Ghost T ours, Paranormal, and Mourning Customs

Trinkets of Memento Mori: Postmortem Photography

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Trinkets of memento mori, such as postmortem photography, literally means “remember, you must die”. Pictures and paintings serve as wonderful windows to the past that allow us to get a glimpse of what life was like over a hundred years ago, reminiscent of the way Tinker Swiss Cottage allows its visitors to.
Although by modern standards taking photographs or painting portraits of the deceased is somewhat peculiar, in the nineteenth century it was a common practice. Often post-mortem photographs were the only images families would have of their loved ones. This was due to the unfortunate fact that it was much more difficult and expensive to have your photograph taken during the Victorian era.

A stark contrast to the incredibly effortless way we take photographs today, prior to the invention of the daguerreotype, the only way to capture any family pictures was through painted portraits. Fortunately, here at Tinker Swiss Cottage we boast two fantastic portraits of Mary’s grandmother Amy Chase Bull and uncle Milton Dorr. These were done by one of the most prolific and important portraitists in nineteenth-century America, Ammi Phillips. Phillips created these paintings in 1815. Interestingly enough, Ammi passed away in 1865- the very same year Robert Tinker began construction on the cottage.

 

While there are plenty of gruesome post mortem looking photos on the internet, many are inaccurate and feature staged actors and modern visual effects. However, we do have an authentic postmortem photograph currently on display in the Cottage. The photograph is of Mrs. Mary Johns, from Rockford Illinois in 1866.

Postmortem Photograph
©TinkerSwissCottageMuseum&Gardens

There is also a postmortem painting on constant display in the upper level of the library in the museum. This painting is of John Manny, Mary Dorr Manny Tinker’s first husband and inventor of the Manny reaper. We know this was a post mortem piece because of the blue grey hue the artist gave to the skin, a common feature of postmortem portraits.

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John Manny ©TinkerSwissCottageMuseum&Gardens

 

We hope to have you in soon to check out our fantastic, and somewhat eerie works of art this fall!

 

~Stephanie

*Further Readings:

Hollander , Stacy C. “Reads.” Ammi Phillips – Self-Taught Genius, selftaughtgenius.org/reads/ammi-phillips.

http://www.daguerreobase.org/en/collections/indeling/detail/start/10?f_strings_tags%5B0%5D=dead

http://www.daguerreobase.org/en/knowledge-base/what-is-a-daguerreotype

http://www.daguerreobase.org/en/collections/indeling/detail/start/3?f_strings_tags%5B0%5D=dead

Mourning in the Tinker Swiss Cottage

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With October nearing a close, everyone is heading out to the local apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and haunted houses. While you’re carving pumpkins, drinking apple cider, and telling ghost stories, don’t forget to check out Tinker Swiss Cottage for a historical twist to the fall season!

What’s new (and maybe a little creepy) at Tinker Swiss Cottage for the month of October?

On September 4, 1901, Mary Tinker passed away in her home at the age of 72. The Tinker family stopped the clocks at the time of her death, and her portrait in the parlor was adorned with flowers. In the Victorian era whenever a death occurred in the family the clocks would be stopped at the time of death, as if time itself stopped with the passing of the loved one. If a portrait existed of the departed, it would be strewn with beautiful flowers. When you visit us this month you will notice that the clock in the parlor has been set to the time of Mary’s death, and her portrait is once again decorated with flowers and crape.

20180926_152128
©TinkerSwissCottageMuseum

The most obvious difference you will find in the parlor is the authentic Victorian coffin. Don’t worry, nothing is going to pop out at you, but it does bring a creepy feel to the room. Along with the coffin, you will notice that the full-length mirror is covered in black. The Victorians covered mirrors for two purposes. First, it allowed the family to mourn without having to watch themselves cry. However, the second purpose is far more interesting – a spiritual movement in the Victorian era. During this movement, not only were Victorian families going to church every Sunday and reading their Bibles, but they also believed heavily in the spirit world. Some tried to make contact with their departed through séances and Ouija Boards, while others simply did not want their loved one’s spirits to be trapped in the home. The Victorians believed covering the mirrors stopped the departed souls from getting trapped inside of it, thereby allowing them to find their way out of the home more easily.

