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Unexplained Cases | America's Most Haunted Small Town

Written by: Darren Dedo
Case Filed: 3/29/19 - Alton, Illinois
Executive Producer: Rick Garner



Alton, Illinois is what you would call a true river town. Its waters are the Mississippi, the Illinois and the Missouri. Alton was born in 1818 after Rufus Easton established it as a river town and gave it his son’s name. Alton is known for Limestone bluffs and historic homes. At one time confederate prisoners of war were kept behind bars in the Alton Military Prison during the Civil War.

Alton, is certainly a quaint, old, historic Midwest community. Some say it's the most haunted small town in all of America.

The Unexplained Cases team wanted to find out for ourselves if Alton is a hotspot for paranormal activity. One place we’ve always wanted to investigate, the McPike Mansion. Its owner is Sharyn Luedke.

“I’m basically a big chicken, I do not watch scary movies, I don’t do any of that. But you now own one of the most haunted places in America? I do,” said Luedke.

So, who haunts the home…

Angels Among Us

Written by: Cindy Carter
Case Filed: Thursday,
2/28/02 - Jackson, Mississippi
Executive Producer:
Rick Garner





Angels...messengers from God. In the Hebrew Bible, there are over 300 references to these heavenly hosts in the Old and New Testaments. Looking outside of the Christian and Jewish faiths, there are references to angels in Islam. The ancient Egyptians also believed angels visited their dead.

Do angels really exist? And if so, do they visit us in times of need? Sarah 
Haller has no doubts.


"It says in the Bible that God will send his angels to watch over you and protect you and I know that day, God and his angels were watching over me."

On January 19, 2002, Sarah and her fiance were driving south on I-55 when they hit a car that was stalled in one of the lanes. They were not injured. Sarah says she noticed her car's mirror had broken off and walked into the median to retrieve it. That's when a car struck her from behind and threw her 30 feet.

"I heard a loud screech and a squeal and somebody had swerved to miss the car that we had hit and he spun out and came down into the median."

She landed face down in the grass, but never lost consciousness. A physician and his wife pulled over to help her. Sara stayed face down because she didn't want to risk further injuries. All of a sudden, Sara says she heard the voice of a man praying over her.

"His hand was on my lower back and you can hear how loud it is out here and I could hear him as if there was no other background noise."

Sara says she took note of every person that walked up to her and walked away, but no one saw the stranger arrive or leave her side. He simply showed up, prayed for her and disappeared. She says all voices melted away, except the stranger's voice.

"He was just praying: 'Dear God, please be with this girl and protect her and heal her body.' It was just amazing."

The prayer calmed her nerves.

"I do believe that she did see an angel." Mark Anderson is pastor at Sarah's church, Colonial Heights Baptist. He's familiar with her story and says angels acting as guardians, comforters and protectors is not a myth. "The classic verses that we find are in Psalm 91 saying that we have angels that are our guardians. In Matthew 18, there are scripture references to treating little ones right because they have angels who are before the face of God."

So, if angels exist, what do they look like? Many of us picture wings and a halo but for those who say they've encountered angels, like Sarah, this traditional image just doesn't match what they claimed to have seen.

"In the Hebrew Bible, there is a word for angel which is "malakh" and then, there's another word for angel which is "shalakh," but you have both words refer to human as well as divine agents at various times."

Rabbi Jim Egolf tells us, while angels can be supernatural; humans are just as capable of doing god's work. Angels can be human. "We look for the miraculous and yet we probably walk through every day and don't realize who's doing what that's God's work."

There is certainly a modern day fascination with angels. There are books written about them and, of course, hit television shows and movies often borrow from the legend. In the middle of this fascination, spiritual leaders don't want people to forget: angels represent God but they are not gods. Sometimes they don't have our best interests in mind.

"Just as there are good angels, there are bad angels that are demonic spirits. These are angels who fell from heaven."

Anderson says a person seeking an "angelic" presence in their life opens the door for all angels, even evil ones. Of course, experts say, looking for an angel and having a chance encounter are two different things. Sarah is certain an angel from God came to her assistance.

"Everybody I've told about it says 'Wow, you had an angel come pray over you!"

Pastor Anderson believes Sarah's story. Rabbi Egolf agrees it is possible. So, what do you believe?

People who consider themselves "angel experts" say they've learned a few things about angels based on people's experiences. Angels are always in a hurry, they can't be traced and have a tendency to vanish once their mission is accomplished.

Additional Resources:

Angels: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Angels, Demons and Satan

Do you believe in angels?

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Unexplained Cases | America's Most Haunted Small Town

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Alton, Illinois is what you would call a true river town. Its waters are the Mississippi, the Illinois and the Missouri. Alton was born in 1818 after Rufus Easton established it as a river town and gave it his son’s name. Alton is known for Limestone bluffs and historic homes. At one time confederate prisoners of war were kept behind bars in the Alton Military Prison during the Civil War.

Alton, is certainly a quaint, old, historic Midwest community. Some say it's the most haunted small town in all of America.

The Unexplained Cases team wanted to find out for ourselves if Alton is a hotspot for paranormal activity. One place we’ve always wanted to investigate, the McPike Mansion. Its owner is Sharyn Luedke.

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