Day 6: Sunday, June 6th, 2021: PART ONE

Part One

It’s 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, and I had to write now while it was all fresh and still stuck in my head. Tonight I did my first ghost tour at Waverly Hills in Kentucky…and. It. was. AMAZING!!!! Oh my goodness, where to begin. Ok….picture the sun just setting, twilight is slowly starting to creep in, and we drive up this long winding road to the top of the hill where the trees act like curtains.  They open up to reveal the size and stature that is Waverly Hills Sanitorium…  I squealed with anticipation.  I have watched many a tv show and documentary about this place and have always wanted to explore it. They checked our tickets at the gate, and then ushered us to the parking lot, and then inside the building where you can use the restroom and grab something to drink for and before the tour begins.

My tour started at 10 pm and lasted until midnight. Obviously I chose this one to get as late as possible inside the building, and it did NOT disappoint. First off, we got incredibly blessed with fantastic weather. Little to no wind, warm but not hot, and everything was very “still.” Now, the down side of this particular tour was that they had a capacity of 50 people which then they in turn split up into 2 groups of 25.  It was WAY to big of a group at 25, and it would’ve been better at about 10-15.  The more people you have, the more noise and distraction you have. I have been lucky enough to tour and investigate on my own or in very small groups and it’s the best because you have the tour guides full attention and also more control of the environment to listen, to be still and quiet, and to also ask and talk to the spirits around you.  So, with our group of 25, they have you choose a guide, and there is a rule break down before you head off into the dark. 

The rules at Waverly are pretty simple- be quiet, be aware, pics only with brightness levels down to zero and no flash, no video or audio are permitted, no ghost equipment playing (ESPECIALLY GHOST BOXES), flashlights only on in certain spots, and to be respectful by staying with the group and no wandering off.  Now, if you want to investigate this place, there are specific overnight times for that, which they are sold out of for the rest of the year. Yes, this is that popular.

We headed to the “Body Chute” first…and it was a kick in the gut to start off here first.  Why? Well, it’s in the basement…and basements already have that creep factor, now let’s add a tunnel that they transported all of the dead who died of TB back in the day. The reason for using it this way was so that patients inside would not see the death toll of up to 24 dying a day, looked like parading through and out the front door. This way they were able to move the bodies quietly to and from the morgue without upsetting the other patients.  This is a VERY haunted part of the building, and because of it’s steep incline, they wouldn’t let us walk into it.  I can tell you just standing at the top and looking down, it was like seeing the worst slide at a playground possible with smoke and mist covering the bottom….you couldn’t see where it ended. She then had everyone turn off lights and we stood quietly in the tunnel that leads to the Body Chute and just listened to see if anyone would chat… I didn’t hear anything here.

Next we would go floor to floor (5 floors in total) to specific rooms and areas of the Sanitorium where there were the most “hot spots.”  What was challenging for me was trying to get anything good taken in the dark of dark on my camera.  They had several low lights around the building, and the stairs were lit up by the guides so you didn’t fall and hurt yourself, but those looooon hallways…oh they were dark.  And as you passed by every room, you felt as though someone was staring at you. 

My favorite areas were the roof and the 4th floor. First off, being on the roof at Waverly Hills was actually pretty beautiful. The moon and stars out, very quiet and chill, I didn’t feel much up there but a child’s ball was moving around in an area up here.  Now, we were on the roof, more chance of air movement here than anything, but this place is famous for a boy named “Timmy” who likes to play ball. So I watched it, snapped a pic, and just said hello to him in case he was hanging around.

4th floor was my absolute favorite because of how much I felt and saw here…and it was the closest to midnight as well. They have everyone line up in the hallway and all lights are turned off- just us in the pitch dark with anyone who wants to say hello.  They had a challenge of anyone who would like to walk down the dark hallway by themselves, and no, not having my glasses yet, I didn’t want to chance another fall in the same day (see Day 5 post about that) so I did not go for it, and honestly I may have worked up to it but they only had time for two people to do it.  So as the guide is talking and everyone is staring at the woman who is taking the alone challenge, I am staring at the room behind the guide. ……………………………………………………………………………….and then it happened.  With my OWN EYES, I saw a little boy run from right to left behind her.  It was SO CLEAR… I actually yelped out loud and told her “there is a child behind you.” To which she said casually “Oh I’m sure there is, this is the shadow people area.”  We all watched as you could see some come in and out of the rooms, and then we noticed that the end of the hall was getting VERY VERY VERY dark…. The light from the end of the hallway had disappeared and the guide started to get incredibly nervous and said “It’s time to go. We don’t mess with this one.”  Apparently his name is Mr. Black and he is of demon nature, and you could FEEL that hallway go from watching for shadow people to something very ominous and dangerous.  I happened to be at the tail end of the group with the guide, and I could FEEL him watching us behind me and I just kept walking faster and getting away from the end of group.  It was INSANE!!!!!

