Maybe the best way to describe it was really “creepy.”
years, what happened late one night in Lisle has given me the “heebie-jeebies” ever
Now, after stumbling on even more information,
I knew it was time to
try to get to the bottom of what I've been wondering about for many
was pretty young at the time… I guess my older brother
and the other kids his age used to go down to the railroad tracks at
night and “party” quite a bit.
My brother and his friends
would eventually make their way back to our house in the evening.
You could always hear them when they came through the door, yelling,
just being stupid. They would "hang-out" at our house for hours…
seemed to be so loud…
night though, when they came
through the door, things just didn't seem the same. It was late and
I could hear them talking to one another… But
something just didn't seem right. Eventually, I could hear
my mom talking with them in the kitchen. There were no “big
laughs” or no yelling . Just quiet talk… I found
this very strange. So I dropped what I was doing and came out of
what was going on.
walked in during one of my brother’s detailed descriptions of
something that had happened down at “the tracks.” They
were hanging-out around the bridge where the tracks go over the St.
The expressions on my brother’s friend’s faces were
stunned. These guys were NEVER serious about anything and to see
them together not smiling made me uneasy. My mom was listening to
story and I tried to make sense of what I started to hear.
Something about him and his friends…They had been down by the
tracks screwing off and apparently saw something bad???
mom was asking them about a man? Or they were talking about somebody
It still wasn't making any sense…
Then my brother started to describe something they had all seen next to the
At that point, the story started to come together.
It wasn't a long or detailed story. But what did happen absolutely
scared the life out of them… And now me!
Apparently, while walking near the woods next to the tracks, one of my
friends saw something move that totally freaked him out. Nobody could figure
it out so they just kept moving. Suddenly, about 40 feet away, a “figure” could
be seen moving next to the tracks. The “figure,” as they described
it, wasn't a person but a “light mass” in the shape
of a human. It seemed to have paused for a second and looked towards them
It wasn't very bright but it was visible enough that
they all could easily see it.
Needless to say, my “cool” brother and his wild friends were
left shaken and startled to say the least. They got to our house and sat
kitchen just trying to make sense of what they had witnessed. And I haven’t
been able to shake they’re story out of my head for decades.
guess everyone has strange stories to tell. Over the years I have thought
story on many occasions. But several additional pieces of information
that I have discovered since then have definitely given me reason
Is my additional
information related to what they saw down by the tracks that night?
Honestly? Probably not.
Did these events happen in Lisle? Oh yeah!
So… Should we write about them here? You’re “dang” right!
Additional item number
a year ago, I started working on a TV series about haunted areas in
the U.S. for a
Halloween TV special to be aired on a local TV station. When I started
doing some research, I found “ghost” stories from just
Most of them I found to be pretty cliché.
However, while researching stories, I was startled to find a whole
bunch of "eyewitness" accounts from a place called “Lisle,
Hey, I knew where that was!
So I continued further reading about other people’s experiences from
Most of the stories come right from the area that my brother’s story
had came… The railroad tracks and the woods just north of Benet Academy.
And many stories have come from inside Benet Academy and Benedictine University
(formerly known as St. Precopius College.) In fact, most of the stories come
from both these places.
to many sources, there have been numerous eyewitness accounts of children
seen around the surrounding areas. Or appearing in the hallways or
storage rooms at Benet. There are sightings of children and yes… even “orbs” or “light
forms” that tend to take on a human shape and move through
the surrounding areas. There were reports from more than 30 years
ago and they continue
to this day.
Okay… Are your hairs standing up yet?
Additional item number
growing up in Lisle, I never knew that Benet Academy was originally
It was called St. Joseph’s Bohemian Orphanage.
In 1899, The Benedictine monks established an orphanage there and took in
hundreds of Bohemian and Polish children that had lost their parents to war
or other terrible outcomes experienced
in Eastern Europe. Most of the children were in good health and enjoyed the
many activities and learning opportunities at the orphanage. Most of the
children grew up and went out into the world far from the orphanage to have
Some, however, never left the orphanage. In fact, some of the children are
still there today.
