The bell of the old Alden School used to signal the beginning of the school day for Alden’s village and farm children. But an investigation by the paranormal research group, Ghost Head Soup (GHS), revealed that something was still responding to the sound of a school bell.
George Hawrylenko of GHS said that when a recording of a school bell was played, a FLIR Thermal Imaging camera caught a packet of warmth coming up the same stair so many students had climbed.
Ghost Head Soup was called in to investigate the school after a tenant experienced some unnerving events. After interviews and historical research the group began to investigate. On their first investigation, Tim Schmuldt was in an upstairs bedroom when he heard a garbled voice. An audio recording revealed this voice but also a faint EVP, Electronic Voice Phenomena. GHS could not understand the EVP so they decided to reverse it. Reversing EVPs is a unique technique that GHS has been exploring. In this instance the reversed EVP revealed itself to be that of a little girl saying, “I’m frightened”.
Investigator Laura Redmond has also had her share of unexplained happenings. During a June ghost tour of the school, Laura saw a lid on a storage tub in the former Principal’s office flip into the air and land in the middle of the floor. That same night she and others heard a door in the basement unlatch and open unassisted. She has also seen an apparition of a man dressed in flannel.
The website, Illinois High School Glory Days, indicates the building was constructed in 1896. An addition was added in 1917 and, from 1921 until 1948, a high school was located on the top floor. Grade school continued until it closed in 1967. After closing, the school was used as a village meeting place until it was sold and used as a business, home and now apartments. Remodeling has been done but many original features remain including the floors, a porcelain drinking fountain, and the stairways children used during the school’s 71 years.
While the former students who investigator Dean Thompson interviewed had fond memories of the school, there were rumors of dark times in the building’s history. GHS hypothesizes that a portion of the phenomena may not be related to the school but be drawn to the school by this malevolent association.
GHS continues to investigate the property to add to their evidence. They now offer investigation opportunities to other paranormal groups. Interested groups can contact Laura or Dean at 630-797-6757.
So look closely as you drive past the iconic gray school with the bell tower on Rt. 173. You might catch a glimpse of some former occupants that have decided school is not yet out.