated as
an Illinois town in 1848.
1900, it was a well-known fishing and hunting center for the region. The
economy boomed and legend has it that its many happenings attracted
Chicago city officials, wealthy businessmen and even mobsters like Al
the area thrived, new businesses came to town and there streets were
lined with hotels, theaters, bars and gambling houses, all intent on
entertaining the fishermen and hunters who flocked to the region. The
city remained a bustling place throughout the first half of the
twentieth century. Among its businesses were four floating fish markets,
three drugstores, banks, scores of restaurants, a movie theater (now
believed to be haunted in its own right), taverns, night clubs and more.
long past Havana's population peak, the quiet community slumbers like
many other Illinois river towns, attracting visitors to its pleasant
location, area history and the paranormal events that some of the local
structures seem to offer. The Old Havana Gym is one such location. A
number of ghost researchers have visited the locations in the past and
have left the place with a variety of what seems to be evidence of
the 1970s, the school system didn't want the gym and sold it to the
park district. It has unique bleachers which are completely off the
Located at: 127 E. Jefferson St., Havana, IL. 62644
to legend, a former custodian from the schools and the gym still lingers in the
place, working away at the tasks he repeated so often in life. His activities
have been heard here -- and recorded -- many times in the past. But the most
prominent ghost is a local boy who was allegedly locked in the gym one night and
subsequently died. His cries have often been heard, calling for help, as have
footsteps on the stairs, the sounds of basketballs, and other eerie happenings!
in the main part of the gym are caused by what most call Sam who was probably a
janitor. Shadowy figures have been seen in the far corner near the stage and
doors open and close. Banging sounds are heard moving around in the bleachers
and apparently Sam doesn't like when the batting cage is open. A child's
ghost has been observed on the steps leading to the basement. Lots of activity
has been reported in the cubby hole within the women's washroom in the
basement. A lot of EVPs has been
picked up in the room with the bicycle. The
sound of a xylophone playing has often been heard. In the boiler room, shadows
have been seen and people have been touched.
Equipment setup: A
static IR camera and IR illuminator was positioned in the bleachers where the
noises have been heard in the past along with the Geophone. The Command Center
was set up on the stage area with equipment run downstairs. A motion detector
was positioned in the corner of the main gym floor where the shadowy figures
have been seen.
Experiments performed: EVP,
Ovilus X and Ghost Box sessions were conducted in the Boiler Room, Bike room,
main gym room and exercise room with all the mirrors. Jeanne sat on the tricycle
to try to illicit a response from the ghost.
The Ghost Research Society investigated Havana Gym on June 1, 2013. Team members included: Stan Suho, Kathie Para, and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Jeanne Chilton, Mike McElhiney and members of PRIOM.
Personal experiences: While
conducting an EVP session in the Bike room we all clearly heard a tinny sound
come from within the same or next room but couldn’t identify the source.
Kathie Para: I investigated this location with
Dale Kaczmarek and Stan Suho from our team. Jeannie Chilton and Mike McElhiney
from PRIOM were also there along with two other members of Jeannie's group.
There were seven of us total and we stayed together the entire night.
did an initial walk through and were told the history as well as some of the
reported paranormal happenings for the gymnasium.
first went to the boiler room and conducted an EVP session using Ovilus and a
ghost box. We also had a video camera going, digital recorders, Melmeters, K-II
meters and digital cameras. I personally got no paranormal evidence. The boiler
room seemed quiet at that time.
next location was the birth to 3 year old room in the lower level. This room
seemed to have the most activity. We heard various noises, child voices and
footsteps. There also appeared to be a light colored mist or light that seemed
to be peeking into the room from one of the doorways. I captured some EVPs from
this session on my recorder and a loud pinging sound that we failed to debunk.
After returning to the first floor gym area we heard what sounded like a child's voice coming from the monitor which was set up in the birth to 3 year
old room. I am curious to see what the review of that video camera turns up.
final EVP sessions took place in the gym on the main floor and the exercise room
downstairs. Both turned up nothing out of the ordinary.
In summary, the only area that seemed active was the birth to 3 year room. There was also unexplained EMF activity in the gym which seemed to run in a straight line from the side door we entered. This is common according to Diane who conducted the walk through. There were also an unusually high number of proper names given by the Ovilus.
was a big building, not that old, but with a lot of paranormal activity reported
over the years. We were joined by members from Jeanne's group. After a
walkthrough of the Gym floor, the stage, and the lower level rooms, I decided to
set up G.E.I.S.T. on the stage where there were tables, chairs and adequate
lighting. The full setup was used with the equipment in the monitored room down
stairs in one of the active rooms.
Plus, it came equipped with its
own trigger object, a little red tricycle, which we made good use of. An EVP
session was conducted in the room in which Jeanne rode the bike and tempted the
spirits. The entire session was recorded on Ghost Video and Audio.
Later Marge reported hearing a
child's voice on the Ghost Amp while I was elsewhere. I reviewed the audio,
but could not find it. It may have been the sound of running water from the
drain pipes overhead. After a few more EVPs, the night concluded.
Conclusion: After a review on my
audio and video and photos, I have nothing paranormal to report.
Adult.MPG during a
Ghost Box session in the Boiler Room, a question was asked, "Can you tell us
if you're an adult or a child?" The Ghost Box responds with, "Adult."
A gym.MPG during a Ghost Box session in the gym area, a question was asked, "What kind of building are we in?" The Ghost Box responds with, "A gym."
Child's voice.MPG during an EVP session a question is asked,
"Are you happy that we're here
with you?" A child's voice is heard in the background.
Howl in background.MPG the static IR camcorder positioned in the bleachers picks up what sounds
like a howl in the background.
Hurry.MPG while conducting an Ovilus X session in the Boiler Room, the Ovilus suddenly says what sounds like, "Hurry get out."
No.MPG during a Ghost Box session in the Boiler Room a question was asked, "Jim, was it you that was following me around?" The Ghost Box responds with, "No."
static IR camcorder positioned in the bleachers picks over the talking of the
group the sound of screaming.
background.MPG the static IR camcorder positioned in the bleachers picks up
the strange sounds of people talking in the background.
during an EVP session in the gym area a thump was heard followed by a low
during an EVP session in the bike room, a tinny noise was heard and recorded but
no source could be located.
after the Ghost Radar says "Noose", there is a voice that is heard in the
an EVP session in the gym area an whispering EVP voice was picked up that sounds
like, "comfortable" right before Jeanne says she is having problems getting
comfortable on the gym floor.
sounds of a strange yell in heard in the background.
Conclusions: In my opinion it was a very quiet and uneventful evening at the gym. While we did receive some EVPs and Ghost Box replies that were interesting, I believe this may have been one of the quietest places that we've investigated recently. This was very apparent in the last two EVP sessions in the gym and exercise room where it was very calm. Perhaps we should have called Diane to come back and interact with the ghosts as it may have yielded more results.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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