Old Opry House (Rossville) Investigation

The Rossville Opry House has had many uses over the years. Its original purpose was a Masonic lodge planned in 1903 by the Freemasons in the area and which ran until 1947. The owned the entire building and had their lodge on the third floor and rented the lower floors to others until 1947 when they moved to another section of town. The opera house located on the first floor of the building began operating in 1904. The owners eventually had financial problems and the opera was closed in 1912. Two years later however it was reopened to much success such as plays, movies, operas and even burlesque. It continued until 1929 when it closed down for good. It was during this time that illegal operations were also run in the form of the manufacturing of liquor during prohibition and local legend says that Al Capone once visited the site. His car allegedly broke down and was repaired in a local auto shop.

During the 1930s, the first floor was used as a Ford auto dealership, and after that a poultry and feed business. The chickens were kept on the second floor and sold on the first floor, where the feed store was located. In 1935 the second floor was used as a metal fabrication shop. Harrel Cane is known to have owned and run the company. Cane’s granddaughter, Kathy Brooks, who still lives in the area, remembers Capone’s men being in the area. Around 1945, an apartment was built in the front part of the second floor. In the 1970s, a local man bought the property with plans to put in three more apartments, but only one was completed before the property was sold again.

In 2011 David Triska purchased the property with plans on making it an antique store, however with so much activity, he decided to invite paranormal teams to investigate this location.

There is a very old graveyard, in fact the oldest one in Vermillion County, not very far from this location and many Native American Indians are buried there.

Located at: 108 N. Chicago St., Rossville, IL 60963

Telephone:  765-427-6464

Owners: David Triska

Website: www.hauntedoperahouse.com


Hauntings: David has actually been violently pushed up against the wall on the third floor on one occasion. Others have been pushed while walking downstairs. The second floor which was not part of the original building has a small room just opposite the kitchen area that is very active and people can hear women moaning. The hallway leading away from this room has been the scene of a dark black mass that was photographed. It blocked the entire doorway.

On the third floor which was once the Masonic lodge, strange lights have been seen moving from east to west along the floor and ceiling. These aren’t car headlights because they face away from the windows. Employees and patrons from the nearby Kasey’s gas station have seen an apparition of someone standing in the window looking at them very near where the Tyler from the lodge would allow access to the lodge. This often happens when there is absolutely no one in the building!

There have also been reports of phantom footsteps, knocking sounds, whispers, disembodied voices, doors opening and closing, mysterious shadows, eerie recordings and numerous EVPs.



The GRS investigated the Rossville Opry House on March 16, 2013 and the team included: Stan Suho, Kathie Para, Marge Sucha and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Jeanne and Michael Chilton, Bob Davies, Susan Evans and Markus Avery.








Equipment setup: I set up a static IR camcorder with additional IR illuminator and REM Epod on the third floor facing the stage area. Stan set up a Ghost Microphone in the Masonic lodge.

Experiments performed: EVP and Ovilus (dictionary mode) sessions were conducted in the small room and kitchen area on the 2nd floor and the old Masonic Lodge on the 3rd floor. A Ghost Box session was conducted on the 2nd floor.

Personal experiences: This was by far the craziest location yet for an Ovilus session. Not only did the device spit out a lot of words in dictionary mode but they were very often related to what we were talking about at the time or had Masonic overtures. The words that were displayed that evening had never before been displayed by the device and they are not very common words but in the context of Masons they would be. I and several investigators did audibly hear a whispery chattering on the 3rd floor Masonic lodge and a strange knocking or rapping sound that resembled the tapping of footsteps on wooden floorboards.

Kathie Para: I, Kathie Para visited the Opera House in Rossville, IL for an investigation. Other members of GRS present were, Dale, Stan and Marge. PRIOM members joined us and Bob Davies along with several of his group.

This building was originally built by the Masons to house their Lodge upstairs from 1904 to 1947 and also an opera house on the main floor. Over the years there were many other uses for this building. A second story was added after the opera house closed which was used as a metal shop and also apartments. History shows that during Prohibition stills were constructed in the sheet metal shop and operated in the basement. There is said to be an Al Capone connection during that time. There also was a car dealer and a feed store on the main floor. Most of the basement no longer exists after the floor of the opera house collapsed into it. Most recently, before the current owner bought it, it was owned by the mayor of Rossville who was a terrible hoarder and the building was filled from top to bottom with various items. The first floor is now an antique shop and the second and third floors are vacant.

