Pollak Hospital Investigation

Date: September 5, 2015

Location: 4500 Enterprise Dr., Bartonville, Illinos 61607

Telephone: 309-241-3113

Owners:  Insane Women Productions, 4501 Pfeiffer Rd, Bartonville, IL 61607

Website: http://www.hauntedinfirmary.org

History: The asylum was completed in 1902 under the direction of Dr. George Zeller who was truly a pioneer of the mental health institution of the day. He revolutionized the humane treatment of the sick and elderly. It was opened up as Peoria State Hospital, as Peoria was the largest nearby city. In total there were thirty-three buildings to serve the community.

Pollak Hospital was added to the complex in 1949 and was used to treat the many tuberculosis patients. The northern wing was for the female patients while the southern wing house the many male patients. Many people came down with this incurable disease and the deaths sometimes numbered 4-5 a day. The bulk of the patients were eventually housed in tents to try to stem the spread of this very contagious disease. These “tent colonies,” as they were called, remained until Dr. Zeller left this facility in 1913.

In 1937 both patients and employees were tested by a Dr. M. Pollak of the Peoria County Tuberculosis Sanatorium and more than half were diagnosed with TB.  Eventually Pollak was closed down in 1973, making it one of the few remaining buildings from this massive complex. The last part of the building used to house patients was the female death ward where elderly patients were kept for the last three years of the hospital’s usage.





Hauntings: In the cafeteria area there has been the sound of whispering, crying and female voices. The possible reason for the crying could be due to the fact that all female patients had their hair cut off when they were admitted to the asylum. TB was thought to have been passed around from patient’s body hair. In the female death ward the apparition of a 95-year-old woman, nick-named “The Dirty Girl” has been known to grab the private parts of male investigators in the past. She would often strip naked and run through the hospital.

In the X-Ray Room giggling has been encountered and numerous EVPs. It’s considered to be a very active room. Other reports of doors slamming on their own, singing, shadow figures, full-bodied apparitions and the sound of heavy boots has been heard in the men’s death ward. The basement could be perhaps the most haunted area of the building but, during our visit, we weren’t able to go down there and investigate because of safety issues at the time.



The Ghost Research Society investigated Pollak Hospital September 5, 2015. Team members included: Stan Suho, Marge Sucha, Kathie Para, Michael Wright, Katherine Meagher and Dale Kaczmarek 








Equipment setup: Our Command Center was set up in the first room on the left upon entering the building. It was the only “cool” spot in the building as the temperatures inside were almost unbearable at times. The CC was cooled by several large fans so occasional breaks were taken to cool off! A static IR camcorder, additional IR light and a REM Epod was set up in the room with the bathtubs. Stan had set up an additional IR camera in the X-Ray room where many voices and giggles had been heard in the past.

Experiments performed: Ghost Box, Ovilus X, EVP and dowsing rods sessions were conducted in the men’s and women’s death wards, X-ray room, the room with the stage and the room with the bathtubs.

Personal experiences:

Stan Suho: This was a campus of historic old buildings located on top of a low hill. This was our first investigation of the old Hospital. We arrived in  after which we took our equipment inside and were met by our hostess for  the evening. She conducted us on our walk through and pointed out all the  active places which I tapped. Thus began our first paranormal experience???   While seated in a small meeting room, listening to her lecture, a small (sock puppet) (my words) appeared over her shoulder. As I was busy tapping her, I did not notice it, however our ever alert Kathy picked up on it and stopped the music. It only appeared for about a few seconds then
 disappeared back into the darkness. After some discussion we proceeded  with the tour.

My setup consisted of 1 IR Camera and Ghost Microphone located in an  old x-ray room. The Camera was recorded on a DVR and the Microphone on an  Audacity Laptop. After setup I wandered the corridors taking pictures.

More on the aforementioned apparition. The group seemed to be dived on  the authenticity of it. After reviewing it many times, I remain skeptical.  I would hate to think this was staged, but it was just too artificial. I  can see Vincent Price pulling the strings. Others not sure. However it is  up for viewing on our website. Take a look and let us know what you think.
 Nothing to report from my experiments. Without all the shenanigans this  is still an interesting place. Maybe next time our cameras should be  focused on the live spirts instead of the dead ones.

