Milton School Investigation

Milton School was built in 1904 and remained open for 80 years, serving students until it closed down for good in the summer of 1986. The original part of the school constructed in 1904 consisted of four classrooms, boiler room and restrooms below. Later two additions were made to the school. The first in the 1930s where twelve additional classrooms were added on a wing and another six on another wing including a full cafeteria. The last addition was the gymnasium which was added in 1937 and the configuration of the school resembles the capital I. The school served as the main school for the town of Alton until 1986. After the school closed, it was abandoned for some time and then re-opened by Gary Levi (Levay) in the early 1990’s as a factory for Intaglio Design, a company that manufactures items of decorative glass. Other businesses have also taken up residence in the old building, including a martial arts academy. While some believe that only old memories still haunt the corridors of the school, the legends of the place tell a different story. A warehouse was added in 1993 covering the old courtyard and playground. It was purchased in June 2008 by Meredith Elston.

Located at:1320 Milton Rd., Alton, Illinois 62002, 217-971-3627





Hauntings: While the stories may be merely legend – something, or perhaps more than one something, lurks in the dark shadows of this building. Could the story of the murdered girl be simply a piece of Alton “ghostlore”, an elusive tale created to explain why a place is truly haunted? Or could the events have been covered up to keep fear from running rampant through the community?

According to the legend, the events began one fall afternoon, a few hours after school had dismissed for the day. The building was deathly silent by this time and the shadows began to grow longer as twilight was now coming earlier with each passing week. The teachers and students had all left for the day, except for one, a young girl (who later generations of students would dub "Mary") who was finishing a seasonal bulletin board for her classroom.

By the time that she had stapled the last construction paper leaf on the board, the sun was beginning to dip low in the sky. Mary knew that she had better get home, before her mother started to worry. She gathered up her school books and hurried down the shadowy corridor to the doors by the gymnasium. She knew that she could push them open and leave the building and they would lock behind her. As she skipped down the last stairway and rounded the corner into the gymnasium, she heard a noise behind her. Curiosity about that noise was the last conscious thought that she ever had.

Mary was discovered the next morning in the girl’s shower room, in the basement of the school. Her small body was bloody and battered, her clothing torn and scattered about. Most horrific of all was that fact that the young girl had been brutally raped.

The hunt was on for the culprit, but the police had no leads. What sort of animal would commit such a terrible act? During her last moments, Mary had managed to scratch her assailant, as his bloody skin was still under her fingernails. The authorities warned school officials to be on the lookout for anyone with scrapes or scratches on their hands or face.

Several days passed before someone realized that a janitor who worked in the school was missing. He had not shown up for work in nearly a week, so police officers went to his house to ask him a few questions about where he had been on the night of Mary’s attack. Not surprisingly, they found scratch marks on both of his hands; although he claimed his cat had left them there. The man lived with his elderly mother, who maintained that he had been sick with the flu and had been at home with her on the afternoon of the murder. The detectives did not believe his story, but had nothing to arrest him for. He was moved to the top of their list of suspects. Police officers began driving past his house at night and the janitor was kept under constant surveillance. Rumors began to fly and teachers and staff members at the school began to talk of the janitor’s strange habits and of his inappropriate attention to some of the children.

Did the harassment of law enforcement and the gossip of the staff at the school drive an innocent man to take his life? Probably not, but we may never know. A few days later, the body of the janitor was also discovered in the school. He was found hanging, the end of the rope around an exposed beam above an upstairs hallway. Beneath his dangling feet were an overturned chair and a scrawled note which read simply:  I Did it!

Was it the confession of a depraved pedophile? The rantings of a man who had been driven to madness by the hounding of the police? Or, as some have hinted, an obvious clue left behind by someone carrying out their own brand of vigilante justice?

As the years have passed, these questions have continued to be asked, although no answers are forthcoming. Rumors, stories and whispered legends floated about the school for years and while many students would never learn that the building had a dark and tainted past, others would not be so lucky. During the years when the school was still open, many students spoke of strange encounters in the building, odd events, unexplained sounds, and strange shadows that didn’t belong. Many of these stories would be dismissed as nothing more than a creepy old building settling on its foundations, or the overactive imaginations of elementary school students but others would not. Many former students can tell stories of strange experiences in the old school and also tales of their friend’s encounters with “Mary”.

