By Rick E. Hale
These are the true case files of the McHenry County Paranormal Research Group. Due to confidentiality agreements, names of clients have been changed and cases will only be specified by the counties they occurred in.
I wasn’t always a member of one of the most prominent paranormal outfits here in Northern Illinois. For a while, I ran my own show; it was called the Greater Illinois Ghost Society (GIGS). It had a nice ring, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Internal problems struck, as they oftentimes do, and GIGS found itself going the way of the Buffalo.
However, when the opportunity presented itself to join MCPRG, I jumped all over that opportunity.
My first case with the group ended being right up my alley. You see, I love history, and I excelled in it in high school. And when I found out a home we were set to investigate was built sometime in the early 1860s, and may have been a stop on the famous Underground Railroad, I knew that this was going to be a great, and possibly prosperous, investigation. Even if we didn’t find anything, that was okay. Just to be in a home that helped our fellow human beings escape from slavery made me positively ecstatic.
Arriving at the Home:
When I arrived at the home on a cool mid-November night, I noticed that the house was everything I thought it would be. Two stories, white, with a little porch on the front — you know, the kind you see in old photographs of your great, great grandparents when our nation was still young. When I got out of the car, I saw two people standing over by another car, so I went over and introduced myself.
“Hi, I’m Rick Hale. Are you Tony Olszewski?”
“Oh Rick, I’m so glad you could come,” Tony greeted me with a warm handshake. I could tell right away that this was a truly great guy, and a dude who really knew his stuff. “This is my daughter Sarah.”
I shook Sarah’s hand.
“So, this is the house?” I asked, shaking my head over the condition the home was in. It was almost tragic to see such a fine home about to fall apart. “Can you tell me what kind of activity goes on here?”
“Well,” Tony said with a smile, “I like my team to go in ‘cold’ so that nobody has preconceived notions about what to expect. But first we have to take care of a little business.” Tony reached into his briefcase and pulled out a form and handed it to me.
“Anyone involved with this group has to sign a confidentiality agreement. Most of our clients like to keep things on the down low, and we like to keep ourselves out of the papers.”
I grabbed the form, which upon reading it seemed reasonable. I’ve always had a number of problems with how sensationalized the paranormal community has become, and didn’t mind signing something like this.
As I handed back the form to Tony with my Herbie Hancock on it, the rest of the team arrived. The team has changed quite a bit over the past six months, and I’m happy with that. The team we have now is peopled with some of the best paranormal investigators it has ever been my pleasure to work with. After meeting the others, Tony and the rest of us grabbed all our gear.
“Now I just want to let you know,” Tony began, before pausing to collect his thoughts, “this home is being renovated by the Lake County Historical Society and is actually owned by one of its members. Since the renovations began, they have experienced numerous kinds of activity. There is nothing negative here, and it should prove to be one of our better investigations. Okay, let’s go.”
With that, the six of us approached the porch. As it turned out, this night would change my life forever.
(Tune in for a new “Adventures in Ghost Hunting: The House That Freedom Built” to be posted soon.)