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The haunting of the Old Slave House

John Crenshaw, his wife and children

There is a house located near the town of Equality in Gallatin County, Illinois that is called the "Crenshaw House" or more commonly known as the "Old Slave House". It was built as the main residence at one time for John Crenshaw, his dutiful wife, and their five children.

The home's attic on the third floor, contains at least 12 rooms long believed to be where Crenshaw held slaves that were either kidnapped, runaway or in some cases, slaves that were bred to make more slaves. It was not just men and woman that were jailed there but children also.

All were tortured or chained until they either succumbed to their imprisonment or were sold to the south.

Slavery was illegal in Illinois at the time. The slaves were transported in and out of the home through a side entrance. A grand jury once indicted Crenshaw on kidnapping charges, around the mid-1820s then again in 1842, when he was acquitted of any charges. In order to cover up some of the criminal activity that had taken place in the house , slaves that were seen were referred to as field hands and household servants.

In 1850, Crenshaw and his family moved to the nearby town of Equality, and hired someone to watch the house. In the year 1871, John Crenshaw died. He was buried in the Hickory Hill Cemetery. Around the year 1913, the house was bought and owned by the Sisk family whom operated it as a museum until they shut it down in 1996.

It was then sold to the state of Illinois in the year 2000. It was at that time closed to the public.

Now that you have heard some of the history behind the Crenshaw house, I will fill you in on paranormal activity that is going on there.

Obviously, there was incredible suffering from the slaves being held there, so much so that some have claimed they can still hear them moaning and crying out in pain. The attic still to this day has the shackles and chains on both the floors and the walls where the slaves where confined and held against their will. Chains that can still be heard rattling.

One slave who apparently was a very big man earned the name “Big Jim “and has been seen haunting that very attic where so many had suffered.

At one time the more recent owners allowed visitors to stay in the attic for a night however, even the most vigilant of ghost hunters usually left before the night was over.

Strange sounds are said to be heard through-out the home not just the attic. Whether the sounds are affiliated with just a left over residue from a time that caused so many horrendous suffering or an active haunting is not known.

Either way , we can only hope and wish that these poor souls move on to a better place filled with light and love and infinite happiness and leave that horrid house and its’ cruel and painful memories!