Carl Jones has been a paranormal investigator for nearly 18 years. He teaches two levels of community learning classes called “Ghosts, Hauntings, and the Unexplained” at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. He is also the host of Prairieland Paranormal Consortium which meets monthly, and local director of MUFON and “Central Illinois UFO Group.”
Take us back to Carl as a young man. What were his favorite ghost stories? Did he have a favorite haunted place to visit when he was a teen?
I was an avid reader when I was younger. I used to purposely walk home from my middle school, which was miles across town from where I lived, just so that I could stop at the West branch of Lincoln Library and check out books on any type of unexplained phenomena. I loved anything to do with ghosts, UFO’s, Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, or anything like that. During the 1970’s, there were only so many of these types of books available for checking out, and I think that I probably read every single one that they had, sometimes more than once. One of my favorite books as a teenager was “The Amityville Horror” by Jay Anson, it’s still a creepy book to read, even today.
When I got older, I went to Springfield High School, which also is purported to be haunted, and I must say, there are places in that school that will give you a bit of a chill, particularly at night when there aren’t many people around. It was also during my high school days that I had my first personal paranormal experience which really confirmed my belief that there truly are strange things that happen in this world, my family and I lived through it! We started having strange things happen at our home such as electronic items that turned themselves on! Radios would come on full blast, a hand-held hair dryer turned on regularly, alarm clocks blared at strange times, etc.
We’d hear odd noises in the middle of the night that sounded like furniture being moved around, window shades would fly up on their own, sometimes all of them in the house at once! We’d hear knocking at windows on the second floor of our home that would completely travel from window to window and wrap completely around the home and stop when reaching the window where the rapping first began. This is just a few of the odd things that happened, and then there was the heavy footstep sounds!
Needless to say, all of this was a bit unnerving to my family, and after some brilliant deduction on my Mom’s part, she determined that none of this stuff began happening until after my Dad brought home an old trunk that was purchased at an antique shop. When we got rid of the item, the strange activity ceased at our home, but it did begin happening to the people who took the old trunk. This was confirmation to me that “things” can be haunted, not necessarily just places.
Has your interest always been with the paranormal, or are you more interested in UFOs and other phenomenon?
I’m interested in all things “unexplained”. Ghost hunting has always been a passion of mine, and always will be I imagine, but I’m also just as interested in UFO’s, and Cryptozoology, and all of the “mysteries” of the world!
3. What is the overall purpose of the Prairieland Paranormal Consortium? What was your vision for the group when you set out and has that vision changed?
The purpose of the “Prairieland Paranormal Consortium” is to bring together open minded people, and offer a setting where we can comfortably talk about all things paranormal in an open discussion type atmosphere, without fear of judgment, ridicule, or competition. We have regular members with a wide array of interests and knowledge.
Many belong to various paranormal research groups, we have several psychics that attend regularly, UFO hunters, and even a nationally traveling Bigfoot researcher. My vision for the group has always been this, and it has not changed, and hopefully never will.
Tell our readers about the old farmhouse outside of Springfield that you discussed at the meeting in April.
In the Southern section of Springfield, just off of Toronto Road and Cottonhill Road, there used to sit an old white two story farm house that was purported to be extremely haunted. The old house is long gone now, and a modern subdivision now sits on and near the property. It is said that the home was actually built around a log cabin that formerly sat there. I knew a woman who used to work as a housekeeper in the home back when an instructor from Sangamon State University lived there. She told me several stories about the home and its ghostly occupants. Also, in the yard of the home, there were a few marked graves that were still visible. The dates on the graves went back to the 1800’s.
Apparently one of the ghosts that haunted the home was a young woman who died in the home in a fire that broke out in an upstairs bedroom. Guests that stayed in that bedroom reported seeing the vision of a tall young woman that would flit about the room, and on one occasion, one very early morning, was sighted standing near an old dresser with a large old mirror and combing her hair. She accidentally knocked over a lit oil lamp that proceeded to ignite the curtains of a nearby window into roaring flames. The guests could hear her screaming for help through the ghostly raging flames of fire, and as suddenly as the apparition appeared, it also disappeared. It was said that the woman would sometimes also be seen standing at that same front window, looking out from it towards the road.
Neighbors would spot her standing there while driving past the home sometimes and would waive at her thinking that it was the lady of the house that currently lived there. When asked later why she didn’t waive back, they would be told that indeed, it wasn’t her, as they had been on vacation at that time, but was probably the ghost that lived in the home. I was also told that if the ghost woman didn’t like you, she would push you down the stairs. There was a guest that stayed there on the sofa in the downstairs living room one evening, and felt something touching his cheek while he was sleeping. Upon opening his eyes, he saw a woman floating in the air horizontally over the length of his body and staring down at him. He said that she appeared to be glowing a bluish-purple color. He made a hasty retreat from the home and would not return for a long time!
After the home had been gone for a while, they began excavating for the new subdivision, and discovered around 12 more burials around the property, as well as the marked few that they knew were there. The remains were taken to the Illinois State Museum and a notice posted in local newspapers for any family members to come and claim. As far as I know, nobody ever showed up to claim them.
As an interesting side story, after the home was gone a while, and before the excavation started, a nearby farmer used the property for a while to store large round bales of straw. One evening all of his bales of straw caught on fire and burned completely up. They never did find out how the fires started nor did they find any evidence of anyone purposely setting them ablaze.
How can our readers get in touch with you if they are interested in coming to the Prairieland Paranormal Consortium? Where and when is it held?
I can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can contact me via Facebook if they so wish. I am admin at The Prairieland Paranormal Consortium Facebook page. The meetings are held monthly, except for December at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois.
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