Though it doesn't make the Top Ten list of most-haunted cities in the United States, Quincy, Illinois, is home to enough haunted houses and buildings to attract anybody searching for a good scare. Located along the Mississippi River, Quincy boasts some haunted locales that are open year-round, not just during the Halloween season. Most of these locations offer a spooky atmosphere without the help of fog machines, horror music and staff dressed in gory garb.
Located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River is Villa Kathrine (villakathrine.org), an impressive castle-like structure with Mediterranean architecture and a rich history that spans more than a century. Built in 1900 for George Metz, a Quincy native and world traveler, the home contains many interesting elements of architecture that mirror the Villa ben Ahben in Morocco, including a harem room, a marble mosaic reflecting pool and a replica of a mosque. Metz and his 212-pound Mastiff, "Bingo," were the sole occupants of the luxurious abode. It is believed that Metz sank into depression following Bingo's death. The dog's spirit supposedly haunts the mansion to this day in search of his beloved master. Tours of the mansion are open year-round to groups and individuals.
For those in search of a dinner tour with a haunted history, Quincy's Victorian Grace (no website; 9221 Saint Ludgerus Road, Fowler; 217-885-3459) might be just the place. Built in 1876, the large brick home was the site of much controversy -- and even death -- over the years. A competition ensued between John Strothoff, the building's owner, and his neighbor to build the biggest and best house. It is believed that Catherine, Strothoff's daughter, fell in love with their neighbor's son and, following her parents' disapproval, committed suicide by hanging herself in the home's attic. After her death, the family learned that Catherine had been pregnant. Other deaths within the family occurred following her passing. It is believed by some that the ghosts of these Strothoff family members still reside within Victorian Grace. A portion of the home has been transformed into a private tea and dining room and, although haunted tours are not available, dining reservations usually include a historic tour of the home.
Located on the Quincy University (quincy.edu) campus, Solano Hall was built on the site of St. Aloyisius Orphanage, a home that burned down, killing many children. In years since the fire, hauntings connected to those children reportedly have occurred. The running feet, laughs and screams of children have all been reported by those walking through the hall's corridors and by people passing by outside.
Madison Elementary School
Built on the site of a house where a woman was once stabbed to death, Madison Elementary School (no website; 2435 Maine St., Quincy; 217-223-6096) is said to remain haunted. Before the house was torn down, noises such as doors opening, a body being dragged down the stairs, and an apparition of the victim's bulldog were said to be witnessed within the house. A mysterious fire that almost destroyed the school in 1982 is thought to be linked to the haunting.
- Villa Kathrine: Quincy's Tourist Information Center
- Adams County Biographies: Victorian Grace
- Weird & Haunted Illinois: Ghosts of Quincy
- "Haunted Places: The National Directory: Ghostly Abodes, Sacred Sites, UFO Landings, And Other Supernatural Locations"; Dennis William Hauck; 1994
- Farm World: Has any farm dog ever had the run of such an estate?
- YouTube: Quincy's Ghosts - Terror Theater documentary
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images