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Unexplained Cases | America's Most Haunted Small Town

Written by: Darren Dedo
Case Filed: 3/29/20 - 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? Sharyn believes it is the original owner.

“I think Henry is here, because he wants to be here. I do think there is unfinished business here,” said Luedke.

The McPike Mansion was built in 1869 by Henry Guest McPike. Many believe besides Henry haunting his old home, he has his wife Mary, their children and a personal attendant Sara. But Sharyn believes another one-time owner is still hanging out in her place to.

“I walked over to the bird feeder and I looked up again and saw a man with a striped shirt and tie on, actually pinkish color. So, I do believe Paul Laichinger, actually from the 40’s.”

I quickly learned the McPike Mansion is one spooky place.

“We were walking the trail around the McPike Mansion. We were getting ready to go down into the cellar. I was waiting for Rick in this field area, where one of the folks who works here says a female presence has been seen in this area. I was like, okay, interesting. I was looking over there while I was waiting for Rick what I thought were fireflies, but they weren’t yellow. It was white balls of light. They were kind of bouncing. I saw two, maybe three of them. Cool, fireflies! We're almost July - it makes sense. Of course, now that we are out here on the grounds, there’s like no fireflies. Whatever it was is gone. Yeah, I’m convinced it was some kind of spiritual energy. I’m probably the only one who saw it, because I was the only one looking over here at the time.”

The Unexplained Cases team started our investigation in the home’s cellar with some other fellow investigators. Our K2 meter, which measures disturbances in the electromagnetic field was going crazy.

“Wow, wow, that is impressive! Very impressive! Way to go! That's awesome!”

Sharyn believes it could be the McPike’s using their spiritual energy to light up the K2 meters in her cellar.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and feeling.

Speaking to Rick, I said, "Dude, I can feel it, my hands are like pulsating right now. Something's touching my arm right now. Something literally is touching my arm right now. I can feel it touching my arm. It’s like fingers going up my arm. My arm is going numb. Like somebody has a hold of my arm right now. Is that you grabbing my arm? I’m assuming that’s you grabbing my arm. Okay, that’s cool. That’s alright. Are you the one scratching my arm a little bit?”

One of the other mysteries of the McPike Mansion is a crypt behind the mansion. Nobody really knows who or what is in it. So, we pulled out our dosing rods in hopes of connecting a spirit with information. What happened next, was remarkable. These were the questions I asked and the responses we received from the rods. We determined we were communicating with one of the McPike children and their wife.

"If there is a spirit here cross the tips of my rods. Excellent."

"Is the person in this crypt behind me a McPike family member? If they are one of your family members, could you cross the rods for me please? If this is not a family member of yours, here in this crypt, can you cross the rods for me. So, this is not a McPike family member sitting back here. So, we don’t know who that is. We will try and figure that out."

"So, did you live here in the 1800’s? If so, please cross the rods. So, it looks like you guys were here in the 1800’s. Very cool."

"So, Abraham Lincoln is the President where you are. He’s a great man for sure Fantastic man. I don’t think Lincoln is here with us."

"Is the McPike Mansion haunted by spirits? If it is haunted by spirits, please cross the rods let us know you are still here with us? So, the house is haunted with many spirits? I wouldn’t want to leave my home either."

"So, I know the family that owns the home now is going to be fixing it, if you are happy with the family that owns the house now, and all the things they will be doing to make it look nice. Make it look like what it was when you were there, cross the rods. You do like the work they are doing."

But, during this dosing rods session, things took a dark turn as we learned there was something sinister that wanted to join the conversation.

Rick believed there was something evil with us.

"We always like to be careful. Are there any bad spirits that are around the property? If there are bad spirits here can you cross the rods?"

Rick ased, "Is a bad spirit responsible for my back hurting? If so, cross the rods." 

"So, it’s not you guys, but we have a bad spirit with us here?” I asked and the rods confirmed that we did.

Rick asked, "Is the bad spirit demonic? Cross the rods." 

"If it’s a demon, cross the rods." The rods crossed. 