The operating room is where Stephanie felt something hugging her leg and someone poking her ankles with a needle….yes. She also started into a coughing fit in this same room, and felt it come out of nowhere. Remember, this was known for TB.  We finished up in the Morgue, and it was so much smaller than I had pictured in my head from shows that I had seen it on.  True to attraction form, we exited out of the gift shop.  I picked up a magnet, sticker, and pen which says “I survived Waverly Hills.”

Would I do this tour again? Heck yeah!  First off, you get all the creep factor with the safety net of a tour guide in front and behind you.  Second, it was all of $25, and that’s a cheap tour for 2 hours! I have been on $50 ones for half the time, so this was definitely worth the money and time.  Book FAR AHEAD- these sell out fast and they only provide them certain times of the year and certain days and times.  It’s not a “Hey I am in town, I am going to go check it out.”  Plan ahead on this one. On a side note….I geeked out to see Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventurers had been recorded here. I knew they had been, but to see their pics in the gift shop was a fun skip on my heart!

I am happy I did it, happy to check if off my bucket list, hope to be back one day to investigate it, and am now more than excited for the next ghost tour on my trip (Yes, I have MANY booked already). It was a great night, and besides my haunted hangover, I am so proud that I did it. Onto the next!

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The Paranormal Investigation at the Old Jail in St. Augustine, Florida

Why do some like the dark corners, and still love the feel of the light? I ask myself this all the time when ghost hunting, and it’s all because I saw my Grandma the night she passed away. You don’t have to believe me, heck, it’s not your story to tell. But it was a connection I had made that made me question the after-life. So when I can, I try to sign up for Ghost Tours around the Country, hearing a mystery history adds a bit of charge to the tale. Craig signed us both up for the “Old Jail” at St. Augustine in Florida…and I was all in!

If you haven’t been to St. Augustine, it should be at the top of your Florida Favorites list! Located a little over an hour from the Orlando area, is the oldest city in America.  From National Monuments to Haunted Lighthouses…this city has it all.  No, you aren’t going to find thumping night clubs and wild dance floors, but you will find a pub every 10 feet on St. George Street, along with incredible dining and deserts.  I have been fortunate to take part in the Ghost Tour at the Oldest School House in the city, so I was pretty pumped to try another one at a different location.

Researching which Ghost Tour is for you is KEY in having a good time.  There are two VERY different experiences to be had when participating in one. Either you just want a history tour with some spiritual spookiness thrown in, sometimes LIVE actors to set the scene, with usually a ride on a trolley, bus, or a walk through with a guide.  Entertaining, light, and fun.  The other experience is a Paranormal investigation. They take you through a series of tools that they provide, or they let you use and bring your own in, tell you some of the history of the area, and then let you into said place and you grab your tool of choice and you are an official Ghost Hunter!

Our tour was the 8:30 p.m. slot, booked about a month ahead of time. This place is VERY popular, so make sure you book at least a month out.  They have you come about 15 mins early, restrooms available right before you head in, and then we met “Shelby” who was out Guide for the evening.  She was fun, hilarious, and a great storyteller.  Nobody wants to take a ghost tour with a guide who doesn’t believe or isn’t into it, and her and the other one “Bill” CLEARLY love what they do and were incredibly kind and helpful.

After the explanation of the tools, and being told there is a “crawler” entity that has been seen, I was a bit hesitant on this one.  I don’t mess with the demonic stuff, talking to spirits seems interesting, but I don’t need any kind of attachment or something following me home.  Yes, there is a fine line, but there is still a line.  Craig grabbed a K2 Meter and I used a ghost box, and we had 30 minutes only to roam the jail, anywhere we wanted to go.

