Prairie State Spirits: A Troy Taylor Book Review



Readers, beware! Inside the pages of The Big Book of Illinois Ghost Stories are hauntingly descriptive tales of the Prairie State’s most notorious sightings. From miniscule towns that border the true South to Chicago’s infamous disaster sites, author Troy Taylor covers a variety of local hauntings.

Taylor is the author of more than 50 books related to ghosts and hauntings in America, and is the president of the American Ghost Society, who has over 600 active members. The Illinois native is also a public speaker, tour guide and founder of the Haunted America Conference. His dedication to the subject is apparent in each story told in The Big Book of Illinois Ghost Stories, and those who are fascinated in Illinois’ haunted history may just find a story that they haven’t heard before.

The book is broken up into different areas of Illinois: Southwestern, Southern, Central, Northern and Chicago. Southwestern Illinois has stories of cursed towns, phantom funerals, rivers made of blood, pro-slavery murders, haunted penitentiaries and typical haunted houses, hotels and cemeteries. Southern Illinois has ghost towns, a headless horseman, the first and last hanged woman in the state and a boogeyman. Central Illinois has an abundance of ghosts that haunt railroads, hotels, colleges, cemeteries and theaters. Northern Illinois has abandoned asylums, a house with no square corners and a prison that had held the likes of George “Bugs” Moran and Chicago’s “Sausage King” Adolph Luetgert. Chicago has massacres, fires, some of the most haunted cemeteries and the notorious Resurrection Mary.

While some of these stories can be read in more detail in Taylor’s other books, he also presented research from other well-known experts in the field that reside in Illinois with him. Ursula Bielski, Chicago historian and folklorist, is also an author of dozens of Illinois-specific paranormal books and owns Chicago Hauntings Ghost Tours. Chicago-born Dale Kaczmarek has actively investigated paranormal phenomena since 1975 and is the president of the Ghost Research Society. Springfield resident Stu Fliege has had a lifelong interest in Illinois history and has been recognized by the Illinois State Historical Society.

The latest book by Troy Taylor shares both well-known and obscure ghost stories and legends that have been passed down to generations of those that call the Prairie State home. It blends the right amount of fact and lore, making it an exceptional start to someone’s next deep dive into those that haunt Illinois.