20181002_100630
©TinkerSwissCottageMuseum

 

In the library you will find a Witch’s Ball sitting on the fireplace mantle. Legend has it that a homeowner with children would place string inside of the Witch’s Ball in order to protect their little ones from the witches who would sneak in through the windows at night. The Victorians believed that the witches would be attracted to the ball with the string inside of it. They would waste away their nights trying to pull the string out one little piece at a time until morning came and they had to flee. The children’s souls would be safe from the witches, and enough string would be left in the ball to protect the children the next night as well.

What other aspects of death were the Victorians interested in?

The Victorians had many other mourning traditions. For example, the family of the deceased would wear specific mourning garb. The style, fabric, and color varied depending on one’s relationship with the departed. Wives wore mourning clothes longer than any other member of a family. The women wore black veils covering their faces for 3 months after their husband’s death, and then the veil was moved to the back of their bonnet. Widows wore veils for approximately one year and the rest of their mourning attire for a total of two years. After two years they did not need to wear the deep black dresses, but they had to slowly transition from dark colors to lighter ones. Many widows never returned to the brightly colored dresses, choosing to remain the muted colors for the rest of their lives. Men would wear their black suits, gloves, and neck ties for a year after their wives passed. Parents would mourn the loss of their children for a year, and children would mourn their parents’ deaths for approximately a year as well. Siblings mourned for approximately six months. Be sure to stop in to see Mary Dorr Manny Tinker’s Mourning gown on display in our sitting room for yourself!

Marry Dorr Manny Tinker ©TinkerSwissCottageMuseum

 

In an era before Facebook and Instagram, the Victorians did not have many images to remind them of their loved ones who had passed. Post-mortem photography became very popular, since it was possibly one of the only times a person could have their portraits taken (generally due to the high cost). During these sessions the body of the deceased would be propped up in an effort to make them seem more lifelike. It was also very common for other family members to gather around the dead in order for their picture to be taken at the same time. In the Tinker Dining Room you will get a chance to see one of these images.

Along with post-mortem photographs, the Victorians would also take pieces of their loved one’s hair to fashion into a keepsake. Some fastened locks of hair into jewelry, while others were arranged into floral shapes and framed. Many Victorian families even collected hair from every family member who passed and fashioned the strands into pieces of art. In Jessie’s bedroom, you will find a lock of Jessie’s first husband Gye Hurd’s hair next to his photo on her dresser.

Remember, these pieces are only out on display for the month of October! Hurry in to learn about mourning customs in the Victorian Era before October’s over!

It’s also not too late to join us for one of our unique Paranormal Tours! Our final tour for the season will be this Friday, October 26 at 7pm.
¤ Samantha
Some extra reading:
http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/stories/7-most-morbid-victorian-mourning-traditions
http://www.victoriana.com/VictorianPeriod/mourning.htm
Victorian Funeral Customs and Superstitions
http://www.angelpig.net/victorian/mourning.html
http://www.quilthistory.com/vmc.htm

Tinker’s Shadow

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Looking for a fun way to take Tinker Swiss Cottage home with you? Filmmaker Michael Kleen has put together a wonderful new documentary on Tinker Swiss Cottage, titled Tinker’s Shadow: The Hidden History of Tinker Swiss Cottage.

 

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Photo Copyright of Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens

The documentary focuses on both the history of the Cottage and also on the paranormal aspect of the museum. Staff members, volunteers, and paranormal experts join together to share our history and stories with you. All proceeds go directly to maintaining the Cottage.

You can now purchase the documentary through Amazon Instant Video, with DVDs coming to our gift shop later this year! Click HERE for a direct link to our new documentary!

