The Lanphier Paranormal Club students tackled their biggest investigation to date when they were fortunate enough to get into one of America’s paranormal hotspots, the historic Lincoln Theater in Decatur. The Theater was built in 1916 and was at one time used for famous acts including the magician Blackstone, Al Jolson, and Jack Dempsey. Today is it is used for concerts, musicals, and plays among other events. When used as an actual movie theater it has the largest screen in central Illinois!
Prior to opening as a grand theater a hotel was located on the spot. In 1915 a fire destroyed the Arcade Hotel killing two people. It seems they may have never left! The spirit most often seen at the theater is a one armed former employee, known as Red. Activity at the location includes, full body apparitions, shadows, loud noises, lights and other electrical devices being turned on, and voices. See the following link for more information on the history and haunting.
Adam White, a volunteer for the Lincoln Theater and a guide for Decatur’s Haunted Tours gave the students a tour upon arrival at 5PM. The theater includes a beautiful lobby; the theater itself at one time seated thousands, and includes three levels and a huge stage. The basement may be considered the most haunted area and includes several dressing rooms. The students broke into 3 groups after the tour and used, cameras, digital recorders, phones, divining rods, EMF meters, Mel Meters, and their senses to investigate for the next 4 hours.
The students did report some experiences during the investigation. While Mr. Roberts, and Cory were in the basement with Taylor, they heard her scream and come running down the hallway. She was visibly shook and left the basement after a quick recording session. She claims to have felt someone right over her shoulder. It was the exact location where voices etc were captured during last year’s club investigation. The basement is also where Jared heard a female sigh at the same time Faith was feeling dizzy. Faith reported a similar feeling and one of anxiety earlier in the evening while on the stage. Faith also says she felt breathing on her neck and like her hair was being played with in the upper mezzanine section by the projection room.
Damon, Brandon, Greg, and Morgan heard the sound of a piano playing while investigating near the end of the second floor hallway. They thought they may have heard giggles, sighing, and perhaps a light scream at around the same time. John WInterbauer, our contact and host for the evening, worked with the students to debunk the piano sound but to no avail. The theater carries sound as would be expected so it is difficult to totally rule out the other sounds as being other investigators.
Brandon, attending his first investigation had ringing in his ears while in the lobby, and generally had a feeling that someone was nearby much of the evening.
While students were congregating in the lobby for a final group photo Cory swore he saw a figure peak around the corner at them from the second floor hallway! The Club wants to give a big thanks to John Winterbauer, Adam White, and Jake Bonnet for a great evening and spending their own time at no cost to help out the students. Thanks also to Trish Austin from Capital Area Paranormal Society and Tracy Price for their help with the students and investigation.
The students are busy writing reports, and reviewing evidence, and they will be posted upon completion. Check out our Photo Gallery and evidence pages for more on our investigation.
Report is a complilation of reports submitted by attending students.