Taylor remained in Alton until 2005, when he returned to Decatur.
By then, he had also established two more tour companies, in Springfield,
Illinois and another company that arranges overnight stays in haunted
places called American Hauntings. These tours, including those in
Decatur and Alton, were organized under the heading of the Illinois
Hauntings Ghost Tours. Taylor also continued the operation of Whitechapel
Press, which specializes in ghost-related titles and has more than
a dozen authors working under its banner.
In 2006, Taylor also launched the Weird Chicago Tours, which are
based on his book, Weird Illinois, which was published by Barnes &
Noble Press. In 2007, Illinois Hauntings also launched ghost tours
in Lebanon, Illinois and in Jacksonville.
In 2007, Taylor incorporated as Dark Haven Entertainment, Inc., a
parent company for Whitechapel Press, the Illinois Hauntings Tours
and for the Ghosts of the Prairie Website and Magazine. The new company
also handles the film rights to Troy's ghost books and stories. Currently,
there are three of his works optioned for possible film and television
Along with writing about the unusual and hosting tours, Taylor is
also a public speaker on the subject of ghosts and hauntings and has
spoken to literally hundreds of private and public groups on a variety
of paranormal subjects. He has appeared in newspaper and magazine
articles about ghosts and has also been fortunate enough to be interviewed
hundreds of times for radio and television broadcasts about the supernatural.
He has also appeared in a number of documentary films, several television
series and in one feature film about the paranormal.
He currently resides in Central Illinois with his wife, Haven, in
a decidedly non-haunted house.
Troy Taylors's official Web Site Here: www.prairieghosts.com
Troy Taylor 20 Questions
1. Where do you see ghost hunting and Paranormal groups, web sites
or Ghost information, tours Books like your own in 10 years?
I think that a lot of things will still be the same. The good, well-researched
books and websites, along with the legitimate ghost hunters, will
still be around, doing what they do. For those of us who have been
in the field for a long time (22 years for me) and on the internet
for more than 10 years, as I have, we have seen and weathered many
changes and fads already. A lot of people have been complaining about
the “I just want to be on TV” fad that seems to be affecting
many new “ghost hunters” who are coming to the field today
but I advise them just to wait. It will pass as the others have done
and the good researchers, books and websites will still be around.
2. What would you personally consider to be the definitive proof
that ghosts are real?
As much as I consider science to be an integral part of ghost research,
I personally believe, at this point, that real proof comes through
history. Since ghosts do not perform on command, science refuses to
accept the idea that ghosts exists – thus, we cannot “prove”
it. However, I can “prove” a house is haunted by collecting
case histories of those who live at a location and from those who
have lived there in the past. If the details match, with no connections
or collaboration between the current and former owners, we can’t
just write off that off to coincidence. So, historically speaking,
ghosts do exist. This is just a pet system of mine that I have been
working with but I do believe that history can provide us with pretty
3. What is the most real evidence you personally have uncovered so
That would have to refer back to the previous question and it concerned
the history of a house that I was told was haunted. The owner contacted
me and described the ghost. I researched the house and found that
the original owner had committed suicide there and his photo matched
the description the home owner had given to me. I contacted former
occupants, who told the same story and were able to pick out the original
owner from several 1920s era photos. The current owner did the same
thing. None of these people knew one another or had any idea that
anyone else claimed the house was haunted. This was one of my most
successful cases in terms of evidence and historical hauntings.
4. Are you skeptical of the claims other make of their findings?
I’m skeptical of any findings, often including my own! I tried
to be open-minded to the possibility of anything, which can mean a
place is not haunted or even that a “haunting” is outright
fraud. However, this has nothing to do with other researchers –
my skepticism there just depends on the researcher.
5. If you could investigate your "Dream Haunted Hot Spot"
where would it be?
I have traveled all over the country and investigated hundreds of
places. However, even though I have been there, I would like to be
able to spend the night at Alcatraz.
6. What was your first Paranormal encounter?
Although I had been interested in ghosts from an early age, the first
experience that I had that I always felt was paranormal occurred when
I was in high school. I had gone with some friends to check out a
cemetery that was supposed to be haunted and while we were there,
the headlights on our car were somehow turned out. This would nit
seem like a big deal except for the fact that to turn them off required
pushing in a manual knob --- and being able to do it by entering a
locked car. I never had an explanation for this except to feel that
perhaps the cemetery was haunted after all.
