By Caryl Clem:
Halloween Night legends, rumors
Next door house, forbidden territory
October 31,1958, perfect time to explore
Myth or truth about ghost luminosity.
Uninhabited upper floor floating, flickering light
Spied as I press face against window at night.
Clothesline Northern Star quilt swinging
Nobody home, windless day, unhinging
Constantly looking for clues
“Are there ghosts ?” I muse
Five kids, huddle on the walk there
Look for ghosts, taunting friends dare
Mix bravery with natural curiosity
Stay behind after Trick or Treat
Check out the barn as we hit the street.
Barn’s looming shadow swallows me
Wooden slats apart like missing teeth
Stepping inside a visible gap in the wall
Suddenly swirling, pushing cold air squall
Terrified, I run away from the barn,
Temperature change, the air warms
Above in a second floor window, a bright single light
Shining a path home through the dark night.
Across shared narrow driveway
Neighbors Halloween Flashlight Treasure Hunt underway
“Why are you so late?”
“Nothing, bathroom stop”, I state.
Still no concrete answers to my question
About Mother Rudd’s apparitions
Until paranormal investigation
Documented findings ,the real scoop
Electromagnetic meter readings support
Paranormal activity claims, proven
Fogged then clear picture images taken
Shadows within a room report
Spirits refusing to be forgotten.
Temperance Tavern-Gurnee Stagecoach Inn
Under a woman’s management in Gurnee, a Temperance Tavern opened in 1843 replacing alcohol with popular beverages such as coffee, tea, milk, ginger beer, lemonade, peppermint water and raspberry vinegar. Widowed business woman, Wealthy B. Harvey with several local women managed the kitchen and lodging accommodations. The inn was within sight of the intersection of two major roads by a river crossing bridge. Meals and a bed were conveniently located for travelers going in any direction.
She was considered a lady of influence, supporting community affairs using her inn as Town Hall for elections, and meetings. In 1856, Wealthy married Erastus Rudd who managed the farm land surrounding the stagecoach stop. As the reputation of the inn grew, residents fondly called the House-” Mother Rudd’s”. Customers raved about winter sleighing parties or her fancy Christmas dinners featuring rare oysters and specialty pastries. As Union supporters, Rudd’s assisted The Underground Railroad by hiding slaves. Stone boulder foundation framed with two story red barn slats. During the restoration of Mother Rudd’s, hiding cervices between walls and a secret door by a waiter’s station support Underground Railroad claims.
The barn was leveled filling in the ground around it for safety in the early 1960’s. In the 1950’s while living in back of Rudd’s House, the barn with partial board walls and barricaded barn door looked to me like a great place to search. Stories of fugitive slaves were whispered at the grade school within sight of spooky barn. To stop my curiosity, Dad and I walked to the barn. Holding my hand, eyeing several deep caving in holes in the floor, he said, “You can’t play here because you could fall in and never be found.”
Since 1984, The Village of Gurnee maintains the land and building while The Warren Township Historical Society runs the museum, tours and collection of pertinent materials for the historical landmark.
“ the ghost meter” is one of the tools Tony Olszewski of the McHenry County Paranormal Research Group used while investigating Mother Rudd Home for spiritual presence…mysterious jagged streaks of light appear in some photos…images of the 170-year-old..residence appear blurred while the next shot is clear…other photos show luminous orbs appearing in different shapes. over 1,200 photos were taken…recordings can hear a sigh or a whisper…within the barn ..energy that is fear, hope, warmth….. …feelings of a runaway slave. “