This place is already incredibly creepy during the day, they have mannequins in the cells in “General Pop” so add the dark, they can scare you when you are clearing a corner.  The Sheriff would have a bedroom here, with an office downstairs.  The room next to his was for his children- what a way to grow up right?  The PARTY OF 10, which is allowed by Covid right now, would be hard to escape to get the “quiet” moments to be able to talk. Half our group wanted to investigate, and the other half were there to party and be loud.  I asked the spirits continually “Doesn’t all that noise bother you?” LOL I did not get a response. BUT… I DID get one in his bedroom. I thought it was a woman’s bedroom, didn’t feel like a mens at all, and asked if anyone wanted to say hello. I got a VERY clear sentence, sounding like an older English woman “Who are you?”  After I changed my pants (jk) I said my name and I talk to them like I would talk to you.

Once I would find quiet spots in Maximum Security, the Women’s part of the jail, and the Watch Tower, they seemed  a bit more chattier.  It was a half hour of trying to record on my phone, hold the ghost box, asking questions, and maneuvering the people who obviously were trying to do the same. 

It was a cool experience, we had the freedom to do it how we pleased, but we wish they had asked the “party crowd” to leave.  If you aren’t really into it, then leave, but don’t ruin it for those who are really interested. After they left, the half of us chatted with Shelby for another 20 minutes about our favorite ghost experiences, other tours we had taken, and so on. She was chocked full of information, so if you can, try to get her for your tour. Below is a great pic of an orb I caught.

Now, was it worth the money? It was $27 each, one of the cheaper ones I have done. Now, you only get 30 minutes to investigate, so that’s about right for what you are paying for. I have been on $50 ones, and higher, so this is a nice one to do with a small group with a small price tag. The Old Schoolhouse was another great ghost tour, but it was over an hour long to investigate.  They have trolley ghost tours which will take you around to the sites, and also there is a ghost tour available at the Lighthouse.  I had thought about the Lighthouse but I thought it would be disorientating to try to investigate on a tiny, spiraling stair case, in the dark, and not worry about the heights of it all. Maybe someday.  I highly encourage you to try one of them out, and make sure too research IF they take you INTO one of the scary sites, or you are just going to be “driving by it.”  Enjoy!!

My Ghost Tour at “The Stanley Hotel” aka “The Shining” Hotel

While booking and planning my road trip in 2018, I came across the Stanley while planning my leg through Colorado. The hotel that birthed one of the scariest stories out there, “The Shining,” surely could produce the ghost tours of ghost tours. And so I called my good pal Darby and signed us up for the late night tour- going to bed that night SO excited!

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After my first time in Rocky Mountain National Park, then lunch and shopping in Estes Park, I counted down the hours to my first steps to the Stanley.  Darby and I got there as the sun set, taking pictures before the tour started.  We headed to the basement where we gathered for our tour in a side room.  Our host checked us in, and we were on our way to the ballroom.

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The ballroom tour took us to the choir loft area, the main room, and then the basement where there is a lot of paranormal activity. Here is where she taught us to put a sucker in our hands, a dum dum to be exact, and to turn it upside down. As you held it in your hand, the spirit then could move it back and forth to tell you they were present. Some of the group’s moved, some didn’t- mine, while everyone watched, bent slowly down and back. My hand never moved, no wind, no heat on, it was really cool! 

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We entered a side room where they explained the Madam likes to hang out, and as I walked in with the tour guide, I could smell roses really strong.  She asked me if something was wrong, and I said quietly to her, do you smell that? She said no, what do you smell? I said, Roses, and she smiled and said “she’s Here.” I was the only one who smelled it.

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We then walked around the outside and back into the Hotel basement, and into the old tunnel connects under it. This was the oldest and spookiest part of the tour and property, and I LOVED IT. They turned off the lights for a while and I just took pic after pic- but Darby got the best pic of the night. It’s an orb flying over my leg in the tunnel- great catch girl! It felt incredibly heavy down there and definitely more “devious” than the ballroom. I wouldn’t have been comfortable being in their alone, ever.

