Missy, Noah, Chris, Andy and Gravy arrived into Alton, IL at around noon. Since they didn’t have access to the building until 2:00 pm, they got lunch down the road and visited some of the antique shops in the surrounding area. At 2:00 pm, the group began to unload their equipment into basecamp which was established in a small banquet room on the 1st Floor that had gates for doors.
Missy then went outside at 2:20 pm to record outside weather conditions using a Kestrel 3500 Weather Station. The Kestrel Weather station is a tool that measures temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure and humidity.
At 2:22 pm, Brandon from the St. Louis Paranormal Investigations and Research Interest Team (S.P.I.R.I.T.), gave PIM members a tour of the location; going over hot spots, claims and history of the location. Brandon claimed to have several hundred hours of logged investigation time spent in the Mall and was going to remain onsite throughout the night to answer any questions PIM might have. He was knowledgeable of the claims that his team and other paranormal teams have experienced over the years. There were many claims that were discussed during the walk through tour that aren’t published. With time of the essence, once the tour was over, PIM quickly started to get equipment set up and running.
Since part of the building was still open to the public for several more hours, PIM needed to be careful of where equipment was placed and that the public didn’t have access to those areas, all the while keeping an eye on base camp since the area wasn’t completely secure yet.
Before getting started PIM members equipped themselves with their personal Zoom H1 digital audio recorders. These recorders act as a control recorder, and is on themselves everywhere they go. Control recorders are started and time stamped prior to all other equipment being started and time stamped. They are also the last piece of equipment to be turned off. Control recorders are not only used as another recording device but also to discriminate the sound contamination that an investigator might create during an investigation. Control recorders are also placed in a Faraday cage. PIM’s main goal in using these is to block radio signals from interfering with their audio recorders thus causing false EVPs. Time stamps, from a designated atomic watch, are used as a point of reference and make cross referencing easier during evidence review.
Along with control recorders and a UV flashlight, every PIM member it required to be equipped with an Extech RHT50 data logger. The Extech RHT50 data logger measures humidity, temperature and barometric pressure at one minute intervals. This device allows us to graph these changes and compare data to other devices that might have measured or recorded an event. They are not only carried on each person but placed throughout a location as well.
During set up, Missy took EMF (ElectroMagnetic Frequency) and temperature readings of the rooms where equipment was going to be placed. She used a Mel-8704R meter for temperature and the Magnii DSP-523 for EMF readings. The Magnii DSP-523 is a three-axis detector and can subtract out the 60 Hz frequency which is commonly referred to man-made EMF.
Since the pool area was a hot spot for most claims of activity, several pieces of equipment were set up in that area. A Zoom H1 audio recorder was placed pool side by the wooden stairs. A Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum video recorder was placed on the upper deck of the pool facing the deep end. A Sony HDR-XR200V video recorder was placed in the shallow end of the pool, also facing the deep end. A Sony HDR-SR7 video recorder was placed in the deep end of the pool and was focused on the trigger object bank placed in the center of the deep end. Trigger objects are miscellaneous items that are strategically chosen in hopes to invoke a response.
In the trigger object bank was a baseball, car, slinky, horse, small soccer ball, doll, stuffed animal cat, apple, yellow marble, penny (head side up), the Bible, a rosary, and crucifix. Placed alongside the trigger objects were a Dark Matter Detector, a touch flashlight and a geophone.
Custom built by PIM, the geophone senses seismic vibrations and has adjustable sensitivity. It was placed on the table should any of the trigger objects be moved the geophone would sense the vibrations.
The Dark Matter Detector is a device that measures EMF, temperature, barometric pressure and has a high quality audio recorder. This device also datalogs these measurements for later review should something have occurred and would need to be referenced.
The touch flashlight is activated by two contacts being touched, thus completing a circuit and turning the light on. The touch flashlight is used in lieu of a flashlight that has had the battery compartment or on/off switch manipulated to function in a way that is not intended and as a result, can create false positives.
Lights that sense vibrations were placed on every other step leading down into the pool area. This was done because of a claim the footsteps could be heard going up or down the wooden stairs.
A Zoom H1 audio recorder and an Action Cam H9 Ghost Pro video camera was placed in the rooms beyond the Men’s Pool area. This is where the entity had thrown a rock/brick and dislikes women named Rachael and veterans.
In the Kid’s Room on the 2nd Floor (west wing), a Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum video recorder was placed facing a teddy bear that sat in a chair. This teddy bear reportedly moved from the chair to the window sill. In camera view, a trigger object bank was established. This bank contained a rocking horse, a doll, another teddy bear and a magnetic levitator. The magnetic levitator is a small device where a magnet, black on one side and white on the other levitates over another magnetic. The different color sides allows for easy visibility should something manipulate the magnet. An Extech RHT50 data logger, was placed next to the trigger objects.