7. What scares you about Ghost Hunting or Paranormal Investigations?
The Living… I always maintain that the living are much scarier
than the dead.
8. If you could work side by side with one of the Paranormal Investigator
greats, who would it be?
Harry Price.. he was the father of ghost hunting as we know it today
and every ghost hunter emulates him, whether they know it or not.
He was the first to realize that in order to make paranormal research
appeal to the general public, it had to be entertaining.
9. Read any good Paranormal Books lately other then your own?
Ghosts: A History of Phantoms, Ghouls and Other Spirits of the Dead
by P.G. Maxwell-Stuart
Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof
of Life After Death by Deborah Blum
10. What Question do people ask you most when you tell them your
a paranormal investigator, writer?
Usually, they ask how I got started and what made me interested in
11. In your opinion, Where is the most Haunted city in America?
Chicago is the most haunted city and Gettysburg is the most haunted
small town. I have investigated both (Chicago the most extensively)
and I base that on the information that I have collected over the
12. Do you feel more people should get involved with Ghost hunting
or Paranormal Investigation?
I welcome anyone who wants to get into the field, as long they realize
that it’s not about being on TV, running around cemeteries taking
photos of “orbs” and waving around equipment that they
really don’t know how to use. Those people usually burn out
fast when they realize that real ghost research is not just fun and
13. What does the future hold for you?
I imagine that I will keep doing what I am doing for the unknown
future. There are always more people interested in ghost tours and
while I have written a lot of books already, I have ideas for many,
many more. I don’t see my material drying up anytime soon.
14. Paranormal Conventions do you see them growing? And which ones
are the Must go to ones?
I see the conventions and conferences hopefully dropping off to just
the best of the best in the next couple of years. This year has seen
a lot of cancelations, mostly due to the glut of bad conferences that
are out there. This has affected some of the good ones unfortunately.
The conference “market” us still saturated at the moment
by people who don’t realize what a lot of hard work goes into
a good event and they often have this mentality of “putting
on a show” and making lots of money. Doing a conference has
to be a labor of love and a money-maker a distance second. A lot of
people have jumped into it but I think we’ll see fewer conferences
next year and it will be a better crop that we have seen recently.
I feel that the must-attend events are the Ghost World conference,
held in Gettysburg this year, the Mid-South Paranormal Convention
in Louisville in September and I have to plug myself here and say
the Haunted America Conference that is held each year in June. This
is our 11th annual event and we started ghost conferences long before
anyone else was doing them. This “longevity factor” gets
us good speakers and a good attendance every year. We plan to be around
for a long time to come.
15. What is your most favored tool of the trade?
A notebook and a pen
16. Tell us about your best moment in investigating or conference
attending for you?
Honestly, out of dozens of strange incidents, one of my favorites
had to have been at the Ax Murder House in Villisca, Iowa. It was
here where I actually witnessed a ghost interacting with our investigation
group and making a door open and close when we asked it to do so.
I had never seen anything like that before. I had seen things move,
been touched, photographed anomalies, felt unexplained temperature
drops and had even seen a ghost, but I had never been involved in
something like that.
17. What is the hardest part about being a paranormal writer?
Absolutely nothing! I love what I do. It’s not a sideline or
hobby for me, it’s really my day job and I look forward to every
day that I get to sit in front of the computer, doing exactly what
I want to be doing.
18. How do you document your investigations?
Usually by hand but when it comes to eyewitness testimony, we use
the standard recording devices of audio and video. This is the best
way to present an accurate record of it.
19. Have you ever taken a ghost Tour? And, What about it did you
Can’t really answer this one – I run 7 ghost tour companies.
20. What in the field of ghost hunting and Paranormal Investigating
needs the most attention?
I really just think that we have to work on improving the authenticity
of our research and our findings. As I have mentioned already, there
is a lot of mentality about getting on TV these days and I shudder
to think that anyone would “enhance” their findings for
a TV show but I fear that this is happening already and will happen
more and more in the future if this mindset persists. I guess we’ll
just have to see...
Troy Taylor's Illinois Tours
Hauntings Tours: www.springfieldhauntings.com
Jacksonville Tours: www.illinoishauntings.com/jacksonville.html
Lebanon Tours: www.illinoishauntings.com/lebanon.html
American Hauntings Tours
These tours take guests all over the country for overnight stays
and haunted tours.
