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WI-IL Paranormal Investigation Team Case Report

Tinker Swiss Cottage, Rockford, IL--Paranormal Tour
January 17, 2014                                    

Case No.: 14TOU0118

Case Type: House Museum
Case Class: Open
Time: approx. 6:30pm cst

Weather Conditions:

No data was collected.

Other geomagnetic energy sources::

Limestone has sedimentary minerals that can react with certain substances to release energies. It is often associated with residual-type hauntings. Another conjecture in paranormal studies is that flowing water also releases energy that can be used by possible spirits.

Report written by:   Laura Baker, Founder & Case Manager

Investigators: Laura Baker, Mitchell Baker, Michelle Meyers, and approximately 13 visitors on the Paranormal Tour (accompanied by Steve Literal, exec. Dir. Tinker Swiss Cottage)


The Tinker Swiss Cottage has been investigated by several paranormal groups, including the acclaimed ScyFy Ghost Hunters (TAPS) team. It seems that each of these groups have not only had personal experiences, but also recorded data to back up the claims of activity that the staff at Tinker Swiss Cottage have experienced.


The history of the property is known very well. Years ago, the Native Americans most likely had a village located on the grounds---as seen through many burial mounds on the property. The museum’s executive director reports of a photo of the house lifted during improvements, which shows a possible burial mound directly underneath.

Robert Tinker purchased the property in the 1860’s, building the original part of the home, which includes the working kitchen in the basement, the serving kitchen above, and the red room upstairs. By 1870, he completed additions which expanded the home to include the rest of the house (minus the conservatory which was added to later). He also married Mary Dorr Manning in 1870, and they lived half the time in the cottage and the other half across from Kent Creek and the railroad.

Eight people died in the home, including Mary, Robert, Robert’s second wife and niece to Mary (Jessie Dorr Tinker), Mary’s sister Hannah, Mary’s brother Edward, Mary’s niece Marsha, and Mary’s father Josephus.


Claims of activity include whistling, disembodied voices, doors slamming closed, rocking chair rocking, shadows, and more.

In the summer of 2012, the museum hosted the Ghost Hunters team from television’s ScyFy Channel which found evidence of possible paranormal activity. Additionally, other paranormal groups have investigated the home. Some of found evidence of possible paranormal activity while others have not.


The WI-IL Paranormal Investigation Team was asked to come in to give the talk and Paranormal Tour at the Tinker Swiss Cottage. The team decided that since it was scheduled to investigate the museum the following evening, it would bring in four IC recorders to record the time period when no one was inside the building during the Paranormal Presentation. The IC recorders continued recording until the Paranormal Tour was done. From start to finish, each IC recorder held 3h55m of audio totaling approximately 12h of review.

The recorders were started by Mitch and Laura Baker at approximately 6:30 pm. Since this was not a full investigation, no other measurements were taken. The presentation inside the barn began at 7:00 pm. It was known in advance that the curator and one other employee needed to go back into the museum to unlock the door in the Red Room. Both employees noted their entrance on audio at approximately 7:50 pm—and they were very clearly heard on all four IC recorders opening and shutting the doors, and walking through the museum. At about 7:40 pm—10 minutes before the two employees came into the building—the IC recorder in the Red Room picked up what sounds like a door closing in the distance

Audio Clip: Possible Door Closing

This “door” is not heard in any other audio, which seemed unusual. The team has investigated this location previously, and has noted that IC Recorders in the Parlor and Serving Kitchen can easily pick up audio on the top floor of the building. The Serving Kitchen would pick up anything in the vicinity of the Red Room, while the Parlor can pick up anything in the vicinity of the upper library, Master Bedroom, and Jessie and Teddy’s room. Although there are normal building sounds, this team has spent enough time both in the house and listening to audio from this house museum to note the difference between normal sounds and abnormal sounds. Although this audio evidence does not provide proof of the paranormal, it certainly is unexplainable.

Once the two museum employees opened the Red Room up, by request they moved the IC recorder from the floor in the doorway facing the main living areas and sat it on top of a display box near the window. The two employees were heard leaving the building—and no one again entered the building until the tour came through. From the point the two left until the end of the evening, strange sounds were captured inside the red room. Starting at about 7:50 pm until 8:50 pm, a strange click was heard randomly every 2-3 minutes inside the Red Room. This click has never been captured by this team at this location, and does not seem natural to the environment. 

A sample of some of the clicks are provided.

Audio: Single Click     Audio: Double Click

In addition to the strange clicks caught in the Red Room, something was recorded “bouncing” in the Red Room while the tour group was located in the Parlor on the main floor discussing the Steinway Piano.

Audio: Bouncing in Red Room.

