GENEVA, IL — Geneva’s annual ghost tours have been called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the city’s renowned spirits will be resting any easier this year.
Residents can lead their own mini-tours through downtown Geneva, which may be home to the most haunted block in all of Kane County. Ghosts are said to make their presence well known in several buildings along South Third Street, including the city's first hospital.
Start your tour at the Charles Wells House at 220 S. Third St., a popular pilgrimage for local ghost hunters during the Halloween season.
The home was built in the 1850s for its namesake, a lawyer who later served as a major in the Civil War. Its next tenant turned the home into his medical office, and in 1908, the home welcomed its first patients as the Colonial Hospital, according to the Geneva History Museum.
The Colonial Hospital was an estuary of life and death for nearly two decades, with babies being delivered alongside sick and dying patients in the small 10-room hospital.
Many businesses have used the Wells House in the century since, and some employees are adamant patients’ spirits are trapped within the walls of the home, according to the museum.
The Wells House ghosts are thought to be innocent, with most experiences just light-hearted “pranks,” like items falling off shelves, radio stations changing and bells ringing for no reason, Geneva History Museum Director Terry Emma wrote in an article for Kane County Connects.
Many who have walked through the house have claimed to experience something from the other side, while some are certain one of the spirits is a hospital chef after smelling food cooking, local author Donna Latham has said.
Residents might be able to catch a free concert at the Cory House at 216 James St., which is said to be haunted by the spirit of music teacher Miss Vere Cory. Some claim they can still hear her giving lessons though there is no piano in the house, according to Latham.
Those who find themselves a bit hungry from the tour — and the aromas at the Wells House — can stop by Chianti’s restaurant just a few hundred feet north of the Wells House.
Latham, of Batavia, told the Kane County Chronicle the restaurant is “unbelievably haunted” and “crawling with ghosts” that touch people’s shoulders and mess with the lights. The restaurant’s kitchen is haunted by a young girl in a red dress, who bangs on countertops and messes with pots and pans, Latham said.
Not a bad spot for a ghostly nightcap.