Each year Haunted Rockford Paranormal Events and Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens partner to present the Illinois Paranormal Conference. The Conference features speeches from several individuals prominent in the Paranormal Research Community. You can also meet and talk with other people from all aspects of the Paranormal, many of whom offer products and services in the vendor area.
Many historic places in Rockford and the surrounding area have long been reported to be haunted. We work with several different paranormal investigation teams to get you inside some of the homes and businesses named in many reports of paranormal activity. The investigators use a variety of electronic devices to try to find and record any events, while local historians give the background of the location and psychics give their impression of any spirits they sense.
There are many interesting people involved in the Paranormal Community. We bring them in for presentations at different haunted locations in the Rockford area. These guests include authors, psychics, and paranormal investigation teams. Kathi Kresol is also available to give presentations at your events for your youth, school or other group.
Join authors of books on local history and all aspects of the paranormal at these presentations. Here you will get the stories behind the stories.
Tour cemeteries in and around Rockford with Paranormal Investigator Kathi Kresol who will discuss stories from the history of the location. Our psychics will give you their impressions of anyone who might still linger.
Join us as we tour historic homes, businesses, neighborhoods and cemeteries in Rockford and the surrounding area. Local historian Kathi Kresol will tell stories from her research into the history of the location and sprit medium Sara Bowker will give you her impressions of any spirits who may linger.
Originally published in The Rock River Times.
Mr. and Mrs. Damon must have felt a great relief when the armistice was completed and World War I finally seemed to be over. They had two sons serving in the war, Sgt. Clinton Damon, who was a member of Company C 1st Battalion, and Cpl. Grant Damon, who was in Company K 129th Infantry Division. Clinton was in the replacement and training camp in Texas, and Grant was overseas in France fighting on the Western Front.
Grant, who was 26 in 1918, was expected home very soon, and Mrs. Damon stopped in to Veterans Memorial Hall on Dec. 5, 1918, to see if there was any news about his return. The Damons had not had any news from Grant for several weeks, but assumed he was busy making the arrangements.
Mrs. Damon probably didn’t comprehend the words that were on the slip of paper she was handed that day. Instead of greetings from her son, the letter contained the official notice that Grant was dead. He had died a month before on Nov. 5.
Grant had suffered horribly from the wounds he received in October during a gas attack. Mustard gas caused blistering — both externally and internally — and often blinded the men who came in contact with it. It was very effective initially, and it was even more deadly than other gases used earlier in the war. And mustard gas was absorbed into the soil, making it potent for weeks after the initial attack. This made the capturing of trenches even more dangerous.
The effects of the gases were horrible, but not usually fatal, at least not right away. Those victims who received fatal doses lingered for weeks, suffering from the blistering that would eventually strip away the mucus linings of their lungs. It was a brutally painful way to die.
One does not even want to imagine Mrs. Damon’s suffering when she received the devastating news that Grant would not be coming home. There is still something of that emotion in Veterans Memorial Hall of when Mrs. Damon received the news of her son’s death. Different psychics have sensed her there, still caught in that moment.
Grant’s body was shipped home to his family, and he was buried with honors in Cedar Bluff Cemetery. Psychics Paul Smith and Sara Bowker visited there for a tour with Haunted Rockford. They both sensed Grant there, and were able to add more to his story. Grant had been injured, but went back to aid a friend who had been wounded when he became overwhelmed with the gas. Paul Smith had sensed Grant’s mother at Memorial Hall, but had not been able to identify her. It was only while communicating with Grant that Smith was able to finally put a name to the woman.
The Grant family received a letter from the American Red Cross shortly after they were told of his death. It was printed in the Dec. 31, 1918, Rockford Register Gazette, and read: “Hard as it is to receive such news, we want you always to remember that this life was given in a wonderful cause, for if it had not been for such men as Corporal Damon, the victory which has come could never been won. The American Red Cross send you the deepest sympathy.”
Rockford’s cemeteries are filled with young men and women who made the supreme sacrifice for their country. They continue to be honored at Veterans Memorial Hall and through articles such as these. One hopes this knowledge brings comfort to the families of those lost.
Veterans Memorial Hall is at 211 N. Main St., downtown Rockford, and can be reached at (815) 969-1999.
Copyright © 2014 Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford Events
Thomas H. Saunders is the technical guy behind hauntedrockford.com. Tom designed and maintains the website and publishes the Haunted Rockford Newsletter each month. Tom is a graduate of Rockford East High School.
A family historian in his own right, Tom is the proud older brother of Kathi Kresol.
Please feel free to contact Tom if you are having any problems with the HauntedRockford.com website.
The paranormal has always been a part of Sara’s life. Since she was young, she has been aware there were spirits about. This fueled her desire to understand the unseen world around her, so she made frequent trips to the local library to research everything she could on ghosts, hauntings, and psychic awareness. She has spent half a lifetime researching various aspects of the unknown and investigating haunted locations. She is Kathi’s partner at Haunted Rockford, whom Kathi lovingly refers to as “her psychic sidekick.”
Sara enjoys creating content, indulging her artistic/creative side, writing, traveling, and exploring haunted locations. When she’s not ghost hunting or podcasting, she can be found spending time with her husband, their two children, a spoiled Boston Terrier and two goofy cats.
Kathi Kresol has been researching the history of Northern Illinois for almost two decades. She has published two solo books “Murder and Mayhem in Rockford, Illinois” and Haunted Rockford, Illinois”. Kathi has also collaborated with other local authors to share several short articles in four books featuring compilations of Rockford authors.
Kathi loves to share the stories she researches in presentations for local organizations and the Haunted Rockford Events. The local newspaper, Rock River Times has shared Kathi’s stories for several years. The column “Voices from the Grave” has allowed Kathi to share her passion for history with a larger part of Rockford’s Community. She is always honored when someone mentions reading one of her stories.
Kathi’s main goal in sharing her stories, whether they are true crime, ghost stories, or local history is to honor the lives of the men, women and children who came before. Some of the stories reflect a tragic moment in these peoples’ lives. But Kathi also tries to show the courage that the survivor’s displayed as they move forward from the worst possible moment. She also hopes that these stories illuminate the compassion that the folks of Rockford always have displayed to those who are suffering.
Kathi tries to weave the history and the legends together with personal experiences in sharing the ghost stories. Her goal is not to convince anyone to believe in ghosts. She invites folks to read the stories with an open mind and decide for themselves whether these tales are just interesting legends that have been passed down or true ghostly encounters. For maybe it is as Einstein once said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”
Kathi’s main inspiration comes from her four remarkable children and “the guy who brings her coffee,” John. They all support her by allowing her to drag them to historical places, listening to the stories, helping her “look for dead guys”, and putting up with her absences when she disappears to research or write.
Rockford Buzz, an online source of all things Rockford, published an interview with Kathi Kresol on October 31, 2018.