Haunted Peoria - Softcover

By Stephanie E. McCarthy

Only One Left!

Haunted Peoria - Softcover
Product Details
At the heart of Haunted Peoria is the rich and compelling history and folklore of the Peoria area. Buildings and cemeteries in and around the city provide ideal stomping grounds for many restless specters. In this collection of haunted sites, the reader will be introduced to some of Peoria’s best-loved mansions, institutions, and graveyards, as well as many of its more illustrious citizens. From Bartonville State Hospital to Bradley University, historic downtown theaters, hotels and taverns, and local churches, where ghostly congregants and ministers continue to worship, this book presents these ghost stories and legends for the first time together in print. In addition to providing thrilling tales, Haunted Peoria serves as a unique guide for the intrepid supernatural sleuth seeking confirmation that the dead do not always rest in peace.


Stephanie McCarthy's new book details Peoria's spirited history and we're not talking about the city's breweries or local whiskey barons. "Haunted Peoria" reviews area ghost stories - local legends and accounts from actual sightings at area landmarks such as Peoria State Hospital, Madison Theater and Springdale Cemetery.

"I was surprised there had never been a collection of the sightings before," said McCarthy, a Peoria attorney who took three years to gather research for the book. While she can't recall being personally visited by a spirit, McCarthy recalled that the Washington home she grew up in featured "unexplained" activity such as doors that slammed and lights that flashed on and off. But McCarthy wasn't scarred or even scared by the experience. "That was just kind of the way we lived," she said.

The author adopts the same matter-of-fact approach to her ghostly subject matter in running down accounts of local hauntings. In some cases, we've heard some of these stories before, such as the strange - and recurring - sightings at the state hospital site in Bartonville. But there are plenty of other spooky goings-on right here in River City. So many, in fact, that McCarthy said she couldn't fit them all into her 160-page book.

Those incidents she did use often were supported by multiple versions, she said. "In many cases, interviews with individual witnesses tended to corroborate specific aspects of sightings," McCarthy said.

"Much of what is presented in 'Haunted' is general Peoria history - by design," she said. "History makes up the majority of the book, and ghost stories are a part of that history," McCarthy said.

"A big part of that ghostly history involves local theaters that tend to be popular haunts," she said. "I don't know if that's because many of the people involved with theater are flamboyant individuals," said McCarthy, pointing to the Madison Theater, the last of Peoria's grand old movie palaces, now in limbo while the city mulls over Downtown redevelopment plans.

"There may not be much human activity at the Madison right now, but apparently there's plenty of the ghostly variety. McCarthy details three separate spirits that have made return engagements. A young actor supposedly haunts the main stage, while a child, reportedly murdered in the 1950s, lurks in the basement. Childlike laughter was reported by workers during renovation work years ago," McCarthy said. A third ghost is a former usher whose flashlight has been sighted on occasion, according to local legend.

At the Peoria Players Theatre, the ghost is actually named: Norman Endean, a director at the theater who died at the age of 34 in 1960. Endean reportedly has been sighted watching different players perform over the years and may even have made off with his portrait, which mysteriously disappeared from the theater. - Steve Tarter, Peoria Journal Star

Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches, 160 pages