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 Mineral Springs Hotel – Alton, Illinois

by Shawn Blaschka

      During a recent visit to Alton Illinois with my family I had the fortunate opportunity to see one of Alton’s most haunted sites, the former Mineral Springs Hotel. It is located only blocks from the History and Haunting’s Bookstore, headquarters of the American Ghost Society of which I am a current member. While attending the annual ghost conference, I was lucky enough to take part in an investigation of the site, organized by the president of the AGS, Troy Taylor. I also had the opportunity to see the Mc Pike Mansion and the Lemp Mansion in neighboring St. Louis Missouri. However, I would like to share with you my findings of interest at the Mineral Springs Hotel. First, a brief history and explanation of the haunting.

      The site of the hotel dates back to the 1880’s when it was originally a meat packing company owned by August Luer. August’s brother Herman joined him in his enterprise around 1893. The business grew and became an influential part of the city of Alton. In 1910 the Luer brothers had workman begin to drill a well on the site for ice making and cold storage. It was at this time that the workmen recommended the brothers open a spa as the water they had discovered was high in minerals and had medicinal qualities.

      In 1913 construction began with a swimming pool for the hotel and the Mineral Springs Hotel was officially opened for business in 1914. The waters were said to have the ability to cure certain aliments and soon the hotel also began to bottle the water for consumption. The hotel became a very popular tourist attraction in the area with all rooms often filled. The hotel continued to prosper up to around 1941 when the hotel pool was drained due to slowed business brought on by World War II. Slowly, the hotel business declined and the building deteriorated. The hotel closed by 1971. Since, it has experienced minor success from time to time with some efforts to restore it to its former glory.

      The hotel is purported to be haunted by several ghosts, one said to haunt the former hotel bar, several that haunt the old pool area and one in the main lobby area nicknamed the “Jasmine Lady”. Cold breezes, cold spots, apparitions, swinging lamps, footsteps, things turning on and off and objects taking flight or being moved by unseen hands are among the many reported unexplainable events.

      As I said earlier I had the opportunity to investigate the hotel one Friday evening in June 2004. I used only half the equipment I normally use due to the large number of paranormal investigators on site. I took several readings throughout the building with an EMF meter. Most areas had a reading of 3-4 milligauss. Some areas on the lowest levels had increased readings due to the natural springs located below the hotel. I did encounter two unusual readings, both near the pool area. The first reading I took near the West end of the pool when a medium that was present in our group stated that she could see a man dressed in black leaning against one of the pillars by the pool. I approached the area to obtain a reading. I first had a reading of 3 milligauss it then jumped to 6 milligauss several times. At that same time, the medium stated that the entity moved past us to a back room 10 feet away as he was uncomfortable with all of us there. I moved with my meter to that area with no other results. I returned to the pillar again and could not reproduce the anomalous reading. Another investigator had snapped a digital photograph of me by the doorway. It shows an orb floating to the left of my head (see photo). Later, I again had anomalous readings near the East end of the pool area. It may also be noted that several other researchers had those same anomalous readings in each of those areas as well. The medium in the group also stated that the spirit by the pool had told her that he did not fall into the pool, he had been pushed. Several temperature readings were obtained with an infrared thermometer. All readings seemed average with regards to the environment. Also one hour of EVP (electronic voice phenomena) was conducted in several parts of the hotel. Most of these were done by the pool area and the old bottling room. Review of the tape produced no anomalies. Also two rolls of 35mm – 800 speed film was shot in all areas of the hotel. The results of the film showed no anomalies with exception to the aforementioned digital photograph. In closing, I found the investigation of the Mineral Springs Hotel both interesting and entertaining. A few anomalous events were experienced but none of them proved with certainty that ghosts exist within the walls of the hotel. I do recommend anyone with an interest in history or the paranormal consider visiting Alton Illinois and its surrounding area. For more information on the Mineral Springs Hotel haunting and the haunting of Alton Illinois, see Troy Taylor’s book entitled “Haunted Alton” which can be purchased through his website at www.prairieghosts.com reference ISBN# 1-892523-08-6.

Visit the Mineral Springs Website here.