Chicago psychic leads tour, séance in historic OP landmark
October 26, 2009 | 01:12 AM
When the moon hangs high above the Humphrey House, a seemingly unnatural darkness fills its hallways. The Orland Historical Society inhabits the house by day, but at night, some believe it belongs again to its original owner, Senator John Humphrey.
On Sept. 26, attendees of a séance hosted by Chicago psychic Edward Shanahan joined Humphrey in spirit — or at least some believe they did. The night kicked off with a tour of the home, located at 9830 W. 144th Place in Orland Park, led by OHS President Bob Elli.
The guests quickly learned that the house, constructed in 1881, has a dark history, if not dark spirits. Humphrey's first wife was found dead in their home in 1898, and she, Humphrey's second wife, and their first child, who died at birth, were waked in the living room of the home — where the séance with Shanahan was held.
Only seven were invited to sit at the table, while the rest surrounded on the sidelines. The lights were snapped off, candles were lit and everyone in attendance read an invocation aloud. As the last words were spoken, those at the table blew out their candles, extinguishing the last source of light in the house.
Darkness blanketed the room and Shanahan beckoned the spirits to join them. Gasps broke out among those sitting at the table as they began to experience what they came to feel that night, but weren't sure would actually happen. Similar sensations of the presence of a child were felt by two attendees, strangers before that evening.
Enza Lee of Bolingbrook said she felt a soft tugging on her elbow and an overwhelming sense that the child wanted to crawl into her lap. She welcomed the request, describing how it felt as the others silently waited in the dark for what might happen next.
John Stephenson of Frankfort was seated behind Shanahan with a temperature gauge, recording drastic changes. One area held a constant temperature of 72 degrees, but as Shanahan's interactions with Humphrey became more heated, so did the spot. Stephenson and those nearby watched as the gauge jumped from 72 to 87 degrees, and at some points, into the mid-90s.
The dismissal of the spirits came when Shanahan said he no longer felt safe and sent the spirits back to rest in peace. The lights were turned on, and Shanahan was revealed, looking noticeably exhausted.
A nervous excitement was palpable as guests described their experiences to one another. Some left convicted they felt something, while others remained skeptical.
"I didn't feel anything during the séance," said attendee Kim Dukes. "But I did see the temperature gauge jump to 86 degrees out of nowhere."
Peggy Williams of Frankfort said she felt the most from the spirits of the Humphrey children.
"I kept seeing the image of brown, little boys shoes that were scuffed," she said. "It came into my mind and I couldn't let it go."
For more about the Humphrey House and Orland's history, visit www.orlandhistory.org.
For more information about Shanahan, visit www.unexplainedworld.com or www.edwardshanahan.com.
Reach Jamie Lynn at Jamie@frankfortstation.com.