Years later, when Intaglio Design took over the building, some of the employees of the company began to notice some very peculiar things were going on in the place as well. Footsteps were heard in the dark hallways at night when no one else was there, items began to appear and disappear around the offices and soon, one of the staff members even spotted the apparition of a small girl. Was this the ghost of Mary?

This little girl even reportedly became very attached to one particular employee of the business, a young woman named Vickie (name changed). The spirit began to make frequent – and sometimes unnerving – appearances in her office, which was located at the bottom of a stairwell outside of the gymnasium. It was not uncommon to find that things in the room had been moved from place to place. She would also sometimes catch a glimpse of the girl out of the corner of her eye, playing quietly or sitting on the stairs near her office. On other occasions, Vickie would come into the office and find that someone had been tapping on the keys to her computer keyboard, leaving behind patterns of X’s and O’s. There had been no one in the office at the time.

While the ghost of the little girl was completely benevolent, and was in fact welcomed by Vickie – the problem was that she did not haunt the school alone! Another presence was also in the building and this one was described by Vickie as being very threatening. The staff believed that this other ghost was the janitor who had taken the girl’s life so many years ago. He was apparently still trapped in the building where he had committed this terrible act.

Vickie, who had grown attached to Mary, now nervously found herself being stalked by the janitor’s more malevolent ghost. According to reliable witnesses, Vickie became absolutely terrified by the unseen presence in the building. The majority of her encounters with the ghost took place on the stage area of the gym and down in the hallway behind the girl’s shower room. Near the shower room, other staff members also reported an unsettling presence that could cause them to become short of breath and feel a panicked sensation. On many occasions, glass items that were left near one particular former shower stall (which tradition holds is where Mary’s body was found) were reportedly found to be shattered into pieces. No explanation could be found as to why this was occurring.  Eventually, Vickie became so frightened by the things that were going on that she simply refused to work in the building at night. Eventually, she left her job and although this was several years ago, strange things continue to happen at Milton School today.

Other activities include noises in the boiler room, footsteps, shadow figures seen in the basement near the stairwell to the front door, a shadow figure of a person peeking into the 2nd floor classroom from the hallway


The Ghost Research Society investigated Milton School on July 23,  2011. Team members included: Stan Suho and Dale Kaczmarek with help by Jeanne Chilton, Dean Thompson, Michael Griffon, Chris Crum and Shana Wankel.








Equipment setup: Since the temperature outside was still in the high 80s with a high heat index and the building was not air-conditioned, it was extremely hot on the most floors with the exception of the basement where it was approximately 10 degrees cooler. The only set up that was done that evening, due to the extreme heat, was an IR camcorder in the basement facing the front doors where shadows have been reported in the past. This was accompanied by a large IR illuminator, EM Pump and Epod on the floor.  Category five cable was run to the Command Center on the first floor and monitored by a small TV monitor.  My full-spectrum camera was placed in a 2nd floor classroom that Dean Thompson actually attended while a student and some had seen a shadow image peeking around the corner from the hallway into the room.  

Experiments performed: EVP sessions were conducted in the 2nd floor classroom, boiler room, and shower room downstairs.  


Personal experiences: While Dean was showing me where placements of cameras would be optimal and where he had experienced and seen a shadow figure, I asked if he meant from the doorway where the stairs were located. Immediately, I saw the image of a shadow person’s legs from slightly above the knees quickly move from the right to the left and disappear! They image was semi-transparent and the area it appeared at was a solid wall. There was absolutely no sound accompanied by the image and it was right where we had entered into the building. We immediately ran to the area but there was nothing or nobody there.

Throughout the evening, we heard sounds in the basement on the audio from the monitor of what sounded like shuffling and footsteps. While we debunked some of them as naturally caused by people walking over the threshold of the room above but many times there was nobody walking around. In fact, on one occasion, several people went outside to have a cigarette and Stan, Shana and I were sitting at the CC when we all clearly heard footsteps downstairs.  We could not find a source.


