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There are some who say, "It's down there," and we can only believe them.  
At night, putting your ear to the ground, you can sometimes hear a door slam.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

U r s u l a  B i e l s k i

p  r  e  s  e  n  t  s


S    C    H    E    D    U    L    E

July 19th-21st, 2013
I N  S E A R C H  O F  T H E  B E L L  W I T C H
Adams, Tennessee
Only 20 tickets will be sold.

John Bell, a farmer from North Carolina, along with his wife and children, settled in northern Robertson County Tennessee in 1804. Their farm consisted of 320 acres of rich farm land that laid along the Red River. They lived a quite peaceful life here for the first 13 years. They were members of the Red River Baptist Church where John became a deacon. The family grew and became somewhat prosperous.

In the late summer of 1817 something would happen that would change their lives forever. Some members of the family began seeing strange looking animals around the property. Then late at night they started hearing knocking sounds on the doors and outer walls of the house. Later sounds were being heard in the house. Sounds of a rat gnawing on the bed post, chains being drug through the house, stones being dropped on the wooden floors, then gulping and choking sounds.

The family was terrified but kept the problem to themselves for over a year. When things became intolerable John confided in a neighbor, James Johnson. He invited Mr and Mrs Johnson to spend the night. After several nights of witnessing these strange things, Mr. Johnson suggested that more people should be told. And a committee was formed and an investigation started.  It was not long before people were coming from miles around to hear and witness this unseen force that was terrorizing the Bell home. Before long this unseen force had gained enough strength that it now had a voice. When asked who and what it was, it gave different identities. It once stated that it was the witch of a neighbor woman named Kate Batts. This is what many people believed, and from then on, this unseen force was called "Kate" the "Bell's Witch". It seemed that Kate had two main reasons for visiting the Bell home. The main one was to kill John Bell. For what reason no one knows because Kate never gave a reason why. The second reason was to stop John's youngest daughter Betsy from marrying a certain neighbor boy named Joshua Gardner. Over the next three years "Kate" tormented members of the Bell family almost daily. John and his daughter Betsy was the ones who received the worst of the physical abuse. Betsy had her hair pulled, she was pinched, scratched stuck with pins and even beaten. While John Bell began suffering from spells of swelling of the throat and often had the feeling of a stick being stuck sideways in his throat. Then came the twitching and jerking of the facial muscles. Kate would blast him with curses and hideous threats during these spells. As time went on John Bell became weaker and weaker. Kate was becoming well known and drew large crowds of people. She seemed to be very intelligent in many things: the bible, people's past and the future. She could be in two places at the same time - miles apart from each other.

She(Kate) finally accomplished her mission for coming to the Bell farm. On December 20,1820 John Bell had died. It was believed that he was poisoned by Kate, and Kate took full credit for his death. And then in March of 1821 young Betsy broke off her engagement with Joshua Gardner. (from the Bell Witch Cave website)

The Bell Farm still stands today, and this trip consists of round trip motor transportation to Adams, Tennessee from Chicago, overnight accomodationgs for two nights, a visit to the Bell family graves, a candleight tour of the new Bell cabin on the Bell property, a tour of the Bell Witch cave, a tour of the Indian Burial Ground, and an extended look through the collection of inexplicable photographs taken on the property, particular at the mouth of the cave, where subjects often appear disorted, upside-down or even absent from photographs.  We will also enjoy some special surprises along the way.  

Total cost $260.  $440 for two.  For reservations, please click here and input "Bell Witch" in DATE field of form

A percentage of the proceeds of this event will be donated to the Rhine Research Center

Saturday-Sunday, June 8-9th, 2013
h i s t o r y  &  m y s t e r y   of   s t a r v e d  r o c k
Utica, Illinois
Only 20 tickets will be sold.

Return to one of Chicago's most beautiful locales to delve into its dark side.  We'll enjoy an afternoon hike through St. Louis Canyon and visit the site of the infamous Starved Rock Murders, then freshen up with a drink in the pub before taking a tour of LaSalle County's notorious gangland hauntings via trolley.  After an award-winning dinner in the beautiful lodge, we'll enjoy ghost stories around the fire before turning into our beds at this legendary site.  In the morning, we'll hike to "The Rock" after breakfast and head home with tales of our adventures.  

Trip consists of overnight accomodationgs for one night at Starved Rock Lodge, Tour of St. Louis Canyon murder site, Gangster Trolley Tour, Chef's dinner selection, Campfire ghost stories with special guests, and morning  guided hike to Starved Rock.  
Total cost $230.   $320 for two.  For reservations, please click here and input "Starved Rock" in DATE field of form

A percentage of the proceeds of this event will be donated to the Rhine Research Center

Saturday and Sunday, June 19-30, 2013
haunted original springs, lemp mansion, and springfield  

Take a ride down historic Route 66 for a very haunted summer weekend as we visit some of the most historic locations Illinois and Missouri have to offer.  We'll depart early Saturday morning and stop in Sprinfield, Illinois to visit Oakridge Cemetery, final resting spot of Abraham Lincoln, as well as enjoy a visit to the stunning Presidential Museum.  After lunch, we'll head to Okaville, Illinois for a night of ghost hunting at the mysterious Original Springs Hotel.  Your stay includes a spa pass, so you'll be able to enjoy a mineral bath in the enigmatic waters of this haunted site.  After a long night, we'll make a late departure for St. Louis, where we'll have Sunday afternoon dinner at the infamous Lemp Mansion, one of the most haunted houses in the world, before the long ride home to Chicago.  

A percentage of the proceeds of this event was donated to the American Institute for Parapsychology

Saturday evening, May 3rd, 2008
V i l l i s c a   a x e   m u r d e r  h o u s e
Villisca, Iowa
Only 7 tickets will be sold.