 

#Didyouknow that when you shop at Amazon you can select a non-profit organization to receive a donation through your regular everyday purchases? Just go to smile.amazon.com and type in “Tinker Swiss Cottage”, and Amazon will donate part of their proceeds from your purchase to our museum!

Mourning in the Victorian Era

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Everyone gets excited when October rolls around. Halloween parties, pumpkin patches, and visits to the apple orchard are always on the top of our fall bucket lists. Pumpkins are carved, and kids pick out their costumes. Like everyone else, the staff at the Tinker Swiss Cottage get excited about preparing for the month of October.

What’s new (and maybe a little creepy) at Tinker Swiss Cottage for the month of October?

In the library you will find a Witch’s Ball sitting on a root wood table. Legend has it that a homeowner with children would place string inside of the Witch’s Ball in order to protect their little ones from the witches who would sneak in through the windows at night. The Victorians believed that the witches would be attracted to the ball with the string inside of it. They would waste away their nights trying to pull the string out one little piece at a time until morning came and they had to flee. The children’s souls would be safe from the witches, and enough string would be left in the ball to protect the children the next night as well.

On September 4, 1901, Mary Tinker passed away in her home at the age of 72. The clocks were stopped at the time of her death, and her portrait in the parlor was adorned with flowers. In the Victorian era whenever a death occurred in the family the clocks would be stopped at the time of death, as if time itself stopped with the passing of the loved one. If a portrait existed of the departed, it would be strewn with beautiful flowers. When you visit us this month you will notice that the clock in the parlor has been set to the time of Mary’s death, and her portrait is once again decorated with flowers and crape.

Yet the most obvious difference you will find in the parlor is the authentic Victorian coffin. Don’t worry, nothing is going to pop out at you, but it does bring a creepy feel to the room. Along with the coffin, you will notice that the full-length mirror is covered in black. There were two purposes to covering the mirror. First, it allowed the family to mourn without having to watch themselves cry. However, the second purpose is far more interesting – a spiritual movement in the Victorian era. During this movement, not only were Victorian families going to church every Sunday and reading their Bibles, but they also believed heavily in the spirit world. Some tried to make contact with their departed through séances and Ouija Boards, while others simply did not want their loved one’s spirits to be trapped in the home. The Victorians believed that if all of the mirrors were covered, the departed souls would not get trapped inside of it and could find their way out of the home more easily.

Apparently, covering the mirror did not work here at the Tinker Swiss Cottage. As I’m sure you’ve heard, there are many who believe that the Tinkers never left their home and still inhabit it today. Curious as to whether or not this is true? Come out to join us for a paranormal tour on a Friday night in October and get a chance to make contact with their spirits yourself! (See schedule below)

What other aspects of death were the Victorians interested in?

Although not on display at the Tinker Swiss Cottage, the Victorians had many other mourning traditions. For example, the family of the deceased would wear specific mourning garb. The style, fabric, and color varied depending on one’s relationship with the departed. Wives wore mourning clothes longer than any other member of a family. The women wore black veils covering their faces for 3 months after their husband’s death, and then the veil was moved to the back of their bonnet. Widows wore veils for approximately one year and the rest of their mourning attire for a total of two years. After two years they did not need to wear the deep black dresses, but they had to slowly transition from dark colors to lighter ones. Many widows never returned to the brightly colored dresses, choosing to remain the muted colors for the rest of their lives. Men would wear their black suits, gloves, and neck ties for a year after they were widowed. Parents would mourn the loss of their children for a year, and children would mourn their parents’ deaths for approximately a year as well. Siblings mourned for approximately six months.

Mary in mourning for her first husband John Manny

In an era before Facebook and Instagram, the Victorians did not have many images to remind them of their loved ones who had passed. Post-mortem photography became very popular, since it was possibly one of the only times a person could have their portraits taken (generally due to the high cost). During these sessions the body of the deceased would be propped up in an effort to make them seem more lifelike. It was also very common for other family members to gather around the dead in order for their picture to be taken at the same time.

