Houses Of Horror I: Frank Shaver Allen House in Joliet, Illinois

Frank Shaver Allen House Joliet IL 2048

All around the world, in every country there is no shortage of haunted places where the investigator can visit and explore. However, sometimes we forget there are countless private homes that are just as haunted as the places open to the public. We don’t often hear about them because the owners don’t want their private property becoming a tourist attraction for thrill seekers looking for a spooky good time. 

Although most people desire to keep their haunted home off the radar, there are several where the haunting was so intense, they couldn’t help but go public with the unnerving details. The Frank Shaver Allen House in Joliet, Illinois is a perfect example of this. There can only be two words to describe this house and the other homes we will take a look at: truly terrifying.

The Frank Shaver Allen House is the namesake of Frank Shaver Allen, a prominent architect native to Joliet. Allen built the house in the style that made him famous, Richardsonian Romanesque. Some highlights from his impressive design portfolio include Christ Episcopal Church in Joliet, IL, and Kenosha High School in Kenohsa, WI, which were built in the Gothic Revival style; both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house that bears his name does not share in the honor of being on the prestigious list. Nevertheless, it does have an altogether different distinction. The Frank Shaver Allen House is considered to be one of the top ten most haunted houses in the United States. The house appears to be almost infested with spectral inhabitants hell-bent on running anyone off who is courageous enough to reside behind it’s four walls. And so far, the ghosts have not failed in this endeavor.

The house gained national recognition in the 1970s, when a local journalist and a group of psychics visited the house. They had heard rumors that the family living in the house were experiencing a haunting and wanted to see if there was any truth to what they had heard. The psychics desired to help the family who lived in the house for almost a decade and remained in a constant state of anxiety caused by terrifying episodes that held them in its iron grasp of fear.

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According to the family, the terror began shortly after they moved in and began decorating their new home. Their young son was the first to complain that something was not quite right with the house. The couple’s son complained of the ghost of a little boy and his nanny visiting him as he played alone in his room. At first, his parents laughed it off believing their boy was lonely and was merely creating imaginary playmates. All that changed when the boy described in disturbing detail how his playmates wanted him to join them in the grave and play with them forever. It was after that bizarre first experience the activity in the house got progressively worse.

As the days passed and the activity became unbearable, another more terrifying apparition presented itself. The apparition of an elderly woman had a morbid delight in frightening the family. She was said to suddenly appear with a twisted look of madness in her eyes. She would let out an ear-splitting cackling laugh before vanishing before the horrified eyes of anyone unlucky enough to encounter her.

Appearances of unnerving apparitions wasn’t the only unexplained activity the residents experienced. Without warning, doors would suddenly swing open and violently slam at all hours of the day and night. Household items such as books, plates and glasses would inexplicably leap off shelves and float around the room before crashing to the floor. Deafening bangs on the walls were heard. They were so intense that they shook the house to its foundations. Lastly, to add a dangerous dimension to the apparent poltergeist activity, fires would suddenly spring to life, burn brightly and then extinguish themselves without causing any damage.

After enduring the nightmarish environment of the house for a decade, the family finally escaped and moved as far away as they possibly could. The Frank Shaver Allen House sat empty for many years, having gained a reputation for being a literal house of untold horrors. According to people who visited the house, the haunting appears to have gone dormant. Except for the occasional disembodied voice, unexplained noises and cold breezes the house is quiet. The Frank Shaver Allen House is currently on the market and you can buy it at a low price. That is if you dare to purchase Joliet’s most notoriously stigmatized property.

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About Rick Hale 106 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at

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