At the turn of the century, medical technology was crude and it was a much
more serious scenario when a child became ill.
Well… that is what happened to many of the children at the orphanage.
In fact, some became so sick that they actually died at the orphanage.
Eventually, the orphanage
selected a small piece of land, around the west side of the main building,
to be a small cemetery for the children that were never to leave. Great
care was given to this final resting place. Headstones were prominent
and the area was well planted and peaceful.
was the last year of St. Joseph’s Bohemian Orphanage and the
first year of what is now known as Benet Academy.
what was with all the “sightings” over the years at Benet
or down by the tracks?
natural curiosity was making me crazy and I knew it was time for
some additional research.
So I went back to Lisle to start doing some serious poking around.
I wanted to find out more about why people had seen “things” down
around the tracks and surrounding woods.
I needed to get more information about the orphanage.. Or "Benet
Academy." And hopefully from someone
that has been there a while.
the railroad tracks:
Two additional stories I had found were as follows:
was with my boyfriend at about 2am down by the road that
runs along the Burlington railroad tracks behind what is
now Tel-Labs. Our friends were in another car and we were
just hanging out after getting off work. I heard my friend
in the other car scream. I thought someone was tickling
her. When I turned to look towards their car, I could see
what looked like a person walking right by the tracks.
It was so dark and it really scared me. But what was strange
is that the person seemed to glow in the darkness. It was
really weird. I could tell my boyfriend was a little scared
too. He started the car and when he turned on the lights
to see the person better it just disappeared. Later, we
all agreed that we had all seen the same thing.
second story is as follows:
living in the homes just past Yackley bridge know all about
the teenagers that used to hang out on that little dead end
road just southwest of the bridge. Their cars would be parked
near the tracks and they would hang out, drink beer, smoke
pot and break glass. Yes, this was Lisle’s youth at
One night, two of the kids that were partying knocked on
one of the neighborhood home’s door. The kids were
in a panic and said someone had been hit by a train near
the bridge. The police were called and before they arrived,
of the kids split because they didn't want to get busted.
When the police and fire department showed up, there was no “body” to
be found anywhere. Not even a trace!
The kids that had witnessed it swear a person was walking right on the tracks.
A couple of the kids even yelled to the person to get off the tracks because
a train was coming fast! They were terrified to see the train run right up
to the person and the body disappearing to the other side after being hit.
Again, nothing was ever found.
In April of 2005,
I was in Lisle trying to find any other stories to substantiate these
claims or just to find any information that might shine any light on
I asked many people about the “train track” incidences. No
one had much to offer. Then I called my brother and had him tell
me his story just one more time. I wanted to be sure I wasn't crazy here!
He told me the story just as I remembered it.
what have I found out about the “tracks” in Lisle?
Well, nothing much more about “ghosts” or strange sightings… But… I
did learn that Lisle’s train tracks and depot have one heck of a deadly
history. Especially in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Lisle was the leader
/ train” fatalities. For a long time, Lisle was desperate to
find a way to curb the amount of fatalities along our stretch of tracks. Some
of these articles and pictures really spoke for themselves.
surreal looking photo from 1972 made my every nerve tingle when
I first looked at it.
The white arrow points to one of the many people that had their
life ended along Lisle's stretch of track. My brother and his friends
had their "encounter" just around the bend from where we see the
officer's standing. (BTW: Remember those bricks?)
is the article that accompanied the above photo.
The first paragraph of this article from 1978 reads as follows:
"Eleven deaths in 14 years at the Lisle depot pedestrian
crossing and another at Yackley road west of the station give
the worst fatality record ..."
town with the second worst record was Downer's Grove that had
only three deaths in 17 and a half years. No one could figure
it out... Why Lisle? And why so many?
article tells of 12 that had been killed since '64. Again, it
one of the deaths occurred when a lady was crossing the tracks
near the Yackley bridge. That is right where the teenagers reported
seeing the "person" walking on the tracks. And its
only yards from another
"sighting" as noted above.