Marge Sucha: On the day we investigated it was extremely hot and muggy.   We arrived early so we could get pictures outside.   At 7:00 PM the walk through started with a slide show presentation.  Near the end of the presentation off to the side on the room several investigators noticed what looked like a piece of a white sheet float up in the air and drop down.   Upon investigating the area closer nothing unusual was found.  Dale & Stan were recording the presentation; they both got this on film.  Going over this we realized this white sheet was actually up in the air for approximately 5-10 seconds before it dropped down.  We were unable to determine what it was; however, I personally don't believe this was paranormal.  We decided to start our investigation in the Men's sick room since this was the area the sheet incident happed.  Immediately Kathie's battery in her camera drained.  Kat was also having problems with her equipment.   I didn't capture any EVPs in this room. 

Women's Ward - EVP session.  We didn't get anything with the Ovilus.  Using the SB-11, Spirit Box we did get some responses to our questions.

X-ray room Mike felt like someone was next to him.   Kat, Kathie and Mike heard something that sounded like a mechanical gust of air come in the doorway.   We were unable to duplicate this or debunk.   I did pick it up on my recorder.   I'm wondering if we didn't pick up a residual sound from an old x-ray machine.

We investigated several other rooms.  Got some interesting responses on the Ovilus.

Pollak Hospital was partially decorated for the upcoming Haunted House (Halloween).  

I found this to be somewhat distracting from the investigation.   I would love to go back and investigate again (minus the decorations)   

Kathie Para: GRS members Dale, Stan, Marge, Kat, Mike and I investigated this former tuberculosis hospital September 5, 2015. I had been there once before and was anxious to return.

We started in the men’s death ward with a slide show and were given some history of the building and the area by Chris, who was our guide. During her talk I was distracted by something that caught my eye, which I then focused on. Trying to make sense of what I was seeing, I saw what looked like a white piece of cloth in the air and it then seemed to float down behind a board. I then noticed Kat looking at it and I then asked her if she saw it too, which she did. A couple of us got up and looked behind the board and didn’t find anything that could explain what we saw. The funny thing was that this happened when Chris was explaining how some patients who died and were sent to their hometowns for burial were tightly bound in sheets and put on the train. What I saw looked like part of a sheet. Fortunately, we did catch this on video. Frankly, the video reminds me of an old Vincent Price movie where someone pulls a string and a ghost swoops down. We checked the area out but wish we had done more extensive investigating of the area. I wish we could conclusively confirm this as paranormal but it was exciting nonetheless.

Further investigation of the men’s death ward during the night turned up noises that seemed to come from all around the room, batteries draining, shadows, a whisper and a creeped out feeling.

In the women’s death ward we had very good luck with responses out of the ghost box. We also heard some unexplained noises and had some high Melmeter readings.

In another room that was set up for the Halloween haunted house, with a stage and large spiders we had high Melmeter readings and quite a few relevant responses from the Ovilus.

While investigating the X-ray room some of us heard (and caught on our recorders) a loud whooshing noise that sounded like something was coming from the hallway into the doorway of the room. A couple of our team immediately ran to the hall but could not find any explanation for this sound. It was almost sounded like a huge gust of wind. Mike, who was closest to the door, had felt as though something was standing by him before this happened. He also thought he saw something. We tried running the water in the bathroom and flushing the toilet to find an explanation but we could not debunk this sound.

During the night we had several pieces of equipment shut themselves off, batteries drained, shadows seen and unexplained noises.

I would be anxious to return to this building!

