We had another fun night of ghostly adventure with the Alton History & Hauntings group for the first tour of the Halloween season last Friday. Many thanks to Ginger Collins-Justus of Missouri History & Hauntings for inviting us along!
This year we were on the walking tour with Len Adams, Vice President of the American Ghost Society, who we had not toured with since we did the Haunted Lebanon tour back in 2010. The tour is based on Troy Taylor's book Haunted Alton, and one of the major focal points of the tour is the first stop at the former Enos Sanitarium. It was built by Nathanial Hansen as a private residence in 1857, and this tunnel in the basement was a documented stop on the Underground Railroad. Later, it became the Enos Tuberculosis Sanitarium.
As you know, it is a long standing custom on this blog to refrain from telling any of the stories from this type of tour. These guys are professionals and tell the stories better than I ever could. One thing I love about Len's tours is that he still gets excited every time he tells a story, even if he has told it a thousand times. Our other favorite guide, Luke Naliborski, is also an awesome story teller, but a little more reserved in his delivery. No matter who you get, you are sure to have a fun time on this walking tour.
Here's a new feature since we last covered this tour for the blog: a fancy motor coach! I have not yet gone on the bus tour, but I hear they go out to Hop Hollow Road, which you will hear about at the site of the old Civil War Prison.
The First Unitarian Church is still the last spot on the tour, spooky as ever, and Len still won't say what they learned about Reverend Mercer. I'm using a mix of Francis's pictures from Friday night, and Keith's pictures from 2009, and this one Keith took of the church is still one of my all time favorites. They do tours from April through November, but a good October evening just cannot be beat.
You may remember that I chickened out and wouldn't go in the basement last time. I said earlier that I don't tell the ghost stories, but I'll tell you a personal story. Luke likes to keep the lights out in old foundation (basement) for a long time while he tells stories. Like, for an eternity. So the last time I was in the basement with Shelly and Keith, Keith was behind me on my right, Shelly was in front of me, when Luke turned out the lantern. Keith was fidgeting or rocking on his heels while the lights were out, and moved until he bumped into me. The only thing that kept me from shrieking was that he had a cold, and coughed a split second after he bumped me. I haven't been in the basement since.
But I was going to go this time! I had myself all steeled up, and then it turned out they had a water main break awhile back and are not letting people into the old part for the time being. They hope to eventually take tours down there again when they get things cleaned up. We still had plenty of time to investigate upstairs, before the bus tour caught up with us.