Each year during spring break students go on mission trips, visit family and friends, or work on projects and homework. However, for senior Eli Andrews, spring break was an opportunity to go ghost hunting.
Andrews went to Alton, Illinois, to visit a friend, but knowing that Alton is thought to be one of the most haunted towns in the country, Andrews researched haunted places in the area beforehand and decided to visit them.
“I figured as long as I am over here, I can do a three-part story (on) a couple of urban legends and haunted places,” Andrews said.
Andrews documented his visit to Alton on his Instagram account called “Haunts by Eli.” He focused on Alton’s civil war, photographing an old military prison, a monument and a cemetary.
He said he created the Instagram account as part of an assignment for the multimedia storytelling course during the fall of 2017 while he was studying abroad with Harding University in England (HUE).
Jim Miller, chair of the Department of Communication, was one of the professors at HUE. He said the multimedia storytelling assignment consisted of creating an Instagram account for students to tell stories about England, particularly London.
“(The class) gave them the opportunity to get to know aspects of London that they would not otherwise get to know,” Miller said. “Eli is a great writer (and a) very good photographer. People are interested in the things he photographs and writes about, so this just gives him an outlet to tell some interesting stories.”
Sophomore Camden Marshall, who studied at HUE with Andrews, said she visited haunted places with him a few times and still reads about his haunts.
“It is interesting to learn about the history of places. Even if (they are) not haunted, learning something spooky happened there or someone died there,” Marshall said. “It is interesting (to) see how much research goes into it and how well written his post are.”
Andrews said his attraction to the paranormal began when he was 10 years old.
He and a friend visited a supposedly haunted bookstore near his school. As he was looking around the store basement, Andrews said he saw a man looking down at him from the top of the stairs. Since then, he has been interested in haunted places.
“I like going into haunted places. I have a fascination with it,” Andrews said. “I am curious to see why people believe what they believe about specific places, find out if there is anything particularly special about those places that would have lent themselves to any haunted occasions or anything like that.”
Andrews said he would like to go back to Iceland or Ireland to visit more haunted places and continue telling stories to his followers.