The Phoenix Center in Springfield, Ill.  enjoys visitors of every rainbow stripe - even, some believe, those from the other side! To that end, the LGBTQ Community Center is bringing back its "Paranormal Experience" and organizers promise it's the "real deal." Guests of the Experience will be given a brief presentation by the Capital Area Paranormal Society (CAPS) and then - for the next 2 hours - be able to investigate the building using paranormal investigation tools and experience the unseen visitors first hand. 

The backstory: Over the past 9 years - staff, visitors and residents have had various, unexplained experiences at Phoenix Center. Random noises, children’s voices, walking in the hallway, smells of cigarette smoke in the stairwells, cold spots, doors opening, and sightings of habit wearing nuns are just some of the strange phenomenon. In 2013, the Center contacted CAPS – Capital Area Paranormal Society. They came in with a medium first and then conducted an extensive investigation with cameras, a spirit box and various other tools of the trade. It should be noted that Phoenix staff gave them no information about their services, the building or it’s history.

The medium identified several spirits still living in the house. In the attic she identified a gardner/maintenance man named Hank. He has been stuck there and doesn’t know how to leave. The medium said that when she looked out the attic window that there were cars parked in front of the building, “going the wrong way”. (The picture above was taken in 1966 before Lawrence was a one way street.)

On the resident floor she noted that a resident had passed away in a certain area (which happened in 2011) and she said that this individual is still with them, looking out for our building. On the main floor she identified a man named Robert and a woman with a strong Hungarian accent (by the name of Berta) who cooked in the building who is very possessive of her kitchen. A board member and a staff member met recently to discuss the Paranormal Experience Dinner and were counting plates in the dining room. When they both turned back towards the hutch, the table tipped over breaking over a dozen plates.

In the basement, the medium identified Josiah, a small boy who wanted to play. She was able to get him to move a button on a doll in the basement storage room. Also in the basement is Brian who is in the hallway/stairwell on the west side in the basement. Brian, she says, never leaves this area, that he is scared and he has lost a friend who lived there with him. The medium indicated that he might be afraid because he is blind. (Keep in mind Phoenix was once a home for blind individuals and staff never offered up anything about the building. What's more, there are very few records showing that Mary Bryant Home for the Blind was housed there.)

During the Paranormal Investigation, using various tools, CAPS was able to record various voices, strange lights in the kitchen and talk to a spirit through the use of the rods. Voices told them to “get out”, said “where did he go”, “mommy”, and “man leave” among other things. Phoenix Center staff was present and witnessed a lot of this. These recordings can be found on CAPS website.

The Paranormal Experience will be held Oct. 23, 24 and 31, 2015 from 8-10 p.m. at The Phoenix Center. Tickets are $25. Refreshments provided. To reserve your spot, call Jonna at 217-528-5253



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