Final Entry: Harvey Mansion Investigation (PG)
Harvey, Illinois – September 13, 1988 – 4:45 AM. Our last night of a heretofore fruitless investigation of the house at 18 Mulgrave Street in Harvey, Illinois. Perhaps “fruitless” is a bit of an overstatement, we have detected the familiar drastic fluctuations in the localized magnetic field and Dr. Pollet is very pleased with the readings on his thermal sensors. This place is another rambling mass of wood (and much limestone, interestingly enough – I refer you to Weldon’s classic paper “Porous Stone and the Question of Vibratory Imprinting”) that has its share of mysterious, roving cold spots. Been there, done that and these results are hardly unique enough to take back to our colleagues at the ASPR. My frustrations are plain as this case looked so promising in the beginning. But, then, they all do.
The history of the disturbances here goes back three decades (an important clue as to possible origination) and, within the parapsychological community, the paperwork on it is extensive, but, for those who need a capsule, here goes: since the late Forties this Gothic-style mansion has changed hands fifteen times (at dramatically slashed prices for such a huge home) before finally being abandoned by the realtors and the town at large. Standing empty and falling into disrepair since 1978, the house is slated for demolition by the end of the year.
What makes this site so appetizing for researchers such as we is the sheer range and frequency of phenomena contained within the twenty-three rooms here. Various occupants have experienced the aforementioned cold spots, vile smells, sounds (footsteps, multiple voices in conversation, horrifying shrieks, even childish laughter), visual encounters with vaguely man-shaped, luminescent energy forms, and even a spectrum of physical-object manipulation on a par with the most extreme poltergeist cases. Over thirty years of continuous and well-documented instances of flying furniture and bucking beds to put the Harvey mansion firmly in the company of the “Surrency Terror,” the “Bell Witch,” and the “Enfield Poltergeist.” As you can see, a veritable smorgasbord of targetable effects. Several amongst the parade of owners were so psychologically scarred by their experiences here that they moved away from the house in the middle of the night, leaving not only the mansion, but the town of Harvey as well.
They were scared off. (Though, in a thoughtful footnote, those occupants with small children did report that their kids were reluctant to leave, having never felt frightened of the occurrences. Many actually cried at the thought of leaving “him” behind. When asked who they were referring to, the children could only say that they would miss their “friend” – the one who played games with them, brought them cookies and candy and made them laugh. More on this below.)
In the summer of 1959, during a particularly aggressive spate of haunting, the owner at the time, Mr. Wallace Floyd, hired the controversial “celebrity psychic” Peter Hurkos who, it must be stated, was only three years in the U.S. at the time and not yet widely known outside of research circles. Brought to Harvey by Dr. Adrija Puharich, who had just spent two years studying Hurkos’s abilities, the psychic was allowed to stay in the mansion with Floyd and his family for two weeks. Dr. Puharich stayed as well to monitor Hurkos’s impressions and act as control (Hurkos had had no time or resource to learn of the mansion or its history). Hurkos requested to leave after only five days. His very first intuition was of a very young, innocent presence – someone who, in Hurkos’s own words, “died pure.” But this entity was soon eclipsed by others – three, according to Hurkos – who played havoc on the visiting psychic’s sensitive perceptions. He described three souls of “vile hatred and rotten spite” that made it very clear to Hurkos that neither he, nor any other living person, was welcome in “their” house.