Alton, IL – On the Illinois side of the Mississippi River sits a town with a lengthy history. Amongst the old buildings is the Mineral Springs Hotel.
The building is no longer the home of Mineral Spring’s Hotel, but home to a unique museum, a couple of shops, and ghost tours.
The Soul Asylum museum is for anyone whose interests are in the supernatural.
“We are constantly trying to explain the unexplainable,” said Dave Nunnally, co-owner with his wife, Donna. “So the museum is about explaining the unexplainable and maybe helping people come to grips with it.”
Nunnally said that he and his wife had been part of the paranormal society for about 30 years. This interest started out as a hobby, but quickly became a business.
They also own a shop in the building called It’s Raining Zen. The shop has been open for over a decade and sells items that deal with holistic healing.
Nunnally purchased the museum from his friend Janet Kolar. Most of the items in the museum are Nunnally’s, but he bought Kolar’s items as well.
“I wanted her to retire with dignity,” said Nunnally. “And I made her an offer for her collection, knowing 90% of the museum would be my stuff. And I did a soft opening in February of this year and then opened to the public in March, and it’s been crazy busy.”
Some of the items that are in the Soul Asylum are historic torture devices, religious artifacts, Ouija boards, and haunted objects.
Nunnally continues to talk about the possibility of haunted objects in the asylum.
“It is an 1870 portable embalming table. Sitting right next to it is the autopsy table from the Dixmont psychiatric institution outside of Pittsburgh. There has been way over 1000 autopsies performed on that table back there,” said Nunnally. “There’s energy associated with the objects in the cases. So yes, haunting are very prevalent here.”
Nunnally also has items from serial killers in the museum. He keeps those items to help educate the public.
Nunnally said that he is careful about what he acquires and displays from serial killers. He says people want to see it, but as the owner,, he has an obligation to not allow the killers to profit from their actions.
“I’ve got some dirt from John Wayne Gacy’s crawlspace up in Des Plaines before his house was bulldozed down. I’ve got one of his business cards from when he ran PDM contracting,” said Nunnally.
Tickets to enter the museum are $5. Hours are Friday and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
Be aware that you will be met with the museum’s newest greeter, Magnolia, a short haired pointer that loves to hang out with customers.