Decatur’s Haunted Happenings

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Decatur’s Haunted Happenings

Photo by Athena Pajer

Photo by Athena Pajer

Photo by Athena Pajer

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Founded in 1829, Decatur has a long history full of supernatural forces and crimes, the city is a labyrinth of mystery.

Lincoln Theatre was built in 1916. Many who have been there say that they have heard strange sounds that the buildings’ architecture can’t explain. People have heard sounds like whispers, voices and applause. They have reported seeing a young woman around the theatre feeling strange things pulling hair, tugging clothes, tapping shoulders and even kicking seats.

The Avon Theatre is also said to be haunted. Workers say that things can go missing. They hear footsteps, voices, and applause. People say they hear sounds in empty rooms and hallways. People also report being touched and have feelings of being watched.

Workers have reported seeing a ghost in the some of the older areas. Skip Houston, one of the managers of the Avon, said he saw a ghost. He didn’t see some faded out person, he saw a solid man. After the reopening, more and more people started to report seeing and hearing things.

Greenwood Cemetery was filled with suicides, murders, and other terrible crimes.

There are recordings of tunnels underneath the cemetery, although no one know what they were used for. There were many grave robberies. People known as “body-snatchers’ would dig up the freshly buried dead and sell them to medical schools, doctors, and scientists. People would go to the cemetery to visit the departed and they would find coffins out in the open and empty.

There was also an unsolved murder within Greenwood. Melbourn Savage, one of the people involved with the Hell’s Hollow murders, was a caretaker at the time of his demise. He was shot four to five times, but was still alive. They took him to St. Mary’s Hospital and he died of his wounds, there.

Many say the ghosts of the dead that reside there, come out. Many who visited the cemetery said that they could see glowing lights or full-bodied ghosts.

Hell’s Hollow is an area that leads to both Greenwood and the Sangamon. It has been the sight of many gruesome murders and acts of crime. Both Greenwood and Hell’s Hollow have been the sight of many gang wars. There were rumors of cult happenings in both areas.

The areas were used for bootlegging and many other crimes. One article written about it says that eight people were killed. The victims apparently ‘knew too much.’ All eight murders are still unsolved. Each was either straight-out murdered or died because of incidents with the so-called cult. Although one of those people was proven to not have been connected to the case.

During Halloween in 1984, a horrible double homicide was recorded. Sherry Gordon and Theresa Hall, were sexually assaulted and strangled to death. They were found in two separate rooms in an abandoned complex. They were found with clothes on and face down on the floor. For twenty-five years, the people of Decatur didn’t forget.

A church would hold candlelight vigils every year on Halloween. It took twenty-five years to catch the killer, and he could never be properly punished. The killer, Melvin Johnson, died of stomach cancer in 2003.

Millikin: Our home. Is as haunted as the rest of the city. There are reports of ghosts and strange movements that can’t be explained. Papers being thrown around and strange smells at random times. The tunnels underneath the school are also said to be haunted. There’s a rumor of a young woman that goes around the music building. A ghost opens and closes doors at Blackburn. Each of the Greek houses flaunt that they have their own ghosts. There are allegedly a number of ghosts all over campus.

Decatur is an old city with a lot of water under the bridge, both literally and metaphorically. This city if full of ghosts and past mysteries. They will be mysteries until, maybe, one of our own will solve them. So, enjoy your investigations!

 

Source: Haunted Decatur by Troy Taylor

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