What ghosts lurk through downtown Geneva? Local author leads tours
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Donna Latham, author of "Ghost of the Fox River Valley" and resident of Batavia, led four ghost walks through downtown Geneva on Saturday.
The walks focused on stories of several ghosts, including one called Clarence, seen around the old Kane County Courthouse dressed in 19th-century attire and wearing a derby hat, and known to be a prankster, floating papers from the top of the rotunda as well as slamming windows and doors shut.
Latham also told of the 1936 cold case murder of Geneva resident Nella Panunzi. Panunzi is thought to have been murdered out of revenge by a man 30 years her senior, named Rinaldo DiPietro, whose advances Panunzi rebuffed.
Panunzi lived at a home on Franklin Street, which is a private residence today. Her ghost reportedly has been seen in the front window of the home. Another ghost, thought to be her mother, has been seen crying in the area. DiPietro fled the area after the murder and was never found.
And the spirit of the Rev. Augustus Conant has been felt at the present day Unitarian Universalist Church at 102 Second St., Latham said.
Conant was the first minister of the town and helped organize the First Christian Society of Geneva in the building. He also founded the Kane County Anti-Slavery Society.
He died of pneumonia in 1863 while helping the wounded at the Battle of Murfreesboro. People claim to have felt his caring hand on their shoulders, as well as hearing sighing and footsteps.
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