Illinois Beach Resort Investigation

Long recognized for its complex geological structure, unique floral and spectacular beauty, the Lake Michigan dunes area originally was, in the 1700s, part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa. Prior to then the area had been occupied by the Miami.

In the late 1600s French explorers first visited the area as part of their survey of what was then known as the Northwest Territory. By the time Illinois became a state in 1818, the area was full of transient hunters and trappers. In 1836, a treaty was made with the local Native Americans, who were moved westward, and the area became part of Lake County.

During the Civil War what is now the northern unit of the park became Camp Logan, a Union prisoner of war camp. This installation went on to serve as an Army basic training center through World Wars I and II (when it provided ideal conditions for practicing tank maneuvers), and in the late 1940s, was turned over to the Illinois National Guard.

Preservation efforts were considered as early as 1888, when Robert Douglas, a Waukegan nurseryman, and Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect, discussed making it a regional park. With industry advancing from the south, sand mining ravaging the dunes, and parts of the surrounding countryside succumbing to pasture and homesteads, legislative efforts to save the area finally began in the 1920s.

In 1948, the state finally acquired the first parcels of what is now Illinois Beach State Park. In 1950, the Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established to protect the natural qualities of the area, and through its efforts and the efforts of the Department of Conservation the area south of Beach Road was dedicated in 1964 as the first Illinois nature preserve. The northern unit, from the Commonwealth Edison power plant to the Wisconsin border, was acquired between 1971 and 1982.

On May 9, 2000, the area encompassing Illinois Beach State Park and North Point Marina was officially designated at the Cullerton Complex in honor of William J. Cullerton, Sr., war hero, avid environmentalist and longtime friend of conservation.

Cullerton, best known by the general public for his “Great Outdoors” show, which aired for many years on WGN-AM Radio, has spent nearly 50 years promoting fishing in the Midwest and supporting a multitude of outdoor-related organizations and events.  

Some untimely deaths on or near the property include a gentleman who pulled up to the front of the resort in a truck and committed suicide by shooting himself.  In nearby woods, a woman had gone for a pleasure walk and had part of a tree fall on top of her, instantly decapitating her.

The lake itself is the scene where an old war plane went down and perhaps was never recovered.

Located at One Lake Front Dr., Zion, IL. 60099, 847-625-7300


Hauntings: A number of people in the past have seen a strange woman on the beach and when they approach her, she simply disappears.  

Inside the resort’s exercise room, a gentleman had a heart attack while working out and fell to the floor. A dark stain was visible for quite a long period of time after his death until the carpet was removed and eventually stored in a storage room at the end of the long hallway.  Many people get very strange feelings while in the room from time to time.  

Late night employees have reported the sound of toilets flushing from one of the restrooms on the lower level around 3am.  

Room ### is allegedly one of the most haunted suites in the resort. Allegedly someone died in the bedroom in the past and guests who are assigned that suite often experience something odd and sometimes return to the front desk and ask to have their room changed.  

The Indiana Room on the lower level is an area where a porter was setting up tables and chairs for a banquet. He meticulously counted out what he needed for chairs and when he returned to the room, two were missing.  

The Illinois Room a woman’s body was laid out there from a death and a lot of strange feelings have been felt by many.  

The Long Hallway are where shadowy figures have been seen crossing at the end of the hallway between the furnace and a storage room where the old carpet from the Exercise Room is now being stored.

The Ghost Research Society investigated Illinois Beach Resort on November 27,  2010. Team members included: Stan Suho, Jim Piscopo, Joey Tito, Joe Tito, Art Schramm, Lauren Kasmar and Dale Kaczmarek. We were assisted by Rebecca Sommers, Ashley Ottenstein and several members of her group Kindred Spirits.








Equipment setup: Command Center was set up in the Indiana Room. G.E.I.S.T., video system, wi-fi camera and laptop audio recorder were set up.