We started off walking through the building with the owner. Although the entire building is active, the third floor Masonic lodge seems to be the most active. One of Jeanne’s people had a feeling of pressure on her chest in a small area when she first went up there. She felt it hard to breath. A little later when the owner brought us to the same area he explained that there was a menacing spirit there who is believed to be what is called the “Tyler” (security) in the Masons. We were told the same feeling of pressure on the chest was felt by another girl where she had to be taken outside. The owner recently got shoved up against the wall there. Also a figure is often seen from the outside standing in the window there.

We did our first session on the second floor where a woman was heard moaning and a black mass has appeared in a doorway. There were so many people there the session was contaminated.  There was some unusual K-II activity but nothing significant. The Ovilus did say a few words (“famous, basement and beer”) that could possibly relate to the Al Capone connection.

            The third floor: When we first went up for our session (Dale, Marge, Jeanne and her three members) upon entering the hallway I tried to take a picture towards the end where the Tyler was. My camera, which had fresh batteries, kept shutting off. After trying a few times I turned around and faced the group and tried snapping a picture and it worked. I turned back looking down the hallway and tried to take another photo and my camera shut off again. There was various equipment malfunctions and batteries drained during the evening: cameras, cell phones, flashlights, etc.

We entered the main room and began an EVP session. Honestly, just listening to it again gave me goose bumps. Dale’s Ovilus said more words than I’ve heard in one session. Pretty much all of them were pertinent to what we were asking. Most of it pertained to the Masons and some words we never heard of but when Googled on the spot they amazingly not only were words but had a connection to the Masons and possibly even this particular lodge judging by a date we got during the Google search. A few times it said two words, which just should not happen in dictionary mode! This session lasted for over an hour during which time we also were hearing noises and whispering.  Also, one of Jeanne’s members (I am so sorry I forgot the names) saw an apparition of a man hovering right behind Dale. When he looked down and back up it had disappeared. Presumably this was the spirit who was communicating with us through Dale’s Ovilus.

We hesitantly decided to end the session to go get coffee before the place across the street closed. When we came back after taking a break to do another EVP session it was not nearly so active. Dale did get some weird symbols on the Ovilus this time that were supposed to be checked out later to see if they had any meaning.

It was an amazing night!  

Marge Sucha: I am always fascinated with the detail on these old buildings.  One of the first things I did was take pictures of the outside of the building.  When I took the picture of the stone face on the front of the building my camera displayed a message “blink detected”   I thought that was pretty funny. The owner gave us a little history and tour of the building.  

One of the things the owner mentioned was that someone has been seen looking out the third floor window when the building has been empty.  While everyone was getting ready to investigate I went outside & walk around the building and took pictures.   I spent some time outside by the side of the building where this person has been seen by a local business looking out.  After coming back inside the owner received a call that someone was up on the3rd floor looking out the window.   Could it have been another investigator or maybe a curious spirit?  

Next I went into the first Opera area (first floor) and did a small EVP session by myself.  Nothing was picked up.  

We all headed to the 2nd floor to do an EVP session.  (The second floor was not original to the building) We did get some action w/the Ovilus.  But did not get anything on the recorder.  

After a short break we all went up to the third floor for an EVP session.   Since this is where the Masons held there meetings many questions were being asked about the Mason’s   Several investigators along with myself saw green lights coming from the window outside by the stage area.   Nothing outside was seen to explain this.   Jeanie smelled vanilla and at one point several investigators heard whispering... Some described as chanting.  I was further away from the other investigators so I did not hear this but I did pick up whispering on my recorder.

Shortly after this the Ovilus got active and started spitting out words that were connected to the Mason’s

Thurifer - person who carries the thurible in religious ceremonies.

Akasha / Acacia (different spelling) Fraternity is a Greek social fraternity originally based out of Masonic ... Today the bonds with the Free and Accepted Masons vary amongst Acacia.  

One of   Jeanie’s investigators saw an apparition of a big man floating in the air behind Dale.  After a few seconds he was gone.  

Later we did a second EVP session on the third floor.  As soon as we got up there Dale’s Ovilus started acting up.   For the most part is seemed much quieter this time.  

I all this place is definitely active and would love to go back.  

Stan Suho: This building was a 100 year old Masonic meeting hall that came complete with its own Al Capone connection. Our group of four was joined by friends from Missouri and Champaign. We made our initial walkthrough in late afternoon.  My attempt to use my newly acquired Vivitar Night shot Camera was a dud. The built in IR lamp was useless and the sound was virtually nonexistent. Unfortunately I didn't bring along my trusty old VHS video camcorder this trip.