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The tour costs $28 per person, a bit cheaper if you are a hotel guest. Now I went before Covid hit, so now it looks like they are limiting the tours to only 10 guests, masks required. Is it worth it? HECK YEAH!! It had a GREAT spooky vibe, you get a to see some of the hotel, but I wish they had toured MORE of the hotel area, and not just the ballroom and basement. So if you think you are in for a tour of the famous rooms and such, youre out of luck, they are usually occupied due to their popularity. ALSO keep that in mind if you roam the halls on your own, they don’t want you disturbing guests sleeping while you ghost hunt.  I hope to be back here again with a stay AT the hotel and then another ghost tour- you never know what you will see!

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Supporting me isn’t scary at all!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Darkside of Door County, WI…the Trolley Ghost Tour 2020.

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They say you believe or you don’t in ghosts…and had I not seen one before me as a child, I probably wouldn’t give two thoughts about them.  It’s been a lifelong wonder of mine of what they TRULY are and so I am always down for a Ghost Tour anywhere.  While visiting Dad up in Door County, Wisconsin, I came across a flyer that advertised the Trolley Tours, but what caught my eye was the Haunted one.  The Trolley idea itself sounded fun, but add some “spookiness” to it and I am game! Located in Egg Harbor in Door County, right off of Hwy 42, it is was easy to find and get too.Trolley23

Adults are $31.95 (with tax my total was $35.63) for this tour and children (5-16) are $23.95 (as of the date this article was written).  I paid online with no problems, got a receipt via my email, and then also got another email letting me know details for the tour. Please note that these tours are NON-REFUNDABLE and tour tickets cannot be rescheduled (Important to know during these interesting times).  I went on a SATURDAY evening, June 27th 2020 and during the COVID-19 Season. Well, we hope it’s a season right?  At the time of my tour, Wisconsin was starting too decline in cases, and so I felt safe to try this out.  They say on their website they are only filling the trolleys to 75% capacity, but every row on mine was filled except for the bench behind me. Could it be that was the 25% less? Maybe. It would have felt better to have every other bench be open for safety but I didn’t know how “full” it would be until everyone was on board and off you go. They did “reserve” the seats with your name taped to them- a simple nicety for those of us who like to meander in the gift shop, have a drink, and get on at the last possible second because there’s no rush to get a seat. I was so excited though that I was the third one on… yeah, always been like that. A side note, if you can REQUEST a seat, ask to be on the RIGHT side of the trolley, as I was on the left and most of the homes spoken about were on the RIGHT side, along with the sunset at the end of the day was on the RIGHT as well.  If you like to take pictures, it’s something you’ll want to take advantage of.Trolley21

Before getting on, the parking was easy and I found it better behind the building where all the trolleys are parked.  I checked in with their ticket window, which is across from the drinks and beverage bar, and they gave me a colored ticket which coincides with the color that is on your trolley. Simple. Basic. Easy. They do recommend bug spray for the places you get on and off at on the tour, I bought a handheld bug spray pen for $3 that is for sale at their ticket window.  Ironically, forgot I bought it and I now own a brand new bug spray pen (seriously I never needed it). They recommend getting there 30 mins early which I was, but honestly not sure why unless they get crazy busy that the wait time to check in is that. My tour was for 7:00 pm and was to last until 9:15 p.m.. You are allowed to bring drinks purchased at the Gift Shop, its encouraged, and they have an array of delightful spirits to enjoy with the other spirits. I looked in my emails and couldn’t find anything against outside food and drink being brought on, so call ahead and ask on that one.Trolley22

Our ghost host, Ross, was promptly on the trolley to give us the 411 on what we were about to do and then jumped off to get into character for the rest of the ride.  Now, I was there on a summer evening and it was warm all day, in the 90s. But, as the sun set, it obviously got a bit cooler.  I wasn’t cold AT ALL until the ride began its 45-50 mph speed on the highway to and from the main destinations. The windows are at your discretion to open or close, and lucky me I was sitting next to the emergency exit which had to stay open.  I didn’t bring a jacket or sweatshirt, big mistake only when we were careening down the highway. So take note to just bring something to stay warm on that journey, it can be left on the Trolley as you can get off and on at stops, so its best to just play it safe and bring something.Trolley20

