Sycamore hotel hosts haunted tour

SYCAMORE – The Rev. Mark Dorsett knew that the Jane Fargo Hotel was haunted the first time he laid eyes on the building.

“I can be outside a building and tell it’s haunted inside,” said Dorsett, a medium, psychic, and intuitive adviser who moved to Sycamore about a year ago.

Shortly after his psychic intuition kicked in, he went to a Sunday brunch at the historic hotel, which was constructed around the Reuben Ellwood mansion, which was built in 1882. Inside the dining room, he saw one of the spirits that he says is a permanent resident of the building. Next week, he will lead a tour of the hotel to try to gather more information about the woman.

“The first time I walked in, I thought, ‘Who is that woman over there looking at me?’” Dorsett said. The woman was wearing a ruffled collar and a dress made from a floral pattern.

Dorsett feels that the elderly woman, whom he believes is named Mary, is a long-dead owner, manager, or employee of the hotel from decades past. On Friday, Jan. 11, Dorsett will lead the first-ever public haunted tour of the hotel.

“We are giving a tour of the hotel and the suites that are supposed to be haunted,” said Carrie Burt, guest services manager of the hotel. Although she has never seen a ghost, she reports that hotel guests and workers have reported odd occurrences during the year that she has worked there.

“Some of us have had unexplained things like noises or the lights going out,” Burt said. “But nobody has gotten the impression that it was malicious.”

Dorsett’s original impression of the ghosts at the hotel is that the ghosts are indeed harmless, and perhaps a little playful. However, he generally does not do extensive research on a property before investigating it for a client or a group.

“I would rather walk in and have no idea what’s going on,” Dorsett said. He said he will usually research a property’s history after an investigation to find historical explanations for what he saw, heard and felt during the investigation.

Tickets for the tour are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. The evening begins at 7 p.m. with a buffet dinner, followed by a walking tour of the hotel. Along the way Dorsett will share his impressions, and present his theories and conclusions to the group before the tour’s end at 10 p.m.

For more information contact Dorsett at 815-762-6948 or at To make reservations, visit Dorsett’s website

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