Again, the team cross-references all available data—and did capture a faint sound of bouncing in the Serving Kitchen located directly below the Red Room. The faintness of the audio indicated that the bouncing did come from the Red Room above.

The tour group made its way through the main level, even stopping in the Library for an EVP session. Nothing of note was captured here. The tour group proceeded to the Red Room on the top floor. Laura Baker was discussing the Red Room while a couple tour members were looking at some of the rooms down the hallway. Michelle Meyers walked down the hallway with the tour members that wandered away and talked with them before rejoining the others back in the Red Room. The significance of this audio is noted as follows: A potential, but faint, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) was captured in Robert Tinker’s Bedroom in the basement at this same time (all audio recorders are synced together). A review of the IC recorder in the Red Room noted only that Laura was talking and used the word “um” at the exact moment of the potential EVP, and sounds nothing like the sound captured. Moreover, none of the people in the Red Room were talking at that moment. On review of the audio in the basement, Laura’s presentation in the Red Room could not be heard at all. Yet, she could be heard in the Parlor and in the Serving Kitchen one floor below the Red Room. Again, the potential EVP caught on audio in the Basement was NOT captured on audio in the Parlor or Serving Kitchen. Laura’s voice was clearly heard as saying the word “um” before proceeding on with her conversation. It was determined that Laura—nor anyone in the Red Room—could have made this noise. As for Michelle Meyers and the couple of people that wandered off, they could clearly be heard on the audio in the Parlor and Basement recorders. The Parlor recorder, as mentioned earlier, did not have anything close the potential EVP recorded in the Basement—and no one in that group seemed to even come close to making that sound. Since this audio is very faint, listeners may wish to use headphones and turn the volume all the way up for the first clip.

Audio: Full Version EVP1 in Basement

The audio in question happens at about 10 seconds into the clip. The clip is heard much better in the isolated version.

Audio: Isolated Version EVP1 in Basement

Lastly, the clip is heard even better with some minor manipulation of the audio tempo—slowing the tempo rate down by 30%.

Audio: Tempo Reduced Version EVP1 in Basement

Just fifteen minutes later, while the group is still upstairs, the Basement IC recorder picks up another anomalous sound that does not match the environment—and with no logical explanation as it does not seem to fit the natural building sounds, this audio has been flagged and was only found on the basement IR recorder. The voices of the tour group are heard on the top floor, and then three loud—but quick—taps are heard.

Audio: Three Taps in Basement

About twenty minutes later, the tour group had moved to the Basement Kitchen and started getting Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF) spikes on the K2. Spikes alone do not constitute paranormal activity. Paranormal researchers look for correlations between EMF spikes and other anomalous evidence.  Approximately twenty minutes into the “K2 session”, a potential EVP was picked up. The paranormal group was fairly quiet—which made it easy to narrow out voices. At this time, the IR recorder was moved from Robert Tinker’s Basement Bedroom to the Working Kitchen where the group was located. One of the tour members had his own EMF detector and both his and the K2 held by Laura Baker were placed on the table together in the Basement Kitchen. Both pieces of equipment showed an increase in EMFs—and was noted on audio by Laura Baker. Another girl in the room is heard twice, briefly before another sound is heard that would not logically match anyone in the room. It is also a similar sound to other known EVPs captured at this location by the WI-IL Paranormal Investigation Team.

The first audio clip plays the full version.

Audio: Full Version EVP2 Basement 

The second audio clip isolates the EVP.

Audio: Isolated Version EVP2 Basement

Equipment set-up was as follows:


Personal Experiences:

 A K2 session lasting over 30 minutes was documented and witnessed by all visitors in the Basement Kitchen. No other personal experiences were noted.

Equipment Findings:

Several pieces of possible paranormal evidence were captured during review of the equipment:


Excluded Evidence

Several very loud sounds were caught on audio in both the Basement and Red Room. Even once in the Basement, a shuffling sound was heard approximately two minutes after the three successive taps. Since a reasonable explanation could be given to explain the loud sounds, these pieces of evidence were thrown out. For example, the shuffling sound could have been made by an animal that may have gotten inside into the basement. Without cameras, there is no 360-degree view to help with this type of evidence.


The Team has investigated at the Tinker Swiss Cottage several times, and believes this place to be very active. Typical investigations would involve gaining a 360-degree view of everything inside and outside of the investigation location.  This particular evening was not set up that way. While this particular evening did not have the usual controls that a normal investigation has, previous investigations at this location along with cross-referencing of audio has allowed this team to draw conclusions as to the evening’s paranormal tour and evidence collected during the tour. Therefore, the team concludes “beyond a reasonable doubt” that this location is haunted.