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The History of Haunted Happenings in Bloomington/Normal

Ange MilnerIt’s hard to get through the month of October without hearing a spooky story, seeing a thrilling movie or visiting a scary place rumored to be haunted. We thought it might be fun to talk about some of the McLean County’s most haunted spots! Let us know if you’ve got something else to add to our list!

1. Duncan Manor is located on a hill just south of Towanda and is said to be a stop on the Underground Railroad. Do those spirits haunt the property!? We often hear rumors that there is a secret treasure room underneath the second floor bedroom! We’re sorry to disappoint you but that is actually a cistern for the main floor bathtub.

2. Watterson Towers is a residence hall at ISU and actually has a couple different stories worth noting. A common claim is that the towers are slowly sinking and that the architect became insane during the construction which was completed in 1970. We’ve also heard that the architect jumped off the towers and committed suicide or that he is buried under the towers. These have all been proven false!

3. Have you heard the story of Ange Milner? She was ISU’s first librarian and is said to haunt Williams Hall, which was once home to the library. She supposedly can be seen or heard by the students some nights!

4. Several ghost siting websites will make claims that there was an Old Federal Prison in Bloomington on Market Street that is haunted. Although this is false, we think that there was some confusion with the old McLean County Jail that was formerly located a block south of Market St. It’s safe to say that any stories on these websites are false because it never existed!

5. Sometimes we hear about the haunted Coal Mine Tunnels located under downtown Bloomington. The tunnels of the McLean County Coal Company were in operation from 1867 to the 1920’s but ran under the city’s west side. There was a steam tunnel built in 1903 that went from the McLean County Courthouse (now the museum) to the middle of Center Street.

With a history as rich as ours, it doesn’t come as a surprise that these rumors and haunted areas are so well known and intriguing. While we can’t prove that any of these are true – it’s always fun to imagine the “what ifs,” especially in October when Halloween is approaching. If you have any proof of what we listed above or wish we included something else, please let us know! We love hearing from our readers!

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