Aged buildings seem to attract the strange and unknown. The well-known Ashmore Estates is one place that has endured a long, and not always pleasant, history.
Haunted Illinois: Ashmore Estates
Ashmore Estates was constructed in 1916 in an Illinois town by the same name. It was originally called the Coles County Almshouse which was used to accommodate the less fortunate. The list of inhabitants included everyone from the elderly and homeless to alcoholics and overflow patients from mental institutions within the state. Those who stayed on the property were expected to work for their keep.
It later went on to operate as a private psychiatric facility between 1956 and 1976 then a “Care Facility for the Developmentally Disabled.” The facility was closed due to lack of funding in 1987.
Vandalism was a serious problem on the property while it was vacant. One owner bought the location in 1998 and attempted to renovate but damage caused by partying young people and thrill seekers became too expensive and the building had to be sold again. Ashmore Estates remained vacant until 2006 when it was purchased once more and used as a commercial haunted house.
Paranormal Activity at Ashmore Estates
Over 100 deaths are estimated to have occurred at Ashmore Estates, which is often attributed to the paranormal activity reported there. A young girl named Elva Skinner is believed to appear as a full bodied apparition. Little Elva was the victim of a fire that damaged a building that used to stand on the property in 1880.
A second entity called Kentucky Joe is described as wearing a top hat. A third ghost, usually referred to as “Jumper,” has also been reported. Jumper is believed to be the spirit of a doctor who plummeted to his death after jumping from one of the windows on the property. Ashmore also has the proverbial woman in white drifting through the halls.
Meteorologist Kevin Orput was filming a segment for a local TV station at Ashmore Estates on October 30th, 2009 when he had his own harrowing physical encounter. He was sitting on a chair in the nurse’s station on the second floor around 4:30 am when he suddenly awoke to find himself lying on the floor. He has no recollection of the actual incident. Witnesses were close by and ran to his aid after seeing the strange event unfold. Orput firmly believes that an unseen entity lifted him up then shoved him to the ground. His shoulder was broken and he reported feeling different for several days after. He appeared agitated and did not act like himself but eventually recovered, gaining a new appreciation for the paranormal.
Well-known paranormal TV show Ghost Adventures filmed its September 23rd, 2011 episode at Ashmore Estates. Lead investigator Zak Bagans interviewed Orput, who retold his personal experience on camera. The footage can be seen using the URL linked above (jump to 5:30 for Orput’s segment).
Husband and wife paranormal investigators and their team operating under the name Hunters of the Unknown spent time at Ashmore Estates and captured some rather compelling evidence, including EVPs. Their findings can be reviewed by checking out the location investigation page here.
Ashmore Estates Today
Ashmore Estates seems to have almost gone into the business of scaring people. Until recently, it was used as a haunted house with tours. A “Paranormal 101” ghost hunting course was offered by the Illinois Metaphysical and Paranormal Society (IMPS) and the Mid Illinois Ghost Society (MIGS) at the location in 2012. The building changed hands again after a severe storm in January 2013 significantly damaged the roof and the previous owner decided to move out of state, as mentioned in this Journal Gazette and Times-Courier article. The new owners are planning fundraising efforts and other events to complete repairs (click here for the official website).
Have you been to Ashmore Estates (or would you like to go)? Share your personal experiences or investigative approach to this location in the comments.