Also in the west wing, in the Lady in Blue Room, a Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum video recorder was placed in the far corner of the building facing a chair where a bottle of pills was placed as a trigger object. It was said Pearl, who occupies this room committed suicide because she thought her husband was cheating on her when, really, he had a gambling problem. It is speculated she might have committed suicide by overdosing on medication. A Zoom H1 audio recorder was placed between this room and the Kid’s Room.
In the Sub-basement, also referred to as the Tobacco Room, a Sony HDR-CX160 full spectrum video recorder was placed in the center of the room. A trigger object bank was set up consisting of a touch flashlight, whiskey, cigar, a full water bottle, dice (ones up) and three coins in the heads-up starting position. Here is where the claim of the daughter of J.P. Drummer, Mary Jane, enjoys flipping coins. It was noted at the end of the investigation the coins were not moved.
An Extech RHT50 data logger and the single-axis EMF Detector Mel-8704REM/ATDD/SDD were also placed in the center of the Tobacco Room. The Mel-8704 detects EMF & Temperature simultaneously, a hot and cold spot detector that will set off a blue light or red light for an increase or decrease of one degree or more along with an audible alarm, and a shadow detection system that has a long range and short range red LED light that if broken will cause an LED light and audible alarm to go off.
A Zoom H1 audio recorder was placed in Jasmine’s Room.
Once all the equipment was set, the team started and time stamped all the equipment in the entire building. Time stamps, from a designated atomic watch, are used as a point of reference and make cross referencing easier during evidence review. All lights were turned off at this point to set illumination with special infrared lights so the camcorders are able to record while it is dark. Once this was done the group stopped their personal Zoom H1 audio recorders at 6:35 pm and left the building to go to dinner. It was noted the mall was still open for a short time longer and shop owners were still in the building. The group returned from dinner at 7:41 pm and again started and time stamped their Zoom H1 audio recorders.
During the tour and the investigation PIM was able find natural explanations for some of the claims of activity. It also wasn’t discovered until the tour, the building was home to several tenants. Even though PIM was under the impression they would most likely not see the tenants throughout the night, it was not the case and tenants on multiple occasions were seen coming and going through the main door of the mall. PIM goes through great measures to try to control as many variables, especially the human variable, when setting up their investigation and this was something that needed to be kept in mind when investigating the main pool area because voices could be heard from the level above and could account for possible EVP like evidence.
On the 2nd Floor, next to an exterior wall of the building, there was a room that had black sheathing covering a large hole that lead to a shaft of some sort. The claim of activity was that a spirit would hit the plastic very forcefully. PIM noticed there was a draft coming from the shaft which meant there was air flow traveling through it. The plastic moving could be caused by changes in barometric pressure similar to closing doors in a house when windows are left open.
In the rooms beyond the Men’s Pool area, there was an atrium like room that had high ceilings. Approximately, fifteen feet up were windows that lead to the 1st floor of the mall by the entrance to the Historic Museum of Torture Devices. Although the windows were covered, voices could be heard in the Basement from the 1st Floor.
During the walkthrough, it was noted there was a small music concert occurring at the Riverfront Amphitheater a few blocks away and could be heard from inside the building. Though the concert was happening during the afternoon, PIM was informed that there are occasionally concerts at night as well. PIM was fortunate enough to not have a concert event the night of their investigation. This would account for any claims of music being heard.
A few blocks further down from the Riverfront Amphitheater was a brightly lit casino. Though PIM didn’t investigate any rooms that had windows facing the casino, it is something to consider for other groups that might investigate Mineral Springs Mall.
Any other claims that couldn’t be easily explained or were interesting were investigated further.
Men’s Pool – 8:00 pm
Missy and Noah sat in the pool while Gravy, Chris and Andy sat around the pool on the deck. The group observed control silence for several minutes. Control silence is the practice of sitting quietly and observing the natural sounds of the building and the surrounding environment. This gives the group a good baseline for that particular area. The sounds heard during control silence are tagged so as not to be confused as something else should they be heard later in the investigation. It was noted traffic on the main road could be easily heard in the pool area.
After control silence is observed, the group began an EVP session. An EVP or Electronic Voice Phenomena session, is the practice of asking questions in a full voice (not whispering) and waiting at least ten seconds between questions for a possible response. EVPs are voices that are captured and heard via an audio recorder that weren’t heard by an investigator at the time of the investigation.
At 8:07 pm, Noah heard a rhythmic tapping noise. After further investigating, it was determined there was water dripping in a room connected to the Men’s Pool area.
At 8:10 pm, Noah, sitting closest to the trigger object bank, believed he heard something move on the table. At the time of the sound, it didn’t appear anything had moved. This would later be confirmed during evidence review when nothing appeared to happen during that time frame.
At 8:11 pm, Gravy, Noah and Chris heard a noise come from a connecting room. No source of the sound was discovered but there was a door leading to the outside where noises could be heard.
