By Doug Schroder


Ah, fall is here. A time for trips to the apple orchards and pumpkin patches on nice cool days with falling leaves. It’s also a time for all things Halloween. As I was perusing Facebook a few weeks ago I came across a place I had visited before, but did not know it was haunted. Conover Square in Oregon was that place. Mike Grasso, former owner of the Vintage Cupboard in Conover Square, has run ghost tours at the shopping center since 2012.

The building Conover Square is in is over 100 years and it started out as a piano factory. old Heard stories from people. Once in awhile things would happen,

“Sometimes the ghosts are active, sometime they aren’t. You never know what’s going to happen. I’ve seen some things I can’t explain, felt things. Other shop owners have been here for years have never had anything happen,” said Mike.

Many groups have gone through on the tour. One of the first Mike was contacted by was the Mid-West Ghost Society and they presented some interesting findings. They had audio recordings of voices show up on recordings. One lady in the group saw an apparition walk back and forth in front of her. Since then two-dozen investigative groups come out.

Of course there are detractors Mike has encountered from this also.

“I don’t want to jump in with both feet and believe everything I hear. When I hear the same stories from people that brings validation to what happens. I’ve been touched by spirits before, one time it even felt like a cold washcloth slapped the back of my neck. A guy that helps me out has had items thrown at him, such as staples from a staple gun,” Mike said.

Before our tour started, Mike went over the various devices used to pick up any ghostly presence. The devices are just like those you see on the ghost hunting shows on cable. They pick up changes in temperature, static energy, and the spirit box can even pick up what the ghosts say! One recording from an earlier tour   caught a spirit saying, “I don’t like it,” when asked what was thought of the new lights in the rail road store.

There are several different surly male spirits in the basement. One was caught on an audio recording telling a woman in a not so kind way that she was sitting in his seat. You’ll have to go on the tour to hear that.

Of the spirits that inhabit the building, one is that of an adolescent female that looks to be dressed in apparel from the 1950’s or 60’s. She has been seen by many on the bench in the women’s restroom on the first floor. From the Facebook page came this account.

“A friend of my mom saw the little girl in the bathroom too! She is not from Oregon and knew nothing of it. She was visiting and thought she’d go check Conover out for antiques. She said as soon [got] there, she went to use the restroom and saw this little girl by herself on the bench. My friend’s mom then stopped, turned around and the little girl was gone. She never did make it to look for antiques. The funny thing is it took her six months to tell me, because she thought I’d think she was crazy!”

That has happened many times for people

“It’s easy to think you saw something, but then brush it off,” said Mike.

While we didn’t find anything of significance on our tour, my former neighbors from Rockford, Fred Broecker and Sharon Wysocki, and my daughter, Lori Schroder and her boyfriend, Winter Harkins, all said they would like to return sometime for another tour.

It was an interesting and fun adventure! Tours are given all year round.


A picture of the outside of Conover Square in Oregon prior to the Ghost Tour on Friday, Sept. 23.


Mark Grasso instructs participants about the devices used in ghost detecting prior to the Ghost Tour of Conover Square. in Oregon, on Friday, Sept. 23.

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