A setup room was provided for me on the second floor complete with a space heater. Because of the cool temperature and lack of illumination on the upper floors, I chose not to do a complete G.E.I.S.T. setup. Instead I chose to concentrate on the 3rd floor meeting hall. I set up Ghost Camera and Ghost Microphone in the far corner of the room. The setup was monitored by the second floor command post. A 7 inch monitor and a Laptop running Audacity, all hooked into a DVR, ran for about three and a half hours.

Because this was a big empty room the audio quality had an echo effect on it. Nevertheless I was able to record all the extensive EVP sessions taking place that were conducted in the opposite comer of the room, and picked up most of the Masonic related words that came through the various audio devices. Because we had a checkout time and a long drive back we started breaking down about midnight.  

Conclusions: After reviewing my Videos, Audios, and Photos, I found nothing that wasn’t recorded on someone else's equipment. This was an interesting 100 yr. old building and could use a follow up investigation with more of our crew with more cameras. There were several hot spots that could have been monitored, and the price is right.  

Evidence collected:

Akasha.MPG the Ovilus said this word which is Sanskrit word meaning “aether” in both its elemental and metaphysical senses. (A sprig of acacia is used as an ancient symbol of rebirth)

Assault.MPG the Ovilus said this word right after a series of weird symbols flashed across the screen. It’s almost like something “assaulted” the device. This was on the 3rd floor during the second EVP session there.

Breathy Whisper.MPG during an EVP session in the former Masonic Lodge a breathy whisper was picked up.

Dark.MPG during a Ghost Box on the 2nd floor a question was asked, “Will you let us take your picture?” (Asking the dark mass that has been seen in the area) The Ghost Box responded with, “Dark.”

Many.MPG during a Ghost Box a question was asked, “What type of rituals did you perform here?” The Ghost Box responded with, “Many.”

Oracle.MPG the Ovilus said this word in the former Masonic lodge.

Portal.MPG the Ovilus said this word in the former Masonic lodge.

Power.MPG the Ovilus said this word in the former Masonic lodge when the group was talking about the Knights Templar and their power.

Pray.MPG the Ovilus said this word in the former Masonic lodge when the group was talking about the Knights Templar and their power.

Spirit.MPG the Ovilus said this word in the former Masonic lodge.

Thurifer.MPG the Ovilus said this word in the former Masonic lodge. A thurifer is a person who uses a thurible in religious ceremonies. A thurible is a metal censer suspended from chains in which incense is burned during worship services. It is used in Co-Freemasonary and in religious services.

Whisper.MPG during an EVP session on the 3rd floor disembodied whispering is both heard and recorded.

Whispers.MPG more whispering voices are heard and recorded from the 3rd floor.


The entire vocabulary of words produced during the Ovilus session on the 2nd floor includes: unlock, marble, famous, desks, basement, noise, puddle, disturb, disregard, famous, mind, beer, dark, rain, closet and feeling.

The entire vocabulary of words produced during the first Ovilus session on the 3rd floor includes: L, spoon, nail, brave, voice, music, guy, pendant, Europe, pray, power, Robert, smell, leather, writing, soul, hobble, surprise, around, bishop, wave, paint, hold, sentence, pull, paralysis, gag, thurifer, before time, window, in, roadway, drive, akasha, lens, portal, beside, tremor, oracle, garden, pole, can you, spirit, terms, monitor, god, raid, near death, Robert, free, pounds, calm, tense, stuff, fog, development, ah, easy, medicine, pray and included.

The entire vocabulary of words produced during the second Ovilus session on the 3rd floor includes: dust, (weird symbols), assault, straight, cut, temperature, jog, ax, baby, healer, Robert, animal, win, plan, closet, mammy and knee.

Conclusions: I personally believe we were in contact with or at least privy to a Masonic ritual when we were conducting the first Ovilus session on the 3rd floor. There were just too many Masonic references especially when we were specifically talking about the Masons or the Knights Templar. On those occasions, we got some of the best responses. There were other interesting connections like the word “spoon” when an investigator had just recently been holding a silver spoon from downstairs. “Music” was another interesting word as I was pointing out the W.A. Mozart was a Mason and his last opera The Magic Flute was full of Masonic symbols. Almost immediately that word came across. But especially “pray’ and “power” when Jeanne was talking about the Knights Templar and relating how powerful they were.

The experience that most had of hearing disembodied chattering whispery voices on the 3rd on two occasions and tapping sounds was extremely interesting. Some suggested that the voices almost sounded like chanting.

The words picked up on the second floor of interest included “beer” as this building was used to produce liquor during prohibition; “dark”, reports of a pitch-black dark shadowy mass blocking the hallway doorway and “basement” as there once was a basement that did collapse.

All in all it was an interesting experience and I would like to return there with more equipment, cameras, Command Center to capture more evidence.

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