Spooky sightings at the Original Springs hotel in Illinois
OKAWVILLE, Ill. – In October, we visited some of the most haunted places in and around St. Louis.
Our Sydney Stallworth peek inside a hotel and mineral spa in Okawville, renowned for its mysterious events in and out of its world-famous waters.
“I mean, this place will take a skeptic and make you a believer,” Kendra Rennegarde, a waitress at the hotel, told 5 On Your Side.
Opened in 1867, the Original Springs Hotel has walked thousands of people through the hallways. Some, perhaps, never left.
“Ghosts really keep it interesting for us here,” Rennegarde said.
For over a century and a half, it wasn’t just what was in the hotel that attracted guests from all over the country, it was what flowed underneath.
The hotel is famous for its mineral water. The owners said the spa is the only remaining operational natural mineral spa in Illinois.
We spoke with Mary Rennegarde, one of the owners of the Original Springs hotel.
“A lot of people with arthritis and some of their other stuff come and take mineral baths for relief,” she said.
They said it had healing properties. And the appeal is what led to one of the hotel’s most famous ghostly legends.
“One of the spirits they say is the ‘Lady in White’ and they believe it is Mrs. Shearbaum,” said Mary.
Ms Shearbaum was a woman who claimed she regained the ability to walk after bathing in mineral water, convinced her husband to buy the hotel and ran it with her family. Mary said Ms Shearbaum’s son would also be one of the spirits hanging around.
“Well, one of her sons who ran the hotel, he had a marital discord,” she said. “He was here all by himself and I guess things turned out badly and he was here in the hallway here.” And he shot himself.
This is where the haunted legend began.
There are reports of other deaths at the hotel. Some rumors are rooted in things that are easier to explain.
“There was Mr. Rogers who died in one of the hotel rooms on the third floor. He died of natural causes, ”said Mary.
But supernatural observations are enough to turn the heads of the most stubborn skeptics.
Hotel workers have stories for days.
One evening in the bathhouse, Andrea Kellerman, who is now a cook at the hotel, said all the tubs had been cleaned and closed for the night in their usual order.
Then she said, “Every time we went in, I said, ‘Do you hear water? She says yes. I said, ‘This is weird.’ “
Andrea said she saw one of the dimples in a bath somehow turned upside down and sprayed water into the air. She said all dimples were extinguished before closing.
A spooky view behind the bar is something a waitress will never forget.
“I was doing the dishes right by the sink and it was literally like I could just see them walking down the hall, and no one is there,” said Kendra Rennegarde.
She said it wasn’t the only place she had run into trouble with spirits.
“I saw someone all dressed in black on the balcony around the pool. Again, no faces. But you can see it’s a human form, ”Kendra said.
Mary said more than a third of guests who stayed at the hotel leaned over its paranormal reputation.
The owners have told 5 On Your Side that the property is for sale. After more than 30 years of ownership, the couple hope to retire and spend more time with their grandchildren.
They said they hoped any interested buyer would like the hotel as much as they did.
Click here to learn more about the Original Springs Hotel.