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Do you believe in ghosts? You might, after reading 'The Haunted History of Chester'

  • Historian Shane Wagner, right, with artist Melanie Barker.

    Historian Shane Wagner, right, with artist Melanie Barker.
    Gwendy Garner photo

By Gwendy Garner
Contributing writer
updated: 11/6/2019 10:56 AM

On Oct. 24, a large crowd filled the lower level of the Chester Public Library to hear local historian Shane Wagner discuss his first book, "Ghosts by the Riverside: The Haunted History of Chester and Old Kaskaskia."

Wagner is donating the proceeds from his book sales to the Chester Public Library. Those who preordered the book were able to get their books and have them signed by Wagner thatr. Others in the audience put in orders for the book that night.

Sketches on the cover and throughout the book were done by local artist Melanie Barker.

In "Ghosts By the Riverside," Wagner focuses on the cursed and sunken Kaskaskia, specifically the ghosts of Paget's Mill near the Riley Lake area, just north of Chester, telling of the haunted legends and lore of that area.

His book also discusses the histories and haunted lore of the Chester Public Library, the St. Nicholas Landmark near the Chester riverfront and the historic Weinrich Home on Opdyke Street, all in Chester.

Wagner's research has been extensive and well documented.

Wagner describes himself as somewhat of a skeptic, if open-minded, in the area of spirits and ghosts. The book is a very interesting read, even if a person is only interested in the history of the area.

It is particularly intriguing if a person also has an interest in the paranormal. Books are available for sale at the Chester Public Library, while quantities last.