Cameras were placed at the following locations. Joey’s camera was in the Exercise Room. Also placed there was an EM Pump and the Geophone on the treadmill where the death had occurred. Jim Piscopo and Nicole Tito’s cameras were piggybacked in the long hallway with additional IR illuminators and a small IR illuminator closer to the end of the hallway where the shadow figures were seen. Also placed there was a set of motion detectors.  Dale Kaczmarek’s camera was set up in the Illinois Ballroom along with the equipment for G.E.I.S.T., Ghost Camera, Ghost Microphone, and the Van de Graff Generator. 

Personal Experiences:  

Dale Kaczmarek: I conducted numerous experiments throughout the night including several in the Illinois Ballroom. Upon first entering the ballroom I distinctly heard sounds coming from the extreme right of the room. I cannot say for sure that these were paranormal in origin as there still were groups of people and employees at that time roaming around.

While roaming the long hallway several times I heard a tapping sound which later turned out to be the ice maker in the next room.

While conducting an EVP session in the Exercise Room and using The Talker, I sat in the corner of the room, employed a Tri-Field Natural EM Meter and asked several questions. When I asked, “Did you die in this room?” The Talker replied, “Did.”

Later Stan, Jim and I visited Room ### and conducted an EVP session. I employed both my Full Spectrum and IR Camcorder, digital recorder and Ovilus PX in phonetic mode. When I asked the question, “If there’s anyone here, can you make a sound or noise?” We all clearly heard a dull, muffled thud. I cannot be absolutely sure that the sound did not come from another room or even from outside. However the room does face the beach and I doubt that sound could travel from the parking lot that far.

Several times throughout the evening I heard sounds coming from the Illinois Ballroom when nobody was inside the room. I even heard what sounded like a clear female voice within the room that came through to the Command Center.

I also took quite a few digital IR and full spectrum pictures.


Lauren Kasmar: I was teamed with Nicole Tito for the Illinois Beach Resort Investigation on 11/27/2010.  It was quite chilly outside.  I used my digital camera, a K-II Meter, the Ovilus, and an EM Pump.  Nicole used her Sony tape recorder, as well as the real-time EVP.  

We began our first EVP session at approximately 10:23 PM in the ballroom.  At 10:25 PM, Nicole heard a woman’s voice say “I see” through the real-time EVP.  Shortly after that, we both heard a loud bang by the doors near the location where the exercise room is.  Around 10:30 PM, I heard light footsteps above me.  

At approximately 11:09 PM, we began an EVP session at the end of the hallway.  We sat on the stairs behind the doorways in which a shadow has been seen pacing back and forth.  At 11:13 PM, I hear a strange growl to the right of me; coming from the boiler room.  The sound did not resemble any of the other mechanical noises we heard throughout the session coming from the boiler room.   

We began an EVP session in the Health Club at 11:50 PM.  We did not pick up on anything strange while conducting an EVP session in the health club.

At 12:30 AM, we began an EVP session in Room ### with Joey Tito and Artie Schramm.  At approximately 12:40 AM, we got responses from the Ovilus.  We kept hearing time.  Nicole asked “time for what?”  The response we heard was “marriage.”  Nicole asked “how did you die,” and “were you murdered?”  We heard the Ovilus say “twist,” and “bottle.”  Random words were also heard, such as “paranormal,” “hurry,” and “light” as Artie stepped into the bathroom.  

 I did not detect anything unusual on the pictures that I took throughout the night at Illinois Beach Resort.  

Stan Suho: We arrived after dark to a multi storied Motel and transported our equipment to a downstairs meeting room. The lower level was reported to be the most active. After Dale made a presentation to the other group, we began our setup.

We had several cameras operating, and Dale's and mine were setup in the "Grand Ballroom". I was using the Sony Night Shot IR as a part of the G.E.I.S.T. setup. I used a Wi-Fi link back to the command post. The room was very quiet from a G.E.I.S.T. stand point and I got very few hits during the course of the evening. The Ghost Microphone was set up with G.E.I.S.T. and recorded about 3 1/2 hours of sound in the Ballroom.

