Maybe the best way to describe it was really “creepy.”

For years, what happened late one night in Lisle has given me the “heebie-jeebies” ever since.
Now, after stumbling on even more information,
I knew it was time to try to get to the bottom of what I've been wondering about for many years.

I was pretty young at the time… I guess my older brother and the other kids his age used to go down to the railroad tracks at night and “party” quite a bit. My brother and his friends would eventually make their way back to our house in the evening. You could always hear them when they came through the door, yelling, laughing and basically just being stupid. They would "hang-out" at our house for hours…
They always seemed to be so loud…

One night though, when they came through the door, things just didn't seem the same. It was late and I could hear them talking to one another… But something just didn't seem right. Eventually, I could hear my mom talking with them in the kitchen. There were no “big laughs” or no yelling . Just quiet talk… I found this very strange. So I dropped what I was doing and came out of my room to see what was going on.

I walked in during one of my brother’s detailed descriptions of something that had happened down at “the tracks.” They were hanging-out around the bridge where the tracks go over the St. Joseph’s river.
The expressions on my brother’s friend’s faces were serious… Almost stunned. These guys were NEVER serious about anything and to see them together not smiling made me uneasy. My mom was listening to my brother’s story and I tried to make sense of what I started to hear.
Something about him and his friends…They had been down by the tracks screwing off and apparently saw something bad???
My mom was asking them about a man? Or they were talking about somebody running away???
It still wasn't making any sense…

Then my brother started to describe something they had all seen next to the tracks.
At that point, the story started to come together.
It wasn't a long or detailed story. But what did happen absolutely scared the life out of them… And now me!

Apparently, while walking near the woods next to the tracks, one of my brother’s friends saw something move that totally freaked him out. Nobody could figure it out so they just kept moving. Suddenly, about 40 feet away, a “figure” could be seen moving next to the tracks. The “figure,” as they described it, wasn't a person but a “light mass” in the shape of a human. It seemed to have paused for a second and looked towards them and then darted away.
It wasn't very bright but it was visible enough that they all could easily see it.
Needless to say, my “cool” brother and his wild friends were left shaken and startled to say the least. They got to our house and sat in the kitchen just trying to make sense of what they had witnessed. And I haven’t been able to shake they’re story out of my head for decades.

I guess everyone has strange stories to tell. Over the years I have thought about their story on many occasions. But several additional pieces of information that I have discovered since then have definitely given me reason to pause.

Is my additional information related to what they saw down by the tracks that night? Honestly? Probably not.
Did these events happen in Lisle? Oh yeah!
So… Should we write about them here? You’re “dang” right!

Additional item number one:

About a year ago, I started working on a TV series about haunted areas in the U.S. for a Halloween TV special to be aired on a local TV station. When I started doing some research, I found “ghost” stories from just about everywhere…
Most of them I found to be pretty cliché.
However, while researching stories, I was startled to find a whole bunch of "eyewitness" accounts from a place called “Lisle, Illinois!”
Hey, I knew where that was!

So I continued further reading about other people’s experiences from Lisle.
Most of the stories come right from the area that my brother’s story had came… The railroad tracks and the woods just north of Benet Academy. And many stories have come from inside Benet Academy and Benedictine University (formerly known as St. Precopius College.) In fact, most of the stories come from both these places.

According to many sources, there have been numerous eyewitness accounts of children being seen around the surrounding areas. Or appearing in the hallways or storage rooms at Benet. There are sightings of children and yes… even “orbs” or “light forms” that tend to take on a human shape and move through the surrounding areas. There were reports from more than 30 years ago and they continue to this day.

Okay… Are your hairs standing up yet?

Additional item number two:

While growing up in Lisle, I never knew that Benet Academy was originally an orphanage. It was called St. Joseph’s Bohemian Orphanage.
In 1899, The Benedictine monks established an orphanage there and took in hundreds of Bohemian and Polish children that had lost their parents to war or other terrible outcomes experienced in Eastern Europe. Most of the children were in good health and enjoyed the many activities and learning opportunities at the orphanage. Most of the children grew up and went out into the world far from the orphanage to have normal lives.
Some, however, never left the orphanage. In fact, some of the children are still there today.
At the turn of the century, medical technology was crude and it was a much more serious scenario when a child became ill.
Well… that is what happened to many of the children at the orphanage. In fact, some became so sick that they actually died at the orphanage.

