It’s a murder mystery that shocked the small town of Savanna, Illinois more than 100 years ago.

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September 26, 2018
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It’s a murder mystery that shocked the small town of Savanna, Illinois more than 100 years ago

...when a highly respected lawyer was murdered in front of his office doors. Just three doors down from the Savanna Historical Museum still sits the crime scene. And now the scene of the mysterious, unsolved murder is open for ghost tours.

Daniel S. Berry was a very prominent attorney and politician who took on some of the biggest cases in the county. He rented an office in the beautiful and historic Pulford building, owned by one of Savanna’s self-made millionaires, Bothwell Pulford. On the morning of May 22, 1905, Daniel Berry was unlocking his office door when he was shot and killed.

But who did it? Was the assailant a former convict that Berry had prosecuted? Or was it his once close friend Pulford who had heard speculation rumors of Berry and his wife, Lucinda, having an affair? Days later, Pulford took his own life, the mystery deepened. Why did he take his own life? Or was it someone else who did the dastardly deed?

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At the time of the murder, Pulford was building a beautiful and grand opera house for his wife Lucinda. After the death of Pulford, the opera house construction completely stopped, and the grand staircases, stage, and dressing rooms remain eerily empty with frequent sounds of footsteps and faint whispering still haunting the halls. The opera house has remained empty up until 2018 when a paranormal believer toured and spent the night at the rumored haunted opera house and decided to open it up for tours after discovering the consistent paranormal activity.

2 A.M Paranormal opened the Pulford Opera House to the public earlier this year and is offering ghost tours seven days a week. You will not only learn the history and tour the haunted building, but will also have the opportunity to work with professional paranormal equipment to pick up anything unusual. Since opening, groups have been entering the tours as skeptics and left as believers. The tours are consistently picking up orbs, unusual frequencies and radiation, and hearing noises in the dark of the empty opera house. You will have the opportunity to discover the halted construction, which includes grand staircases that lead to nowhere, a large empty stage, a room where viewing booths and chairs would have been, and the very office and doorway where Berry was suspiciously murdered.

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I toured the Pulford Opera House on a Friday afternoon where Jessica walked me around, told me the history, and let me look at the cameras and the equipment. They have two computer monitors showing the various cameras set up around the building to capture anything paranormal, which they do a lot! The Opera House construction came to a complete halt after the suspicious deaths. The grand staircases are built but lead to dead-end walls, the dressing rooms collect dust where the talent would have got dressed, the bathroom sits empty and dark with the original clawfoot tub weathering over time. We continued touring the halls where people would sleep, work, and hold parties and I thought to myself, "If only these walls could talk, think of the stories they would tell."

Tours? There are tours.

Maybe you’ll find the clue to the mysterious assassin who made his escape unseen. Or maybe you’ll run into him during your tour of the Pulford Opera House. 2 A.M. Paranormal offers tours seven days a week, during the week is by appointment only and they are open on weekends from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. They offer one hour tours where you can get the tour and hear the history for $10, as well as three hour tours where you can tour the haunted Opera House for $25, hear the history and use professional ghost hunting equipment to pick up anything out of the ordinary (from what I hear, almost EVERY group who takes the full tour and uses the equipment picks up and sometimes even hears bumps in the night!)

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Contact for tour setup

You can call Jessica at (402) 764-0967 to set up a tour! Or stop by on the weekend at 327 Main Street, Savanna Illinois.

 

Published in: NW Illinois Travel Blog

NW Illinois Travel Blog

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