I actually experienced several incidents in the first house my ex-husband and I bought on the West Side of Rockford. This was the late 1980’s and there were no investigation teams here and not much on the television except “Unsolved Mysteries” (I loved that show!) After a while the incidents increased and I couldn’t play it on my kids anymore. (We had our children close together and when we bought the house we had four kids – our oldest was 5 years old.)I spoke to the neighbors who had been in the neighborhood the longest and they told me someone was killed in our house. I went to the Rockford Public Library (shameless plug!) and went through the old newspaper reels. I found my house on the front page of the January 17, 1958 newspaper. There had been a murder suicide in my house.I became obsessed with finding out all I could about the house and the lady who was killed, Geraldine Bourbon. Then I became interested in the crime and haunted houses in Rockford.
What’s the most eerie thing that you’ve personally experienced, thus far?
When I go into a place I know is haunted, I prepare myself. It’s comparable to playing a sport, before you go fishing, you gather your equipment. Entering a haunted place is like that for me so I am usually prepared for whatever may come. But I had something happen at my “day job” that I was completely unprepared for.I was having a performance at the Main branch of the library on a Saturday morning. I was one of the first people in the building and was checking to make sure my room had been set up properly for the event. I unlocked the door and stepped into the dark room (the light switch for this particular room is found in the corner about 5 feet away from the door in a metal box.) I usually walk along the wall feeling with my hand until I reach the box. This time just as my fingers touched the metal door, the piano that sat in the corner started to play.
So, here I was, all by myself in the complete dark with something playing a piano. I have to say, it was not my finest moment. I was upstairs before I even realized my legs were moving. One of my co-workers was coming into the area and asked me if I was alright. I explained what happened. She looked at me strangely and said, “Wait. Aren’t you supposed to be some kind of a ghost hunter?”
Many of us already know you from the tours you offer in different locales around the city. For those of us who don’t, explain what it is that you do.
I offer several types of paranormal events. The tours consist of exploring a building or location. I research the history of the family that lived there or in the case of a Cemetery Tour, the person that was buried there. I work with two psychics who join us for this type of event. They may get psychic impressions from any spirit that may be around and they share those impressions with the group.I also organize Paranormal Investigations of different locations in the area. I again, research the area or building so that I know the history of the location. I work with several different paranormal investigation teams. They set up equipment to use during an actual investigation. Then, depending on the team, we turn the lights out and conduct the investigation, rotating through different areas where incidents have been reported. At the end of the event, we all share different things we experienced at each “station” during the different sessions.I also organize different types of tours, like the Haunted Pub Bus tour that we run in the fall. We take a bus to three or four different taverns. This is a drinking tour so anything can happen!
Steve Litteral from Tinker Swiss Cottage and I co-host the annual Illinois Paranormal Conference. We invited different speakers from all aspects of the paranormal and also have vendors that people can visit. The vendors include authors, film makers, investigation teams, and owners of paranormal locations. We have also had psychics and spiritual healers for the attendees to visit. This year this event will be Saturday, August 15. We are hosting a very special post event – Beyond the Veil: an Extraordinary night of Psychics, Spirits, and Stories. Our special guest, Dale Kaczmarek, author and Ghost hunter will be along to share some actual evidence he has collected in his 30 plus years of paranormal investigations.
You’ve written a great many stories about the paranormal as well. Could you tell us more about those?
It does not get much more entertaining than watching Zack expand his biceps (just kidding!). I really meant to say it is very entertaining to watch Zack spin the tale until even Casper the friendly ghost seem like a Demon straight from Hades. I also love Aaron’s facial expressions!Ghost Hunters has a little of the fun side with Steve and Tango and then Jason is all business, (though seriously, he could use better or at least different lines!) The places are interesting.These shows are good to watch for a line on places that you might go to explore for your own experience but as one who has been on actual investigations, they are not at all “real”.
What is your favorite paranormal television show? Book?
I am really more interested in the shows that give the history of the haunting and the location. My favorite was “Haunted History.” I also like the shows that involve psychics. I have already experienced enough that I know that something does exist beyond when we pass away. So “Ghost hunting” turned into “Ghost investigation” for me a few years ago.I like the real teams that go into people’s homes to help discover what might taking place there. Psychics can give insight to what the spirit who lingers might want and might even be able to help the spirit who might be trapped in a location to move on.
As far as books, my favorite book would be too tough to pick. One of my favorite ghost stories? Turn of the Screw by Henry James or The Shining. Both scared me to death when I was little. I was a good reader growing up and I probably read them when I was too young. My brother, Tom, loved Stephen King and he gave it to me to read when it was published, in 1977. I was 13. I couldn’t sleep for quite a while. And I don’t even want to tell how long I went without stepping into a SHOWER!
What’s one thing that people are surprised to learn about you?
My life is an open book so I don’t think people are too surprised by anything. They might be surprised to learn that I work in a library. I am LOUD! so that may surprise people, that I make money shushing people! I think they might be surprised that I work with children (or maybe they would just be frightened!) I think most people assume that I work in the local history room. But my true passion is telling children about the wonders they can find in reading.
Heath D. Alberts – Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Author of: ‘Terminal Beginning‘ (2010) | ‘Guerrilla Business‘ (2012) | ‘The Battery Man‘ (2013) | ‘Last Rights‘ (2013) | “Deeper” (2014) | ‘Photographic Memory‘ (2014) | ‘Guerrilla Business 2.0‘ (2015) | ‘Not On The List‘ (2015)
Co-author of: ‘Dave’s Not Here‘ (2015)
Categories: Rockford's Own