Heartland ghost hunters go after ‘what bumps in the night’

An investigation led Forgotten Souls Paranormal to the old Franklin County Jail in Benton, Illinois.

When the story begins in an old jail that still has the original gallows used to hang an infamous bootlegger and gang member, you know it’s going to be good.

The old Franklin County Jail in Benton, Illinois is frozen in time.

CLICK HERE to read more about the historic jail museum.

charlie birgerIt’s now a museum and people come to hear stories about Charlie Birger who was hanged here in 1928.

It was a jail for 84 years, and some say it’s haunted.

For volunteer, Annie Owens, there’s something about cell number 3.

“When I got to this one (cell number 3) I got goosebumps and cold chills,” Owens said. “I couldn’t bring myself to step foot inside it.”

That was 20 years ago, and she still refuses to go inside.

“Maybe something bad happened in there, or something really, really evil happened in there and I didn’t want any part of that,” said Owens.

The jail has captured the attention of history buffs and ghost hunters from across the country.

The group, “Forgotten Souls Paranormal” out of Cape Girardeau has been here several times.

“Could be a presence here. We don’t know for sure,” said Mike Biri with Forgotten Souls Paranormal.

Mike Biri, Rob Roberts, and Jesse Stuart all have day jobs, but searching for answers to paranormal questions is their passion.

“I’ve got a lot of hobbies and I still like fishing and hunting but nothing gets my adrenaline flowing like this does,” said Rob Roberts.

Some hunts are more eventful than others.

“I’ve been scared,” said Mike Biri. “I’ve had a suitcase fly off the shelf.”

“We’ve been touched, pushed, shoved, scratched, rubbed on…had our hands held,” said Rob Roberts.

They use all kinds of devices to try and pick up activity or get responses.

“There is definitely energy out here,” said Roberts.

On this hunt, Roberts was using something they call a Structured Light System which picks up heat signatures and movements.

“It would show me and you as a stick figure, and if there was anything paranormal out here it would show that as a stick figure,” said Roberts.

During an investigation at the old jail, they did detect images that weren’t ours.

That was certainly weird, but what really got our attention was the growling sounds we heard.

We heard it four times and any skeptic would say, there has to be an explanation.

“We really want to try and debunk things because probably 80 to 85 percent of the time there’s an explanation as to why it happened,” said Jesse Stuart. “But there’s that 20 to 15 percent that we can’t find out why it happened.”

Most people would say, “See ya later.”

But, not these guys.

“It keeps your adrenaline going and makes you want to come back for more,” said Stuart.

It seems something in the old jail brings them back time and time again.

“One of my things is, if it goes bump in the night we chase it,” said Biri.

They continue to chase the paranormal and often post some of their hunts live on social media.

You can find them on Facebook by searching for Forgotten Souls Paranormal.