Bruce and Lisa Cline are the authors of the new book, History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois, released July 15, 2011 by Black Oak Media. History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois takes you on a tour of some of the strangest and unique places in southern Illinois.
Were you born and raised in in southern Illinois? How long have you been investigating the paranormal there, and what about the paranormal interests you?
Bruce – I was born and raised in southern Illinois. I lived in Harrisburg until I started attending Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1974. I have been interested in the paranormal since the early 1960’s, about the time that the TV show Dark Shadows came out. My interest in the paranormal is sparked by local history and the mysteries associated with it. Many historical and mysterious events have occurred in southern Illinois, and several of these events have a ghost story associated with them.
Lisa – was born and raised in southern Illinois as well. She lived in Harrisburg, Carrier Mills and Galatia until the 1980’s when she moved to Germany. Lisa and several members of her family are what are considered to be “sensitives” and are in tune with the “unseen”. Lisa can often time sense paranormal events before they occur.
Why do you think southern Illinois has such a rich tapestry of folklore and ghost stories?
Bruce – Many paranormal researcher have found that areas in which natural formations of quartz, limestone and certain other mineral are present have a high incidence of paranormal activity. This paranormal activity is also associated with waterways and rail road. Southern Illinois is bordered by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and contains many smaller rivers, creeks and stream. Many railways run thru southern Illinois. All this combined with the ancient Indian tribes that lived here as well as the murder, mayhem and tragedies that the area is know for have contributed to a high incidence of paranormal activity in the region.
What makes your book different from previous books on haunted places in the area, and what is your favorite story from the book?
Bruce – There are very few books that are devoted exclusively to haunted places in southern Illinois. Several of the books with a couple of exceptions just rehash the same old stories that everyone who lives in southern Illinois has heard since childhood. Lisa and I decided it was time to go out and conduct new research and investigations in order to discover new places and people of historical, mysterious and ghostly interest. While Lisa and I conduct research and investigations in a serious way, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. I this book are some stories where we poke fun at ourselves. If you can’t have fun at what you are doing, then why do it?
Lisa – Our book is not all about ghosts. We offer a lot of regional history that some people have probably never even realized happened around here.
Is there anything in History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois that will surprise its readers? What is it?
Bruce – One of our favorite stories is the one about the Murphysboro Mud Monster. This monster has been the subject of many stories in books, magazines and online. After almost 40 years, we are the first to tell the true story behind the Murphysboro Mud Monster. I’m sure we will catch some flak over that story. LOL
Lisa – Probably the Murphysboro Mud Monster story. People have talked about it for years and Murpphysboro actually has the Mud Monster festival each year.
Is there anything you chose not to include in the book and why?
Bruce – Some stories we could not put in the book due to confidentiality agreements with our clients. Good taste and decorum suggests that some of our stories are not suitable for all audiences.
Lisa – Some of our stories we decided to exclude from this book because they occurred outside the geographical limits of southern Illinois and other stories are being saved for a future book we are working on.
What has the local response been to the pending release of your book? Do you have any upcoming events or book signings planned?
Bruce – Excitement about our new book is running rampage. The local response has been incredibly overwhelming. We have been contacted by many people wanting not only a copy of the book for themselves, but additional copies to give as gifts to loved ones.
Lisa – EXCITEMENT!!!! We are now local celebrities.