Paranormal past pervades Ethnic Heritage Museum
By Kathi Kresol
Local historian, paranormal investigator and operator of Haunted Rockford Paranormal Events
Sue Lewandowski is the Board President for the Ethnic Heritage Museum and she has a real passion for Rockford History. The Ethnic Heritage Museum is filled with “treasures” that represent six different ethnic groups that have called Southwest Rockford home. It is another gem for people who are interested in Rockford’s history with an added benefit. The 162 year old building that contains the museum happens to be haunted.
Haunted Rockford hosted its first event at the museum in 2012 and I interviewed Sue about the history of the building and ghostly experiences encountered there. Sue mentioned the feeling of someone else in the room, shadows that move, and hearing voices.
Haunted Rockford was joined by renowned Paranormal Investigator and Author Dale Kaczmarek from Chicago for the event and he brought ghost hunting equipment along. Psychics, Sara Bowker and Paul Smith, part of the Haunted Rockford Team, had never been in the building prior to that evening.
Almost immediately, Paul and Sara sensed that the building had been changed. They insisted that there was a flight of stairs to the basement that had been altered. Sue was astonished when we entered the basement and shined a light through a hole in the cement wall. The light illuminated a set of stairs that had been covered up. “I was not aware those were even there,” Sue stated.
Sara and Paul felt drawn into the room where the stairs were. They started to sense the presence of a small boy. Kaczmarek brought his digital recorder and a piece of equipment called an Ovilus to the basement. He and Sara Bowker conducted an EVP Session. Electronic Voice Phenomena, known as EVP’s, are the recordings of a voice or noise that cannot be heard because of their higher frequencies. Several of us were present in the basement watching Sara and Dale work. Sara was talking to the little boy that she and Paul had sensed while Dale was observing the equipment. The temperature in the basement actually dropped and then a voice came from the Ovilus that said “Mark”. Dale backed up the digital recorder and played it for all of us to hear. Right before we heard the electronic voice from the Ovilus saying “Mark” there was a little child’s voice that said, “Come out, Come out”. Everyone was shocked because we had not heard any voice except Sara asking questions and the Ovilus. The child’s voice was very clear and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. We also realized that the name Mark came through as a response to Sara’s question “What is your name?”
Haunted Rockford has been back to the museum a few times since that night and Paul and Sara have been able to communicate with “Mark” a little more each time. “It’s like he’s playing Hide and Seek with us,” explains Sara. At first, the team was afraid “Mark” was trapped in the building after death but after getting more information from him, Paul and Sara are certain that “Mark” lived in the house but did not die there.
There are plenty of other spirits that are still in the house, however. The staff is still experiencing the noises, voices, and shadows. I continue to research the many families that have lived in the house over the 162 year history, searching for any child that might have lived in the house named “Mark”.
Haunted Rockford will host a special event: “Beyond the Veil: An Exclusive Evening with Stories, Spirits, and Psychics at the Ethnic Heritage Museum on Saturday, February 21 from 7:00-9:00p.m. The price for the event is $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the event. Tickets can be purchased at www.hauntedrockford.com or by calling Kathi at 815-871-4239.