Along with post-mortem photographs, the Victorians would also take pieces of their loved one’s hair to fashion into a keepsake. Some locks of hair were turned into jewelry, while others were fashioned into flowers and framed. There were many Victorian families who collected hair from every family member who passed and fashioned the strands into pieces of art. While we do not have any post-mortem photos or locks of hair from the Tinkers, one can easily find examples with a quick online search.

Come visit us on an upcoming Friday night for a paranormal experience of your own!

October 7 from 7-10 pm: Meet us in the barn!

October 14 from 7-10 pm: Meet us in the barn!

October 28 from 7-10 pm: Meet us in the barn!

 

¤ Samantha

Paranormal with Sylvia Schultz

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Sylvia Shults has been a paranormal investigator for several years. She began her career as a ghost hunter as a result of doing the research for her nonfiction book Ghosts of the Illinois River (Quixote Press, 2010). Her fascination with ghosts dates back to her childhood, as she is an avid reader who was raised on Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

A few years ago, Shults was inspired to write a collection of people’s supernatural experiences at the Peo-ria State Hospital in Bartonville, Illinois. This project quickly swelled into Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital. The book incorporates the history of the asylum as well as the many ghost stories that have arisen out of the asylum’s abandonment. In an effort to separate fact from fiction, Shults thoroughly explores the true history of the hospital.

“It’s fascinating,” she says. “The Peoria State Hospital was a place of great advances in mental health care. Was there agony there? I don’t doubt it. Mental illness is an agonizing thing. So is alcoholism. So is TB. But that’s not nearly the whole story of this remarkable institution. There was also incredible tenderness and car-ing. Dr. George Zeller was responsible for unprecedented reforms in the field of mental health care. I feel incredi-bly fortunate to have been able to write a book that not only tells some really unnerving ghost tales, but also the true stories of Dr. Zeller and his dedicated staff.”

Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital is a result of years of research. Shults spoke to dozens of people who have had paranormal experiences at the abandoned asylum. She has also done many inves-tigations of her own. The book, and Shults’ research, was featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters (“Prescription for Fear”, which aired January 30, 2013).

Shults lives in Illinois with her husband. She works at the Fondulac District Library, mostly in order to feed her book addiction. She also serves as the Publicity Director for Dark Continents Publishing. In addition to nonfiction, she also writes romance and horror. She is the first to admit that there is a fine line between the two.

Sylvia will be at Tinker on October 24, 2014 for the Paranormal Tour
imagesTinker Swiss Cottage Museum, 411 Kent Street, Rockford, IL 61102
October 24, 2014
7:00-10:00pm

The Etiquette of Mourning

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By Donna Langford
The Victorian middle class changed the attitudes regarding death. Earlier burial customs were romanticized, absorbing them into the more sentimental Victorian culture. Heaven was now views as a wonderful place, and mourning was for those left behind. The body became regarded as something precious. the coffin was renamed “casket”, which refers to a container for precious objects.

During the 19th century, the majority of deaths still occurred in the home. If not, the deceased was quickly taken there. A close family friend or local undertaker would be notified to attend to the body and the family. Early in the century, furniture stores often included undertaking in their available services and provided coffins, as did the Rockford Furniture and Undertaking Company. By the 1880s, embalming techniques made it possible to preserve the body for several days and “undertaking” began to develop into a separate profession. By 1900 the profession of funeral directing was increasingly established, and funerals began to take place more frequently in a funeral home or church, although many still occurred in the home. this custom varied according to the wishes of the family. It was a popular custom for friends close to the family to write elegies for the deceased. these elegies were attached to the hearse, and printed copies were given as souvenirs during the funeral service, read at the funeral or published in the newspaper.