Eventually, the orphanage selected a small piece of land, around the west side of the main building, to be a small cemetery for the children that were never to leave. Great care was given to this final resting place. Headstones were prominent and the area was well planted and peaceful.

1959 was the last year of St. Joseph’s Bohemian Orphanage and the first year of what is now known as Benet Academy.
So what was with all the “sightings” over the years at Benet or down by the tracks?
My natural curiosity was making me crazy and I knew it was time for some additional research. So I went back to Lisle to start doing some serious poking around.

First, I wanted to find out more about why people had seen “things” down around the tracks and surrounding woods.

Second, I needed to get more information about the orphanage.. Or "Benet Academy." And hopefully from someone that has been there a while.

First... the railroad tracks:

Two additional stories I had found were as follows:

Patty Arradondo wrote:

I was with my boyfriend at about 2am down by the road that runs along the Burlington railroad tracks behind what is now Tel-Labs. Our friends were in another car and we were just hanging out after getting off work. I heard my friend in the other car scream. I thought someone was tickling her. When I turned to look towards their car, I could see what looked like a person walking right by the tracks. It was so dark and it really scared me. But what was strange is that the person seemed to glow in the darkness. It was really weird. I could tell my boyfriend was a little scared too. He started the car and when he turned on the lights to see the person better it just disappeared. Later, we all agreed that we had all seen the same thing.

A second story is as follows:

People living in the homes just past Yackley bridge know all about the teenagers that used to hang out on that little dead end road just southwest of the bridge. Their cars would be parked near the tracks and they would hang out, drink beer, smoke pot and break glass. Yes, this was Lisle’s youth at it’s best!
One night, two of the kids that were partying knocked on one of the neighborhood home’s door. The kids were in a panic and said someone had been hit by a train near the bridge. The police were called and before they arrived, many of the kids split because they didn't want to get busted.
When the police and fire department showed up, there was no “body” to be found anywhere. Not even a trace!
The kids that had witnessed it swear a person was walking right on the tracks. A couple of the kids even yelled to the person to get off the tracks because a train was coming fast! They were terrified to see the train run right up to the person and the body disappearing to the other side after being hit. Again, nothing was ever found.

In April of 2005, I was in Lisle trying to find any other stories to substantiate these claims or just to find any information that might shine any light on these stories.
I asked many people about the “train track” incidences. No one had much to offer. Then I called my brother and had him tell me his story just one more time. I wanted to be sure I wasn't crazy here! He told me the story just as I remembered it.

So what have I found out about the “tracks” in Lisle?
Well, nothing much more about “ghosts” or strange sightings… But… I did learn that Lisle’s train tracks and depot have one heck of a deadly history. Especially in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Lisle was the leader in “pedestrian / train” fatalities. For a long time, Lisle was desperate to find a way to curb the amount of fatalities along our stretch of tracks. Some of these articles and pictures really spoke for themselves.


This surreal looking photo from 1972 made my every nerve tingle when I first looked at it.
The white arrow points to one of the many people that had their life ended along Lisle's stretch of track. My brother and his friends had their "encounter" just around the bend from where we see the officer's standing. (BTW: Remember those bricks?)

This is the article that accompanied the above photo.

The first paragraph of this article from 1978 reads as follows:
"Eleven deaths in 14 years at the Lisle depot pedestrian crossing and another at Yackley road west of the station give Lisle the worst fatality record ..."
The town with the second worst record was Downer's Grove that had only three deaths in 17 and a half years. No one could figure it out... Why Lisle? And why so many?

This article tells of 12 that had been killed since '64. Again, it mentions one of the deaths occurred when a lady was crossing the tracks near the Yackley bridge. That is right where the teenagers reported seeing the "person" walking on the tracks. And its only yards from another "sighting" as noted above.

Now Benet Academy..

