If you can, I would like to invite you to join me at any of the following events throughout October. I’ll be appearing all over Illinois this year, including central Illinois for what I’m calling the “Heartland is Haunted” tour. I’ll also be giving away free Black Oak Media bags filled with goodies at these events. Feel free to invite your friends and family, we’ll have a great time! I hope you can make it.
Darkness Radio 102.5 FM/1130 AM
October 5, 2011 – 11pm to 12am
—- Rockford ParaCon 2011 at Rockford College
October 8, 2011 – 1:00pm – 5:00pm
—- Prairie Trails Library in Burbank, IL
October 13, 2011 – 7:00pm
—- Meet & Greet and Haunted Coles County Tour
@ Charleston Moose Lodge
October 15, 2011 – 10:00am – 2:00pm
Tour is 2:00pm – 4pm
—- Camargo Township Library in Villa Grove, IL
October 20, 2011 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm
—- Beads N Botanicals in Urbana, IL
October 21, 2011 – 4:30pm – 6:30pm
—- Barnes & Noble in Champaign, IL
October 21, 2011 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm
—- Book Warehouse in Tuscola, IL
October 22, 2011 – 1 to 3pm
—- Legends and Lore at Peck Cemetery
October 22, 2011 – 5:00pm – 8:00pm
—- The Brick Cafe & Art Gallery in Belvidere, IL
October 29, 2011 – 11:00am to 2:00pm
My article, “From Poor House to Haunted House: The Coles County Poor Farm,” was recently featured in the August 2011 issue of Historic Illinois, a publication of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. It is a shortened version of a paper I read at the 2010 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield, and it chronicles the history of the poor farm from 1870 to the present day. To download and read the article in .pdf, click on the cover image or click this link (pdf will open in new browser window).
Although Ashmore Estates gained notoriety during the time it was a psychiatric facility and later abandoned, for most of its history it was known as the almshouse on the Coles County Poor Farm. The Coles County Poor Farm sat on the same property outside of Ashmore, Illinois for 89 years, between 1870 and 1959. The current building, as it stands today, was built in 1916. At any given time, the building was home to between 30 and 40 “inmates,” many of whom, because of the age at which they came to the farm, died there. It is estimated that over 100 inmates died on the farm in its 89 year history. On September 23rd, Ashmore Estates will be featured on the season premier of Ghost Adventures, the Travel Channel’s top-rated program.
I will be appearing tonight on the Kevin Smith Show to talk about my brand new book, Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State. The Kevin Smith Show is an international talk radio show broadcast via internet radio, AM/FM/Shortwave, cell phones, and internet TV, and has millions of listeners around the world. I am very excited to connect with fans of the Kevin Smith Show and share some of Illinois’ most compelling stories of the strange and usual. FYI: There is a possibility that the video feed of the interview will be available to view on the website, www.kevinsmithshow.com. Check it out at 9pm central time.
On Tuesday evening, I appeared on Jeff Belanger’s show “30 Odd Minutes,” which can be seen on more than a dozen channels around the US, as well as downloaded from iTunes. We talked about my new book, Haunting Illinois, as well as stories from a few places like Western Illinois University and Chanute Air Force Base.
Even if you already own the first edition, Haunting the Prairie, you won’t want to miss upgrading to the new version. Haunting Illinois lists 200 haunted or unusual places from ever corner of the state, 70 more than the original version. Plus, this version has many more pictures and new icons, and an exceptional cover photo by the very talented Rachel Black, who has won awards for her photography of the ruins of Manteno State Hospital.
For over a decade, Michael Kleen, author of the Legends and Lore of Illinois, has researched and traveled to mystery spots all over the Prairie State. Now, he has created the most organized and comprehensive guide to haunted and legendary places ever written about Illinois. Haunting Illinois is that guide. Haunting Illinois contains 200 mystery sites and 85 individual illustrations. In this book, Michael not only examines the sites, but also the hobbyists and professionals who have devoted their lives to exploring the strange and unusual in our great state. Divided among eight distinct regions and listed by county, each location features a description, directions, and sources drawn from a diverse variety of books and articles. Haunting Illinois challenges you to get off the couch and start exploring our wonderful State of Illinois. You might be surprised at what you discover!