To publicly announce that a death had occurred in a particular household, a crepe and ribbon badge was placed on the front door, usually covering the doorbell or knocker. Crepe, a lightweight silk fabric that was processed to remove any sheen and crimped into three-dimensional patterns, was used to trim dresses, cloaks and bonnets: to construct door badges and to cover mirrors in the home. the color of the door badge indicated the age of the deceased person. A black crepe and white ribbon arrangement indicated a middle-aged person, all black identified a person of mature years and white creep with white ribbon indicated a child. The age of the deceased also determined the color and size of the hearse. A small white vehicle was used for children, and a full-sized black carriage for adults. From the time of the death until after the funeral service, the family would have window blinds drawn, the clocks stopped at the house of death and all mirrors covered with crepe to avoid seeing a reflection in the shiny surface.

It would be improper to attend a funeral without an invitation. a personal invitation engraved onto notepaper and edged with black was sent to family and friends to attend the funeral service. Once such an invitation was received, it would be improper not to attend the service.

Close friends of the family would make funeral arrangements and receive callers on behalf of the family. a caller should never ring the doorbell of the home, as it was a noisy disruption of the household in mourning. the front door could be ajar for friends to enter quietly, and visitors were expected to speak softly.

Using clothing as a symbol of mourning was not a new idea to the Victorians. However, they did follow strict rules regarding fashion, especially for women. A woman was expected to mourn her husband for two years with one year spent in deep mourning, withdrawing from all social activities, especially weddings. Deep mourning also required dressing entirely in black, completely covered with a lusterless fabric that would not reflect light, such as crepe. Dulled black jet was used for buttons and was the only type of jewelry permitted at this time. Fashion accessories such as parasols and handkerchiefs were edged in black, and all items were without lace or any other decoration. Hairstyles were simple and fancy hats were not permitted. A simple crepe bonnet or a long, thick, black crepe veil were worn instead. During the later stages of mourning, dresses could be grey or shades of violet with black decorative designs and trim. Men wore plain black suits and were identified as being in mourning by a black armband. A husband was expected to mourn a wife for three months. children under age 12 wore black mourning clothing for nine months, and babies wore white garments trimmed with black.

Seating at the funeral service was determined by a person’s relationship to the deceased. A spouse would sit at the head of the casket with other family members nearby. family members, especially women, could choose to remain sequestered (isolation) during the service. the placement of flower arrangements in relation to the casket and the carriage’s location in the procession to the cemetery also depended on a person’s relationship to the deceased. these customs still are evident at many of today’s funeral services.

The appearance of the cemetery also had changed by the late 19th century. the Victorian cemetery was park-like, a restful place. Many Victorian families went there on Sunday for a picnic lunch.

Memorials of the deceased were very popular and took the form of cross-stitch samplers, dried flower arrangements made from the funeral bouquet, and displayed under glass domes, photographs or paintings of the deceased, wreaths made from human hair, and most commonly jewelry, which could be worn long after the mourning period had ended. The Victorians often saved human hair in receptacles and used this to weave into flowers which formed wreaths, necklaces, bracelets and even rings. Jewelry made from hair was referred to as friendship jewelry, if given to a close friend, or mourning jewelry if it was made from the deceased’s hair. Other types of mourning jewelry included ivory rings, gold lockets, pendants and bracelets with mourning scenes, such as willow trees or clasped hands. Gold lockets were worn by both men and women and often included a portrait of the deceased.

TNT Paranormal at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum!

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TNT Paranormal

Hello Everyone!

We are going to have special guests, TNT Paranormal Investigators here at the museum on Friday, March 30th from 7-10 PM. It will be for a special paranormal evening that is scheduled on the eve of our visit by author, Jeff Mudgett. The evening will start with a presentation by TNT and they will demonstrate some of the great evidence they have captured over the years. Then we will share with our guests some of the evidence that has been captured here at the museum, and we will do a night tour of the museum. TNT will be available for questions you may have about paranormal research. They are experts in their field, and their presentations are awesome. They have very impressive evidence to share!

The price is $15 for members of the museum, $20 if you pay ahead or $25 dollars at the door for everyone. Click HERE to see the payment information. Hurry to reserve your spot! We like to keep them at about 30 people, so make your reservation today! Thank you!

