Willow Creek Farm Investigation

William Boardman and his wife Mary sailed from England arriving in the port of New York in 1835. They continued their journey west to a trading post in Illinois that would eventually become the city of Rockford (first settled in 1834–1835 by Germanicus Kent, Thatcher Blake, and Lewis Lemon, who came from Galena and established themselves on the west bank of the Rock River). Mr. Boardman worked as a blacksmith until he traveled further west in 1837 when land was opened for settlement in Carroll County (est. 1840). There he acquired a team of oxen and worked the land for two years as required by the government. After building a log cabin he went back to Rockford in the spring of 1839 to get his wife and two children, Margaret (b. 1836 La Salle Co., Illinois) and Mary (b. 1838 Winnebago Co., Illinois). Soon after, he walked to Dixon to file on his claim. A popular story tells of a claim jumper on horseback arriving in Dixon before Mr. Boardman and taking part of his land claim. Another unsubstantiated story is about a young renegade Indian who was dragged through the prairie behind a horse as punishment for ransacking the Boardman’s home. It's claimed that the punishment meted out was decided upon by tribal elders because of the good relationship they had with William Boardman.

Two prosperous brothers, David and his younger brother Thomas Holmes, emigrated from England and settled in the vicinity of the Boardman property. Thomas married Margaret Boardman in 1853 and David married her sister Mary J. Boardman in late 1855. Thomas and Margaret resided in a house with an apple orchard located in Section #10 as shown on an 1869 Plat map. This is also the approximate location of the log cabin built by William Boardman in 1838. On the same Plat map in Section #9 another house and apple orchard north of Thomas and Margaret’s house is shown. The owner is listed as Mary B. Holmes (nee Boardman). This is the house that now stands at Willow Creek Farm. According to some records, the house dates from 1878. However, there is reason to believe that it was built at least ten years earlier because a dwelling shows on the 1869 Plat map in the same location and, it may be even older if built around the time that David and Mary married.

On December 31, 1889 Frank Zier Sr. (b: July 15, 1865 d: January 09, 1944) married Margaret Etta Holmes (b: October 14, 1872 d: October 04, 1961) eldest daughter of David and Mary (Boardman) Holmes. The farm then became known as the Zier farm and was in the family until the late 1980s. The farm and other land in the area were purchased and subdivided. The farm went through several ownership changes until it was purchased by the current owner in November 2006 and named Willow Creek Farm.

There was a death of one Ron Gidner (58 years old) who died of a heart attack by the corner of the barn. The main staircase is unique in that it goes from the back to the front of the house instead of the other way around.


Address: 25516 Spring Valley Road, Shannon, IL 61078

Phone: 815-291-1388

Owner: Al Kelchner

Website: www.hauntedwillowcreekfarm.com

Hauntings: Reports of chantings and drumming sounds have been heard in the building. Apparitions of shadow people and images of people walking by the downstairs windows quickly have been observed. Native American Indian ghosts have been reportedly seen in a nearby field behind the main house and utility shed. In the northwest bedroom a strong male presence has been felt on numerous occasions and thought to be a Dr. Archibald Graham.

Al has been pushed, punched and shoved and has heard disembodied voices many times. He has also been hugged by unseen forces. Some of the other ghosts are thought to be: Sara, Mary (10), Robbie (10) who was very sick, Big Mike who is often felt downstairs, and Anna but Al believes that she may have left with a paranormal group in the past.

The utility shed is active with loud bangs and shadow figures along with the barn. A large tree alongside the driveway is thought to be a portal area.



The GRS investigated Willow Creek Farm on June 14, 2013 and the team included: Kathie Para, Marge Sucha, Sandy Weber, Stan Suho and Dale Kaczmarek.








Equipment setup: A static IR camera was positioned in the upstairs hallway facing Dr. Graham’s room. The G.E.I.S.T. equipment was placed in the basement while the Command Center was upstairs on the main floor dining room. A static full spectrum camera and IR illuminator along with a Wi-Fi transmitter was placed in the farthest barn door opening.

Experiments performed: EVP, SB-7 Ghost Box and Ovilus X sessions were conducted in the barn, utility shed and Dr. Graham’s room on the 2nd floor.

Personal experiences: On the way back from setting up the static full spectrum camera, I thought I heard a disembodied voice yell, “Hey!” However, it wasn’t detected on any recorders or devices.

Kathie Para: After getting the history from Al, the owner we did a quick tour and set up our equipment.

Sandy was doing EMF readings in the master bedroom and she started feeling as though she was not wanted in that room. Often times it’s our bodies that give us the best measurement of paranormal activity and she was getting her specific feelings. Marge, Sandy and I did and EVP session in that room while Dale and Stan were setting up in the dining room. We seemed to be getting knocking responses to our own knocks. But with the guys right below us we can’t be 100% sure even though we felt we could distinguish between them and our own activity. The only other odd thing happening was that the standing mirror had tilted upwards. We moved it back in place, asked for someone to move it again and the next time we checked it was, once again, tilted way up. This could possibly be naturally occurring but we really couldn’t debunk it.

