On Sept. 25, former Herald-News correspondent Mary Ellen Aschenbrenner will talk about her ghostly experience while writing a story about a historic Joliet home.
Aschenbrenner said she toured the former F.S. Allen home at 608 Morgan St. with three local parapsychology experts. The three had studied with famed psychics Helen Read, Rev. Harold Rice and Irene Hughes, Aschenbrenner said.
But what happened inside Allen's home that night terrified Aschenbrenner , who had arrived skeptical anything unusual would happen.
Aschenbrenner will share those details on Sept. 25.
Ironically, she had never set out to explore and write about a haunted house. In 1974, while working as a correspondent for The Herald-News, Aschenbrenner wrote a column for the publication called, House of the Week.
Most of topics revolved around newer homes. One day, Aschenbrenner decided she'd like to write about a historical home and starting looking for ideas.
Aschenbrenner was at Old Canal Days in Lockport when someone recommended the home that once belong to Frank Shaver Allan.
Allan was a Joliet architect who designed Joliet Central High School, the Patrick Haley Mansion, the former Christ Episcopal Church and the downtown branch of the Joliet Public Library.
However, the source told Aschenbrenner , the current owners were very private people and might not desire a story. But it was the source's last remark that really intrigued Aschenbrenner .
"She said, 'Oh by the way, it's haunted,'" Aschenbrenner said.
The owners agreed to a story but only if Aschenbrenner brought someone who had expertise in detecting paranormal presences. Another condition: the parapsychology expert could not know the owners.
Aschenbrenner recalled the feeling of panic at those words.
"How can I do that, when I don't even believe," she had said.
As it turned out, three parapsychology experts wanted to attend.
Aschenbrenner did write a story for The Herald-News about the house. But she did not share the details about her personal experiences in that story and has since formed her own opinions about that night.
It's those personal experiences that Aschenbrenner will share will on Sept. 25 at the Jacob Henry Mansion in Joliet.
The event is sponsored by Joliet’s Visitation and Aid Society who allocate assistance to Joliet families in emergency, critical situations.
“The V an A carefully investigates each case to ensure there is genuine need. We also contribute to local welfare and charitable organizations,” V and A President Laurie McPhillips said in a news release. “Additionally, the V and A allocates food and gift baskets to families in need during the holidays.”
Aschenbrenner's book, "Terrors and Travels. The Ghosts of F.S. Allen" is scheduled for release in 2020.
Two of her other books, "Born to be a Star Floating in a Galaxy of Hot Air" and "The Monster Within" are available on Amazon.
At 14, Aschenbrenner also wrote Lockport Township High School gossip column for The Spectator, a former Joliet weekly newspaper.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "The Ghosts of F.S. Allen"
WHEN: 6 p.m., Sept. 25
WHERE: Jacob Henry Mansion Estate, 15 S. Richard St. Joliet.
TICKETS: $30. Includes light appetizers. Cash bar available.
ETC: Sponsored by Joliet’s Visitation and Aid Society who allocate assistance to Joliet families in emergency, critical situations.
INFORMATION: Mail checks to:V & A, P.O. Box 2715, Joliet, Illinois, 60434 or call Laurie McPhillips at 708-436-3354.