At 8:21 pm, Noah heard a loud metal sound noise coming from above him. Suspicious that a living human might be attempting to get into base camp where PIM’s equipment was stored, Gravy ran upstairs to make sure. No one was seen in the base camp area. Gravy rattled the metal doors to base camp to see if they could be heard down stairs. Although they could be heard, it wasn’t the same sound Noah heard a few minutes earlier. This sound was captured via audio recorder but was not deemed paranormal as there were still possible natural explanations for the sound.
At 8:28 pm, Noah heard a high pitched three syllable sound. No source of the sound could be found and this was not captured on any audio recorder that was recording in the building.
END TIME: 8:44 pm
back hallway of Men’s Pool – 8:49 pm
The group situated themselves in the hallway just beyond the Men’s Pool. At 8:51 pm, they started an EVP session and, at 8:55 pm, Gravy thought he had gotten a response to a question when he asked for a tapping sound based on WWI or WWII. A follow up question, yielded no response and the previous response was disregarded as a coincidence.
Since this was the atrium area mentioned earlier where voices from the 1st Floor were being heard through the covered windows above and contaminating the investigation, PIM decided to cut the time short in this area and come back later in the evening.
END TIME: 9:00 pm
2nd Floor – 9:41 pm
Chris sat in front of Jasmine’s Room. Andy sat between the two rooms where the Civil War veteran reportedly traveled between in seven minute increments. Gravy sat in front of the Kid’s Room with the teddy bear. Noah sat outside Pearl’s Room while Missy sat in the room. Control silence was observed before starting an EVP session.
It was noted the windows were thin and several were broken. Wildlife was found dead and decaying on the 2nd Floor as well. Sounds from the exterior of the building were abundant. Street traffic and patrons entering and leaving the surrounding bars were easily heard on the 2nd Floor.
No activity was observed during this time and nothing was captured via audio or video recordings.
END TIME: 9:57 pm
The group sat in the lobby of the mall for a few minutes to cool off before continuing.
Sub-basement (Tobacco Room) – 10:16 pm
The group situated themselves throughout the Tobacco Room and observed control silence. It was noted this room was remarkably quiet. No activity occurred during this time.
END TIME: 10:41 pm
The group took a short break in the lobby area again. During this time tenants were passing through the lobby as they returned home.
Men’s Pool – 11:13 pm
Gravy and Noah sat in the pool while Chris, Missy and Andy sat on the deck. At 11:25 pm, Andy heard a loud thump come from his vicinity. Thinking something was moving in his area, Andy quickly investigated the area to make sure there wasn’t an animal causing the noise. No animal was seen and no source of the sound could be found.
No other events occurred and the group decided to move to another location.
END TIME: 11:30 pm
Storage Room behind Men’s Pool- 11:36 pm
The group situated themselves in the hallway and storage room just beyond the Men’s Pool. No notable activity occurred during this time and was later confirmed during evidence review.
END TIME: 11:50 pm
2nd Floor – 11:58 pm
Hoping the sounds from outside are minimized by the lateness of the night, the group situated themselves once again on the 2nd Floor. Chris sat by Jasmine’s Room. Andy between the rooms of the Civil War veteran. Missy sat by the door of the Kid’s Room. Noah and Gravy sat in Pearl’s Room in hopes that this time she would react negatively towards the men sitting in her space. This scenario yielded no results and was confirmed during evidence review when nothing was recorded by either audio or video devices.
No other events occurred in this location and the team decided to head to the Tobacco Room.
END TIME: 12:30 am
Sub-basement (Tobacco Room) – 12:51 am
The group sat throughout the Tobacco Room and began an EVP session. Nothing happened during this short time. Knowing they had two more nights of investigating to follow, the group called the investigation to an end and began to pack up their equipment.
END TIME: 1:00 am
After packing their equipment up and returning the building to the way that it was when they arrived, the group set up their cots or sleeping bags in the base camp area where they would use the remainder of the night to get some sleep. No activity occurred during the remainder of the night. At 6:30 am, the group packed up the remainder of their gear into the van and departed.
The Mineral Springs Mall is a historic location with an interesting and varied past. There are many stories surrounding the hotel when it was in operation but few of them can be independently verified. While the building was used as a hotel, there were almost no reports of paranormal activity. It was only when the building was converted into an antique mall that the claims started to surface.
Some of the claims were easily debunked during the course of the investigation. Other claims surrounding reports of attacks on investigators failed to occur not matter the methods that were employed. One investigation does not yield enough data to draw a solid conclusion though and there may be something at the Mineral Springs Mall that could merit another investigation.
It should be noted that the size of the location and the lack of an effective climate control system made this investigation difficult. It took a minimum of 5-10 minutes of walking between locations which is investigation time that is lost. Also, you are only able to investigate some of the building since a large portion is used as retail space or living quarters. The fact that there were tenants that lived in the building also created an issue of noise contamination that there was no way of controlling for. All of these factors would cause PIM to pass on a return investigation to this location.