After we got all cameras in place we all headed out to the barn. Right away we heard footsteps above us in the loft area of the barn. They were very distinct and loud. Sandy climbed the ladder and checked and there was nothing up there.

We then went to investigate the big utility barn where the machinery is kept. We used the Ovilus and ghost box and got some very interesting responses from the ghost box.

Our last EVP session was in the bedroom in which a doctor is said to hang out. Once again we got some interesting responses but no personal experiences or hard evidence.

Several fully charged batteries drained quickly during the night and many times my body told me we weren’t the only ones there.

This was my second time at Willow Creek and I would love to go back and investigate again.


Sandy Weber: Weather: outside: approximately 70 - 75° F, partly cloudy, humidity about 70%, very dark except for lights from the 1st floor of the house that were not visible from the yard by the barn entrance and shed

Other Investigators Present: Dale Kaczmarek, Stan Suho, Kathie Para, Marge Sucha

Equipment: Sony camcorder set on night shot with very sensitive microphone

EMF: (Tri-Field Natural EM Meter)

Thermometer: Infrared: FLIR


Phenomena witnessed by investigator


Time:       Approximately 7:00 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. 


Before setting up, the owner of Willow Creek Farm, Al Kelchner, discussed the history of the farm and some of the entities that he believed had been identified there, including approximately 30 entities in the house and grounds.     

After the presentation, we set up our equipment in the house and barn.  My video camera was positioned in one of the upstairs bedrooms where a doctor spirit was said to reside, and another team of paranormal investigators had waived to a woman in the window thought to be a team member until discovering that the entire team was outside the building.  The camera was aimed at the window and bed.  The camera had approximately 6 hours of capacity on its battery.  I began filming at about 8:30 p.m.  However, when an EVP session was conducted in that room at approximately 12:30, the camera had shut down.  I later determined that I had about 3 hours’ worth of video.  Upon review of the video, I discovered that much of it was contaminated by (1) the electromagnetic pump operating in the basement (past 2 closed doors) and (b) the voice of Al Kelchner on the 1st floor (past 1 closed door).  Investigators were engaging Al in conversation about the paranormal happenings, but only his deep voice carried through the closed door leading to the upstairs.  Regarding visual evidence, there was a brief period of light shining through the window from outside, but it was related to what appeared to be crunching gravel in the yard and was probably Al returning from a trip to town.  There was also a brief period in which an “orb” moved around the room, but its pattern of movement was like a flying insect.  

I walked the house with my Tri-Field, taking readings throughout the house – main floor, basement and upstairs bedrooms and used the Tri-Field during EVP sessions in two of the bedrooms.  The readings were consistently approximately 0.5 on the electro-magnetic setting.  I took some Tri-Field readings in the barn main floor and loft, shed and yard, but the results were the same.  While using the Tri-Field in one of the bedrooms (where Al sleeps), I had a strange sensation of intense salivation.  

I walked around the house with the FLIR but found no unusual heat distributions.  In the barn, I climbed to the loft and identified a square area of “cold” that appeared to be a hole in the outside wall.  I did not walk through the loft to investigate it, assuming that it was a hole in the wall.  I attempted to take a photo with the FLIR, but the photo button did not work.  Upon exiting the barn, there did not appear to be a square hole in the wall where the “cold” signature had been.  I did not go back to the loft to investigate, although in hindsight I should have done so.  I spoke to Al about the “cold” signature.  He said there was no metal object in the loft that could have given that reading.  He invited me to return to investigate during the day.  I expect to do so in the next few weeks and will prepare an addendum to this report.  

I participated in EVP sessions, but the recorder was not mine, and I did not review the evidence.


Final Record

Rolls of film used:  NA

Audio tapes used:   NA

Video tapes used:   NA

Number of Psychic Photos:  None, but unidentified FLIR reading.

Number of EVP recorded:  None heard on camcorder with very sensitive microphone

Phenomena captured in photos:  None

Summation:  I made no paranormal findings.  


Stan Suho: Wow, a big old farm house on an isolated road, with a big Red Barn out back. Sounds like a setting for a Vincent Price movie. We were working with a small group this investigation. After Al gave us the lowdown on all the happenings, we made a quick walk through then began the investigation. The command post was set up on the Kitchen Table. This gave us good access to the rest of the house, and a clean shot to the Barn about 100 yards away.

Dale set up a full spectrum camera in the barn and we beamed it back to the Command Post using the Wi-Fi Antennas. Pretty good picture. I did a full G.E.I.S.T. setup with Audio and Video in one of the basements. I recorded about three hours Video and Audio, and except for the ubiquitous Moth flying around all night, nothing paranormal showed up.