Buy A Calendar With Tinker Inside!

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   My friends at Phantasmagoria Photography have created a new calendar! Tinker Swiss Cottage is inside (April)! Click HERE to take a peek and hopefully buy the calendar. Thank you!

Tonight-The Society for Anomalous Studies

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    Hello Everyone,

This evening, so close to Halloween, we have special guests, The Society For Anomalous Studies. Here is a little bit about them:  “The Society for Anomalous Studies is a cooperative of experienced paranormal researchers who have come together to conduct well structured and objective investigations into claims of ghosts and hauntings, psychical and parapsychological experiences, Ufology and Cryptozoology.  The SAS’s mission is to seek out truths and facts as they are revealed through data collected following a scientific methodology.

Members of the SAS bring years of practical field and research experience to the table as well as professional diversity. The SAS is fortunate to have members who have military, aviation, electronic and engineering, computer programming, laboratory, writing, music, business, social work and education skills and experience. We feel this combination of research experience and professional skills puts the SAS in a good position to not only assist clients who may have had an anomalous experience but also make meaningful contributions to all these unique fields of study.

Covering both Wisconsin and Illinois, the society will consider serious investigation requests as well as offer free phone and e-mail consultations worldwide.”

It should be a great evening! Thank you to everyone for supporting our paranormal evenings!

Ghost Head Soup & Dale Kaczmarek at Tinker!

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Dale Kaczmarek

This Friday, those who have an RSVP (sorry we are full) will get to meet the paranormal team Ghost Head Soup and paranormal guru Dale Kaczmarek of the Ghost Research Society. Ghost Head Soup is a group of dedicated local paranormal professionals that has done a lot of pioneering research in the field, but they also like to have fun. Dale Kaczmarek has been a paranormal researcher before it was “cool” in the 1970’s. Dale is an author who gives numerous presentations across the country to help budding paranormal researchers. Basically, Dale has forgotten more about paranormal research than many people know combined. We are glad and honored to have both Ghost Head Soup and Dale Kaczmarek at our museum. Since our paranormal tours have become popular (they filled up fast), we have added two more dates on Friday November 11th at 7 p.m. and Friday, December 16th at 7 p.m. The cost is $15 per person. If you want to make sure that you are on the list, give us a call at 815-964-2424 or email me @ steve@tinkercottage.com. Hope to see you then!

Ghost Head Soup

Paranormal Evening With TnT Paranormal Investigators!

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Greenwood Cemetery

 

Hello Everyone,

We will have another great paranormal tour this Friday, October 14, 2011. Our special guest’s will be TnT Paranormal Investigators. They will give one of their great presentations, showing audio and video evidence they have captured in the past. I will play some evidence that has been captured at the museum, then we will have a rare night tour of the museum. The tour will begin at 7 pm, and we will be finished between 9:30-10 pm. The cost is $15 per person, which is very reasonable. The tour begins at the museum’s visitor center. You can RSVP by calling 815-964-2424 or email me at steve@tinkercottage.com. Please RSVP before all of the seats are filled!  Thank you!

Paranormal Tours are back!

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Tinker Sitting Room

Hello Everyone,

We are having a wonderful October full of events, and it is starting tonight!

We are going to have paranormal tours of the museum from 7 p.m. to 9:30-ish every Friday night from Sept. 30th to October 28th. The cost is $15 and there will be at least two presenters per Friday (usually paranormal investigators of authors) and there will be a night tour of Tinker’s Victorian mansion. The parlor will be dressed as if there is a funeral going on at the time, and we will have a great time! Please RSVP by calling 815-964-2424 or email me at steve@tinkercottage.com. I like to keep it at about 25 people per Friday so everyone has an intimate experience. We also have paranormal t-shirts and other merchandise for sale at our gift shop. Thank you for your support of Tinker! Hope to see you one of these Friday nights!

New Paranormal Night-June 25th, 2011!

