Memorial Hall Investigation


In the spring of 1899, Thomas G. Lawler, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Garret L. Nevius Post # 1, presented to the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors a petition signed by more than 200 veterans asking that the county build a Memorial Hall. Rockford Attorney Albert D Early drew up a bill permitting a county board to appropriate money for a memorial after the matter had been passed on by the voters of the county at a general election. 

Illinois Legislator Henry Andrus was entrusted with the measure, and the bill passed both branches of the legislature. The Governor signed it without delay on July 2, 1899. Members of the GAR Nevius Post # 1 and the Women’s Relief Corps circulated petitions throughout Winnebago County to place the matter on the November ballot in 1900. The question to appropriate money to build a memorial in Rockford went before the people in November and was heartily endorsed by a margin of almost two to one. 6,021 yes 2,757 no.

Memorial Hall thus became the first building of its kind built in the state of Illinois under that act of legislation. 

Below is a common statement about Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall is a living memorial to Veterans from all wars. It will serve as a constant reminder to the sacrifices given by brave men and women from Winnebago County, and a way for generations to remember and learn about their lives.

 This Stone was placed in front of Memorial Hall in 1966; it is inscribed with the following words:

"This Memorial Hall, the first of its kind in the United States dedicated to our veterans of all wars, was completed in the year 1903 with dedication ceremonies on June third of that year by our twenty - sixth president Theodore Roosevelt with these words: "No more fitting memorial could be erected to the men who fought, than a hall such as this..... a hall beautiful because of the uses to which it is consecrated"

The hall was constructed from Bedford, Indiana limestone and features a horseshoe-shaped balcony. From Goggle Earth the building appears to from a red X.

Located at: 211 N. Main St., Rockford, IL 61101

Telephone: 815-969-1999


Manager: Scott Lewandowski

Hauntings: Manager, Scott Lewandowski, said he caught a glimpse of someone walking into the women’s bathroom one evening when nobody else was in the building at the time. Reports of children playing in the balcony and another couple can be heard. Strange noises and shadowy figures have also been reported in the past.

Equipment setup: This was a public event run by Kathy Kresol and the Haunted Rockford Tours so no equipment was actually set up however I did use my Tri-Field Natural EM Meter, Melmeter 8704 REM, digital IR camera, digital tape recorder, Sony Nightshot IR camcorder, SB-7 Ghost Box, Ovilus X with DTD.

Experiments performed: Throughout the evening I traveled from floor to floor and room to room with a group to visit all the locations. EVP and Ovilus sessions were performed. Ghost Head Soup researchers also conducted experiments and EVP sessions as well as reverse voice sessions in the main auditorium.




The Ghost Research Society investigated Memorial Hall on May 17, 2013. Team members included: Dale Kaczmarek with help from Mark Schwabe, Dean Thompson, George Hawrylenko and Paul Sheppard. This was a public event sponsored by Haunted Rockford Tours and Kathy Kresol.








Personal experiences: While in the basement with Mark Schwabe, he suddenly called out that he had just seen a light grey shadow go into between a set of glass display cases. I immediately went to that area with my Melmeter 8704 REM and began to take readings of a female Army uniform that was on a display dummy. Only around where the head would have been I got readings from .4 to .6 and nowhere else. When I moved the device towards the walls thinking it might have been picking up electrical wiring and then to the floor where physical plugs and cords were, the readings dropped to 0.0. I took some digital and digital IR pictures of the uniform and then examined the area again with the Melmeter. However no readings were present. The display read 0.0!

While taking digital infrared pictures in the main auditorium, I may have captured a shadowy figure in the doorway near the stage area. I didn’t immediately see this image but later while examining the image via my computer I noticed a well-defined shadow within the doorway. I had no way of knowing that psychic Paul Smith actually had an encounter with what he believed to be a child right in that same area.

Evidence collected:

Chanting.MPG while conducting an EVP session in the basement, an almost Latin-sounding male chanting was caught somewhere in the background.

Response.MPG while conducting an EVP session in the basement a question was asked, “Are you tied to that uniform that Dale is standing next to for some reason?” A response of some kind was recorded but it is difficult to make out what is being said.

Screams.MPG while conducting an EVP session in the basement the sounds of female screams were captured. I cannot be 100% sure however that the noises weren’t coming from outside.

Sounds.MPG while conducting an EVP session in the basement, a question was asked, “Do you believe that this is fitting place of honor for you?” A sound in then heard in the background.


Conclusions: While there weren’t too many reports of paranormal activities taking place in the building, I believe that there are enough trigger objects and personal property as to make an interesting debate that the place could indeed be haunted, if not by an intelligent haunt than surely by something residual. The basement did seem to be the most active place within the building and all the evidence was captured there with the exception of the possible spirit shadow in the main auditorium. Even though there were a number of people involved in this “public event”, they were all orderly and quiet and therefore there wasn’t any real contamination except for the occasion walking overhead.

This is a most interesting place and deserves to be investigated with a much smaller group with additional equipment and cameras, a Command Center and audio monitoring in real time and that, in my opinion, might produce additional paranormal evidence.

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