Now Benet Academy..
visiting Benet Academy, I called and made an appointment with a man
been around Benet Academy for over 50 years. His name
was Father Jude Randall and surely, I thought, he could shine some
light onto this whole "sightings" thing!
day I was to meet with Father Jude, I couldn't help but driving
over to Benet Academy a little early and taking a look around.
When I drove down Yackley,
I couldn't believe how things had built
field that was west of Sacred Heart Monastery (on the northeast corner
of Yackley and Maple) was completely built up with town homes and
large multi-story office buildings. It
wasn't that long ago that this beautiful piece of land was full of
green grass, blooming fruit trees and vineyards.
upon entering the Benet campus, I was just as impressed with it's
architecture as I always had been. There were a few well done building
additions but they had kept to the original lines and styles of the
was strange looking up at the main building. I had never looked at
it this way before. Knowing what I know now, it took on a completely
After learning of all the orphaned children that had
once called this place home, you tend to see this place in a completely
shows the original St. Joseph's Orphanage in 1899 located on
the grounds of St. Procopiuos Abby. The orphans were then moved
across Maple Ave. to the buildings that are now Benet Academy.
is the main building for the St .Joseph's Bohemian Orphanage
built in 1910. The children look like little flowers
on the lawn.
is the same building today. Many of the "sightings" have
occurred on the top floor that has been under lock and key for
meeting with Father Jude, I couldn't help myself.. I had to drive
around the building and see if I could find the old cemetery on
I made my
way around the buildings, I had to be careful of the daily hustle
and bussle of "modern day" Benet Academy life. School had
just gotten out and the students were running around everywhere.
Busses were picking up, cars were pulling out and athletic teams were
hitting the fields for their afternoon workouts. The entire campus
with a fast paced energy.. An energy that could only be experienced
immediately following an "end of the day" school bell. It
I drove around to the side parking area, I looked for anything resembling
a cemetery. There were cars everywhere, guys playing baseball on the
the sound of car stereos crankin' the latest "jams." I couldn't
imagine a cemetery ever being located back here in this busy mess!
Then, just to my left and sitting next to the
parking lot, I noticed a small group of trees surrounded by a chain
link fence. "This couldn't be it" I thought.."Not
sitting out here in the middle of all this..." There were even
people's houses that looked right into the little area.
parked the car and walked over to get a closer look. "Oh my gosh!"
I thought. Here it was! A small
grassy area under a few trees with about twenty small headstones.
I walked up closer and into the area just under the trees. Suddenly,
all the busy activity of Benet's after school hustle seemed to have
quietly drifted away and I was sitting amongst many of the orphans
that were never to leave St. Joseph's.
shows the cemetery in the early 1900s. The camera is pointing northwest.
it is today. The woods on the left used to be a part of Childwood
stables. Now, those are homes from the Steeple Run subdivision
looking directly into the cemetery. The brick shrine & small
statue are now
gone. Benet's west parking lot is just right of frame. A small
chain-link fence still surrounds the area just as it did years
ago. I found it ironic that a child's favorite toy, a swing set,
feet from the children's resting place.
is little "Joseph Vukovic's" headstone.
He was born in 1912 and died just days before Christmas in 1916.
He was only 4.
reading some of the headstones, I started to realize just how young
some of them were.
From what I understand, St. Joseph's orphanage must have been
a pretty happy place because some of the graduating "orphans" (after
reaching age 18) requested that, after they die, their bodies be laid
to rest here. And a few of them are.
spending a few minutes walking among the stones, I was amazed how the
noise and energy of the surrounding area just seems to drift away.
It was very easy to feel completely alone with the memory of these
children and the breeze gently blowing through the trees above.
knew it was getting to be the time that I was to meet with Father Jude
so I left the cemetery behind and headed over to the main building.
I have to admit that I was feeling a little foolish. How was I going
to ask him if he knew of any "ghost sightings" over the years? I felt
like a twelve year old who had been dared to ask a really stupid question...
to prove I would.
I waited in the main office for him to arrive, I watched the Benet
students crowding the hallways of Benet. All of them in their Catholic
uniforms, slamming their lockers, talking with their friends and hurrying
to get on with their "after school" lives.
if any of them had ever heard any of the stories about this old building.
