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by Sylvia Shults, guest contributor  [June 12, 2013]





[]  In Bartonville, Illinois, one of the entities in the Women's Ward of the now abandoned Pollak Hospital (right) is livelier than the others.

Chris Morris and Stacy Carroll (of the paranormal investigators, The Asylum Project) jokingly call her "the dirty girl."

During one investigation in the Pollak's Women's Ward, a medium paused and said to Chris, "Ooh, you've got a nasty one here! You've got a spirit in here that likes the boys, don't you? I mean reaaallly likes the boys!" The medium made a suggestive cupping motion with her hand.

Chris, grinning in spite of herself, nodded.

Several weeks before, during a ghost hunt, a Limestone High School coach had come up to Chris and muttered, "These ghosts … can they grab your, uh, package?"

Chris shrugged. "They can grab anything they want."

"Gimmie that!" exclaimed the coach's wife, grabbing the K-II meter. (A device that measures electromagnetic energy -- ghosts, essentially.) She practically shoved the meter right into her husband's crotch.

The meter pegged up past five, and started beeping madly!

She moved it away, and the needle dropped. She swung it back to his privates -- and the needle rose again!

The Dirty Girl seemed to be enjoying herself.

The entity in the Women’s Ward isn't the only "handsy" spirit at the Pollak. One night, a group of high school volunteers were there for a work party, including Jackie McDowell. She and the kids had been painting the haunt, and were now boogying to '80s dance music.

During a snack break, the kids crowded into the small room off to the left of the entrance hallway. The kids were laughing and chatting. Jackie was leaning against the door jamb, her mind still off dancing to that '80s beat.

"Out of nowhere, I got goosed!" said Jackie. "And I mean good! I could feel a hand. Four individual fingers and a thumb. And whoever it was grabbed a healthy handful of bottom!"

Jackie jumped, but she laughed off the experience.




There are just some really playful spirits at the Pollak. The ghosts there certainly do like their fun. They especially love scaring the paste out of new visitors to the building.

On one of my many visits, I was with Chris, Merilee Mitchell (a photographer from Los Angeles), and Sharon Wood, whom I'd originally met at the Bowen Building of the Peoria State Hospital. The four of us were chatting in the room off of the entrance hall -- the same room where Jackie got goosed!

While Chris, Merilee and I were perfectly fine, Sharon kept jumping and brushing at her arms and legs, glaring behind her every time.

"Someone keeps grabbing me!" she complained.

"Darn it, why is it I hardly ever get touched?" I groused. "I'm right here, guys! You could grab me once in a while, you know."

Chris grinned. "They’re used to you. They know I'm not gonna jump. And Merilee can see them, so it's no fun for them to sneak up on her. Sharon's the newbie."

Sharon sighed as she swatted irritably at her calf. "Lucky me."

There's a certain kind of ... touch ... visitors to the Pollak might experience, Chris explained. The nurses at the Peoria State Hospital were trained in techniques of gentle persuasion. If a patient was found wandering around where they weren't supposed to be, a nurse would place her hand on the patient's shoulder, a friendly gesture that reminded them to behave.

If the patient didn't come along quietly, the nurse would then put her hand firmly on the patient's upper arm, and guide them to where they were supposed to be.

If an investigator, or even a casual visitor to the Pollak, is walking around a part of the building that a nurse might consider off-limits, they might feel the touch of a friendly hand on their shoulder. And if they ignore that touch, and continue to explore, they might feel a further firm grip on their arm.

It's probably a nurse, still going about her duties, politely reminding them with a touch that they should move along now.


The above true ghost story is excerpted from Sylvia Shults's Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital.

"There is no other single place in central Illinois that has captured people's imagination like the Peoria State Hospital and its grounds," says Shults. "So many people have shared their stories with me. I've tried my best to collect every interesting experience people were willing to share.





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