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The Dorr-Tinker monument at Greenwood Cemetery in Rockford.

 

Hello Everyone,

We are having another great Paranormal Night at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens in Rockford, Illinois. The event will be on June 25, 2011 from 7-9:00 PM. We will have a great local historian and author Michael Kleen here to talk about his latest book, Haunted Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State. We will also have Kathi Kresol here who is a Rockford Public Library employee and she organizes the ‘Haunted Rockford’ tours every year for the library. Also, Kathi is a member of the Forest City Paranormal Society and she will talk about modern paranormal investigation techniques and some of her experiences. We will also have a local psychic, Mark Dorsett who will inform people about his particular gift. I will be talking about Victorian mourning customs and funerals since there were many that took place in Tinker’s Victorian mansion. I will also discuss how contemporary people memorialize the passing of their loved ones with modern mourning jewelry and other forms of art with help from our friends Kristan and Robert McNames from Grace Funeral & Cremation Services. I will also recreate the look of the parlor when a funeral was going on during the 19th Century. The fee is $15 per person, and you need to RSVP to be part of this great evening of fun, education, and entertainment. We will have a limited number of people, and you can contact me, Steve Litteral, at the museum at (815)-964-2424 or email me at steve@tinkercottage.com or call Kathi Kresol at (815)-965-7606 ext. 682 or kkresol@rockfordpubliclibrary.org. I hope to see you there, it will be an evening to remember!

Another Great Paranormal Night!

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We are having another great Paranormal Evening at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens! On February 12, 2011, at 7 PM, we will be hosting author and historian Michael Kleen, Kathi Kresol from the Rockford Public Library, and members of the Forest City Paranormal Society. Please call for a reservation (RSVP) as soon as possible, since we would like to have 25 people maximum at the event to make sure everyone can have a good time and we can give the ultimate in customer service.

The cost is $15 at the door, and make sure to tell your friends! The evening will start off with a presentation by Michael Kleen, who is the author of many books including, Legends and Lore of Illinois: Case Files Volume 1, Haunting the Prairie: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of Illinois, and Paranormal Illinois, to name a few. Then, Kathi Kresol from the Rockford Public Library, and paranormal investigator at the Forest City Paranormal Society, will discuss modern ghost hunting techniques and practices. I (Steve) will then go over the history of the home, and the strange occurrences of the past. Finally, we will go over to the Victorian mansion, and take a tour of the museum, while discussing the paranormal. Who knows, a spirit or two may be active that night, and you may get the surprise of your life!

Refreshments will be available, and Mr. Kleen will bring some books to sell and autograph, if you already have a copy of one of his works.

Have a great day everyone, and we hope to see you here!

Thank You to Everyone!

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Hello, I would like to thank everyone that came out in October to support our Haunted Tours! I would also like to thank all of our supporters!

Happy Halloween!

Grace Funeral & Cremation Services supplied us with a great coffin that probably made some children seek out psychiatric help. It was awesome! Tara Blazer loaned us some of her mourning jewelry and other items from her ‘Mourning Glory Museum,’ which were a great addition to the cottage! I would also like to commend the members of Forest City Paranormal for coming out every Friday night with me to help give the tours. I could not have done it without them! I would also like to give a special “shout out” to Kathi Kresol of the Rockford Public Library. She has helped me every step of the way in designing our paranormal events, and it has been a great collaboration with the Rockford Public Library. If you would like a broader tour of Paranormal sites in Rockford, make sure you go on one of her ‘Haunted Rockford’ Tours through the library. They are very informative and very fun! My favorite holiday has now come and gone, and I will be getting ready for turkey day. Before you know it, a big fat guy in a red suit, who is a serial cat burglar, will try to break into your house to leave “presents.” Sorry Santa, I don’t want anything made by your army of slave laborers at the North Pole. Have a great day, and I hope you got to see the Great Pumpkin last night. I didn’t. I fell asleep after my sugar high. Peace!