The Civil War Ghosts of the Volo Auto Museum

By Brian Grams

I was born and raised in a haunted house. The house I grew up in was a farm house, part of a dairy farm that was originally developed starting back in 1848. The home’s construction was completed by 1853 and had been in my family since 1960. The barn was converted by my family into an antique mall and the property has since grew into a very large family business.

I had been told many tales of ghostly occurrences in both the barn and house by family members and customers as well as witnessing my own encounters. The most common tales I have heard were about a figure of a man and the smell of cigar smoke. Very unusual things would happen in the house from lights turning on and off to one time even a TV turned on by itself. The most convincing thing I had witnessed was my family went on vacation, the house was empty, locked and alarmed. When we can back from vacation, a pot full of flowers was up against the door we walked out of, from the inside. No one was in the house, no one had access to the keys or alarm code.

Customers of ours have claimed to see antiques in the barn levitate, of seeing figures, unexplainable cold chills and more. Many people have sent us photos of things that should not have been in their photos, from orbs to blurs to one person even capturing a figure. Discovery Channel sent out their team from Ghost Lab who were able to capture and document paranormal activity.

After Ghost Lab documented paranormal activity, we started doing our own digging. My family always assumed it was my grandfather that was haunting us because he was a man that smoked cigars.  When we started our own investigation, many things began to make sense. A woman in our antique mall claimed to see a man dressed in a civil war uniform on the 3rd floor of the barn. When examining the figure caught in a customer’s photograph, the figures attire matched that of a civil war uniform. And he had mutton chops, which were very common of people of that era.

Before I was born there was smoke coming from floorboards of the upstairs of the farm house. When my father tore up the floor boards, the wires were smoldering and next to the smoldering wires was an old backpack.  My father set the back pack aside and forgot about it. My mother recently started to dig into the history of the property. The owners of the farm were the Gales. When the dairy farm was being developed, the son was only 10. When he was in his early 20’s he left to battle in the Civil War, where he fought and died.

The backpack my dad found, it and the items in it were the same as used by civil war soldiers. Since the wires that smoldered but didn’t catch fire were right next to the backpack, it is almost as if that happened so that the backpack was found. The woman had seen a man dressed in a civil war uniform, but no one else was really there?

Could we have been wrong and it’s not my grandfather that’s haunting the property and actually this young man that lived in the home and died fighting in the civil war? Who is buried in an old grave yard less than 100 feet from the barn? It makes sense. Strange occurrences are still happening at the property frequently. Attached is a photo of the home from 1901.

———————

Brian Grams is director of the Volo Auto Museum, located near the Fox River in the small town of Volo, Illinois. Haunted Trolley Tours are running throughout the Halloween season.

Think you are ready to write for Trueillinoishaunts.com? E-mail us your ideas at trueillinoishaunts@blackoakmedia.org. Stories about Illinois are preferred.

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