Tinker Swiss Cottage Investigation 2014

The Tinker Swiss Cottage is a historic place, museum, and park in Rockford, Illinois, USA. It was built as a personal residence by Robert Hall Tinker in the1860s. It is now a popular destination for school trips and wedding receptions.

Robert Hall Tinker was born in Honolulu to missionary Reuben Tinker (1799–1854) and his wife Mary Throop Wood (1809–1895) in 1836. Tinker moved to Rockford in 1856, where he was employed as an accountant by Mary Dorr Manny, the wealthy widow of John H. Manny of the Manny reaper works. Tinker traveled Europe in 1862 and was greatly impressed by the estates and gardens he had seen there. On his return to Rockford, Tinker built himself a 20-room Swiss-style cottage on a limestone bluff overlooking the Kent Creek and the home of Mary Manny. In 1870 Robert and Mary were married, becoming Rockford 's most influential couple. Tinker was mayor of Rockford in 1875 and a founding member of the Rockford Park District.

Upon the death of the Tinkers, the cottage was left to the Rockford Park District. The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on December 27, 1972.

Located at: 411 Kent St., Rockford, IL. 61102, 815-964-2424

Website: www.tinkercottage.com



Equipment setup: This was a public event sponsored by Kathi Kresol and Haunted Rockford Tours. The GRS was the investigative team assigned to assist the public at various locations throughout the property. Marge and Kathie were in the barn, Katherine and Michael were in the Carriage House, Jim and Stan were downstairs in the main house and Rosemary and I were upstairs in the Red Room.

Experiments performed: EVP, Ghost Box, Ovilus X and dowsing rod sessions were conducted. There were four groups of people that came through, therefore the sessions were numbered and each group was told of the number of their particular session at each location so if evidence was collected during their session, they could later see and hear it online.

Personal experiences:  

Michael Wright: This was a public event our team was divided into 4 groups in 4 separate areas of the property.

Our group consisted of Kat, I and Steve (Tinker Swiss staff), we were stationed in the Carriage House.
There were 4 separate groups of people that came in for a 30 minute investigation; Kat did a dowsing rod session for each group.

The same questions were asked in each of the sessions and the rods responded the same.
The primary responders to the rods were Mary and Jessie (former wives of Mr. Tinker).
In the second group of investigators the rods were responding to a man whose grandfather had recently passed.

The copier also turned on randomly in the first and last session, also in the last session there was a discussion about religion and the EMF detector (which was completely blank before) responded to the conversation.

Really enjoyed this investigation, liked the property and got some compelling evidence, would not mind going back to do another round.

Stan Suho: This was my second visit to the cottage and it really wasn’t an investigation but more of a public demonstration of Ghost hunting methods. Our group was divided into 4 teams and each team assigned a different station on the grounds. The public was separated into groups and made their way to the different stations. Jim and I were directed to the basement area and because of the number of people and time constraints, we did a minimal setup. I setup a video camera on the 1st floor living room and monitored it in the basement with wireless microwave link. The camera was focused on an old couch and left to run, "more on this later". I also had a wireless Microphone in the same room monitored in the basement command post with a Laptop running Audacity software. Jim had a cassette recorder setup in the coal seller and would give demonstrations on EVP methods to the groups. The evening passed smoothly with four groups passing through our station.

Because of all the activity in the house, I didn't do any serious recording but erased my tapes at the conclusion of the evening. Later I found out that a man had died on the very couch I was monitoring. This event made for a very good demonstration of various ghost hunting methods to the general public, and a good time was had by all.

Jim Piscopo:  We arrived at the Tinker House and started setting up. Stan and I set up in the basement. I set up my camera in the lower room in the basement where we would be conducting 4 EVP sessions, one with each group that came in.

I didn't have any personal feelings in the house

Katherine Meagher:  Mike and I were to hold investigations in the Carriage House that had never been investigated. I was a little apprehensive being the fact it was only one room that we were allowed to be in.  There was a foyer then a meeting room with a copier machine in it. I had thought to myself; please let a spirit be here to help with the groups because I wasn’t sure what the heck we were going to do with four groups sitting around a table. Maybe talk about experiences… I don’t even know.