I wondered if they had ever stopped to imagine this place
an Orphanage.. Or if they had ever stopped to marvel at the
history within these old hallways and rooms. And maybe I should ask
them if they
of any "sightings" here at Benet?
At that point my thoughts were interrupted by a mass of kids screaming
and laughing. It seems a boy was attacking another boy with a water
boys ran past me with water that splashed onto my shirt, two girls
were laughing hysterically and a third boy ran out the door yelling
was such a wonderful mayhem!
At that point I realized.. Why on earth would these energetic young
kids want to think about the history of some old building when they've
called "life" to keep up with?
Needless to say, I didn't ask any
questions.. They probably would have thought I was some sort of a freak!
Father Jude showed up.. We introduced ourselves to each other and
I went on to tell him about what I was looking for. But
I only had the nerve to tell him that I
to know more about the orphans and where they had come from. I wasn't
ready to ask him about any "sightings."
found him to be an incredibly friendly man and he seemed very eager
to share what he knew. He then asked me to follow him to his office
he had a whole bunch of paperwork that he wanted to show me about the
history of Benet and Benedictine College.
our way to his office, it was very clear to me that he was one heck
of a popular guy around Benet. Anyone we passed would say hello to
him or stop him and want to talk about something. It seemed like it
took forever just trying to get to his office!
we got to his office, he sat me down at a large round table and brought
out several folders containing information and pictures that documented
the history of St. Joseph's and of Benet. I looked through much of
it and asked him about the orphans. I figured I could prime him with
some simple questions before I hit him with the "biggy" question
that I was still too embarrassed to ask.
He told me that years ago, the Chicago
Diocese had too many Polish and Bohemian orphans and they needed
to expand. So, they gave the St. Procopius monks 40 acres in Lisle and
start the orphanage out of a farm house there.
I also learned a little
about the day to day life that these children led... Regular schooling,
and prayer-time was a regular part of living here. But they also had
playgrounds and large group activities. And after looking at one of
the old photos in particular, it was pretty obvious that these kids
spent much of their meal times consuming poultry products.
is a photo of the chicken farm that was located at the orphanage.
And notice.. There is not one P.E.T.A. demonstrator to be
seen in this photo.
great group shot of some of the kids. Notice that each girl had
her own identical doll and they've proudly placed them sitting together
in front of the group.
photos just capture so much of the beautiful innocence that only
children, no matter were they are from, can project.
absolutely classic shot shows the nightly prayer time before
bed. It also makes me wonder if anyone ever had the courage to
at the far back of the room.
has got to be one of my favorite images. The Music Room, located
on the eastern / upper floor of the main building. Not only did
the children get to experiment with the piano and sing their
songs... But they also got to sit and listen to music off of those
thick 78 rpm records. Check out the "crank up" record
player in the center of the photo. Before the days of radio, they
feeling pretty lucky to have that cool "music box" in their music
room. You could just imagine the nuns winding that thing up and
Can't you just hear it?
is the campus bakery in 1918. You can just imagine the incredible
aromas that came from this place.
is a current photo that clearly shows the original water tower
and the original maintenance garage.
is an amazing shot of the original "power plant" and it's inner
workings. Coal and then oil was used to keep those boilers pumping
out the hot water that fed into the building's "radiators" to keep
Here is the same building today and it is still in use!
chatting for a while, I felt like Father Jude and I were starting to
become a bit more comfortable
probably a good time as ever to toss out the "big" question.
I told him about the research we had been doing for a TV show and about
some of the stories we had found about people seeing "things" in
Lisle at places like Benet and the surrounding areas.
The moment I began to talk about it I could see a change in his facial
expression. I hadn't even asked the question when I started to see
the beginning of a grin on his face. I figured he was probably going
"nut case," tell me to have a good day and show me to the door.
boy was I wrong!
seemed to be holding back a laugh or two when he looked at me. With
a great big smile he said "oooh yes!" Almost like he had been waiting
for decades for someone like me to come sniffing around asking questions.