Katherine Meagher: Chris was giving us a presentation consisting of a slideshow with the history of the buildings at The Top of the Hill at the Bartonville asylum. I do like history of the places I'm investigating but, not necessarily anything that is related to the spooky experiences that might happen to other people. We were in the middle of the room watching the slideshow when I saw something. Behind me was a roll window; in front of the windows was a mishmash of Halloween props. About maybe 10 feet from where I was sitting I saw something I would have to explain as a small sheet or possibly a large handkerchief drop between the disarray of props. I was not the only one that saw it. Kathy had seen it too. Stan was videotaping the presentation and believes he picked it up on tape. Our group proceeded out of the room; I went over to where I thought I saw the sheet or whatever I might have seen, had fallen. There was nothing there that resembles what I saw. After view the tape after the investigation, I had realized I was looking at least four feet away from where I had thought to see the object fall. I was also looking on the floor and after reviewing the tape it did not fall on the floor. I wish we had reviewed the tape right then and there so we could have possibly debunk what had happened or try to see if it were paranormal or not. In my mind the investigation started out interesting.

We were in another part of the building where people thought they heard something being dragged across the floor or some kind of whooshing sound during an EVP session. Mike was standing by the door while the rest of us were on the other side of the room. Not knowing what the sound was Mike and I went out into the corridor to see what we could see. There was nothing there. My tape recorder was in the hallway and after reviewing what I captured, I couldn’t necessarily say it was totally unexplainable. The corridors echo and right around the corner was command center. It is possible that somebody at command center drug a chair or piece of equipment, which echoed through the hallway. We did try to debunk it at the time.

All in all, it was a good investigation and as always, I had a lot of fun.

Michael Wright: We investigated the Pollack Hospital on September 5th.

Was looking forward to this investigation but was disappointed the way that the building was sent up, it was like an amusement park ghost house. Had several things happen that were interesting but did not trust any of the evidence from that night.

During the walk through we were watching a slide show of the history of the building, when several people in our group noticed a cloth or some type of textile that appeared to the side of the projector screen. We looked around but did not notice anything at that time, after going over the video evidence there was footage of the material that stood up and continued standing even after a few minutes then it collapsed onto the floor, if this would have happened somewhere else it would have been very impressive, but there were so many Halloween props and gadgets in the building that this might have been one of the props that turned on or malfunctioned.

We did hear something interesting noises in the x-ray room but again was not sure if it was one of the props.

The building has a long history of activity and I have been there in the past and have had some unique experiences but sadly it is now like a commercial ghost house. This is my own personal view point of the building and the investigation.

Dale Kaczmarek: This location has been on my wish list for quite some time. We have investigated the nearby Bowen Building twice which is right down the road, but never here before. Smaller than the Bowen building and basically confined to one floor and a basement which we did not have the opportunity to investigate, it made the investigating a little easier on the feet even though the inside temperatures were brutal!

While investigating the room with the two tubs my Melmeter was picking up a steady .7 from no known natural cause. Three times my digital recorder turned on and recorded in my pocket. My particular digital recorder has a switch which makes it difficult to accidentally turn on unless a considerable pressure is used to slide the on switch. My Melmeter picked up a 2.1 spike in the haunted house tunnels near the female death ward.

Several names came through on the Ovilus in dictionary mode while we were conducting an EVP session in the male death ward including; Lynn, Deborah, Frank and James and the Ghost Radar produced the word, “struck.”

The most amazing thing was a whitish sheet-like thing appeared in the men’s death ward, while our host was finishing up the history of the location. While I wasn’t privy to see this in “real-time”, Stan and I both caught it on video. This was during the time that our guide was talking about wrapping some deceased patients in sheets and temporarily storing them in the basement. On review of the video, it almost looks like an arm or hand, wrapped in a white sheet appears over a piece of plywood, remains for a good long time before dropping out of sight behind the plywood board. Para, Sucha and Wright all saw this in real time and it was just out of the peripheral vision of our guide.

Evidence collected:

Attack moan Pollak.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in dictionary mode in the female death ward, the Ovilus says, “Attack” followed by a “Moan” in the background.

Doctor Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Female death ward, a question was asked, “Are there any doctors here?’ The Ghost Box responds with, “Doctor.”

Exit woman grasp Pollak.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in dictionary mode in the X-ray room, three words were produced in sequence, “Exit woman grasp.” This is especially noteworthy a there is a female ghost that likes to grab men’s private areas.

Gust of air Pollak.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the X-ray room, a strange gust of air or whooshing sound was heard by all. (See strange noise.MPG.)

