‘I work in a haunted hotel – I’ve found guests’ vintage drugs and see ghosts’

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    A man who runs a spooky museum full of haunted objects that fill guests with "fear and anxiety" claims the building it sits inside has an even creepier claim to fame.

    He allows guests to visit his museum, chat to him and find out all about the history and use of the objects on display – but you might also experience something surprising.

    David Nunnally, owner of Soul Asylum, told the Daily Star: "People have reported seeing and hearing entities, as well as personal touches and unexplainable outbursts of emotion. One of the most intense events occurred late last year when I was struck by a large ball of white light in the sub-basement – the entire episode was witnessed by about 20 people… and we still don’t have a good explanation for what happened, but the experience was definitely intense."

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    It's all because the hotel the museum sits within – Mineral Springs – is teeming with spirits. David put together his collection with a focus on "haunted objects, medical quackery, esoteric items, and much more". But, his collection of 1000 items including serial killer paraphernalia from infamous John Wayne Gacy, human skulls and haunted children's dolls sits in a building that only enhances its terrifying contents.

    David noted that the hotel was built around an even older structure from 1881 and that over the years there have been at least three documented deaths – those of Clarence Blair, Lou Harwood, and Pearl Sons. Their deaths are apparently well known in the region and form part of Alton’s history of hauntings, but the building that hosts Soul Asylum has an even creepier side due to "folklore hauntings".

    He explained: "While [the known ghosts] stories, particularly Pearl’s, are well known in the community and are clearly part of the region’s historic record, the hauntings which have no basis in history probably intrigue me the most. Known as folklore hauntings, these are hauntings which occur (sometimes daily) which we don’t have any provenance for. From full-bodied apparitions captured on camera (some of those images are displayed in the museum) to disembodied voices, as well as other evidence-based materials like electronic voice phenomena, we have experienced almost every imaginable haunting possible."

    He added: "I have led hundreds of investigations of the haunted Mineral Springs Hotel over the years and, as a result, have developed a very personal connection to the spirits of this building. While I have investigated hauntings all over the country, places like California, Rhode Island, Virginia, Oklahoma, Washington, and many more, I always come back to Alton, Illinois and this hotel.

    "Finding the common threads between the spirits and my life through historical research and visiting with family members and descendents has really heightened my sensitivity to their stories and made the paranormal experiences I have at Mineral Springs that much more intense and authentic."

    If you want to head to the hotel and museum then David will be there to chat to. He commented to Daily Star: "Absolutely. I am open on weekends and enjoy spending time with all my guests – I am always available to answer any questions they may have." You can visit Soul Asylum in the Mineral Springs Hotel in Alton, Illinois on weekends only. Admission is $6 (£4.93) per person; riversandroutes.com.

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