I participated in several EVP sessions throughout the evening and spent time trying to get Sandy's Thermo camera working in Video mode. We spent the rest of the night in the house. Marge and Kathy downstairs and Dale and I upstairs in active bedrooms.Even though I had my camera at the ready to photograph that “Full Torsal Phantasm ", nothing disturbed my sleep.  


Even with a small group, I think we covered the house fairly well. I have nothing to report but let’s see what the others have to say.


Evidence collected:  

3 lots of ppl.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in the shed a question was asked, “How many spirits live and around the house”? The Ghost Box responded with, “Three.” A follow-up question was asked, “How many spirits are here?” The Ghost Box responded with, “Lots of people.”  

Bill.MPG while conducting an EVP session in the shed a question was asked, “Can you knock like this three times?” After the third knock a faint male voice can be heard saying, “Bill.”  

Blacksmith.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in the shed a question was asked, “Can you tell me who was walking around in the barn a while ago?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Blacksmith.”  

Boardman.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in the shed a question was asked, “What was the name of the blacksmith that was walking around the barn?” The Ghost Box responds with what sounds like, “Boardman.”  

Camcorder sounds.MPG the static IR camcorder positioned in the upstairs hallway picks up sounds as though something actually physically touched the camcorder.  

Captain captain.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in Dr. Graham’s room the Ovilus X in dictionary mode says, “Captain” and several seconds later the Ghost Box also repeats the same word, “Captain.”  

Dragged1 willow creek.MPG the static full spectrum camera in the barn picks up the sound of something being dragged along the floor.  

Dragged2 willow creek.MPG the static full spectrum camera in the barn again picks up the sound of something being dragged along the floor.  

Footsteps and sounds willow creek.MPG the static full spectrum camera in the barn picks up the clear sounds of footsteps followed by a lot of sounds and noises.  

I did.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in the shed a question was asked, “Did you live here?” The Ghost Box responds with, “I did.”  

Knock response.MPG while experimenting with knocks for communication, a knock response was heard and recorded.  

Me willow creek.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in Dr. Graham’s room a question was asked, “Who do they see peeking in the windows downstairs?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Me.”  

Mother fucker.MPG this is an amazing Class A EVP capture! When asking what the Ovilus X had just said, “Read”, after Sandy spelled it out a very clear but soft male voice is heard saying, “Mother fucker!”  

Movement footsteps willow creek.MPG the static full spectrum camera in the barn picks up the clear sounds of movement followed by footsteps.  

Movement willow creek.MPG the static full spectrum camera in the barn picks up the sound of something moving around.  

Noise downstairs willow creek.MPG while conducting an Ovilus X session in Dr. Graham’s room a question is asked, “Why don’t you come into the room?” Immediately after the question a tinny sound is heard apparently coming from downstairs followed by the Ovilus X saying, “Get.”  

Noises willow creek.MPG the static full spectrum camera in the barn clearly pick up noises not caused by anyone from our team.  

Not sure willow creek.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in Dr. Graham’s room a question was asked, “What’s the doctor’s name that’s up here?” The Ghost Box responds with, “I’m not sure” or “Not sure”.  

Sara willow creek.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in Dr. Graham’s room a question was asked, “Who else is up here?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Sara.”  

Shadow man.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box session in Dr. Graham’s room the Ghost Box suddenly says very clearly, “Shadow man.”  

Thud scream.MPG while conducting an EVP session in the shed a loud thud is heard and recorded followed by what sounds like a female scream in the distance.  

Walking.MPG while setting up for an EVP session in the barn the clear sound of footsteps was both heard and recorded overhead.  

Whispering willow creek.MPG while conducting an EVP in Dr. Graham’s room, a strange whispering voice is recorded in the background.  

Willow creek.MPG while conducting a Ghost Box in the shed a question was asked, “What’s the name of this farm?” The Ghost Box responds with what sounds like, “Willow Creek.”  

Conclusions: Willow Creek Farm was a fantastic place to research and investigate due to virtually zero contamination because it’s located in such a rural setting. Plus Al’s hospitality was most refreshing along with his great historical knowledge of not only the farm but of the general area around the farm including some of the Indian wars and visits by Abe Lincoln.

I think however if we were a bit quieter at the Command Center it would have bettered our chances for some of our interior cameras to pick up some of the supernatural sounds and voices that Al and others have experiences in the past. However we couldn’t help but to hear of the great many experiences of other teams and Al himself.

At every location we experimented at, we received evidence. I was most impressed by the clear EVPs and whispers that were recorded in Dr. Graham’s room and the footsteps and sounds in the barn when there was no human intervention! While I understand that some sounds could have been critters in the barn and I even caught some crawling into the attic loft, the great loud bangs and human-sounding footsteps could not have been created by raccoons, cats or even the many birds that nested in the barn.

This was a fascinating place to investigate and it could have yielded more evidence if we had more cameras and people investigating simultaneously in different locations I believe.

Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
© 2013 Dale Kaczmarek. All rights reserved.
Web site created by Dale Kaczmarek