We arrived at Willow Creek Farm Friday night. I admit I was a bit apprehensive. I had heard of this place before from friends and associates who spoke of it with a certain sense of hushed excitement, so I didn’t know what to expect. Forest City Paranormal had investigated the site back in July alongside Paranormal Research of Illinois, however, and their confidence helped to allay some of my misgivings. I had also met Al Kelchner, the owner of the farm, at my presentation at the Rockford Public Library. He spoke with us for about thirty minutes before leaving to run some errands.
Despite having only four members of the team present for duty, FCPS immediately set to work casing the house.
Whitney and I went from room to room, recording the base temperature. Al has been working to refurbish the farmhouse by hand, so my first impression of the residence was that we could have been walking through a place that had been uninhabited for many years. In an upstairs bedroom I later learned was home to a ghost called “the creep,” a window sat open and there was a constant chill in the air. We crept from room to room, which were otherwise barren aside from a few basic pieces of furniture, or perhaps a child’s toy sitting in a rocking chair.
Later that evening, when Al returned, I accompanied him to the Yellow Creek Inn, a local bar and restaurant in Pearl City, where he filled me in on the history of his farm. Al has done a great job of researching his property and he keeps a log of all his paranormal experiences. I was fascinated by his story. The next day, FCPS laid out voice recorders on every floor of the farmhouse and then left to check out the barns.
When FCPS returned, they reviewed the tapes and discovered several strange auditory phenomenon, such as rapping and creaking, on the first and second floor. One EVP sounded like a loud knock on the table next to the recorder, but no one was in the farmhouse at the time. In the middle of the day, FCPS was joined by several more of its members. They set up remote cameras and took EMF readings. That night, I accompanied them from one room to another as they split up into groups of three and tried to goad the 9-10 different entities into revealing themselves.
When Sunday morning dawned, we still hadn’t seen any ghosts, but the adventure was not fruitless. FCPS came away with hours of audio and video recordings, some of which contained clear anomalies. The full report of their investigation, along with their EVPs, will be posted on the FCPS website soon: www.forest-city-paranormal-society.com. As for me, I enjoyed learning the fascinating history of this place, and I look forward to devoting a future issue of the Legends and Lore of Illinois to it.