Before visiting Benet Academy, I called and made an appointment with a man that had been around Benet Academy for over 50 years. His name was Father Jude Randall and surely, I thought, he could shine some light onto this whole "sightings" thing!

The day I was to meet with Father Jude, I couldn't help but driving over to Benet Academy a little early and taking a look around. When I drove down Yackley,
I couldn't believe how things had built up. That beautiful field that was west of Sacred Heart Monastery (on the northeast corner of Yackley and Maple) was completely built up with town homes and large multi-story office buildings. It wasn't that long ago that this beautiful piece of land was full of green grass, blooming fruit trees and vineyards.

However; upon entering the Benet campus, I was just as impressed with it's beautiful architecture as I always had been. There were a few well done building additions but they had kept to the original lines and styles of the old buildings. Nicely done!

It was strange looking up at the main building. I had never looked at it this way before. Knowing what I know now, it took on a completely new ambience.
After learning of all the orphaned children that had once called this place home, you tend to see this place in a completely new light.

This shows the original St. Joseph's Orphanage in 1899 located on the grounds of St. Procopiuos Abby. The orphans were then moved across Maple Ave. to the buildings that are now Benet Academy.

Here is the main building for the St .Joseph's Bohemian Orphanage that they built in 1910. The children look like little flowers on the lawn.
Here is the same building today. Many of the "sightings" have occurred on the top floor that has been under lock and key for many decades.

Before meeting with Father Jude, I couldn't help myself.. I had to drive around the building and see if I could find the old cemetery on my own. As I made my way around the buildings, I had to be careful of the daily hustle and bussle of "modern day" Benet Academy life. School had just gotten out and the students were running around everywhere. Busses were picking up, cars were pulling out and athletic teams were hitting the fields for their afternoon workouts. The entire campus was filled with a fast paced energy.. An energy that could only be experienced immediately following an "end of the day" school bell. It was great!

As I drove around to the side parking area, I looked for anything resembling a cemetery. There were cars everywhere, guys playing baseball on the field and the sound of car stereos crankin' the latest "jams." I couldn't imagine a cemetery ever being located back here in this busy mess! Then, just to my left and sitting next to the parking lot, I noticed a small group of trees surrounded by a chain link fence. "This couldn't be it" I thought.."Not sitting out here in the middle of all this..." There were even people's houses that looked right into the little area.

I parked the car and walked over to get a closer look. "Oh my gosh!" I thought. Here it was! A small grassy area under a few trees with about twenty small headstones. I walked up closer and into the area just under the trees. Suddenly, all the busy activity of Benet's after school hustle seemed to have quietly drifted away and I was sitting amongst many of the orphans that were never to leave St. Joseph's.

This picture shows the cemetery in the early 1900s. The camera is pointing northwest.
Here it is today. The woods on the left used to be a part of Childwood stables. Now, those are homes from the Steeple Run subdivision looking directly into the cemetery. The brick shrine & small statue are now gone. Benet's west parking lot is just right of frame. A small chain-link fence still surrounds the area just as it did years ago. I found it ironic that a child's favorite toy, a swing set, can be seen in the yard just feet from the children's resting place.

This is little "Joseph Vukovic's" headstone.
He was born in 1912 and died just days before Christmas in 1916. He was only 4.

After reading some of the headstones, I started to realize just how young some of them were.
From what I understand, St. Joseph's orphanage must have been a pretty happy place because some of the graduating "orphans" (after reaching age 18) requested that, after they die, their bodies be laid to rest here. And a few of them are.

After spending a few minutes walking among the stones, I was amazed how the noise and energy of the surrounding area just seems to drift away. It was very easy to feel completely alone with the memory of these children and the breeze gently blowing through the trees above.

I knew it was getting to be the time that I was to meet with Father Jude so I left the cemetery behind and headed over to the main building. I have to admit that I was feeling a little foolish. How was I going to ask him if he knew of any "ghost sightings" over the years? I felt like a twelve year old who had been dared to ask a really stupid question... just to prove I would.