Rick said, "In the name of Jesus, get back. You are not permitted to interact with us!”  We said the Lord's Prayer and this seemed to drive out the spirit, fortunately, protecting us – and, our ghostly guests.

After a very long and intense session with the dosing rods, it was time to say goodnight.

"If you are ready to go back home, tonight, and say goodnight, put the rods back in front of me, we can say goodnight. I just want to say thank you again. It was a pleasure and an honor to be here. That was very intense."

The McPike Mansion, a bucket list paranormal investigation in the books for the Unexplained Cases team, we didn’t leave this spooky old mansion unimpressed.

One of the other most haunted places in Alton is the Mineral Springs Hotel built by a pair of German immigrants back in 1914.

Its tour guide is Luke Naliborksi."The Luer brothers, they owned a meat packing plant down the street. They were going to build an ice house on this area here and discovered mineral water and decided to build a hotel / spa. There were medicinal qualities."

According to Naliborski the Mineral Springs hotel became a place for the rich and famous. "There’s stories of gangsters who stayed here a lot of celebrities stayed here and partook in the waters. So, it was a real happening place. Use to have these lavish parties around the swimming pool area. Orchestras performing and things like that.”

But, after the war, it fell into disrepair. Today, it’s a series of small shops selling antiques. So, why is it haunted? The answer could be in the water around and underneath it. Many paranormal investigators believe water from the rivers and limestone carry and harness energy. It is conductive and the spirits draw energy and make the hotel and the town for that matter haunted.

Rick and I investigated every corner of the old building and the paranormal activity we captured did not disappoint. This was especially true in the pool area. 

According to Luke, some paranormal investigators believe the ghost of a little girl is still playing in its phantom waters. It is something he may have encountered first-hand.

"The swimming pool is where my biggest story happened in the deep end of the pool. There was several chairs in a circle and all the lights were out and as I was sitting in the pool I kept hearing someone walking on each side of the pool and every time you would turn in that direction you wouldn’t see anybody in there, when it's dark you don’t see anything. So, at one point I heard footsteps on the right I went to look saw nothing, but when I went to look in front of me probably about 6 to 8 feet in front of me, I could see this white misty shape about 3 feet tall," said Naliborski.

Rick and I wanted to find out for ourselves if the little girl’s spirit is still in the pool area. Whatever it was set off our equipment and scared the hell out of me.

"It just feels weird in here. I feel kind of sick, kind of sweaty, wow!" At this moment the K2 meter in my hand begins registering some significant activity. "That was significant! Who is here with us right now? I’ve never seen the K2 go crazy, feel energy in my hands. Is that you that is touching me?”

About then I felt some kind of energy surround us and, for the first time ever, what I believed to be a ghost, actually, pushed its way right through me.

"It felt like something walked right through me. If you are bent over and you look up to fast and feel like you're kind of going to fall over. That’s what it felt like."

As creepy as it was downstairs in the pool area, upstairs, the feeling was heavy. We investigated several rooms under renovation. All that work was possibly stirring up the spirits in the old Mineral Springs Hotel. In one room in particular the electromagnetic energy was intense.

My Mel Meter was registering a lot of activity, "Got a .4, 78 degrees, .2, .3 .4 .5, .7, standing still. 8 still climbing, down to .7."

We tried to debunk these EMF spikes on our Mel Meter but, there was no power or plumbing in the room. The activity continued and it was at this point the area around us got heavy. I felt nauseous and a feeling of despair.

Luke says there could be a good reason why that part of the hotel feels so evil.

"The belief with that room is some people were conducting a séance and maybe did it improperly and didn’t close the door when they were finished. Some people believe something negative got through."

Our medium and fellow investigator Maryam Faresh agrees. "This is very dark. Very dark. And I know that means it's intriguing for a lot of people. Whatever medium used that word prior - portal or vortex - it's like it's just pulling in dark energy. These spirits are very underdeveloped, very unconscious spirits. It's not serving anyone, it's not helping anybody. They should just burn the building down and start over."

The Mineral Springs Hotel is historic and very haunted. It seems that while the property is no longer a place to rent a room for the night, the ghosts and spirits never got that memo. They’ve never officially checked out.


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