5 Haunting Homes Of Illinois

5 Haunting Homes Of Illinois

Make some time this month to visit a “real” haunted house close to you.
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Some people might be hesitant to admit that they believe in spirits or ghosts. But if you've ever heard a startling thump in the night, ghosts might not be such a leap of faith. In fact, a little more than a third of American adults believe in ghosts. Perhaps more surprising is that 25 percent of 100 adults polled said they'd personally seen or felt a ghost.

Halloween is upon us. Thousands of people pay to walk through commercial haunted houses and are lured to these scare factories in which costumed actors stand in for otherworldly spirits. Customers can get the adrenaline rush of scary monsters or bloody beings popping out at them without any risk of getting their souls stolen or becoming possessed. But real-life haunted houses are much different. There are many in the Midwest and a lot of paranormal enthusiasts stay at purported haunted houses, hotels and old buildings to hunt for ghosts. But what if ghosts suddenly found their way into your home? If the poll results are accurate, these uninvited guests may not be an uncommon occurrence.

These 5 haunted houses in the Midwest may be just the place to stay or visit this month to get your scare on.

5. Nellie Dunton Home: Belvidere, Illinois

A broken-hearted woman is said to haunt this home. Nellie Dunton grew up in Belvidere prior to the Civil War and fell in love with a much older gentleman, who promised to marry her after the war. When he failed to return, Nellie refused to fall in love again. She spent the rest of her life mourning in this house. Eventually, she wandered into the Kishwaukee River and drowned, some say while wearing her wedding gown. Her ghost has been seen by residents of this home, as well as by its neighbors.

4. J. Eldred Home: Eldred, Illinois

The James J. Eldred home is a grand, Greek-Revival ranch house that has stood abandoned since the 1930s. During the 1860s and ‘70s, James and his wife Emeline had a reputation for hosting grand parties at their “Bluff Dale Farm.” Life was difficult along the Illinois River. Their three daughters, Eva, Alma, Alice, all died at home of illness. Both Alice and Eva were 17. Alma was four years old. In 1999, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in recent years the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association has made great strides in restoring it to its former glory. During restoration of the property, there were sounds of “phantom footsteps,” “knocking at the front door,” “giggles of a young ladies” and “small shadows moving around in the nursery”.

3. Willow Creek Farm: Shannon, Illinois

Willow Creek Farm dates back to 1838. Albert Kelchner, the farm’s owner, bought the property in 2006 and immediately sensed that he was sharing his house with some uninvited guests. He recorded his encounters and invited mediums and paranormal investigators to visit Willow Creek Farm in the hopes of corroborating his experiences. There have been seen seven identified ghosts and as many as a dozen others at the farm. This property has been called one of the most active haunted sites in Illinois.

2. Crenshaw House: Equality, Illinois

Owned by John Crenshaw, this house was also known as the Old Slave House. He was one of the wealthiest men in the entire state of Illinois and owned over 750 slaves. The Illinois constitution prohibited the slave trade, but permitted those residents already holding slaves to keep their property. Visitors to Crenshaw’s plantation included Abraham Lincoln. Slaves were kept in cramped up cages in the attic of the mansion. In 1865 a German family who operated the plantation, reported hearing strange sounds coming from the attic. After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, tourists began to come and visit Illinois’ only plantation. They heard footsteps, voices, and singing of hymns. No one could spend the night in the attic. In the late 1920s, one “ghost hunter” is believed to have died after spending the night there. Today, the mansion is owned by the State of Illinois and closed to visitors due to the unsettling noises one hears when they visit the plantation.

1. McPike Mansion: Alton, Illinois

This mansion has been abandoned for over 100 years which attracted vandals and the curious. In the 1940s, boarders often heard children running up and down the stairs, but could find no one when they investigated the noise. After the mansion became completely abandoned, passersby reported seeing faces in the windows of children – some waving at passerby’s. There are two known entities here. The mansion’s new owners named one of them Sarah. She is thought to have been a hired hand in life, and teases visitors with a touch or hug. The other ghost has been spotted wandering the grounds.

So make some time this month to visit a “real” haunted house close to you. If you're lucky you may encounter some strange sightings.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Be White Feminists

I am white. I am a feminist. But I try very hard to avoid being a "white feminist."

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Preamble 1: I'm not sure if you're aware, but it's a humid, grey April afternoon and being a woman comes with extra challenges, to which I definitely did not agree but they were probably in some fine print that I skimmed. Bummer. Anyway, feminism! Feminism's place in 2019 is contested but I am coming from a place of having heard many of the sides; given that, it would be lovely if you would hear my side.

Preamble 2: Before I get into this topic, I want to acknowledge the place of privilege from which I come. Look at my fully Irish name, I am white. Believing in social, economic, and political gender equality, I am a feminist. But I try very hard to avoid being a "white feminist". As a student at Texas A&M;, a university that sometimes strays into homogeneity in both thought and demographic, I've been noticing a pattern in many conversations concerning gender equality. The pattern is that of white feminism.

White feminism is a Western-styled picking and choosing of feminism that entails a set of beliefs tolerating the ignorance of issues that mostly impact women of color.

Contrast this philosophy with intersectional feminism, which recognizes multiple identities and experiences within us, while promoting more united gender equality. Without intersectionality, our essence cannot stand against oppression and stand for equality without acknowledgment of the nuances of different historical struggles. As women, we face difficulties, but not all women face the same oppressions and marginalizations – and that cannot be overlooked in narratives.

As far as gendered-based violence goes, the Justice Department estimates that one in five women and one in seventy-one men will experience rape in the US. However, here's where the necessary nuances come in.

Women and men of color are more likely to experience this form of violence than white women or men. Women and men who are LGBTQ+are more likely to experience this form of violence than straight women or men. Lower income women and men are more likely to experience this form of violence than women or men in the highest income brackets.

So, yes, one in five women and one in seventy-one men are rape victims. But quoting that statistic without disambiguating the data can mislead readers or listeners of the ways that different identities amalgamate into this final number. Essentially, disproportional oppressions exist. All people are at risk for gendered violence, specifically rape, in America, but some people are more at risk.

If you need more of an explanation, think of the following analogy. White feminism is to intersectional feminism what #AllLivesMatter is to #BlackLivesMatter. Everyday Feminism contends, "the former's attempt at inclusiveness can actually erase the latter's acknowledgment of a unique issue that disproportionately affects a specific group of people".

If you ever find yourself guilty of white feminism, (I've been there!) know that we are all evolving. As long as you are open to education, we are all on the same side.

Here are three vital steps you can take to make your feminism intersectional!

1. Reflect on yourself. 

Reflect on your long-held beliefs based on your perspective alone could not apply to someone else. Reflect on your privileged experiences and acknowledge them for what they are.

2. Think about others. 

Once you've figured your internal state out from step one, you ought to look at the experiences of others with the same level of validity as your own. Ethically, feminism focuses on equality. Yes, that means stopping sexism, but it also expands to mean stopping complicated systemic oppressions that affect more than just white women. That said, white feminists are not the enemy in the fight for equality, rather, they are underinformed.

3. Don’t be afraid to grow. 

Say you were wrong. There's less shame in it than you think. In fact, I genuinely wish our culture was more forgiving of people who made an honest mistake in their past, but their hearts were/are in the right place.

Allow yourself to move onwards and upwards. We are all works-in-progress. We are all striving for better versions of ourselves. Intention is everything and your intention should be to always learn.

Intersectional feminism is challenging, like all educations. If you're doing it right, it should force you to think and even make you feel a little bit uncomfortable. After all, while feminism is here to help, it is not here for your (or my) comfort.

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