Haunted House in Harvard, Illinois

By Dorothy Lara

Our family lived in Harvard, Illinois from 1955 until 1961. At about age 8, my twin and I who shared the same bedroom awoke in the middle of the night to what sounded like a joyful gathering downstairs, many people talking and laughing, glasses tinkling, etc. Okay, this was around 1956 and my parents were not the partying type. This made no sense to us at all! On top of that, my father never wasted money on useless electricity, meaning no night lights on at night – total darkness. At that time, we lived in this old Victorian house built in the 1870s. It was a two-story home; three bedrooms upstairs, a dining room, living room, kitchen and den downstairs.

Since this “party and its noise” woke us up, we tiptoed to the bedroom door, quietly opened it and sure enough, it sounded like there were 100 people downstairs just having a good old time! At age 8, this was kind of hard for us to understand and so, we made our way to our parents bedroom. My twin attempted to wake Mom up and I attempted to wake Dad up; also our dog who was sleeping on the floor next to the bed. Guess what? We could NOT wake any three of them up. It was as if they were all entranced in their sleep!

So, we finally gave up trying to wake them up and made our way to the top of the stairs which when going downstairs, one entered the dining room. We looked down there – it was totally dark! However, we could hear all these dozens of people down there – just as if there REALLY were 100 people downstairs enjoying themselves. My sister was “too chicken” to make her way downstairs, so being the brave 8-year-old that I was, I took on the challenge and carefully and quietly made my way downstairs, one step at a time.

As I entered the dining room and walked a few steps into it, it was as though people were all around me talking and laughing and really enjoying themselves – at an adult height! They were definitely all over the first floor – in the dining room, in the living room, in the kitchen and in the den. However, it was just plain dark throughout the downstairs, which quite frankly at age 8, left me somewhat dumbfounded! So I slowly made my way back upstairs, informing my twin of my findings. Since we could not wake our parents or dog up, there was nothing else left to do but go back to bed and let “them” have their party! We quietly went back to our room and shut the door and went back to bed and to sleep.

Many years later, I asked my mom about the house in Harvard – that it was haunted and why no one ever talked about it while we lived there. Do you know what her response was? It was “so 1950s.” She said ” … We didn’t know what was going on there or why, so we simply decided to ignore the whole thing!” Ever since childhood, I have believed in the paranormal, no two ways about it! This was not my only “strange” experience either; there have been many others.

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