Steve was our sit in who knew the history of the grounds. Mike and I knew nothing except what was in the pamphlet. The only tools we had were a K-II meter, a tape recorder, and copper dowsing rods.

The K-II meter was left in the middle of the table for the duration of the four investigations. The questions were the same for each group with progression of information with each group. I knew nothing of the history of the grounds and learned a lot of information with each group. The main responders to the rods were the former wives (Mary and Jessie) of Mr. Tinker and with the help of Steve we progressed with his knowledge of the property. The answers were the same and never changing in all four groups. When Steve explained some of the history of the lives at the property. The spirit would agree with him through the rods with wild Yeses.

Group 1

The copier went off a couple of times for unknown reasons


We had an extra spirit with us that had accompanied a gentleman. It was his Grandfather maybe both his Grandfathers

Group 3          

The spirits were getting tired of the questions but kept going

Group 4

The copier had gone off multiple times. We were discussing spiritual things and the K-II meter that had set quietly through the other sessions went off multiple times.

I heard some faint EVP off the recorder but could not verify that it was spirit or not because of the number of people in the room.

All in all is a good investigation and I am glad Dale told me to bring the dowsing rods. I’m not sure what we would have done without them.

Kathie Para: Ghost Research Society assisted in a public investigation of this location following the Rockford Ghost Conference. This event was organized by Kathi Kresol of Haunted Rockford and Steve Litteral of Tinker Swiss Cottage and consisted of approximately 50 people. They were divided into four groups and we investigated four different areas of Tinker Swiss Cottage property. GRS was stationed in each location to assist the public in a paranormal investigation. GRS members present were: Jim and Stan in the basement, Kat and Mike in the carriage house, Dale and Rosemary on the second floor of the main house and Marge and me in the lower level of the barn. Also present were psychics Paul Smith and Sara Bowker, who moved from location to location, and sensitive Kathi Kresol, who stayed with me and Marge in the barn the entire time. We used a laser grid, a REM pod, K-II meters, Melmeter, digital recorders and digital cameras.

The barn has two spirits: Peter, a 9 year old boy, who was from the nearby orphanage for terminally ill children who comes to the barn to visit the horses and a man who was called Al (possibly his real name was Alphonse) who was most likely an Italian immigrant. He apparently was the man in charge of the horses and animals in the barn. He would chase the children away from the barn because there was a horse that had kicked one of the workers. Peter obviously was somewhat fearful of Al. Peter was quite a charming young man and spoke quite freely once he got comfortable with us being there. Most of this communication was through Paul Smith and Kathi Kresol.

Some of the things that happened that evening in the barn were: Shadows seen moving, the lock on the door swinging, the room got brighter and then dimmed. I personally got touched, as did a man in the third session (Group #4) and we heard a couple whispers, unexplained tapping and a couple of louder noises. The Ovilus was mostly quiet with a few exceptions. Right after Kathi related “Al’s” story of a horse kicking one of his workers the words “fiddle, horrible and loving” came through. (Could Fiddle be the name of a horse?) The word “light” also came out of the Ovilus as I was talking about the laser grid we were using.

I have investigated the main house twice before but this was my first time in the barn. I would love to see if any of the information we gathered that night could been verified. It seemed we made such a personal connection with the young boy Peter. I literally have two pages of information we gathered that night. I would love to return again and spend more time in the barn.


Marge Sucha: Kathi Kresol, from Haunted Rockford Paranormal & Steve Litteral, from Tinker Swiss Cottage hosted a post conference investigation of the Historic Tinker Swiss Cottage.   GRS was asked to participate.  We broke off into 4 groups with each group taking a location on the property. 

Kathie and I had the barn.  

Session 1/ Group 2- Through questioning and the help of psychics Paul and Sara We were able to communicate with a young boy named Peter age 9 who likes to hang out in the barn with the horses.  He said he was from the home.  There once was an orphanage for terminally ill children next to the property. (Where the parking lot is today.)  Shadows were seen and Kathie P. felt someone touch her ankle. Peter's favorite teacher was Miss Ettson. (Not sure of the spelling)  

He liked Mrs. Tinker's pies.  His favorite pie was apple.  Least favorite cherry.