Then I asked the big question.."So..." I said. "Have you ever heard
of any of these stories???"
He looked at me and laughed a little... In
his eyes it seemed he was going back in time. He reminded me of how
my dad would pause and allow himself to drift back in time before he
would tell me stories about his boyhood antics.
No doubt I had tapped
into something and I couldn't wait to get down to
began to tell me that yes, there have been many reports of people "seeing"
things. He knew because he had heard many of them over
the years. I could tell that Father Jude didn't want to be too specific
and maybe that's understandable for someone in his position I thought.
But to my surprise, he also let me in on some unknown little tidbits
of information that I'm not sure many people even know about..
a mischievous twinkle in his eye, Father Jude began telling me about
the reports he would hear... "Oh yeah, for years there have been reports...
People seeing something upstairs or down the hallway etc, etc..."
Lisle - Benet Academy - used to be St. Joseph's Orphanage. The
two halls, Benet and Joseph made up this orphanage. Many teachers
believe that this place is haunted. There are many claims to orphan
sightings. Also, on 4th floor Joseph hall there have been sightings
of a nun who watches over the grounds. By the way, this floor is
used as a closet to put all the old theater props and has many statues
in it. Some have claimed that the statues move. The tunnels are said
to be under Benet hall and that they lead to St. Procopius Abbey
across the intersection. Some believe in the tunnels and ghosts some
Lisle - Benedictine University - There have been sightings of a little
boy running around campus in a blue tee-shirt and a pair of shorts
no matter what the weather, then just disappears. In one of the dorm
buildings there is a heavy presence. They actually closed that dorm
down now... Then there is Benedictine hall. All some of the janitors
will not even go up to the 4th floor to clean it. A priest is supposed
to haunt that floor. There are also underground tunnels under the
campus that are also haunted. I have felt and seen these presences
All accept the underground tunnels.
Other reports include many "sightings" of a boy near and around
the stables that used to be behind Benet Academy. No one knew who
he was and he would never be around long enough to be approached
or talked to.
residence used to hear kids screaming and playing in the woods
behind Benet Academy at all hours of the night in the mid
There have been occasions when custodian
staff had claimed to have seen a child on the upper floor after
Benet students have reported seeing a child looking down on them
from one of the windows on the top floor of the Administration
building. This has been reported on numerous occasions over the
This photo that
I snapped definitely shows something staring down from the top window..
But it doesn't look like a child...
But if you're
a priest living
are all these ghost stories floating around for years, why not have
a little fun with it right??? Well that is exactly what Father Jude
and some of the other priests would do. And when he started telling
it, I had to stop him and ask him to start the story again... Mainly
because I could hardly believe what he was telling me.
to Father Jude, on occasion or two, he and a couple of other priests
would have a little fun with all the hype that was going
around the campus...
For example, one of the favorite things these
"priests" would do is to grab one of the statues at it's base
and just turn it a couple inches... That's all... Just a little twist...
within a month or two, they would start to hear stories about "someone"
who knows "someone" who swears that they knew "someone" that actually
saw the statue move one day.
Like a young college student, Father jude
was thoroughly amused just getting to tell the story!
sat there stunned... This couldn't be... Was what I was hearing correct?
This was the "head honcho" priest at Benet telling me that him and
"the guys" would actually have a little harmless fun? Wait a minute!!!
They wore all black... With the little white collars for Pete's sake!!!
having fun??? Can "they" do that I wondered.. Fun?? Priests??
I now felt myself totally at ease with this man!
I realized that my
personal and bigger question was this... Was he and the other priests
responsible for the "sightings" that had been seen as far back as the
Jude was around then. Did he and the other priests have some hidden
"projection devices" laying around somewhere? Were there hidden "audio
playback" systems that no one knew about? Was I sitting here looking
at "the orphanage ghost" himself? He then assured me that
he couldn't speak for all the strange occurrences that have been reported
over the years... and there have been many. But maybe he knows about
then I had to ask... Do you think any of the reports have any validity,
He smiled and sighed.. He told me a story that was currently in the
news. It was a story about a freeway underpass near Chicago. Apparently,
water and salt
down the side was starting to create a large stain on the wall.