As I waited in the main office for him to arrive, I watched the Benet students crowding the hallways of Benet. All of them in their Catholic uniforms, slamming their lockers, talking with their friends and hurrying to get on with their "after school" lives. I couldn't help but wonder if any of them had ever heard any of the stories about this old building. I wondered if they had ever stopped to imagine this place as an Orphanage.. Or if they had ever stopped to marvel at the history within these old hallways and rooms. And maybe I should ask them if they had ever heard of any "sightings" here at Benet?

At that point my thoughts were interrupted by a mass of kids screaming and laughing. It seems a boy was attacking another boy with a water balloon.
Two boys ran past me with water that splashed onto my shirt, two girls were laughing hysterically and a third boy ran out the door yelling at the others. It was such a wonderful mayhem!
At that point I realized.. Why on earth would these energetic young kids want to think about the history of some old building when they've got this awesome thing called "life" to keep up with?
Needless to say, I didn't ask any questions.. They probably would have thought I was some sort of a freak!


Finally, Father Jude showed up.. We introduced ourselves to each other and I went on to tell him about what I was looking for. But at that point, I only had the nerve to tell him that I wanted to know more about the orphans and where they had come from. I wasn't ready to ask him about any "sightings."

Father Jude

I found him to be an incredibly friendly man and he seemed very eager to share what he knew. He then asked me to follow him to his office because he had a whole bunch of paperwork that he wanted to show me about the history of Benet and Benedictine College.

On our way to his office, it was very clear to me that he was one heck of a popular guy around Benet. Anyone we passed would say hello to him or stop him and want to talk about something. It seemed like it took forever just trying to get to his office!

When we got to his office, he sat me down at a large round table and brought out several folders containing information and pictures that documented the history of St. Joseph's and of Benet. I looked through much of it and asked him about the orphans. I figured I could prime him with some simple questions before I hit him with the "biggy" question that I was still too embarrassed to ask.

He told me that years ago, the Chicago Diocese had too many Polish and Bohemian orphans and they needed to expand. So, they gave the St. Procopius monks 40 acres in Lisle and had them start the orphanage out of a farm house there.
I also learned a little about the day to day life that these children led... Regular schooling, chores and prayer-time was a regular part of living here. But they also had music classes, sewing, playgrounds and large group activities. And after looking at one of the old photos in particular, it was pretty obvious that these kids spent much of their meal times consuming poultry products.

Here is a photo of the chicken farm that was located at the orphanage. And notice.. There is not one P.E.T.A. demonstrator to be seen in this photo.
A great group shot of some of the kids. Notice that each girl had her own identical doll and they've proudly placed them sitting together in front of the group.

These photos just capture so much of the beautiful innocence that only children, no matter were they are from, can project.
This absolutely classic shot shows the nightly prayer time before bed. It also makes me wonder if anyone ever had the courage to mess with that nun standing at the far back of the room.

This has got to be one of my favorite images. The Music Room, located on the eastern / upper floor of the main building. Not only did the children get to experiment with the piano and sing their favorite songs... But they also got to sit and listen to music off of those thick 78 rpm records. Check out the "crank up" record player in the center of the photo. Before the days of radio, they must have been feeling pretty lucky to have that cool "music box" in their music room. You could just imagine the nuns winding that thing up and letting it rip! Can't you just hear it?

Here is the campus bakery in 1918. You can just imagine the incredible aromas that came from this place.
Here is a current photo that clearly shows the original water tower and the original maintenance garage.

Here is an amazing shot of the original "power plant" and it's inner workings. Coal and then oil was used to keep those boilers pumping out the hot water that fed into the building's "radiators" to keep things warm.
Here is the same building today and it is still in use!

After chatting for a while, I felt like Father Jude and I were starting to become a bit more comfortable with each other. I knew that it was probably a good time as ever to toss out the "big" question.

First, I told him about the research we had been doing for a TV show and about some of the stories we had found about people seeing "things" in Lisle at places like Benet and the surrounding areas.
The moment I began to talk about it I could see a change in his facial expression. I hadn't even asked the question when I started to see the beginning of a grin on his face. I figured he was probably going to think I'm some sort of childish "nut case," tell me to have a good day and show me to the door.

Well boy was I wrong!

