By Linze Rice
Story courtesy of Only in Your State
I love historic buildings — not only for their incredible architecture but also for the stories behind them, the behind-the-scenes stuff that often becomes a blend of truth and folklore. From my experience, real life is usually stranger than fiction. Growing up in the Midwest, where so many horror movies are set in the fall, I think Illinois is the perfect place for ghost stories and paranormal phenomena to take place. What’s more spooky than something supernatural and sinister lurking in your quaint small town? For Northern Illinoisians, the best ghost tour in DeKalb, Illinois speaks to these fears and more, by flashlight alone.
The Egyptian Theatre is a local historical landmark that was built between 1928-29. Originally, more than 100 Egyptian-themed theaters could be found across the United States, but today only a handful remain. DeKalb’s theater is the only of its kind remaining east of the Rocky Mountains.
Immediately you encounter its bright marquee, as well as a breathtaking 20-foot stained glass mural of a beetle holding the Egyptian sun god Ra above.
Its design was inspired by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb and Ramses the Great. The theater’s atrium showcases stunning wall murals depicting ancient scenes from Egypt and sparkling ceiling lights that mimic the open sky. In 1978 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Yet, for all its splendor and cultural glory, the theater has been known to harbor some secrets. Its site at 135 N. 2nd St. was once the homestead of the Hunt family. Some say that the spirits of two little girls from the home can be seen riding their bicycles in the building’s lobby.
Noted as being one of the top 10 most haunted theaters in the state, the Egyptian itself is believed to have “upwards of six paranormal entities” within its walls, according to the theater.
“There is an extensive list of encounters that volunteers, staff, performers, the public, and other investigators have experienced in the theatre including [firsthand] visual and audible as well as pictures, recorded audio, and video,” it shares on its website.
Each year, the Egyptian offers a handful of exclusive ghost-hunting experiences by flashlight — and not just around Halloween. These best-selling tours take place throughout the year, giving the public multiple opportunities for ghostly encounters.
The $30-per-person “Boo’ze & Spirits Tour” begins in the supposedly haunted lobby, where guests can grab beer, wine, cocktails, pop, water, and candy. Then, using only the light from their flashlights, tour the supernatural theater in the dark from “balcony to backstage.” Kids 10 and up are allowed, but must be accompanied by an adult.
“This is the tour that reveals all the secrets and lets you go places the public has never seen,” according to the theater. “Don’t forget to bring your camera! You never know what you might capture in your pictures!”
The tour lasts for approximately 2 hours, with the final 30 minutes dedicated to individual exploration and paranormal investigations.
Speaking of which, if you’re interested in your own private paranormal investigation with a team of researchers, the theater offers that as well.
Are you brave enough to turn off the lights and embark on the best ghost tour in DeKalb, Illinois? Get your tickets soon, these tours usually sell out! Start planning your visit by checking out the Egyptian Theatre website and the Egyptian Theatre Facebook page. Make sure you’re fully prepared for any spirited encounters with ghost-hunting equipment like this ghost detector, or even this full-spectrum kit, complete with a night vision camera.