Hallway scream Pollak.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the room with the two bathtubs, there was a distant scream heard and recorded in the background.

Help you yeah help Pollak.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the room with the two bathtubs, the Ovilus says, “Help you.” A question was posed, “Help you?” to which the Ovilus says, “Yeah help.”

Hi1 Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Female death ward, a high-pitched female voice comes through the Ghost Box and says. “Hi.”

Hi2 Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Female death ward, a high-pitched female voice comes through the Ghost Box and again says. “Hi.”

Hi3 Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Female death ward, a high-pitched female voice comes through the Ghost Box and again says. “Hi.”

Linda Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Female death ward, a question was asked, “My name in Marge. What’s yours?”  The Ghost Box responds with, “Linda.”

Men’s death ward noise again Pollak.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Men’s death ward, another noise was heard.

Men’s death ward noise Pollak.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Men’s death ward, a noise is heard in the background.

Men’s death ward short whisper Pollak.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Men’s death ward, a short whisper is heard.

Men’s death ward whisper Pollak.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Men’s death ward, another whisper is heard.

Nurse Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Women’s death ward, a question was asked, “Or are you a nurse?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Nurse.”

Patient Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Women’s death ward, a question was asked, “Is there a patient here?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Patient.”

Response Pollak.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the Men’s death ward, a question was asked, “Who’s in this room that we saw earlier peek up from behind that board?” The Ovilus X responds with a response that could not be made out.

Right there Marge Pollak.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the room with the stage, a question was asked, “Can you show where we get x-rays?” The Ovilus responds with, “Right there, Marge.”

She Pollak.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in the room with the stage, a question was asked, “What was this room used for?” The Ovilus responds with, “She.”

Strange noise Pollak.MPG – (see Gust of air.MPG.)  

The thing Pollak.MPG – a most incredible piece of footage! While our host was lecturing to us about the history of the hospital, a white sheet-like appendage suddenly pops up from behind a piece of pressed wood, stays in an erect position for a number of seconds before disappearing behind it. Note: at the time of this event our host was talking about how some patients were “tightly bound in sheets.” It does appear to be wrapped in a sheet!

The thing zoomed Pollak.MPG – zoomed in version of “The thing.”

Whisper Pollak.MPG – while conducting an EVP session, the group was talking about how hot it was when a whisper is heard in the background that cannot be made out talking in an entire sentence.

Without Pollak.MPG – while finishing up the Ovilus X session in the room with the stage, a comment was made, “We’re going to go into the other room and talk in there, if you’re not going to talk with us.” The Ovilus responds with, “Without.”

Women’s 2 voices Pollak.MPG  - while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Women’s death ward, two different female voices come through the device.

Women’s death ward no Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the women’s death ward, a question was asked, “Are you having trouble talking through that?” The Ghost Box responds with, “No.”

Women’s death ward two Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Women’s death ward, a question was asked, “Can you tell us how many? Can you give us a number?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Two.”

Women’s death ward yep Pollak.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session in the Women’s death ward, a question was asked, “Can you talk really, really loud?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Yep.”

X-ray whooshing Pollak.MPG – while (see Gust of air.MPG.)

Conclusions: The location was incredible! It was just one floor with several wings and a full basement. The only suggestion I would make to other paranormal teams who might wish to investigate this location is to bring plenty of cameras to set up in the many haunted rooms, less you might miss something. Another good suggestion would be to investigate this location in the early spring or late fall and not in the heat of the summer, as the building is unbearable and you will sweat gallons of fluid!

Chris, our host, was very knowledgeable of not only the hauntings, but had a fantastic grasp of the past history of the building and what all the rooms were used for in the past. It is only with this complete knowledge of any building that future paranormal teams will have a better chance of capturing evidence.

Chris and her team basically left us the building to ourselves while sitting in nice air-conditioned cars as security for possible intruders; kind of a job that I would have enjoyed on that hot and muggy evening in September. They were also very helpful in showing our team, working electrical outlets and light switches. A necessity for a successful hunt!

I would greatly recommend this location to any serious paranormal team as we did collect of very relevant and intelligent responses during our visit to Pollak Hospital.

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