So, the story picks up in 2013...
My wife, Poppy, and I moved into the house on Upper Spring Bay Road in East Peoria. I remember pilling furniture in the back of my truck and crossing the bridge to deliver it, wanting to surprise her by all I had taken care of while she was at work. On interstate 74 a large shelf unit flew from the bed of my truck, smashing it into unusable pieces on the highway. Was it an omen? No. Absolutely not. That would be sensationalistic writing. I don’t want to do that. But I will say, it was sure hazardous!
Anyway, Poppy hadn’t talked much about her childhood ghost experience with me prior to moving in there or even after we moved in. I think she just wanted a fresh start with that house, but something there seemed to be thrilled that she was back. It picked on her throughout our time there and by the end of our stay, she was more than ready to leave, afraid to be in the house without me around.
Her brother actually started the ball rolling in regards to my interest in the spirits of that house. One day he was visiting and was discussing his life there as a teen, how he and his friends heard things and felt things all the time. He wasn’t too comfortable being on that property. Well, that was enough for me, spirit seeker that I am. My wife and I made the mutual decision to do something really, REALLY stupid. Something in retrospect we would NOT do again.
We thought we should acknowledge the thing.
We started our pursuit in the basement with the lights off, just mild conversing with the entity. (I mean… we talked… it didn’t… not much of a conversation). I had a flash camera and shot carelessly around the room, desperate to see what I would capture. My daughter was upstairs at that time, spending the night, and chose to not take part as she was horrified by the thing we had implied was in the house. But we were single-minded in our pursuit and camped out down there for quite a while.
That night revealed nothing of consequence, and I studied those pictures relentlessly, willing some old, withered ghost-woman or, better yet, ghost-child to appear. There was nothing supernatural about them at all. They were nothing more than creepy shots of an old, unfinished basement. It seemed that whatever entity had once resided there had jumped ship. That’s what we thought. But it wasn’t true. It may have been dormant, but our meddling surely woke it up.
LESSON: DO NOT try to contact or conjure them! (Lesson learned.)
As in the previous account, back in the 90’s when my wife was a child there, the activity began subtly. To us it was so subtle, in fact, that we questioned repeatedly if something had actually happened. If you’ve ever had any experience with ghosts then you know what I mean. Our brains try to reason away the unreasonable, the odd thing we just heard or saw or thought we saw. I was really stupid and like a kid, wanted something to happen. But I would learn that spirits are not always Casper-like.
The very first activity we noticed was this: When we turned out the light to go to sleep, the bed would ever so slightly tremble (and we were trying to sleep not moving around… not… nothing else, you guys…). Anyway, it happened night after night, getting progressively more noticeable. After many evenings of this, by the time we finally acknowledged that something was actually wrong, the bed was shaking violently and there was no questioning if it was happening.
Then, we started to notice the shadows that crept along the ceiling and down the walls. The house sat back from the road a good piece so the headlight beams of passing cars didn’t cause any disturbance. In other words, variation in light and dark was not caused by any outside influence. There were dim “Christmas” lights I’d hung in the living area just outside of our room that bled in so we could make out things in our own darkened space.
I remember laying there watching a huge, cloud-like form develop on the ceiling of the living room. It slowly made its way toward us, growing in size and shooting tendrils of shadow down the walls. It was BLACK… and if you’ve ever seen shadow people, you know the darkness I mean… blacker than any other black. And this came religiously, night after night. We lay in bed watching forms crawl across the bedroom ceiling. It was wild… and it happened every single night. I wasn’t scared yet and I recall being excited to turn out the lights and watch the show, see what it did next.
All the while, this thing was growing like a (I don’t know) virus. Darkness engulfing the room, shadow people passing by the bed or behind the headboard, and a what was now a fiercely shaking bed. Occasionally, on a really active night, something would whisper Poppy’s name in her ear. “Poppy!” Her eyes would fly open and she’d give me a terrified look, her breathing escalated, her pulse up. We looked. No one was crouching next to the bed.
The happenings grew and grew and when we told people about it, they were baffled by the fact that we hadn’t run from the house and were still staying there. “Why are you still there?” We heard that question quite a bit. We had considered abandoning the place several times, even in the middle of the night, but we just didn’t have a lot of options. It was our home. So, we stayed.
And then it got really ugly…
As I said, Poppy seemed to get the brunt of it all. We surmise that the entity remembered her from her previous time there because it seemed to antagonize and pester her the most. Then again, things may have been clearer to her because of her predisposition toward otherworldly things. Whatever the reason, she became the target of the spirits aggression.
There were two incidents that really stuck out. The first happened one night when she was cleaning the bathroom which was across the hall, cattycorner to the bedroom. Out of the corner of her eye she saw me pass by the bathroom door on my way into the kitchen. I’m pretty sure we were on an ice-cream kick at that point and she called out to me to ask me if I would get her a bowl.
