Naperville ghost tour promises spectral thrills
Condemned murderer Patrick Doyle, hanged in the spring of 1854 on Naperville's Chicago Avenue, remains DuPage County's only executed criminal. But local paranormal experts believe he is merely one of thousands of the city's restless spirits roaming the streets.
Many Naperville residents may have had encounters with Doyle and not even known it. For years, people's reports of being confronted with a cold, damp, black smoke were attributed, by paranormal investigators, to the "Phantom." But why would a phantom lurk the streets of Naperville?
Paranormal investigator Kevin Frantz thinks he found the answer during a recent investigation when he was accompanied by a psychic. It's one of the many stories he shares with guests on his Official Ghost Tours of Naperville, which attract more participants -- both corporeal and spectral -- this time of year.
"Out of nowhere, the psychic starts frantically yelling, 'You can't hurt me!'" Frantz said. "After a while, she turned to me, heaving, and told me she saw the phantom. And before he vanished, he morphed into an image of a man being hanged."
Initially, Frantz said, he thought the phantom was trying to further spook the psychic. But after some investigation, he learned of Doyle's execution and now believes the phantom merely was trying to tell the psychic who he was.
"I just can't completely connect the dots because I have not been able to locate any records about what happened in his trial," Frantz said. "Someone doesn't want us to know why Patrick Doyle has unfinished business in Naperville."
According to Frantz, Naperville's rich history lends itself to many with unfinished business. Most are friendly, unlike the phantom, who he says has a "murderer's spirit."
Some -- like a little boy ghost said to haunt a home on School Street -- are downright playful. Others -- like the mysterious horse clops some say they've heard on School Street -- have been boggling believers and paranormal investigators for years.
Whether you believe or not, Frantz invites you to join him on one of his many tours, where he promises to let you listen to "real ghosts" as they attempt to communicate and show you their favorite haunts. Nonbelievers, he says, will have a change of heart before the night ends.
"During Halloween you get a lot of hard-core enthusiasts because they step into high gear," he said. "The spirits know this so they, too, step up their activity. But you should know, they're active all year."
If you goWhat: Official Ghost Tours of Naperville
When: "Spirits in the Park" tour at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31; "Cold as a Crypt" tour at 11 p.m.
Where: Both tours meet at the military statue on Washington Street at Van Buren Avenue
Details: Members of the Chicago Paranormal Detectives from A&E's "The Paranormal Cops" will participate in both tours; participants must be 15 or older
Cost: $35 per person for one tour, $65 for both tours; tickets must be purchased in advance
Info: (630) 205-2664 or naperville-ghosts.com