I also sat about an hour in the Ballroom with my Night Vision Viewer monitoring the whole scene. I then made several walk throughs with a 35mm and a digital camera. Also in use was a Digital Audio Recorder.

Later, several of us went to an upstairs room and did some EVP experiments and took any pictures.  


In general I did not find the complex very spooky.  It may be haunted, but you couldn't prove it by me. A review of my tapes, pictures and G.E.I.S.T. results turned up nothing paranormal.


Audio Evidence:  

Bark the audio track of Piscopo’s camcorder recorded what resembles a dog bark.  

Die while conducting an EVP session in the Exercise Room with The Talker I asked, “Did you die in this room?” The response sounds like, “Did.”  

Exercise continuation of EVP session in the Exercise Room with The Talker I asked, “Did you die while exercising?” The response also sounds again like, “Did."  

Getupout continuation of EVP session in the Exercise Room now joined by Nicole and Lauren, Nicole asks, “Do you want us to leave?” Response from either The Talker or Ovilus PX in phonetic mode sounds like, “Yes” followed by “Get up <or> out.”  

Grunt a possible grunt in the ballroom captured on the audio track of the video tape. Can’t be absolutely sure it wasn’t one of team however with all the noise the Van de Graff Generator was making and the doors were closed it would have had to have been close by. It sounded like it was in the room however.  

I see an EVP heard in real-time by Nicole using the EVP Field Processor in the Illinois Ballroom.  

Loud bang a loud bang also recorded by Nicole and Lauren in the Illinois Ballroom.  

Funny response – using the Ovilus in phonetic mode in Room ### an unusual response came out, when asked, “Do you want us to leave?” Ovilus replied, “Hurry, get out, supper, store.” This was about the time we were ordering food for the team.  

Room### an EVP session in Room ### with Stan, Jim P. and I. I asked, “If you’re here can you make a noise?” Jim and I both clearly hear a dull thud in the distance almost immediately.  Shot with a full spectrum camcorder.

Room####2 continuation of EVP in Room ###. I asked, “If that was you can you make that noise again but louder?” There sounds like a guttural sound inside of the room. Shot with a full spectrum camcorder.


Video Evidence:  

Lightinwindow Piscopo’s camera caught a strange light that is first seen in the far right hand side window, hovers for a bit and then moves quickly to the left side before disappearing.  This is an enlarged version of that same video.

Lightoverdoor Piscopo’s camera caught a series of strange light formations above the doorway.  

Shadow Piscopo’s camera caught a very dark shadow image in the far right hand side window that temporarily blocks out part of the window before moving quickly to the left. 

Shadow Clip – Nicole’s camera facing down the hallway caught a momentary shadow on the door jam of the doorway used to go back and forth to the Command Center.  This is a close up (zoomed in version) of the same clip.Zoomed in version

General Conclusions:  I do believe due to the amount of tragic deaths both within the building (exercise room and Room ###), the body laid out in the Illinois Ballroom and the tragedies outside of accidental deaths and suicides that Illinois Beach Resort may indeed be haunted by those whose lives were cut short. Places where people die unexpectedly, suddenly or tragically often harbor “place memories” of those who have died and while those memories aren’t at all harmful to the living, they may be frightening or sometimes even playful. The hallway is the only location where cameras picked up anything visual and there could be a good reason for that. The entire hallway is an EMF magnet due to the great amount of conduit and electrical sources within a few feet of the walkway. This high amount of EMF can actually feed a spirit’s energy and cause them to manifest in a variety of ways. I believe if we can find out the actual names of those who died within or on the resort’s property and conduct a follow up investigation, I believe we may have a better chance of being able to produce better evidence as far as EVP or visual.

I look forward to perhaps another session sometime in the future at Illinois Beach Resort.

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