It was 7:00 pm, in pre-dusk glow from the setting sun mirrored the excitement that radiated in the thick summer air as I parked outside the trendy restaurant One Eleven Main in Galena, IL. In all honestly I did not know what to expect this evening. I had read how haunted the old building was supposed to be. Based on reports from other ghost hunting groups, I decided to find out for myself. I made a call to the owner, a very nice man with a delightful Irish accent, who was gracious enough to allow us to investigate.

Personally I believe that ghosts are the souls of people that either choose to stay on, perhaps to guard or look after a loved one, someone so possessive of others or property that they can’t let go, or a lost soul who doesn’t know they have passed. And for the most part these ghosts are harmless, playful, or nasty just like the people they had been.

The building that housed the restaurant has quite a history by itself. It was a furniture shop and a funeral parlor. In the earlier days, when one traveled by horse and wagon, many businesses were diverse. The making of furniture and the art of undertaking were strongly connected. After all, making your own coffins kept the price down and eventually everyone needs one. And like many furniture shops, they cooked their own glue and had wood shavings everywhere. This was probably the cause of a fire in 1856 that nearly took the whole block. It is a possibility that from this traumatic event ghosts are said to haunt the restaurant.

Our group this evening consisted of Dee, Missy, Leha, Kathy, Jesse, and myself. We were greeted by the head chef and he told us we could have the second and third floors to ourselves. Sounded wonderful to us, we could even hear the music playing from the dining area ever so slightly. Climbing the open staircase, one could admire the renovation work done on the woodwork and the old time items and photos that lined the walls. It felt like a warm, comfortable, place to be. It was no doubt the good smell of delicious food and muffled laughter of the guests that warmed a body’s heart and set the mood for the hunting of ghosts. Not fearful only hopeful.

The second floor was not of much interest to us, I had been told the activity was mainly on the third floor, though we did do a sweep with our equipment and each of us got familiar with the layout in case we needed to come down in the dark. The front area had big windows and the light from the store fronts on Main Street trickled in. Dark wood panels lined the walls, giving the feel of a time long ago when a solid-built place spoke volumes on safety and stability. The back of the large empty room had a row of smaller windows outside cars drove down the back street that was as busy as the main one in front.

Up on the third floor the rooms were very similar to floor below. The banquet hall was the largest, the walls were well made of deep, dark wood. Among the dark walls were large round tables covered in clean white tablecloths. If you looked hard you could see the charred black stain on the wood on the south wall. The floor had a strange rise to it about fifteen feet in. The rise was worn smooth, it rose up about one inch, just enough for a person to know it’s there but not enough to cause a problem with walking.

To the south side were two smaller rooms, one was nearly void of anything except a piano and a long table. The smaller back room held all types of dishes and serving items for the banquets that were enjoyed at the tables in the larger room. Located off to the side of the banquet room and to the back of the storage room was a back staircase for the servers and cooks to come up from the kitchen to retrieve what they needed. Empty metal trash cans lined the one wall.

The evening began with each of us getting our favorite equipment from the case and breaking up into smaller groups. Each of us has our own way to try to draw spirits. I think that is why sometimes one will get a reaction and another doesn’t. Ghost hunting is not an exact science, so one might call it a free-style art. I, myself try to talk to the “ghost” like I would talk to you. Others try and provoke or do a dare, or use flashlights, dowsing rods or different style of meters to draw the attention or a response from a spirit. Part of the excitement is wondering and waiting for a response.

Hours passed by slowly, until we were all very bored. With only the three rooms and nothing much in them, there wasn’t that much for our group of six to do. We did the usual EVP sessions with no responses on the recorder or K2 meter. We sat at the two banquet tables until finally our conversation drifted away from calling out to the spirits to discussing the latest news, which included murder, disappearances, and funny stories.

About three hours into the investigation it was suggested that we call it quits the music from downstairs could be heard and we reasoned that we would have to come back when it was quiet. Though it might have been since it was a Friday night and we all had full-time jobs that we were just plain tired. I began the usual ending by telling the ghost if he doesn’t want to talk to us we would leave him alone. A few minutes passed and I once again gave the warning that we will be leaving if that is how he wants to be.

A sharp whistle blew into my right ear, so sharp that I cupped my hand over my ear and turned to look in the direction of the noise. There I saw my first shadow person, or at least I was pretty sure that is what I saw. It appeared to be a transparent shadow that ran from one side of the room to the other. It was only about three feet tall and was bent forward like a child that was running and trying to hide as he went. It came from behind the brick wall and raced over to the charred bricked chimney.

I told the gang what I thought I saw and we all hurried to the area between the last couple of tables and searched for what it could have been. We searched even the room behind the chimney wall and stairs in case of some type of fraud or trick. Even though I “saw” it, the skeptic in me was not ready to admit it was a shadow person. The room had no lights on and the only light that filtered in was from the street lights that lined the road behind the restaurant. We were too high up being on the third floor for car headlights to cast a moving light or shadow. It had been something black and good sized that moved and we couldn’t come up with any other explanation except a shadow person.

I will admit it gave me the creepy crawlies when I realized I really did see a shadow person.

I called out, “We know you are there. Show yourself if you want us to stay!” We all watched and waited hoping beyond hope that the ghost would reappear. Nothing. We waited again, nothing.

“Ok, that’s it, we’re leaving.”

Figuring we have to show that we mean what we say, even to a spirit, we picked up our gear and began to walk toward the room with the piano where the case and backpack for the equipment sat. After all one is only as good as one’s word.

Dee had only her camera and while we packed up, she stepped out into the open area before the stairs. As she did so, she snapped a picture, “I think I saw the shadow, it’s a boy.” Of course it brought all of us out of the smaller room we all stared hard down the length of the banquet room. Dee squealed “Look!” She had been studying her review screen on her camera and there in among the tables stood a see-through form. One could make out the eyes, nose, mouth, and body. It was a little boy! He was looking back on us.

The following week I took a copy of the picture and met with the owner of One Eleven Main in Galena, IL. I did explain, except for my personal experience and the picture, there was nothing else that happened that was unusual. He informed me that he had been told by different groups that there are two ghosts on third floor at one time the building had only two stories and the third floor was the roof. The first was an old lady appearing in period clothing, feeding invisible birds on the rooftop, where the rise of the floor was. She sounded like a residual type haunt, she never interacted with anyone, just would fade away. The other ghost was more active and would respond to a person. He was reported to be a little boy! The owner said Dee’s photo was the best proof he had of the little boy, that others had sensed or seen him with their eyes but had no other evidence like the photo. He was very pleased to get it and said we are welcome to come back any time.

We did try again a few weeks later and this time we set up a computer with video and audio. The computer was constantly coming unplugged, not enough to fall from the electrical outlet, but just enough to kill the power. We taped down the cords and placed a chair over the outlet so that as peopled walked by it would not be bumped, but even that did not keep the cord from working loose. We had a horrible evening, all the batteries in our digital cameras constantly drained.We kept replacing them to no avail. The battery in the computer wasn’t doing any better.

Personally I think the boy was mad at us for tricking him into revealing himself. When we finally gave up, and were actually starting down the stairs, a loud bang sounded. We raced, cameras in hand, to check out who was in the building with us. It was after hours and no one was supposed to be there. And no one was. Missy banged the metal trash can and that was clearly the sound we heard. Someone had kicked the metal garbage pail in the hall next to the back stairs, to scare us no doubt.

Guess the boy had the last say about our visit.