Located approximately 15 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri, rests a small town along the Mississippi River called Alton, Illinois, and it’s been called the most haunted small town in America. So, let’s take a look at why this small town has such a haunting reputation.
The most haunted house in Alton is the McPike Mansion. The house was built in 1869 by Henry Guest McPike and the family also owned 15 acres of land that they named Mount Lookout Park. While nobody has lived in the house since the 1950s, it is said to be occupied by several ghosts – some say more than 11 spirits are at the location. Actually, it is believed that the paranormal activity was present on the property even before the home was built. Native American spirits and residual energy from a possible Underground Railroad stop are believed to be some of the paranormal activity that’s associated with this land.
Many people over the years have witnessed the spirits of who they believe are the original owners of the house – Henry and Eleanor McPike. A cook who once worked at the mansion, as well as several other servants are often seen roaming around the place, as well as a woman who mysterious died in a bathtub.
Some people have even caught balls of light/orbs and unexplained figures in the pictures they took while visiting the mansion. The cellar, in particular, is a hot spot for paranormal activity.
First Unitarian Church
Originally built in 1830, the First Unitarian Church burnt down only twenty years later. The land was later purchased by the Unitarian Society who then built a new church but that one burnt down in 1901. I guess the third time’s a charm as the next church that was built there in 1905 still remains there today.
Tragedy struck the church in November of 1934 when Reverend Phillip Mercer became ill, and a few days later he was found hanging in the doorway of the study. Since his passing, several people have reported witnessing shadow figures, as well as hearing disembodied voices coming from the basement. The piano has been heard playing on its own, as well as doors opening and closing on their own.
Built in 1904, the Milton School House was Alton’s main school and remained open until 1986. Since then, the building has been used for several businesses with numerous employees stating that they’ve encountered paranormal activity.
A young girl named Mary is said to haunt the former school house. The story goes that one day after school she stayed late to work on a project. When she was ready to go home, she was skipping down the stairs towards the gym when she heard a noise coming from behind her. She was found the next morning in the girls’ locker room severely beaten to death with her clothes all torn up. Apparently, a janitor committed suicide in the building as well.
People that have been inside of the building have reported hearing footsteps, having their items go missing and then suddenly reappearing, and seeing an apparition of a young girl.
Mineral Springs Mall
The Mineral Springs Hotel was built in 1914 and was said to have been the most spectacular hotel in the area. Many believed that the hotel’s water had healing powers that could cure people. It is now the Mineral Springs Mall and is full of paranormal activity.
The swimming pool where countless people once gathered for its “healing powers” is said to be haunted, especially by a 17-year-old boy named Clarence who drowned there. Claims of an apparition of a young man wearing a brown suit near the pool area have been reported. A ghost girl named Cassandra who allegedly drowned during a birthday party is also said to lurk around. Another child spirit named Mason has been seen running through the lobby.
Pearl and Mary (also known as the “Jasmine Lady” because of her scent) are women who met their untimely deaths at the hotel and are believed to still roam around the location. A high-pitched voice saying “hi” can sometimes be heard when people try communicating with Pearl.
A spirit named “Charlie” is often seen where the former bar of the hotel was once located. The story goes that he had such a high bar tab that in order to pay it off he had to paint a mural and he ended up committing suicide.
While those are the most haunted locations in Alton, there are many more places that are filled with spirit activity, such as Alton City Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery & Memorial, Confederate Prison (Old Alton Prison), Smallpox Island, Elijah Lovejoy Monument, Jacoby Arts Center, Ryder Building, and the Piasa Masonic Lodge. There is also the legend of the Piasa Bird which is a dragon-like bird that tortured and ate natives of the region.