Our tour began at the home of Samuel Baxter and his story set in an old farmhouse off of the highway in 1897. Yes, I took notes but I will just be giving you the cliff notes version as it is far more exciting to hear them all in person for yourself (or find the attention of Sir Google himself).  We then parked inside the city of “Fish Creek” where we heard the sad story of Huey Melvin, a little boy of 5, who learned that tetanus can be deadly.  Then across from Huey’s home is the Alexander Noble Home… the most haunted home in Door County. Now due to Covid, we were unable to tour the old home but heard all of the ghost stories and he handed out pictures of the inside and the spirits they have caught on camera. Now, I know that the best way to catch something is to just start taking as many pictures in sucession as you can.  That way you have comparable evidence of the before and after of any shots you may get.  As Ross spoke, I felt like I was being watched from the doorway. So I just took pic after pic, not really thinking much of it.  But as we headed back onto the Trolley, I zoomed into the doorway pic that didn’t look normal, and low and behold I CAUGHT A FACE!!!  Below you will see the normal pic I took of some 20 plus feet away, and then the pic enhanced so you can see it better. It’s freaky but I’m still happy I caught something.  I was skeptical that maybe it was matrixing and I was just “looking for something to be there” so I went back the next day and took a pic of the same door and there was nothing (bottom pic). Leave in the comments what you see.Trolley18Trolley17Trolley4Trolley3Trolley2

The tour then took us down to the waters edge, which was gorgeous at that time of day, the view alone was worth it. He told us of a famous shipwreck and the Captain who would lose his life. Now, Ross, our ghost host, has a Shakespearian background and it shows.  I felt this part of the tour was right out of the Renaissance Faire…he is excellent, but it was a bit much for a ghost tour.  He needs to work at Bristol.   Another family home ghost story with a tragic Christmas, and then onto the State Park for a visit to one of the Cemeteries and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse (Again not open right now).  What I loved about this part was that the sun was just setting and it was just gorgeous high in the hills.  They tie the ghost stories well to the real people that lived them who are all buried in the local Cemeteries in the Peninsula State Park. There is a large cemetery and a small one, the small one is where the little boy, Huey, rests.  The family didn’t want the tours attending it there anymore, so they only take you to the large cemetery. Keep in mind, on your own, anyone can go see the Pioneer Cemetery which is the small one.Trolley12Trolley13Trolley14Trolley15Trolley9Trolley10Trolley5

So picture this….the sun is going down, the temps are lovely, and Ross drives up to one of the bluffs that look over the Lake. It was a picture perfect moment…and he tells us another story…I kid you not, bagpipe music starts playing behind the trolley.  I wondered “I bet this trolley is messing up someone’s proposal moment” because honestly that’s how perfect that moment was up there.  Some random person was playing his bagpipes as the sun set…ok, I just went with it. Odd but beautiful.Trolley8Trolley7

The sky was just starting to get dark as we headed back to the Trolley Center, and as we drove the highway we listened to songs of “Monster Mash” and “Thriller.” Cheesy? A tad, but maybe I would’ve enjoyed that part more had I not been freezing from the wind on the highway or had I been drunk.Trolley6

So here are my thoughts on all of this. There is a HUGE difference between a ghost tour, a paranormal tour, and a haunted history tour albeit the haunted history and ghost are very similar. A paranormal tour is where you can use your ghost box, your ghost equipment that you provide or they do and you talk to them and see what evidence you can come up with. A haunted history tour is called this usually to not associate with the paranormal but add that “haunted” as a spook factor to the tour. A “ghost tour” is a tour that is a good mix of both, having the spook factor involved with a bit of history on where the spookiness was based on.  This was more of a mix between the ghost and haunted history. Now, the price was totally worth it- been on more expensive for half the entertainment so you definitely will get your moneys worth no matter what you’re looking for in it. And honestly that’s what this tour was…entertainment. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t feel spooked at all, even at the Cemetery I was more curious about the older headstones and the forest around it than the ghosts that may or may not have been there.  I would’ve liked the tour to be later at night in the dark, especially for what the subject matter is.  I understand that this would take some creative lighting with flashlights or cell phone lights, but it could be done, but it would’ve been a heck of a lot scarier. I suggest they do a midnight tour (which I think they may do at Halloween) but all year round- maybe just on weekends, but there is enough interest in it these days that I feel they would be very successful at it later. I mean this is for children as well, so that tells you the range of “scariness” of it.  1-10, 10 being fantastic, I would give this tour a 9.  Ross did an amazing job of not only telling the stories memorized and with feeling, but he also drove the darn thing! On top of the fact that these tours are perfect for Bridesmaid parties, Birthdays, etc.. that you really could have a wild time with drinks as you are driven around everywhere.  They do provide other daytime tours like a Premier Wine Tour, Family Ride, Lighthouse Tour, and other nightime ones such as the Murder and Mayhem Tour and a Haunted Pub Crawl. I hope to try another one when I visit my Dad again next month, so stay tuned to see which one I try. They do sell out, as I was not able to get into the Haunted Pub Crawl at all, but I was able to grab a ticket for the ghost tour.  My best advice is to book as soon as possible- even with Covid amongst us.Trolley1

