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By NPI, Inc.


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Haunted Places: McPike Mansion

Location: Alton, Illinois
Architectural Style: Italianate-Victorian
Built: 1869-1871

McPike Mansion in Alton, Illinois is one of the most notorious purportedly haunted houses in the Midwest. With 150 years of history within its walls, McPike Mansion boasts countless tales of intrigue and good old-fashioned spookiness. Read on to learn more about the alleged hauntings of this infamous home.

McPike Mansion
McPike Mansion was completed in 1871 by Henry Guest McPike, a local businessman, real estate developer and horticulturist. McPike became famous for cultivating the mammoth, prize-winning McPike grape, an important species for wine-making. McPike was involved with local politics, serving as Alton’s mayor for three years. Quick fun fact: he was also close friends with Abraham Lincoln, and was by his side when he received the telegram informing him of his election to the presidency.

Built on a 15-acre plot of land, McPike’s three-story, Italianate-Victorian-style home featured 16 rooms and a vaulted wine cellar—extravagant even by today’s standards. The house featured 11 marble fireplaces and intricately carved banisters and trim. In their prime, the grounds were adorned with lush gardens and orchards, home to rare trees, plants and shrubs. McPike passed away in 1910, but his family lived on at McPike Mansion until 1936.

 

Business College, Boarding House and Beyond
The house changed hands several times since, serving as Browns Business College and then a boarding house, owned by Paul Laichinger. It was during this time that tenants began to experience strange phenomenon that couldn’t be explained. Throughout the late 30s and early 40s, boarders at the McPike Mansion claimed to hear the sounds of children playing and laughing, even when no children were present.

When Laichinger passed away in 1945, the home became vacant, and time started to get the best of McPike Mansion’s once-elegant facade. Windows were broken, paint began to peel and the iron fence rusted, giving the home a menacing look. It was around this time that passersby began to report seeing faces looming in the windows.

A Modern Day Haunting
In 1994, Sharyn and George Luedke purchased the McPike Mansion in the hopes of restoring and converting it into a bed and breakfast and historical landmark. The couple hadn’t been at work long before Sharyn Luedke had her first unexplainable experience. She was gardening in the front yard when she spied a man in old-fashioned attire staring down at her from a window. The two locked eyes for a moment before he disappeared. After doing some research, Mrs. Luedke found a photo of Paul Laichinger wearing similar clothing.

The man in the window wouldn’t be the only strange occurrence at McPike Mansion. Visitors would go on to spot strange mists and orbs, some even appearing in photos. They would feel the sensation of being touched, smell a phantom lilac perfume (thought to be the presence of former servant, Sarah Wells), and hear metal doors scraping across the floor on their own. The wine cellar seems to be the epicenter for paranormal activity; psychic mediums report feeling a surge of energy in the basement, even sensing the presence of Henry Guest McPike himself.

Visit McPike Mansion
Today, the home is open for private tours, overnight campouts and nighttime paranormal research excursions. Would you brave a night in McPike Mansion? Let us know!



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