Mysterious America

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

The Strange Death of Andy Lanman

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. on Wednesday, February 23, 1977, 29-year-old Andy Lee Lanman was last seen leaving the house […]

Emma Jones Home in Rockford, Illinois.

Emma Jones Home

Emma Pauline Jones was a Norwegian immigrant who lived at this home (built in 1856) in Rockford, Illinois from the 1920s into the 1950s. Her husband Frank was often away on business, and she spent much of her time with her two beloved Dalmatians, Moxie and Channing. After her husband died in 1941, Emma—who was […]

Headless Horseman Bridge

Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is an iconic American short story. First published in 1820, the story has been retold and re-imagined for 200 years. It was set in the Hudson River Valley in North Tarrytown, New York. North Tarrytown changed its name to Sleepy Hollow to capitalize on the story’s notoriety in […]

Fort Fisher State Historic Site in New Hanover County, North Carolina

Fort Fisher’s Sentinel

Fort Fisher was built by Confederate forces during the American Civil War to protect Wilmington, North Carolina. It fell on January 15, 1865 after hours of brutal fighting. Since then, visitors to the fort’s ruins have reported numerous strange encounters, including sightings of a mysterious sentinel, as well as its commander, Col. William Lamb. Others […]

Pemberton Hall at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. Photo by Michael Kleen

The Ghost of Mary Hawkins and the Legend of Pemberton Hall

Sometimes Mary manifests herself as a prankster. Other times, she appears as a benevolent matriarch who makes sure doors are locked at night and warns “her girls” of trouble. But at all times, Mary Hawkins commands the respect and admiration of students at Eastern Illinois University, even 103 years after her death. Jessica and Ashley […]

Powers-Jarvis Mansion, 357 W. Decatur Street in Decatur, Illinois.

Powers-Jarvis Mansion

The Powers-Jarvis Mansion, 357 W. Decatur Street in Decatur, Illinois, is among the most unique in Decatur, from its red tiled roof, to its copper trim, leaded glass windows, and blond brick. Businessman Charles Powers, owner of the Hotel Orlando, built this 9,400 square feet Greek Revival home in 1909. The Bachrach family owned it […]


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