Ashmore Estates Ghost Hunt
Saturday October 16th 2021
Ashmore Estates in Illinois is one of the most haunted locations in Illinois.
In fact, it’s within the top ten of most haunted places in America.
Once a former poor farm, Ashmore Estates is one location you have to visit. Many of the ghostly spirits still call this their “home”.
Do you have what it takes to encounter the spirits of those who may still be haunting the halls of this historic building?
Constructed as the new almshouse for the Coles County Poor Farm in 1916, the structure now known as Ashmore Estates cost just over $20,000 to build. It operated as poor house or county home until the late 1950s, serving the homeless, aged and mentally ill of the community who had no other place to go. It replaced the original almshouse which was built at the same location in 1857 but had fallen into disrepair and had become inhabitable. It was condemned in 1911 due to “vermin-infested walls,” “contaminated food,” as well as other factors.
From the time the construction of the new almshouse was completed in 1916 until February of 1959, countless people were forced to take up residence at this poor farm. And accordingly, many people died here. The county once maintained two small cemeteries nearby which hold the remains of between 60 and 100 people who were likely residents of the poor farm.
In 1959, Coles County sold the property to a corporation called Ashmore Estates, who opened and operated the building as a private psychiatric hospital. But by October of 1964, the hospital had to shut it doors due to the large amount of debt it had incurred. However, the building reopened as a facility to house state mental patients in 1965, and by 1968 there were 49 people in residence.
The property changed ownership again in July 1976 when Paul Swinford and Galen Martinie invested over $200,000 to bring the building up to code and to construct a modern addition to the original building. Construction began in 1977 but was not completed until sometime in the 1980s. Unfortunately, in 1986, all the residents had to be moved to other homes in the area because the financial losses incurred by the institution added up to more than $1.5 million. Swinford had partnered with Convalescent Management Associates so they could help manage the finances, but to no avail, as the county departments of Public Aid and Public Health would not issue the necessary licenses on a timely basis.
Up to 1990, the building sat abandoned, until once again Swinford, along with Corrections Corporation of America, attempted to resurrect it as a mental facility to treat and house teenage boys. But the zoning permit for the project was swiftly rejected. The building was once again abandoned. Soon, Ashmore Estates became notorious for rumors of being haunted, and became the subject of devastating vandalism.
Between 1998 and 2014, the property changed hands four times. Over the years, the various owners attempted to renovate and restore the building, and at one point it was used as a haunted house attraction. However, the current owners are credited with many of the safety and preservation improvements made to the building including a new roof, a kitchenette, and the installation of bathrooms. It is now being preserved for its historical significance and used for paranormal investigations.
So now that you know the long and complicated history of this intriguing place, are you ready to join us and find out which spirits may still be calling it home?
Find out if the former residents of this former poor farm are still lingering in the dark corridors. Maybe you’ll face the spirits of past patients from the time when this building served as a psychiatric hospital. If you are brave enough to walk through the doors, you may find someone waiting to communicate with you.
The activity experienced on all three floors of this structure have caused some guests to flee, but other courageous souls have managed to stay through the night to recount their stories of being touched or awakened from their sleep by some unseen force.
Will you hear what some have reported as “cries of help” coming from seemingly empty rooms? Or maybe a whisper in your ear even though you think you’re alone? With over 100 reported deaths over the long history of this property, it’s no surprise that many people who stay here sense an incredible amount of residual energy remaining within these walls.
Wherever you venture throughout this location, you can be sure of one thing: you are never alone.