I answered her from the bedroom where I was behind the headboard plugging something in. Her face pale, she ran into to me, wondering how I had gotten back there. She was certain, beyond a doubt, that I had gone into the kitchen. She had seen a solid form walk by her. Together we tentatively followed the path of whoever that had been and of course found no one there. She doesn’t spook easily but that incident shook her up quite a bit.
That episode was neither ominous or threatening but after that the spirits seemed to become agitated with Poppy. One evening she was in the kitchen standing over the sink, the one she’d been pushed into as a child. I was out in the yard. Suddenly, the cabinet door next to her slammed shut. She told me later that it didn’t gently swing shut as if by a breeze, it was forcibly closed. Slammed! After that night, she was scared to be in the house without me, certain the entity would push her down into the basement or do some other vile thing.
So, the bed continued to vigorously bounce around the room at night, the black shadows formed and stirred around constantly, someone was continually whispering (I later heard voices quite a lot) and life in the house took on a much more sinister feel, Poppy being threatened non-stop. It was clear to us that whatever presence was there, it was dark and it was negative. We became convinced that it wasn’t a ghost we were dealing with but a demon or a whole demonic gang even. We called in the experts.
I made a phone call to LIPI, a paranormal investigative team based in Lincoln, IL. Since investigating is what they do, they excitedly agreed to pack up their equipment and spend a night in our house, collecting evidence. Poppy and I found somewhere to stay the night and they locked themselves in.
Here is the email I received later about their findings:
We had several Experiences while investigating your property from seeing shadow figures, hearing voices, hearing unknown noises, feelings of being watched, along with having an object thrown against a wall. At this time, we cannot say with 100% certainty that you have Paranormal Activity due to unknown malfunctioning equipment. I will speak with my group about scheduling another investigation/ house blessing. We appreciate your patience and your understanding. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to contact me via phone, email, or facebook and I will do my best to help you.
Attached are copies of the photos I explained to you on the phone. I highlighted the areas to focus on. If you have any questions just call.
Thank You for allowing us to Investigate!
Jeremy Hickey Founder of LIPI
Kenneth Whitesell Co-Founder of LIPI
I’m sure if you’re reading this, you know that paranormal investigators rely heavily on EVP or Electronic Voice Phenomenon recorders. LIPI had shown up to the job with multiple audio recording devices, all of which mysteriously malfunctioned that night in our house. They had never done that prior to that night and the LIPI group was really disappointed by the lack of evidence they had to examine later. In my humble opinion, the “object thrown against a wall” is on its own kind of a tell-tale sign of something being amiss.
So, it didn’t go quite as planned but they did surface with photographs. Perhaps to some people these are no evidence at all and are more just tricks of the light caught by the camera. To us, however, this was photographic proof of what we witnessed nightly in our house… the nightly show. Frame by frame, the black mass moves into a room just as it had done in front of our eyes.
When these were presented to us, the most terrifying photograph of all was the “Face in the Window” as they called it. If you zoom in on the red square they so helpfully inserted on the pane, you’ll likely spot a demonic, almost alien like face. We studied it for some time and it’s been shown to quite a number people. I found that most everyone I shared it with saw the face and generally they shuttered in response to what they were seeing, agreeing there is something definitely there.
There is a phenomenon called pareidolia, which is when something perfectly normal (like a smudge on a window perhaps) is perceived to be something else, usually something sinister or even spiritual or religious. Something like finding the Mother Mary on a tortilla. This “face” could be nothing more than this perhaps, or maybe it’s an actual spirit, a physical representation of the gaggle of demons that claimed that home for themselves.
LIPI never made it back as they had planned to do. The house was put up for sale shortly after their visit and was snatched up by investors intent on securing their future with rental properties. I’m not sure if anyone who has lived there since has experienced any paranormal activity. When I was still living in Illinois, I drove by the property every once in a while, talking myself out of stopping and knocking on the door to inquire.
Eric, my wife’s father, came to dinner at the house shortly after the investigators had come. It was the first time I’d ever met him and I was instantly comfortable around him. We had a great time, laughing and carrying on, until I told him casually about us calling the ghostbusters in. He did not take it well, not at all. He went on a rant about people hunting ghosts in his house and how there were no such things as ghosts and we shouldn’t have done that. Come to find out, he didn’t believe in ghosts. He didn’t believe people came back and walked around in their “ghost clothes”. He thought that was a silly idea. He did, however, believe in demons.
We reminded him of the aerial view of the property he had seen. After I posted Part One, Poppy clarified to me what had really been in that picture. In her words, “it was at the corner of the house, outside, and it was a glowing, blue demonic face.” Well, I came to find out, when Eric had zoomed in on that picture, he actually said something more like, “what the ---- ---- is that? You see that? What the ---- is that?” He told Poppy, “You need to get OUT OF THAT PLACE NOW!”