The next thing you know, someone reports that they can see the Virgin
Mary in the patch of stained cement. The Illinois highway road crews
actually had to come in with traffic control because people couldn't
help but stop
the highway to take a look. People started leaving candles and messages.
People started running into each other.
It was mayhem!
So??? I asked...
So, he said.. Sometimes, people tend to believe what they want
Then I asked him if he believed any of the stories
from Benet... All
he did was smile, waive his hand and say "aaahh!"
Jude then went into a small back room that was located in his office...
I figured I would sit and sift through more of the information that
was laying on the table before me. And then suddenly, Father Jude appeared
with a large ring of keys... "Let's go for a walk!" he said..
Cool! A walk! I felt like a Golden Lab getting ready to go outside!
I grabbed my
camera, we exited his office and into the Benet hallways. I must admit
that I had a hard time keeping up with him. Thank goodness there were
still students around because they would always make him slow down
to say hi.
If you've ever been inside the main building, you can't help but notice
the mixture of the old and new that surrounds you everywhere. Modern
computers inside rooms with beautiful hundred year old doors. Cool
modern desk lamps next to century old hand railings and old steel
heat radiators. It's absolutely wonderful!
started to lead me up several flights of stairs. The stairs at Benet are
steeper than any stairs I could ever imagine. I was huffing and puffing..
But not Father Jude... No my friends, this man was in command of the
I asked if there were any elevators around... And he said "Nope... Just
felt like a total wimp!
But he did say an elevator might be his next
we arrived at the first floor on his tour, I soon found out that there
was something he really really wanted to show me. I think
he sensed my appreciation for the integrity that was built into much
of our old
architecture. He new I was diggin' the hallways of Benet and it's history...
And now he couldn't wait to open the door of Benet's (and his) pride
He searched for the key on the ring...
Found the right key... Stuck it in and then??? Viola!
Wow!! Look at this!!! The door opened to reveal the old original chapel
that had been reduced to waste over the years and had now been renovated
back to it's near original state! I looked over to Father Jude who was
looking towards the front with a huge smile on his face! I could see
he was so excited about it... And rightly so!
He told me that years ago, it had become too small
so they had to build a new one in the other building. Then they used
this room for
many purposes including a performing arts theater. The original stained
glass had been covered with plywood, the stage moved, the walls painted
black and the original wooden floor covered with "carpet glue" and
then carpet installed with additional glue and nails. The restoration
a huge labor of love and Father Jude loved to share it with others. And
I'm glad he does.
you look at the smile on this guy's face. Proud as can be, Father
Jude shows off the restored chapel where the children originally
is a photo of the original chapel and altar. Notice the stained
glass, ceiling arches and original wood floor.
it is today in it's restored state. These photos do it no justice
whatsoever. To actually stand there and see the detail is really
their surprise when they found these magnificent (original) stained
glass windows when they removed the
plywood walls that had been put over them for many many years.
The glass used is some of the best in the world and it came
right from Kokomo
"Who would have thunk?"
After our time in
the chapel, Father Jude looked at his keys and told me there
was another place that I'd probably want to see. We left the chapel
it was time to go up some more stairs. When we got to the top of the
stairs, I knew we had to be very near the top floor of the building.
In the past, I had learned that it was the very top floor of Benet
Academy where many of the "sightings" had taken place. Could it be
that he was actually bringing me to the top floor of Benet??? The attic?
At the top of the
stairwell, we arrived at an old wooden door. But this door didn't seem
like the other doors
at Benet... This one seemed more like a closet door and had no window.
It even seemed to be locked tighter than most doors. I couldn't help
but notice Father Jude having a hard time getting it unlocked. As he
wrestled with his keys trying to get it unlocked, I noticed that the
completely empty. There were no sounds of kids and it just seemed quite
desolate. We were both alone with this door.
After turning the
final lock, Father Jude slowly opened the door and said "this is one
of the places where some people have claimed to have seen "things"..."
