Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dewey's House

Dewey's Home

(as published in the Blue Island FORUM on 11/3/10)

by Jude Coyle

I love writing, history, and telling good old fashion ghost stories, and a town as old as Blue Island is a great resource. So each year I try to provide the FORUM one Blue Island ghost story at Halloween.

Last year was incredible. Ursula Bielski, in cooperation of the Library, the Historical Society, the FORUM and the Chamber, spent one September afternoon interviewing residents about activity in their homes. Ursula is the founder of Chicago Hauntings, Inc., and the author of several books about Chicago ghost lore, including Chicago Haunts, More Chicago Haunts and Chicago Haunts 3. I had the honor of tagging along and recording the behind the scenes activities for the FORUM.

I also got a chance to meet two born and bred Blue Islanders, whom I called Faith and Crystal. These ladies are sensitive to their surroundings, and were quite helpful in establishing what the homeowners were experiencing.

Candi also participated. She's taken some unusual photographs which were used in the special filmed that day for WDDE.

This year I wanted to tell another great story, but there was no way to top last year's program. After several false starts, I asked Sandy, my editor, if I could interview Faith and Crystal again. She suggested that I contact a man I'll call Dewey. He had recently hosted a paranormal group in his home.

He said, “Sure. But I'd really love to have Faith and Crystal check my home out.” So we made arrangements.

Faith, Candi and I arrived simultaneously. Where Candi and I met on the sidewalk, Faith passed us by and continued on towards the church next store. She stopped half way between the two buildings, and then waved us over. “I'm being called over this way,” she said. “There's energy here.”

What kind of energy?” I asked as I dug in my purse for my tape recorder.

I feel like there are a lot of people here, both Black and White. And they're trying to tell us something.” She went on to explain that they came from two eras, the 1950's and the 1800's, and they came to spread joy, as there is too much negativity in the world. I asked if this was something that the world is experiencing now, or were they addressing negativity in general. “Some are saying the negativity is of today's world and others are saying in general.”

The people wearing '50's garb were the descendents of the older people. They were members of a church community, and their love was radiating outward, towards their neighbors. They were attached to the church property, although not the church itself. They belonged to a universal, all inclusive church. In fact, Faith told me that she saw a different building on this property.

I handed Candi a camera and told her to stick with Faith. If she felt something, please take a photo.

Let me qualify my beliefs. Anyone can make claims, but that doesn't make anything true. I was skeptical upon meeting Faith and Crystal, but vowed I'd keep my mind open. I talked to Faith mostly. Without going into details, let me just say that there were two incidents that morning last year when she told me things about my life that she couldn't have known unless she lived in my house and dealt with me on a day to day basis. Both incidents were jaw dropping experiences. So I believe her when she says there are spirits standing between a church and a home, trying to spread a positive word about God.

I've had little contact with Crystal. I trust her because she and Faith are sisters. But there is something else. She radiates light and love, particularly about her eyes.

Back to the story.

Faith passed on Crystal's regrets. She couldn't attend because something came up. Then Faith took the tape recorder, and she and Candi walked to the back of the building.

Our target was not the church, but the apartment building next store. This is one of those big, brick two flats from the twenties that are situated all over Blue Island. Dewey, a tall gentleman who should be familiar to most Blue Islanders, joined me at the sidewalk. His coworker, whom I will call John, joined us as well.

At that point, Faith turned back, pointing at the rear of the building, she said. “There's a man standing up there, watching us. And I'm hearing something about Suzy and Dan. Does that sound familiar to anyone?” We said no, and she and Candi continued on.

Dewey lives on the second floor, and he hears footsteps in his hallway. Also there is a bedroom where he spends as little time in as possible. “It raises the hackles on my neck to be in there,” he said.

He has lived there for about eleven years. When he first moved in he had friends over for pizza. One of the ladies stepped into the kitchen in order to help herself to a glass of water. She saw a woman in period clothing standing at the sink. “My friend is very sensitive,” Dewey said.

He had showed me how the paranormal group had set up their instrument board outside on his porch. He escorted us into the building and up the stairs. Inside we found a wonderful example of 1920's style architecture, complete with plaster walls, crown molding and wainscoting. It was neat, and evidence of his love for reading was everywhere. Books and bookcases were pressed into every available corner and against every empty wall.

They set up two cameras,” he explained. One was in the living room, pointing at the hall where he hears footsteps, and the other was in the kitchen, pointed at the sink.

They didn't spend much time here.” There's a coat rack in the kitchen. Dewey wondered if his friend had mistook it for the lady. The members of the paranormal group expressed the same concern. They spent most of their time outside shining flashlights up, through his windows and into the apartment to see if they could make the coat rack look like that. In the end they said they had no evidence of a haunting. That doesn't mean there isn't one, only that if he shares his apartment with spirits, they chose not to make an appearance that night.

We sat down in the living room to wait. We talked about the neighborhood, about his experiences, and John and Dewey discussed work. A few minutes passed before Faith and Candi arrived. They wandered about the apartment, going from living room, to hall, to dining room, to the kitchen. They stopped at the center bedroom last. I saw the flash from a camera.