Books by Troy Taylor
HAUNTED ILLINOIS BOOKS
Haunted Illinois (1999 / 2001 / 2004)
Haunted Decatur (1995)
More Haunted Decatur (1996)
Ghosts of Millikin (1996 / 2001)
Where the Dead Walk (1997 / 2002)
Dark Harvest (1997)
Ghosts of Springfield (1997)
Haunted Decatur Revisited (2000)
Flickering Images (2001)
Haunted Decatur: 13th Anniversary Edition (2006)
Haunted Alton (2000 / 2003)
Haunted Chicago (2003)
The Haunted President (2005)
Mysterious Illinois (2006)
Dead Men Do Tell Tales: Bloody Chicago (2006)
Resurrection Mary (2007)
HAUNTED FIELD GUIDE BOOKS
The Ghost Hunter's Guidebook
(1997/ 1999 / 2001/ 2004)
Confessions of a Ghost Hunter (2002 / 2007)
Field Guide to Haunted Graveyards (2003)
Ghosts on Film (2005)
So, There I Was... (With Len Adams) (2006)
HISTORY & HAUNTINGS SERIES
The Haunting of America (2001)
Into the Shadows (2002)
Down in the Darkness (2003)
Out Past the Campfire Light (2004)
Ghosts by Gaslight (2007)
OTHER GHOSTLY TITLES
Spirits of the Civil War (1999)
Season of the Witch (1999/ 2002)
Haunted New Orleans (2000)
Beyond the Grave (2001)
No Rest for the Wicked (2001)
Haunted St. Louis (2002)
The Devil Came to St. Louis (2006)
BARNES & NOBLE PRESS TITLES
Weird U.S. (Co-Author with Mark Moran & Mark Sceurman)
Weird Illinois (2005)
Haunting of America (2006)
Into the Shadows (2007)
Spirits of the Civil War (2007)
In 2007, Dark Haven Entertainment, Inc. was formed
to not only act as a parent company for Whitechapel Press, the Illinois
Hauntings Tours and for the Ghosts of the Prairie Website and Magazine
but also to handle the film rights to Troy's ghost books and stories.
Currently, there are three of his works optioned for possible film
and television production.
Troy has appeared in documentary productions for TLC,
The History Channel, A & E, Discovery Channel, PBS, CMT and
in various network programs and syndicated news shows. Below are
a few of the featured (and favorite) productions that he has done
over the years:
Children of the Grave (Upcoming -- October 2007)
Troy has joined the cast of Children of the Grave, the new horror
documentary from the Booth Brothers, the creators of "Spooked".
This new show will be airing on the Sci-Fi Channel for the 2007
Wind Chill (2007)
Troy will be appearing on the DVD release of this April 2007 film,
which will be coming out later this year. In the "Behind the
Scenes" section of the DVD, the producers will be featuring
a real-life look at haunted highways, like the one that is depicted
in the film. Troy will be appearing in a documentary about Resurrection
Mary and Chicago's haunted Archer Avenue -- filmed on location at
the Willowbrook Ballroom!
America's Ghost Hunters (2003)
One of Troy's favorite projects was his work on "America's
Ghost Hunters", which aired on TLC. He appeared in two segments
of the show including one in Alton, Illinois and at the Eastern
State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.
The St. Francisville Experiment (2000)
Troy appeared as himself in what started out as a paranormal documentary
and deteriorated into a "Blair Witch Project" rip-off.
Troy appears in the early, documentary portion of the film and never
(in any way) endorsed the authenticity of the blatantly fake "paranormal"
scenes that followed after the participants entered the house. With
that said, Troy adds:
"I have taken a lot of flak about my role in this film over
the years but what I can say is that it was a lot of fun to make
and be a part of and the cast and most of the crew (especially Paul
Salamoff) were great people to work with. There is no point in trying
to take it seriously -- it's just a movie -- and as long as you
don't go into it believing that it's authentic, it can actually
be a lot of fun."
"I can't say that the St. Francisville Experiment
is ever going to be fondly recalled as a highlight of my career
but I don't regret taking part in it. It was a great experience
and a real look at what happens when things in Hollywood go awry."
For more "behind the scenes" details about the making
of the film, see Troy Taylor's book Confessions of a Ghost Hunter.