I couldn't believe it! I looked through the doorway and there I saw...
You guessed it... More stairs.
At this point I knew
it! I was following him up the stairs that led to the top floor...
Sometimes referred to as "the attic." A place that has been left standing
for close to 100 years! For whatever reason, this upper
level has been behind lock & key for decades and I was slowly being
led up the stairs to have a very rare look into the place I had only
Father Jude begins to open "the door!"
He smiles when he sees how excited I am about where I was about
Father Jude leads the way up the stairs into the forgotten level
of St. Joseph's Orphanage.
This photo from 1911 shows two letters. (A) shows where we entered
the upper level. (B) shows where the music room was. About midway
is where the bathroom was located.
climbing the steps, I must admit, it felt a little strange... I felt
like I was in one of those old black & white movies. The corners
of the walls and stairs were coated with cobwebs and the paint
peeling in sheets off the wall. The only light available was that coming
through the windows, and there was an obvious "musty" aroma.
I needed now was a candelabra and some eerie music. And
to top it all off.. I was even with a priest!
we reached the top of the stairs, I couldn't believe my luck! Here
I was at the top floor... The "attic" of Benet Academy. The former
top floor of St. Joseph's orphanage.. And with a priest!!! And it was
here that many had reported seeing children, woman and other unexplained
shadows and such. Was this cool or what!!!
Jude explained to me that this floor had not changed in many years.
It was used primarily as a storage area. There
were old stain glass windows, paintings, old furniture and even many
items from the orphanage days. He said it was fine for me to go off
and look around.
So slowly I began to walk down the old
wooden floor hallway and tried to take it all in. It's an eerie feeling
walking through this place.. I had this strange feeling I was being
watched by something... Like maybe I didn't belong there. But it was
also extremely interesting. Almost one hundred years sitting almost
This is pretty typical. A window that looks out to nowhere. Hmmm.
opened a closet door and found what looked like original "ornate"
copper roofing... The door lead nowhere. Hmmm.
is a photo of the main hallway looking east. Notice the clutter
of beautiful old "lead inlay" windows (lower right foreground,)
Desks and chairs are among the many other things stored .
is a close up shot from the picture seen on the left.
This really shows the old peeling paint and an old door that
space above the hallway.
huge wooden door led to a large square closet-like room that
led up to the "vent hatch" for the vent shown in the picture
on the right.
This large vent (next to the letter "C") is accessible from that
huge old door on the left.
couldn't believe it when I came across this original tub that
was still in the original bathroom used by the children back at
the turn of the century.. Do you believe it!
Here are a couple toilet stalls still in place after all this time.
The original plumbing is still inside the stall but the toilets are
This window is located in the last room on the east side
building. It overlooks the "dormitory" building that was built
In this same room, you see a window looking south and an odd "dark
box" being stored on the right. After taking a closer look, I discovered
that the box was actually a casket being stored up here... Hmmm.
Father Jude patiently waiting for me to finish my "poking around.
After leaving that
old "floor" and returning to Father Jude's office, I thanked him for
the information, the tour and his graciousness. My last question to
him was concerning the future of these beautifully old buildings. Do
they plan to tear them down like they did with St. Benedictine Hall
across the street? He gave me a resounding answer... NO!!!
And he even
seemed a bit disturbed at the thought of that old building coming down
the way it did.
I was glad to hear his answer and I hope to visit with
him again someday...
Father Jude... A genuinely and refreshingly NICE
After leaving Benet,
I drove slowly up Yackley and over the tracks. I wondered, that after
all this research and poking around, if I had found anything that might
shine any light on the strange stories people
reported over the years. What were those "orbs?" Or what
or who did those people see in the hallways, in the woods, down by
Are there still some young "spirits" roaming the area of what used
to be the orphanage? I still have to doubt it.
Quite honestly? I'm not sure I know any more than when I started.
Maybe someday I'll get to see a ghost or a UFO.. But until then,
I think I'll just keep trying to find out more cool stuff about this
little town that we grew up in.
Lisle ghosts, haunted
houses and mysterious places.