He seemed to be holding back a laugh or two when he looked at me. With a great big smile he said "oooh yes!" Almost like he had been waiting for decades for someone like me to come sniffing around asking questions.
Then I asked the big question.."So..." I said. "Have you ever heard of any of these stories???"
He looked at me and laughed a little... In his eyes it seemed he was going back in time. He reminded me of how my dad would pause and allow himself to drift back in time before he would tell me stories about his boyhood antics.
No doubt I had tapped into something and I couldn't wait to get down to it.

He began to tell me that yes, there have been many reports of people "seeing" things. He knew because he had heard many of them over the years. I could tell that Father Jude didn't want to be too specific and maybe that's understandable for someone in his position I thought. But to my surprise, he also let me in on some unknown little tidbits of information that I'm not sure many people even know about..

With a mischievous twinkle in his eye, Father Jude began telling me about the reports he would hear... "Oh yeah, for years there have been reports... People seeing something upstairs or down the hallway etc, etc..."

Examples of reports:

Lisle - Benet Academy - used to be St. Joseph's Orphanage. The two halls, Benet and Joseph made up this orphanage. Many teachers believe that this place is haunted. There are many claims to orphan sightings. Also, on 4th floor Joseph hall there have been sightings of a nun who watches over the grounds. By the way, this floor is used as a closet to put all the old theater props and has many statues in it. Some have claimed that the statues move. The tunnels are said to be under Benet hall and that they lead to St. Procopius Abbey across the intersection. Some believe in the tunnels and ghosts some don't.

Lisle - Benedictine University - There have been sightings of a little boy running around campus in a blue tee-shirt and a pair of shorts no matter what the weather, then just disappears. In one of the dorm buildings there is a heavy presence. They actually closed that dorm down now... Then there is Benedictine hall. All some of the janitors will not even go up to the 4th floor to clean it. A priest is supposed to haunt that floor. There are also underground tunnels under the campus that are also haunted. I have felt and seen these presences personally. All accept the underground tunnels.

Other reports include many "sightings" of a boy near and around the stables that used to be behind Benet Academy. No one knew who he was and he would never be around long enough to be approached or talked to.

Local residence used to hear kids screaming and playing in the woods behind Benet Academy at all hours of the night in the mid 1970s.

There have been occasions when custodian staff had claimed to have seen a child on the upper floor after hours.

Many Benet students have reported seeing a child looking down on them from one of the windows on the top floor of the Administration building. This has been reported on numerous occasions over the years.

This photo that I snapped definitely shows something staring down from the top window..
But it doesn't look like a child...

But if you're a priest living at Benet and there are all these ghost stories floating around for years, why not have a little fun with it right??? Well that is exactly what Father Jude and some of the other priests would do. And when he started telling me about it, I had to stop him and ask him to start the story again... Mainly because I could hardly believe what he was telling me.

According to Father Jude, on occasion or two, he and a couple of other priests would have a little fun with all the hype that was going around the campus...
For example, one of the favorite things these "priests" would do is to grab one of the statues at it's base and just turn it a couple inches... That's all... Just a little twist... And within a month or two, they would start to hear stories about "someone" who knows "someone" who swears that they knew "someone" that actually saw the statue move one day. Like a young college student, Father jude was thoroughly amused just getting to tell the story!

I sat there stunned... This couldn't be... Was what I was hearing correct?
This was the "head honcho" priest at Benet telling me that him and "the guys" would actually have a little harmless fun? Wait a minute!!! They wore all black... With the little white collars for Pete's sake!!! And they're having fun??? Can "they" do that I wondered.. Fun?? Priests??
I now felt myself totally at ease with this man!

Then I realized that my personal and bigger question was this... Was he and the other priests responsible for the "sightings" that had been seen as far back as the 1950s. Father Jude was around then. Did he and the other priests have some hidden "projection devices" laying around somewhere? Were there hidden "audio playback" systems that no one knew about? Was I sitting here looking at "the orphanage ghost" himself? He then assured me that he couldn't speak for all the strange occurrences that have been reported over the years... and there have been many. But maybe he knows about a couple...