Now, let me say something on the Covid factor with this because those who are going this summer will want to know.  The employees had masks on and our host had his on the entire tour- no one else on the trolley had one on but me. I couldn’t “distance” on the trolley, but when we exited on and off I always made sure to stand 6 feet or more away from the group.  I hand sanitized myself after every time I got off and on, and I washed my hands after I got back from the tour to my Bed & Breakfast. I did as much as I could, and now we wait and see, but I am letting you know my experience. I wasn’t scared at all about getting it, as their numbers in Door County have been small, but the reality is still there that anyone can get it and I did my best to protect myself.  Just a heads up for those of you thinking about going.

I enjoyed the Ghost Tour and I appreciate Ross and his passion for the love of his job and for being a phenomenal storyteller. Check them out at doorcountytolley.com.

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Old Joliet Prison….A Review of the Daytime and Nightime Tours.

RoadTripLogoA fun thing I like to do on road trips is to seek out history with a touch of ghosts on the side.  My first ghost tour was in Savannah, Georgia, and since then I have been hooked! Having plenty of time in the Midwest this summer, I decided to check off a bucket list place. Built in 1858 and closed in 2002, Old Joliet Prison sits on Collins St in IL, and it literally takes your breath away as you drive up.  A limestone mammoth of a building, it was known as “Hell on Earth” and that most prisoners begged for the death penalty than be sent here. It housed famous prisoners like the Clown Killer, John Wayne Gacy, along with Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. It is also known for being showcased in the “Blues Brothers” film and the show “Prison Break.”JP20JP21

I looked online before heading over, as Covid runs the hours of operations with so much these days, and it said they were open.  Now, I parked in the large parking lot, beyond their Joilet Prison sign, which seemed the obvious place to park. I can tell you that it isn’t. The front area of the Prison isn’t for the public yet, as they are working to restore the jail cell building. And since that’s the first building folks would have to walk through to get into the yard and beyond, this entrance is worthless. Also heads up, no public restrooms. They were kind enough to let me use a porta potty on site, but they don’t like to make it a known thing. Personally I thought you had to provide restrooms if you are a business of any kind, so there ya go.  They had written their phone number and shoved it into the gate where you SHOULD be starting a tour and paying admission and the call led us to drive around the Prison, into the back, past a junkyard and then through a large gate that was open.  They have zero signage on the corner which everyone must turn on to get to the back of the Prison, just know it is right there, as you see that first guard tower, that you turn.   Also, you can park there…some folks for our ghost tour walked all the way back from the other sides parking lot…seriously it’s probably a quarter of a mile on a really uneven road so please just drive back there. JP18

The daytime tour cost me $20 which was self-guided. They also offer Guard Tours, Haunted History Tours, and Photography Tours which can all be signed up and paid for on their site.  Before you start, you must sign a waiver which I did at the Prison, but it goes much quicker online (which I did for the Haunted History Tour).  I opted to try the daytime tour first and then the nighttime tour after that later that week so I could get my bearings on what I was looking at – plus you can’t read much of any of the signage in the evening.  I was able to peruse and take my time looking and peeking into buildings while familiairising myself of the history.  This tour is all outside except for the area you go into to see the prison cell blocks.  They said that it is because of Covid that they were keeping everyone outside as much as possible, plus the staff can keep a better eye on those traversing the property.  Yes, I had to wear my mask for both tours, but there were many spots where I was alone and took it off to breathe for awhile.JP23JP24JP3

