Mysterious America


Join me as I explore the unusual, mysterious, and often tragic places and events that make America unique

The Gate at Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Lake County, Illinois.

Independence Grove and “The Gate”

For years, visitors to this curious northern Illinois landmark have told wild tales of decapitated heads and gruesome murders, but few know the real history behind Independence Grove and “Devil’s Gate.” A campfire crackled deep in the Independence Grove Forest Preserve north of Libertyville. Charity, Travis, Wade, and Katrina sat on thick branches around the […]

Belle Isle in the James River in downtown Richmond, Virginia.

Belle Isle Power Plant

Belle Isle, in the James River in downtown Richmond, Virginia, opened as a public park in 1973. During the American Civil War, it was a prison camp for Union POWs. Disease, starvation, and exposure took a toll, and as many as 1,000 prisoners died on the island. In the twentieth century, the Virginia Electric Power […]

Who Killed Shirley Ann Rardin?

The following is an excerpt from my book Tales of Coles County, a collection of history, folklore, and true crime from one of the most interesting counties in Illinois. Order it in paperback or Kindle today. At around 12:30 a.m. Monday morning, July 3, 1973, Shirley Ann Rardin, a 20-year-old sophomore art major at Eastern […]

America’s Haunted Roads

An isolated stretch of pavement where not even high beams penetrate the darkness is ready-made for ghost stories. Sharp curves, a canopy of trees, isolated homes set far back from the road: it’s enough to rattle the spine of the most sober driver. Ghostly children, phantom automobiles, vanishing hitchhikers, bloody brides, and even a headless […]

Does ‘Will’ Put the ‘Woooo’ in Will Rogers Theatre?

The following is an excerpt from my book Tales of Coles County, a collection of history, folklore, and true crime from one of the most interesting counties in Illinois. Order it in paperback or Kindle today. Built in 1938 at a cost of $90,000 in Art Deco style, the Will Rogers Theatre has been a […]

Simpkins Hall at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois.

Western Illinois University and the Ghosts of Simpkins Hall

For years, students and faculty in Western Illinois University’s Simpkins Hall have told similar stories, but the ghost of an adolescent girl is only one of the apparitions rumored to haunt the 80-year-old building. Imagine you are a student going off to college for the first time. At home, you gave a sigh of relief […]

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