So then I had to ask... Do you think any of the reports have any validity, I asked..
He smiled and sighed.. He told me a story that was currently in the news. It was a story about a freeway underpass near Chicago. Apparently, the water and salt that has been dripping down the side was starting to create a large stain on the wall. The next thing you know, someone reports that they can see the Virgin Mary in the patch of stained cement. The Illinois highway road crews actually had to come in with traffic control because people couldn't help but stop on the highway to take a look. People started leaving candles and messages. People started running into each other.
It was mayhem!

So??? I asked...
So, he said.. Sometimes, people tend to believe what they want to believe...
Then I asked him if he believed any of the stories from Benet... All he did was smile, waive his hand and say "aaahh!"

Father Jude then went into a small back room that was located in his office... I figured I would sit and sift through more of the information that was laying on the table before me. And then suddenly, Father Jude appeared with a large ring of keys... "Let's go for a walk!" he said.. Cool! A walk! I felt like a Golden Lab getting ready to go outside!
I grabbed my camera, we exited his office and into the Benet hallways. I must admit that I had a hard time keeping up with him. Thank goodness there were still students around because they would always make him slow down to say hi.

If you've ever been inside the main building, you can't help but notice the mixture of the old and new that surrounds you everywhere. Modern computers inside rooms with beautiful hundred year old doors. Cool modern desk lamps next to century old hand railings and old steel heat radiators. It's absolutely wonderful!

He started to lead me up several flights of stairs. The stairs at Benet are steeper than any stairs I could ever imagine. I was huffing and puffing.. But not Father Jude... No my friends, this man was in command of the stairs!
I asked if there were any elevators around... And he said "Nope... Just stairs."
Now I felt like a total wimp!
But he did say an elevator might be his next project.

When we arrived at the first floor on his tour, I soon found out that there was something he really really wanted to show me. I think he sensed my appreciation for the integrity that was built into much of our old buildings and architecture. He new I was diggin' the hallways of Benet and it's history... And now he couldn't wait to open the door of Benet's (and his) pride and joy.
He searched for the key on the ring... Found the right key... Stuck it in and then??? Viola!
Wow!! Look at this!!! The door opened to reveal the old original chapel that had been reduced to waste over the years and had now been renovated back to it's near original state! I looked over to Father Jude who was looking towards the front with a huge smile on his face! I could see he was so excited about it... And rightly so!

He told me that years ago, it had become too small so they had to build a new one in the other building. Then they used this room for many purposes including a performing arts theater. The original stained glass had been covered with plywood, the stage moved, the walls painted black and the original wooden floor covered with "carpet glue" and then carpet installed with additional glue and nails. The restoration was a huge labor of love and Father Jude loved to share it with others. And I'm glad he does.

Would you look at the smile on this guy's face. Proud as can be, Father Jude shows off the restored chapel where the children originally attended mass.

Here is a photo of the original chapel and altar. Notice the stained glass, ceiling arches and original wood floor.
Here it is today in it's restored state. These photos do it no justice whatsoever. To actually stand there and see the detail is really a treat!

Imagine their surprise when they found these magnificent (original) stained glass windows when they removed the plywood walls that had been put over them for many many years. The glass used is some of the best in the world and it came right from Kokomo Indiana!
"Who would have thunk?"

After our time in the chapel, Father Jude looked at his keys and told me there was another place that I'd probably want to see. We left the chapel and it was time to go up some more stairs. When we got to the top of the stairs, I knew we had to be very near the top floor of the building. In the past, I had learned that it was the very top floor of Benet Academy where many of the "sightings" had taken place. Could it be that he was actually bringing me to the top floor of Benet??? The attic?

At the top of the stairwell, we arrived at an old wooden door. But this door didn't seem like the other doors at Benet... This one seemed more like a closet door and had no window. It even seemed to be locked tighter than most doors. I couldn't help but notice Father Jude having a hard time getting it unlocked. As he wrestled with his keys trying to get it unlocked, I noticed that the hallway we were standing in was completely empty. There were no sounds of kids and it just seemed quite desolate. We were both alone with this door.