Later it was learned the male presence named was Al.  

Session 2 / Group 1- The male (Al) presence was felt in the back by the hallway.  The male was wondering why we were there. 

He chases the kids out of the barn because one of the horses kicks and he didn't want the kids to get kicked.

A noise was heard behind me and I also heard someone say "hello" behind me.

Someone saw some green dots from the laser grid blank out.  

Session 3/ Group 4 - Shortly after we started our EVP several of us heard a tapping sound.  Kathie P. said that while we were switching groups she had asked Peter to make a loud knocking sound for the new group.  Someone from the group felt his head get touched.  

Session 4 / Group 3 - As we were settling in and Kathi was getting ready to shut the lights off  the Ovilus said "light"   No one was upstairs but several times we heard knocking up there.   

Dale Kaczmarek: I was stationed in the upstairs main house in what is called the “Red Room”. It has been a very active place in the past within EVPs and female singing caught on camcorders. I conducted both Ovilus X and Ghost Box sessions there and had a REM Epod positioned on the floor just outside of the room by the stairs leading down to the first floor. Since there was an entire floor separating Stan and Jim’s group in the basement and Rosemary’s and I upstairs, there was no contamination of sound, voices or noises that could be heard.

Towards the end of one EVP session the group heard footsteps outside the door and then saw a shadow pass under the bottom of the door. Upon checking nobody was there. A few minutes later, however Rosemary did arrive but earlier the shadow wasn’t apparently hers. Each of the four sessions had something turn up later on evidence review.


The Ghost Research Society investigated Tinker Swiss Cottage on October 4, 2014. Team members included: Stan Suho, Jim Piscopo, Kathie Para, Marge Sucha, Katherine Meagher, Michael Wright, Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Dale Kaczmarek








Evidence collected:

First session whisper.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Barn, a whisper is heard in the background.

Get tinker.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session for Session #1 in the Red Room, a question was asked, “If you want us to leave, tell us to get out.” The Ghost Box responds with, “Get.”

Leave tinker.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session for Session #1 in the Red Room, a question was asked, “Just to be clear. Tell us to leave or get out one more time.” The Ghost Box responds with, “Leave.”

Third session group 4 noise.MPG – while conducting an EVP in the Barn, a loud noise was heard and recorded in the background.

Third session group 4 voice.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus session in the Barn, the Ovilus says “Run” and it’s followed by a strange sounding voice near the end of the clip.

Unexplained sound tinker.MPG – while conducting an EVP session for Session #3 in the Red Room, just as I was starting the EVP session, a very strange and unexplained sound is heard in the background, over my voice.

Walking tinker.MPG – while conducting an EVP in the Basement, a question was asked, “Is there somebody here, can you give us a sign?” Suddenly the sound of distinct footsteps is heard walking around.

Whisper tinker.MPG – while conducting an EVP session for Session #3 in the Red Room, a whisper is heard in the background. However I cannot be absolutely sure if this is paranormal or not.

Yes go tinker.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session for Session #1 in the Red Room, a question was asked, “We’ll leave this room if you want us to leave.” The Ghost Box responds with, “Yes go.”

Yoohoo tinker.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session for Session #4 in the Red Room, the Ghost Box suddenly says, “Yoohoo.”

You are a tinker.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session for Session #2 in the Red Room, a question was asked, “What kind of help do you need?” The Ghost Box responds with, “You are a …” We could not make out the last word but believe it to be derogatory because the previous session we had promised to leave the room but of course we didn’t.

Conclusions: Even though this was a public event and there were around 50 people, they were well behaved and the contamination was minimal during sessions. They only thing we have to constantly stress is no whispering during EVP sessions. I believe with perhaps the one whisper I picked up that could or could not be paranormal, there wasn’t any other low talking going on amongst people.  The footsteps we picked up is consistent with the sounds we recorded in the past and I believe them to be residual.

All in all, it was an eventful evening and we did get some interesting catches.

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