Haunted southern Illinois

By Gus Bode

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a weekly series exploring haunted places in the Carbondale area.

Don’t be fooled by the clean, bright lobby of DCI Biologicals – just 15 feet below the welcome area is a dark labyrinth of secrets from the building’s past.

DCI Biologicals, the plasma donation center downtown on West Main Street, is a business frequented by many students and residents.

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What donors may not know, though, is that their blood is not the only blood on the premises.

The basement of DCI is as dark and decrepit as the lobby is bright and clean.

Local ghost researcher Scott Thorne said DCI has been known for several strange things: the sound of footsteps, doors opening and closing, as well as the hazy figure of a woman seen moving around the main room. Thorne also said there is no legend behind why the building may be haunted.

Walking down the stairs to the lower level, it is evident that this area has not been used for several years. Cobwebs span the hallway, broken concrete and tile litter the floor, and paint peels from the walls.

The light diminishes with each step as the windows grow more distant. The only source of a comforting glow comes from the tiny flashlight in hand.

Taking a right down a dark cinderblock hallway no more than four-feet wide leads to an unused bathroom – the spookiest spot in the building, according to DCI Assistant Manager April Conder.

A toilet in the first stall is evidence of the sinister history of the building, going back to the time when it was the Carbondale post office.

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The seat of the toilet and the wall behind the commode are covered with dark stains that appear to be blood.

Conder said a murder supposedly took place in the toilet stall, though the story has never been proven.

Exiting the bathroom and heading down another hall leads to a large room with peeling paint and a window near the ceiling. The window allows just enough light into the room to make out a dead bird hanging by its leg from the top of a door.

A butcher knife was found stuck in a window in the adjacent room a few months ago, Conder said.

Conder said the basement isn’t used for anything except storage, and employees rarely go down there.

It’s easy to see why: The blood stains, a dead bird and general creepiness of the basement are enough to keep even the most stalwart adventurer away.

Audra Ord can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or [email protected]

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