Western Illinois University began as a teacher’s college. Originally called Western Illinois State Normal School, its classes were confined to one building, now known as Sherman Hall. Sherman Hall was then known by the unimaginative title of “Main Building.” In 1902 the university added a training school to Main Building in order to allow its students to obtain teaching experience in the classroom. As the student body expanded, they constructed a new building to house the training school. In the 1960s, as Western Illinois State Normal School became Western Illinois University, the Training School building was converted to house the Department of English and Journalism and renamed Simpkins Hall.
For years, students and faculty in Simpkins Hall have told stories about the ghost of an adolescent girl, but she is only one of the apparitions rumored to haunt the 71-year-old building. Many other odd occurrences at the hall are attributed to “Harold,” a former janitor or graduate assistant who lurks among the classrooms on the third floor. After classes finish for the day, the disembodied sound of keys jingling, doors opening and closing, or a typewriter clicking, rattle the nerves of even the most seasoned educator. Another story circulating the hall is that of a woman who can be heard crying in the first floor restroom.
For an in-depth look at this location, check out Volume 4 Issue 9 of the Legends and Lore of Illinois, featuring the history & hauntings of Western Illinois University’s Simpkins Hall, the adventures of The Fallen, trivia, and much more! This issue, along with all its color photos and extras, is now exclusively available on CD-ROM. Click here to order all 49 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois.
Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 4 – on Kindle!
Or, order all 11 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2010 for only $5.00 in a special Kindle edition. Places covered in Vol. 4 include Western Illinois University’s Simpkins Hall, the Seventh Avenue Dead End, Illinois State University, Willow Creek Farm, Vishnu Springs, the Cambridge Death Curve, Crybaby Bridge, Archer Avenue, Rockford College, Starved Rock State Park and more. Plus, read letters from our readers, the latest adventures of The Fallen, skeptic’s corner, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions.
Legends and Lore of Illinois: Investigation Reports
This collection consists of 47 haunted locations from the archives of the Legends and Lore of Illinois, arranged alphabetically and by category, with over 60 accompanying photos. Many of these photos have never been seen before. Inside, you will find the history, ghost stories, and folklore of popular locations such as Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Resurrection Cemetery and Archer Avenue, Manteno State Hospital, Lakey’s Creek, and the Peoria State Hospital, plus local haunts such as Ashmore Estates, Chanute Air Force Base, Vishnu Springs, and Peck Cemetery. Learn the real stories behind the legends: misconceptions and misinformation about these places and more are tackled head on.