Dole’s mansion in Crystal Lake looks like a liquor ‘train station’ – Shaw Local
Editor’s Note: Whether you believe in ghosts and hauntings or not, this is one of many spooky tales about local traditions that Shaw Local News Network will share with readers in the spirit of Halloween.
Dole Mansion has seen many lives throughout its more than 150 years of existence, including being home to snow harvesting companies, a country club, and a Catholic school.
Psychic Lauren Purcell describes the mansion as containing multiple layers of spirits and energies.
“It’s like a train station,” she said. “There are a lot of layers because of all the different ages the palace lived.”
Last year, Purcell hosted spiritual tours of the mansion, 401 Country Club Road, by guiding guests with a swinging pendulum. She said each tour was different because the variety of spirits would be relatable to attendees based on similar ages, life experiences or culture.
Purcell does paranormal explorations, spiritual sessions and séances, which she said are not as scary as they seem. She describes her work as “warm and fuzzy” because she helps people connect with deceased loved ones.
Supposedly one of the common spirit attendants at the Dole Mansion is its original owner, Julia Dole. Purcell said her bedroom overlooked the lake, and people in attendance looked out the window and said, “Oh, that’s where I saw the lady standing in the window.”
“This happened more than once. They would see a woman’s shadow looking out the window while they were on the street.
Friends and relatives of deceased attendees also join the tours, Purcell said. Pendulums usually only start moving in some way when there is someone who has recently died.
“Strange things happen. The dead will try to interact, which is really cool,” she said.
Other paranormal sightings include orbs in photographs, visions of a girl wearing a Victorian dress, and the shadowy figure of a man wearing a hat, Purcell said.
Although paranormal tours are not currently available at the Dole Mansion, Purcell will host guided tours this year at the Starline Factory in Harvard and Oakland Cemetery in Woodstock.
Purcell said she feels she has been guided by the spirit of Eliza “Lou” Ringling, the previous owner, her whole life.
“Every decision she made seemed like her energy was somewhere.”
Charles Dole acquired about 1,000 acres along Crystal Lake and completed the mansion around 1865, said Diana Kenney, president of the Crystal Lake Historical Society.
Ringling converted the mansion into a country club and built an addition to the property in 1926, Kenney said.
“The mansion was built to impress and was a symbol of its success,” Kenny said.
The palace’s design is inspired by the Italian Baroque style and is filled with marble fireplaces, black walnut woodwork, and large windows. She said that the cost of its construction was estimated at about $100,000 during that period.
After decades of being home to two churches, the Lakeside Legacy Foundation purchased the property in the early 2000s, Kenney said. Now, Lakeside Legacy’s goal is to preserve the mansion’s history while providing a home for the arts to flourish.
“There was a lot of community outreach to buy the property and keep the mansion safe,” she said. “Crystal Lake should be very proud of what they did.”
(tags for translation) Crystal Lake