Did You Know This Illinois Museum Is Flanked By Not One, But Two Haunted Mansions?
Last week I learned about the haunted history of the Manny Mansion which flanks the right side of the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, and today I discovered that the mansion flanking the left side of Burpee is actually haunted too!
The History of The Barnes Mansion in Rockford
The Barnes Mansion was built by W.F. Barnes for his family in the midst of economic depression in 1893 and was one of the finest homes in Rockford. Like its neighbor, the Manny Mansion, The Barnes Mansion was known for its fancy lawn parties and was one of THE places to be in Rockford's social scene at the time according to burpee.org. In 1937 Barnes' daughter sold the home to the Rockford Park District, and they used the first floor as their headquarters until 1971, but they still own the building to this day. The Burpee Museum opened on the second and third floors of the home in 1942, and the museum remained there until they moved into their current location, but Burpee's administration offices are still located in the mansion.
The Many Haunts of The Barnes Mansion
When looking for stories about the haunted history of The Barnes Mansion I saw it referred to many times as "The Second Most Haunted Place in Rockford", which I never knew until today. We've all heard the haunted tales about Tinker Swiss Cottage and the Coronado, but apparently, The Barnes Mansion is like, wait, hold my beer.
So, how haunted is The Barnes Mansion? Check out these photos I found on Facebook that someone captured during a tour of the mansion last October.
Do you see that mysterious light in the back of the photo? Yikes!
Here's one of the paranormal experiences a former Burpee employee shared with hauntedrockford.com. The woman said she was in her office working on the first floor one night when she heard music coming from upstairs. When she went upstairs to investigate she discovered;
The music was definitely coming from the second floor and though there was no light on in the office the employee decided to check the room anyway. She lifted her foot to step into the room and the music stopped. As she stood there in the darkened doorway she felt a cold draft blow by her, chilling her. She turned to look back down the hallway and felt as though someone had stepped behind her.
Haunted Rockford also says several employees and visitors of the mansion have reported feeling 'like they were being watched' in the mansion's basement, and that they could sense an overwhelming feeling of sadness.
So why are so many spirits still lurking in The Barnes Mansion? We may never really know, but Haunted Rockford's article has some good theories to answer that question. Read it for yourself, here, because I have too many goosebumps to explain it any further.