A Mansion Fit for a Ghost: Illinois Home Built Without Square Corners

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A Mansion Fit for a Ghost: Illinois Home Built Without Square Corners
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Stickney House in Bull Valley, Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Janoa Taylor.)

The greater Chicago area is home to some amazing real estate, but there is one mansion that is eerily unique. This mansion is not only rumored to be occupied by ghosts, but it was specifically built with ghosts in mind. That's why the creators had it designed without square corners.

Mansion Built for Ghosts

George Stickney and his wife Sylvea started building what is now known as the Stickney House in Bull Valley, Illinois, about 60 miles northwest of Chicago, with their spiritualism practices in mind in 1849. Rumored to be mediums, the couple wanted to build a place that was conducive to inviting spirits to visit. The talk of the town was that they wanted to stay in contact with their dead children. They had 10, but only three survived. Others say they wanted to reconnect with dead friends. Either way, the house was built for the spirits to roam freely, and in the Stickneys' belief, the spirits would get stuck in 90-degree corners.

House Characteristics

The Stickneys instructed their architect to build the two-story mansion without square corners, and it's rumored that the house has only one. They believed the consequences of a spirit getting trapped in a corner were immense and that corners attract evil spirits. Construction was completed in 1865.

The Mansion Today

The Stickney House is now the home of Bull Valley's police station. After years of rotating owners, the house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the deed was given to Bull Valley Village in the 1980s. The Bull Valley Police Department then moved into the mansion even though it needed some work. To this day, Bull Valley Village is trying to raise funds to restore their community landmark. Besides the problems associated with the building's age, the Stickney House was also vandalized in the 1960s. A group of people who were living in the place built open fires on the floors of the mansion, painted the walls, and left spray-painted messages.

Stories and Legends

Over the years, many legends have been told about the Stickney House. One of the eeriest stories surrounds George Stickney's death. It is said that he died in the only 90-degree corner in the house, most likely due to heart failure.

More stories around the Stickney House are, of course, ghost stories. Over the years, people who have occupied or visited the home have either claimed or dispelled the stories. The village administrator, Rich Vance, told the Northwest Herald that he heard a high-pitched scream directly in his ear even though he was the only person in the room late one night in 2006.

Officer Ken Hoffman has also told stories of strange happenings in the building. Even though he doesn't believe in ghosts, he has experienced some unexplainable incidences. While in an office, he and the late police chief saw a woman in white walk by the window. In a separate occurrence, he saw a desk's drawers opening before the desk began to tip over.

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