There's a lot going on here,” Faith said when the pair joined us. In the backyard they came across several boys, about the ages of ten to twelve playing baseball. A man inhabits the upstairs portion of the back porch. He and the boys are related, maybe not in life, but spiritually. They aren't grounded to the property. It's just that the man feels comfort in Dewey's presence, and in fact, when Dewey cooks, he often stands by the stove. He said he really misses eating, particularly hot dogs.

Faith asked, “Do you hear running in the halls?”

Running?” he asked. I could see it in his face. Dewey had one of those jaw dropping moments like I had when I first met Faith. “Well, no. Footsteps.” Mind you she barely talked to him when we arrived. When he explained his experiences, she and Candi had already started exploring and were well out of ear shot.

Pitter patter?”

Well,” he said, “Maybe that. It isn't heavy, but it's definitely there.”

That's the boys running in the hall. They don't mean to harm anyone. They're boys. They're having fun.”

There's someone in your pantry,” she continued. “A woman, and Candi feels like she's trapped. I agree. I don't think she can leave.” She turned towards the hall again.

About your middle bedroom.” She had him again. “There's something in there. I can feel it.” She went on to explain that whatever it was was holding back on her as she wasn't sure even of its gender. “It's in the closet, but I feel it is attached to something in the bookcase. It came in with a book maybe.” She had told it to go into the light and it refused. “Do you have holy water?”

He picked a cruet off the mantle and handed it to her. She led the way to the middle room. She approached the far closet and Candi waited behind her. She began with a silent prayer. Then she sprinkled holy water in the closet. After that she closed the door and using holy water on the tips of her fingers, etched a cross into the wood.

I had to leave at that point because I had a City Council meeting.

I caught up with Candi later. She took seven photos, and was disappointed to find only one tiny orb located on the closet door. “That's him,” she said. “And he was pissed.” She explained that Faith wasn't able to shake the thing, so she, Faith and Crystal would return. “Crystal does a lot of cleansings.” I asked her what she felt in the bedroom. “You were in it, right?” she asked.

No, I waited at the door.”

There were actually two things in there. I could feel it. There are two closets, one on either side of the room. I could feel the one shrinking as Faith prayed over it. The other one though, got really sad.”

A week and a half passed before Faith and Crystal could return to Dewey's. Candi and I didn't join them, although Faith and I talked on the phone later. Asked about the entity in the closet, Faith explained that it had shrunk, and it changed in texture. It still stubbornly clung to the closet although the anger had subsided. She said the closet needed a psychic airing of sorts.

We discussed what it was that brought the creature into the apartment. “You know when I first entered the room,” she said, “And I felt him in there, my eyes went directly to the top row of books on the one bookcase in that room. There's a collection of books pertaining to UFO's. I think it came in with one of those.” I thought it odd that she brought that up simply because I had a hard time focusing on anything else in the room. In fact I never noticed the second closet.

I asked about the other entity Candi had described. “It isn't so much of a spirit as it is a memory. The energy is sad. Dewey says it feels to him as if a child had been locked in there for punishment.” She explained that often times when someone pulls an odd feeling like this out of the air, it is correct.

Crystal identified the spirit of an older man who said his name was Stephen. “He wanted us to know that he spelled his name with a ph rather than a v,” Faith said.

They talked to the neighbors. The names Dan and Suzy came up when Faith and Candi first toured the property. A neighbor told her about a man named Dan who had passed while still in his twenties. His sister's name was Suzy. Faith thought Dan might be the man on the porch.

That of course led to a discussion about the boys. “We toured the basement.” It seemed to be clear of activity, except for a path directly in line with the path in Dewey's apartment where he had heard footsteps. She said that the boys might be spending most of their time in the basement, although their movements were psychically connected to Dewey's apartment.

I spoke to several people about her connection to the land next store. Mike Kaliski of the Historical Society explained that the Church was built in 1956. Richard Bauer said he remembered when, but thought the land was vacant. Mike confirmed that it should have been. Prior to 1919 it was part of a dairy farm. If there were any buildings located on that plot, they would have to be outbuildings.

I mentioned earlier that Faith had provided me with two jaw dropping moments when we first met. Officially, let me say now that I have had my third at her hands. I thought there was nothing else to report or to learn about the church property, so I focused my research on finding Stephen. I returned to the library and began looking through directories from the 1900's through the 1930's for someone living at Dewey's address with the name Stephen, Stephan or even Steven. I wasn't successful again. I'd have to go elsewhere to look through later directories.

Instead I picked up the library copy of The First Hundred Years, and began thumbing through it. A section on the establishment of Blue Island churches caught my eye. I read through explanations of the beginnings of our older churches. Most of them began by meeting in residents homes, so I hoped maybe I'd find something about one group meeting in a barn. Then I came across a denomination called The Universal Church. They came to Blue Island for a short time, and met in homes. When Faith originally pointed out that space between the Church and the apartment building, she said several times, “They belong to a UNIVERSAL church.”