Most people go to Baci’s Italian Restorante in Plainfield looking to wine and dine. But the Will County Ghost Hunter Society goes to the restaurant at 407 W. Lockport St. looking for whines and other signs of paranormal activity. Built in 1868 as a Unitarian church then sold and converted to a Catholic church in 1908, the converted restaurant has proved to be a hotbed of hauntings.
“There’s been a lot of emotions left in the church from weddings, baptisms and funerals,” said WCGHS member Jason Houck, as he set up infrared cameras Oct. 22 in Baci’s upstairs bar, formerly the church’s choir loft.
The loft has been the scene of a number of paranormal incidents recorded by the ghost hunters, including a Dec. 7, 2008, video of a tightly wedged access door being thrown open. The video can be viewed on the WCGHS Web site at www.aghostpage.com/ghostvideos.htm.
This was Houck’s second time at a Baci’s investigation. He said he tries to remain objective and find other explanations for what’s he’s seen and heard, but that’s not always easy.
“I always go into it with a mindset that there is another reason, but when you investigate places with so much history, it just is what it is,” Houck said.
Cat Costello, who bartended at Baci’s for 10 years, joined WCGHS because of her experiences there.
Costello’s most compelling encounter occurred one night while she was alone washing glasses in the banquet room bar.
“I had my hands in the bleach water and happened to look up into the mirror next to the sink. In the reflection I saw another pair of arms, but they weren’t mine,” Costello said.
Many of her other encounters were auditory in nature.
“I’d hear voices. Someone would call my name, but when I’d look up there’d be no one there,” Costello said.
Finally she started responding.
“One night in the banquet room I asked ‘What’s your name,’” Costello said.
“Ginny,” the voice whispered.
“Oh, I love that name. I have a daughter named Jenny,” Costello said she replied.
“Ginny,” the voice replied again, this time sounding irritated. “Like Virginia.”
John Perri Jr., son of the restaurant’s owner and a Joliet cop, also has heard and seen a lot of weird stuff over the years.
“They’ve even called me by name,” Perri said.
Perri is a member of Chicagoland’s Objective Paranormal Society or COPS, which is a ghost hunter society whose members are all in law enforcement.
Perri has recorded a number of electronic voice phenomena, or EVPs, at the restaurant, including a child’s voice in a basement storeroom asking “Why are we hiding?”
Perri said he believes the child is asking other ghosts why they are hiding from investigators.
A few days before the WCGHS investigation, Perri and another COPS member using a thermal imager located a suspected ghost seated in one of the restaurant chairs, and the proceeded to follow it around as it moved from table to table.
During the Oct. 22 investigation, the ghost hunters set up 16 infrared cameras throughout the building. The cameras were linked to a computer to monitor and record any activities.
Later during their overnight stay, the group used digital equipment to check rooms for electromagnetic and thermal anomalies.
They also attempted to communicate with their paranormal prey by asking questions and recording EVPs.
“We always ask if there is something we can help them with,” Houck said. “We always try to get something out of them.”
That night the group was able to record several EVPs in response to several questions they asked.
In one, WCGHS founder Dan Jungles asks “What was your favorite song?”
“Over The Rainbow,” a voice chants in chilling, drawn-out response. That and other EVP recordings from the session can be heard at www.aghostpage.com/bacis/htm
“It’s one of the best EVPs we’ve ever recorded,” Jungles said.
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An infrared video surveillance camera is set up near a statue in Baci's Italian Restorante in Plainfield during an Oct. 21 investigation by the Will County Ghost Hunters Society.
Dan Jungles, left, and Jason Houck, both members of the WCGHS, set up an infrared video camera in the choir loft at Baci's
Cat Costello, a WCGHS member and former Baci's bartender, talks about her paranormal experiences.
Costello shows where see saw the reflection of ghostly arms in the mirror while washing glasses in Baci's banquet room bar.
Jungles shows the door panel that flew off the wall during a December 2008 investigation.
Houck takes out some of the $40,000 worth of equipment the WGHS uses in its investigations