I roamed from building to building, hoping my eye would catch something. It was all very interesting, and I have to say I felt like I was in the movie “Shawshank Redemption.” I passed over the spot where the electric chair would’ve been and the visitors room where they watched.  I walked along the area where the stockades once sat….such a sadness. All of these men had people who loved them, and what they all went through must have been horrific.JP4

I toured for about an hour and a half, you could probably make it faster, depending on how much you want to read or look at.  The creepiest part for me was the Cell Block area…right out of Walking Dead.  Just walking into the area gave me a very heavy chested feeling, and honestly a little dizzy. It was so much colder in this building, and the smell was very much mildew.  I stared thinking about the prisoners in their daily lives here, that this was it… that this was all of it.  I feel that we visit places like this to remind ourselves of how truly lucky and blessed we are and to remember those that had it far, far worse.JP19JP5

I signed up for the Haunted History Tour ($35) right before my daytime one because I knew I would love a good hunt.  Well, they will tell you that it is a “History” tour and not a “Paranormal” tour. So if you are looking to bring your ghost equipment for an actual hunt, you are allowed, but the tour moves pretty fast at times, so there wasn’t a whole lot of controlled time to sit and listen. I brought my SB7 box and it was hard to use it without the speaker, which I didn’t because I didn’t want to override the Tour Guide’s narrative and that’s just plain rude. I did the 8 pm tour, just starting to get dark, which is what I hoped for since it would be a 90 minute tour.  They basically take you on a large circle of the Prison, starting with the Chapel area, to the Prison Cells, and then into the Hospital.  I have to admit, walking the Prison yard, you feel like there are a hundred sets of eyes on you.  By the time I walked into the Hospital (and for those of you who are Prison Break fans, this is the building they broke out of) it was already dark.  The tour group was advised to use the flashlight on our phones to see into the rooms….and it was just about as creepy as you can imagine.  A single hospital bed, the surgery lights, an abandoned x-ray machine….it was dark and it was every horror movie I have seen.  I can see why they filmed anything here, it has the run down, creep factor down to a tee.JP7 - CopyJP15JP12JP10 - Copy

Next we headed to the Segregation building.  The only other one we were allowed to go in. There is a tiny cell on the outside, showing what they lived in. The heavy doors in here we were warned not to close, on a past tour two teens did and were locked inside for 10 hours and the rescue team had to knock down a wall to get them out.  It was a bit unnerving passing through each room- the rusty bed against the wall and the toilet in the corner.  There only visual of life was out the small 5×5 window in the heavy, metal door frame.  Those tiny windows freaked me out the most and I don’t know why. Through the ceiling we could see the second floor, tours don’t go up there anymore as the building has been compromised there and it isn’t safe to walk anymore.JP9 - CopyJP13JP14JP16JP17JP11 - Copy

The rest of the tour was outside, she had a binder full of photos of the famous criminals who were housed there along with a pic of the gallows and stockades.  We concluded about just an hour and a half and you are free to take as many photos and video as you want, but not of her giving the tour. Meaning the entire tour ends up on YouTube is a no no. Anyways, this is something youd want to experience in the moment there and not on a screen.JP8 - Copy

So someone actually did ask me in the group about my opinion on the day tour vs the night tour.  She had just come for the night one and wondered if shed see more or less during the day.  So I am going to say that the daytime one was cool for me because it was the first time I had laid eyes on it- its that thrill and the “WOW” factor.  You can explore or take a more in depth tour during the day, but right now, you can’t go into anything but the cell area. Maybe when more phases happen here in IL they will allow more for you to explore and see. The nighttime one was an actual history tour, sprinkled with the creep factor, which is what many, like myself, are there for. I think both are worth the money and it felt good to support the Museum during this difficult times when everyone is staying away. I also want to say I felt I was a SAFE option for those looking to do something outside but not near a lot of people. There were only about 6 people touring the ENTIRE Prison Yard when I was there during the day, and the ghost tour has a max capacity of 8 people because of Covid guidelines. I never felt “right next” to someone and it was easy to stay 6 feet a part from others on the tour.

I truly enjoyed the experience of the day vs night tours here and I highly recommend trying it out! A shout out to all of the wonderful people who work there, they couldn’t have been nicer or kinder, and we need more of that in the World. Check out the rest of my 2020 Road Trip HERE. Thanks for stopping by!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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