After turning the final lock, Father Jude slowly opened the door and said "this is one of the places where some people have claimed to have seen "things"..." I couldn't believe it! I looked through the doorway and there I saw... You guessed it... More stairs.

At this point I knew it! I was following him up the stairs that led to the top floor... Sometimes referred to as "the attic." A place that has been left standing for close to 100 years! For whatever reason, this upper level has been behind lock & key for decades and I was slowly being led up the stairs to have a very rare look into the place I had only read about.

Father Jude begins to open "the door!"
He smiles when he sees how excited I am about where I was about to go.
Father Jude leads the way up the stairs into the forgotten level of St. Joseph's Orphanage.

This photo from 1911 shows two letters. (A) shows where we entered the upper level. (B) shows where the music room was. About midway is where the bathroom was located.

While climbing the steps, I must admit, it felt a little strange... I felt like I was in one of those old black & white movies. The corners of the walls and stairs were coated with cobwebs and the paint was peeling in sheets off the wall. The only light available was that coming through the windows, and there was an obvious "musty" aroma.
All I needed now was a candelabra and some eerie music.
And to top it all off.. I was even with a priest!

When we reached the top of the stairs, I couldn't believe my luck! Here I was at the top floor... The "attic" of Benet Academy. The former top floor of St. Joseph's orphanage.. And with a priest!!! And it was here that many had reported seeing children, woman and other unexplained shadows and such. Was this cool or what!!!

Father Jude explained to me that this floor had not changed in many years. It was used primarily as a storage area. There were old stain glass windows, paintings, old furniture and even many items from the orphanage days. He said it was fine for me to go off and look around.
So slowly I began to walk down the old wooden floor hallway and tried to take it all in. It's an eerie feeling walking through this place.. I had this strange feeling I was being watched by something... Like maybe I didn't belong there. But it was also extremely interesting. Almost one hundred years sitting almost unchanged in front of me.

This is pretty typical. A window that looks out to nowhere. Hmmm.
I opened a closet door and found what looked like original "ornate" copper roofing... The door lead nowhere. Hmmm.

Here is a photo of the main hallway looking east. Notice the clutter of beautiful old "lead inlay" windows (lower right foreground,) Desks and chairs are among the many other things stored .
Here is a close up shot from the picture seen on the left. This really shows the old peeling paint and an old door that leads up into the space above the hallway.

This huge wooden door led to a large square closet-like room that led up to the "vent hatch" for the vent shown in the picture on the right.
This large vent (next to the letter "C") is accessible from that huge old door on the left.

I couldn't believe it when I came across this original tub that was still in the original bathroom used by the children back at the turn of the century.. Do you believe it!
Here are a couple toilet stalls still in place after all this time. The original plumbing is still inside the stall but the toilets are long gone.

This window is located in the last room on the east side
of the building. It overlooks the "dormitory" building that was built in 1919.
In this same room, you see a window looking south and an odd "dark box" being stored on the right. After taking a closer look, I discovered that the box was actually a casket being stored up here... Hmmm.

Father Jude patiently waiting for me to finish my "poking around. "

After leaving that old "floor" and returning to Father Jude's office, I thanked him for the information, the tour and his graciousness. My last question to him was concerning the future of these beautifully old buildings. Do they plan to tear them down like they did with St. Benedictine Hall across the street? He gave me a resounding answer... NO!!!
And he even seemed a bit disturbed at the thought of that old building coming down the way it did.
I was glad to hear his answer and I hope to visit with him again someday...

Father Jude... A genuinely and refreshingly NICE man!

After leaving Benet, I drove slowly up Yackley and over the tracks. I wondered, that after all this research and poking around, if I had found anything that might shine any light on the strange stories people had reported over the years. What were those "orbs?" Or what or who did those people see in the hallways, in the woods, down by the tracks?
Are there still some young "spirits" roaming the area of what used to be the orphanage? I still have to doubt it.

Quite honestly? I'm not sure I know any more than when I started.

Maybe someday I'll get to see a ghost or a UFO.. But until then, I think I'll just keep trying to find out more cool stuff about this little town that we grew up in.


Lisle ghosts, haunted houses and mysterious places.

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