Greetings from Riverbend Paranormal! This is our new blog to share and interact with all of those within the paranormal community and beyond. My name is Brian, and I am the cofounder of Riverbend Paranormal. I hope to let you all delve further into the whole process of paranormal investigations.
When you tell people that you are a paranormal investigator, you’re always guaranteed a quick response of some sort. It may be “the look”. It’s the polite look that also conveys the message that I might be a little off. It may be the enthusiastic reaction where I now have someone who wants to share all their experiences with ghosts or unexplained happenings from their past. I eagerly welcome either of those responses and any other responses I may get. I love exploring this and sharing my experiences with others. The reaction that I don’t get nearly enough is the one where I get to talk about how much my paranormal pursuits involve the rich history of all the locations we visit and explore.
It’s pretty standard that when Riverbend Paranormal decides to investigate a location, we try to gather as much background information on the history of the place we are investigating. This is especially true of the larger and older more historic places we visit. Various places our crew has investigated range from a small private residence to places like Waverly Hills Sanitarium, Villesca Axe Murder House, Zombie Road, and Ashmore Estates.
In the course of doing this, we also revisit the history of our towns and cities. We revisit the age of tuberculosis, of times when poor farms existed, and we learn the stories of people long departed. This is something that we take seriously. It almost seems like we are giving places and people from the past a chance to have their stories told and their lives memorialized in a way. I can’t explain the feeling of sitting in a building with over a hundred years of history at midnight in complete darkness and silence. This is a feeling I think everyone should experience at least one time in their life.
This brings me directly to our latest investigation. We revisited Ashmore Estates in Ashmore Illinois. Here is the history behind this building per Wikipedia: “This former almshouse, once part of the Coles County Poor Farm, was built in 1916 and operated until 1959, when it was purchased by Ashmore Estates, Inc. for use as a private psychiatric care facility. Ashmore Estates closed in 1987 and stood abandoned until 2006, when it was opened as a commercial haunted house. After becoming abandoned in 1987, Ashmore Estates gained notoriety as a local curiosity and was subjected to trespass and vandalism. Rumors spread that the building was haunted.
As soon as Scott Kelley opened the building for tours in 2006, locals, as well as self-styled paranormal investigators, lined up to get a look inside. In the summer of 2008, Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth, producers of documentaries such as Spooked (2006) and Children of the Grave (2007), filmed at Ashmore Estates. In September 2011, Ashmore Estates was featured on the season 5 premiere of Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. In February 2013, it was also investigated by the SyFy’s Ghost Hunters on the season 9 episode called Permanent Residents.”
Riverbend Paranormal investigated this location in 2010 when it was under ownership by Kelley. In the interim, Ashmore was purchased this year by our friend, Robbin Terry. Ashmore had long been left to deteriorate and a lack of windows meant large parts of the building’s interior was exposed to the elements. Robbin began a lengthy restoration project. It was great to see everyone within surrounding paranormal community show up to help in this effort. We got to play a small role in this process and got a firsthand view of how bad certain areas had gotten. Here are some pictures from six months ago to present status of the ongoing renovation.
We had our return visit to this historic place on November 8, 2014. It was interesting to investigate in areas that had previously been blocked off or too dangerous to explore. We had a great night and are in evidence review at the moment. I hope to come back and add some of the voice recordings and video images that team members are already telling me sound quite promising. Robbin plans to continue to host investigations at Ashmore. In the meantime, it’s just nice to know that interest from the paranormal community was a big reason Robbin was able to step in and save a historic building from crumbling away into ruins.