"Almost 95 years ago, long before serial killers and mass murders had become a way of life, two adults and 6 children were found brutally murdered in their beds in the small mid-western town of Villisca, Iowa.  Even today, the murders remain unsolved, the murderer unpunished.  In 1994, Darwin and Martha Linn of Corning, Iowa purchased the former home of murder victim J.B. Moore and his family. The house was returned to its original condition at the time of the murders on June 10th, 1912. Today, the house is listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places.   Films and books on the murders have recently captured the interest of an audience who had never heard of this horrendous crime. Psychics claim they've identified the murderer, and history buffs continue collecting piles of documents they say will eventually point to the truth.  Once you've  . . .  been drawn into this story, I can guarantee that it will become a part of your life. At first, you'll feel an insatiable need for information. Secondly, you'll find within yourself a desire to know the truth, to unmask the identity of the murder or murderers and see justice done. Finally, you'll feel the pull to the house. You won't be satisfied with anyone else's experiences there, and you'll need to have your own."

-Carol Knight, webmaster, VilliscaIowa.com

Surrender to the pull, and join us at this indescribable house for a private overnight at this surreal place, during the 95th anniversary week of the Villisca murders. We'll meet at sunset at the Linn Museum in Villisca and learn the history of the house from current owner, Darwin Linn.  After touring the town cemetery--including the graves of the murder victims--we'll enjoy dinner in town with old and new friends before proceeding to the house itself. Prepare yourself for a night of wonder and discovery in one of the most unsettling homes in the nation.  Stay as long as you feel comfortable.  We'll have the house until dawn, and accomodations afterward are on your own.  Sleeping bags are welcomed for naps in the loft of the Moore home's barn.

-$125 per person-

A percentage of the proceeds of this event will be donated to the Rhine Research Center

For reservations, call 888-GHOST-91
or visit our reservation page by clicking here.

Summer, 2013
C A M P   C H E S T E R F I E L D   S P I R I T U A L I S T   C A M P
Chesterfield, Indiana
Only 20 tickets will be sold

Travel to one of the only remaining Spiritualist camps in the nation as we join our friends in Light at historic Camp Chesterfield, one of the centers of American Spiritualism since 1891.  We'll enjoy peaceful Springtime surroundings on the White River, enjoy a full tour of the camp, participate in an authentic Spiritualist seance and, of course, search for the spirits said to haunt the historic grounds of this fabled gathering place.  A ticket to this event includes overnight hotel accomodations at the camp and seance with a camp medium, as well as admission to The Hett Art Gallery and Museum, which strives to preserve and display art and artifacts of the Modern Spiritualist Movement.  The museum houses the most extensive collection of its kind, including Psychic Art and Inspirational Painting, portraits precipitated by the nationally recognized mediums Elizabeth and Mary Bang in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and the internationally famous Marion Buckner Pond McKenzie's collection of the Fox Sister artifacts.  Meals and additional readings and services are on your own, with a dining hall on the grounds for guests' enjoyment.  Exact date will be scheduled soon, but you may tentatively reserve a spot for this March or April trip as soon as you like.  

-$125 per person-
(includes lunch, accomodations and group seance)

A percentage of the proceeds of this event will be donated to the Division of Perceptual Studies
of the University of Virginia's Department of Psychiatric Medicine (Health System)

For reservations, call 888-GHOST-91
or visit our reservation page by clicking here.

_____________________ A B O U T    Y O U R    H O S T  ______________________

Ursula Bielski is the founder of Chicago Hauntings, Inc.  An historian, writer, and parapsychology enthusiast, she has been writing and lecturing about Chicago's supernatural folklore and the paranormal for nearly 20 years and is recognized as a leading authority on the Chicago region's ghostlore and cemetery history. She is the author of five popular and critically acclaimed books on the same subjects, all published by Lake Claremont Press, with more on the way. Ursula's interests in Chicago ghost hunting began at a young age. She grew up in a haunted house on Chicago's north side and received an early education in Chicago history from her father, a Chicago police officer, who introduced Ursula to the ghosts at Graceland Cemetery, Montrose Point and the old lockup at the storied Maxwell Street Police Station. Since that time Ursula has been involved in countless investigations of haunted sites in and around Chicago, including such notorious locales as Wrigley Field, the Congress Hotel, the Indiana Dunes, the Red Lion Pub, Hull House, Bachelors Grove Cemetery, Rose Hill Cemetery, haunted Archer Avenue, Chinatown, the Eastland disaster site, Death Alley, Dillinger's Alley and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre site. Her paranormal travels have also led her to investigate sites as diverse and infamous as the Bell Witch Cave in Tennessee; the Oshkosh, Wisconsin Opera House; New Orleans' House of the Rising Sun; the City Cemetery in Key West, Florida; and the Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Aside from her writing, Ursula has been featured on numerous television documentaries, including productions by the A&E Network, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, The Travel Channel, and PBS. She also appears regularly on local Chicago television and radio and lectures throughout the year at various libraries, historical and professional societies. In addition to her books, Ursula is the author of numerous scholarly articles exploring the links between history and the paranormal, including articles published in the International Journal of Parapsychology. Ursula is a past editor of PA News, the quarterly newsletter of the Parapsychological Association, a past president and board member of the Pi Gamma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, and holds membership in the Society of Midland Authors.  A graduate of St. Benedict High School on Chicago's North side, Ursula holds a B.A. degree in history from Benedictine University and an M.A. in American cultural and intellectual history from Northeastern Illinois University. Her academic explorations include the Spiritualist movement of the 19th century and its transformation into psychical research and parapsychology, and the relationships among belief, experience, science, and religion.