Stan Suho: Well unfortunately we picked one of the hottest days of the year to do the investigation. Temperatures were in the mid 90s outside and even hotter inside. The heat really took the get up out of our get up and go. We were joined by two other groups and they were affected the same way. Our setup was very minimal. I helped Dale set up two cameras. One was in the Basement and the Full Spectrum camera was in an upstairs classroom. I ran the cables back to a makeshift Command Post on the 1st floor. I did set up two Monitors, but did not set up G.E.I.S.T. Jeanie's setup was also minimal. I think she had two cameras. The three groups joined up to concentrate on EVPs.  I busied myself taking 35mm photos and Digital photos. I also followed the groups around with my Night Vision Viewer.

Well we could have used a few more members and a lot more cameras. This was a big sprawling building with lots of room to spread out. I think this building should be put on our follow up list hopefully with better weather conditions.


Upon reviewing my photos and videos, I did not see any thing paranormal, but would like to do a more thorough investigation in the future.

Evidence collected:  

Alone.MPG a question is asked, “Who’s here with you or are you alone?” The response was “alone.” Ghost Box session.  

Can’tleave.MPG a Frank’s Box session in the 2nd floor classroom and captured on the audio track of the full spectrum camera. A question was asked, “Why are you in this school?” The response was, “can’t leave.”  

Chimes.MPG a musical sound like chimes was captured in the basement on the audio track of the camcorder.  

Clank.MPG a metallic sound captured on the full spectrum camera in the 2nd floor classroom. No one was around.  

Cya.MPG a comment is made at the conclusion of an EVP session in the 2nd floor classroom, “I will see you, thank you very much.” The Ghost Box response was, “cya.”  

Ford.MPG a question was asked, “This is for my friend Mike. Mike, who’s president?” The Ghost Box response was, “Ford.”  

Go.MPG during a Ghost Box session in the locker room a question was asked, “One more time and we’ll leave and stop asking questions..” the response was, “go.”  

Heat.MPG during an EVP session in the 2nd floor classroom a word is heard from the Ghost Box, “heat.” It was extremely hot.  

Help me.MPG – a disembodied voice is heard in the distance and picked up in the basement on the audio track of a camcorder saying, “help me.”

Leave1.MPG Ghost Box session in the locker room, a question was asked, “Can you tell us to leave?” The response was, “leave.”  

Leave2.MPG Ghost Box session in the locker room, a question was asked, “Do you want us to leave?” The response was, “leave.”  

Malesound.MPG a male sound is heard in the background in the basement on the audio track of the camcorder saying something undistinguishable.  

Shadow.mpg – a dark shadow is seen to move to the right of the doorway and below the two windows very briefly. It was not seen again in any other footage throughout the night so I rule out the possibility of people coming and going out of the front door.  

Student.MPG a Ghost Box session in the 2nd floor classroom and captured on the audio track of a full spectrum camera; a question was asked, “Were you a student of this school?” The response sounds like a female whisper in the background.  

Thatwasn’tme.MPG during a Ghost Box session in the locker room basement a question was asked, “Are you the one that said Dean down here?” The response was, “that wasn’t me.”  

Yell.MPG a disembodied scream or yell is heard and recorded in the distance in the basement on the audio track of the camcorder.  


I feel this place has great potential for paranormal activity as demonstrated in the audible sounds we heard over the video monitors from the basement when nobody was moving around or downstairs and the numerous hits we got on the Frank’s Box sessions as well as a moving shadow figure. One major problem was the noise factor due to the wooden floors in the building. People moving and walking around upstairs were clearly heard on the camcorders and microphones placed in the downstairs near the boiler room and it was hard to differentiate between upstairs noises and the possible paranormal noises we heard from the command center. The heat was another major factor in this investigation and I would not investigate again in the middle of the summer but would try for an early spring or late fall investigation when temperatures were much cooler and this would also facilitate a much larger investigation with a full set up including G.E.I.S.T. and several more cameras with the quad-system.

I think a quiet time session would have benefited the investigation to see if the sounds and noises were heard when none of us were moving around or talking. Fans that were running to keep the investigators cool both upstairs and in the boiler room added to background noise making it much more difficult to hear some sounds, however some of this background noise could be removed through audio editing.

I believe if it had been much cooler the investigators present would have been more willing to conduct more experiments and set up more equipment thereby possibly yielding more results. I would like to return to this location again with a larger crew at another cooler season.

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