7/11/08

Ashmore Estates Sci Fi Channel Spooked TV Children Of The Grave 2

Ashmore estates, located in Coles County, has been closed since 1987 when the state government decided not to fund the establishment any further. Ever since, stories have spread across the county about the building and the ghosts that may haunt it. (Robbie Wroblewski/The Daily Eastern News)


Ashmore on Sci-Fi channel by Ashlei Maltman/City Reporter

Full body apparitions, black mists, and a death-filled history. There couldn't be a more perfect place for a paranormal investigation than Ashmore Estates.

On July 2 and 3, Paranormal filmmakers, Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth, visited the Ashmore Estates. The brothers are compiling information for a sequel to their Sci-Fi channel documentary, Children of the Grave.

Their new documentary, Children of the Grave 2, will air on the Sci-Fi channel in May 2009.

The brothers are touring the country from Los Angeles, visiting different hot spots for paranormal activity, which included the Ashmore Estates.

They were given a lead by a paranormal investigator, who said the building seemed quite active. Hearing this, the Booth's were quite interested.

"We caught a lot of interesting stuff," Christopher said. "It was possibly the most active place on the whole tour."

They caught black masses, shadows crossing in front of the cameras, things breaking the laser beams, and they heard screaming and crying.

While in the estate, they used high definition cameras, devices to read electromagnetic fields, audio recorders, and laser grids to monitor when something walks through a certain area.

The Booth brothers had their cameras running from 3 p.m. to 5 a.m. and felt those hours would be more conducive to paranormal activity.

According to ashmoreestates.net, Ashmore Estates was built in 1916 and was the Coles County Almshouse until 1956. The site said during that period, approximately 100 people died in the building.

From 1956 to 1976 it housed the "mentally impaired," until Paul Swinford purchased the property, the site said. The building was then used as an intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled.

According to the website, the building was closed in 1987 due to a lack of government funding.

The Booth brothers have been in the film industry for five years and have made documentaries and movies such as Spooked, Children of the Grave and they are currently working on Children of the Grave 2 and The Possessed. You can order hem online at www.spookedtv.com

New ownership

Scott Kelley, and his wife Tanya, became owners of the property two years ago.

"It was a care facility for those with developmental disabilities, which in old lingo would be called a mental institution," Scott said. "It was not an insane asylum."

"Everybody wants it to be an insane asylum, but it was a nursing home for people with developmental disabilities," Scott continued.

Since becoming owners of the property, Scott and Tanya have started flashlight tours of the estate, have had 15 paranormal investigations, do hauntings on Halloween, and host classes.

There will be a class at the estate for paranormal investigators from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday for $20, and from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. is the Night of Insanity, where people can spend the night in the building.

Tours can be scheduled any day at anytime, except on Sundays. The minimum for a group is five people, the cost is $12 per person and the tour lasts approximately two hours.

This documentary filming at the estates has increased business for the couple.

"When a place has been through a movie, people want to come see the setting of what they saw on television," Scott said.

Trespassing has been an issue in the past, but the Kelley's are fully prepared to arrest trespassers.

"When the facility was closed, they left 47 beds, 47 dressers, bedside tables, etc, because they wanted to reopen it as another facility," Tanya said.

There is only one bed left because the rest was stolen out of the building.

Paranormal occupancy

Kentucky Joe is the only full body apparition that has been seen on site. Scott saw Joe for the first time Monday night.

At around 7 p.m., Scott was walking past the building entrance toward the lawnmower and he saw something in the hallway.

"Looking down the hallway, I saw a man in a top hat just peek out and go back in," Scott said. "I saw it for about a second."

Scott is the twelfth person to have reportedly seen Joe.

During the morning, before the Booth brothers left, another occurrence happened.

"Keith Age, host of Children of the Grave, was carrying a thermal imaging device, around 4:30 to 5 a.m." Scott said. "Bill, (an engineer who builds devices for the paranormal community), caught a black mist on his camera right in front of the nurses station watching them doing what they were doing. When the reporter came, it went down the hall and it disappeared."

While the early mornings are popular times to watch for action, Tanya said the building is mostly active around four in the afternoon.

"I would not even want to spend the night there alone," Christopher said.

Ashlei Maltman can be anmaltman@eiu.edu.

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