Haunts & Jaunts: The Triska Opera House

The Triska Opera House exterior in Rossville, Ill. *Photos by Rick Hinton

   I’ve been asked to write about some of my own personal experiences while ghost hunting. While it’s not the stuff of dramatic TV fare, there have been memorable occurrences along the journey. There were many ‘off’ nights when nothing would happen (they don’t say much about that on the television weekly shows), yet other times when ‘things’ took a peculiar twist. One such was the Triska Opera House, just over the state line in Rossville, Ill. It turned into a entertaining evening!

   The building was ancient, a former Freemason’s Masonic lodge located on the main drag of Rossville. It  ran from 1904 to 1947, with the lodge occupying the auditorium’s third floor. The first two floors were rented out. An opera house took residence on the first floor, continuing into the late 1920s when it was then converted into a Ford auto dealership, and when that

SCP investigators Judy and Dawn. Dave Triska is in the middle.

particular tenure ended, a poultry and feed business. In 1935 the second floor was used as a metal fabrications shop. In 1945 an apartment was constructed in the front part of the second floor, with plans for more in the future. That never materialized. Legend dictates that during the prohibition, illegal liquor operations ensued within its walls; with even a visitation by  Al Capone himself! Speculation of course, but always a good story! Regardless, it was a busy building, with a lot of history packed within its walls! And…a parade of people who’ve come and gone, leaving an imprint possibly remaining behind into this era.

   In 2011 David Triska purchased the building, with intentions of turning it into an antique store. He had a simple plan for a business in the small town of Rossville. That soon changed. Paranormal activity quickly

Hallway on the third floor. The Masonic area lay just to the left.

dictated a new direction: being pushed, black masses and shadows, footsteps, knocking and thumping, whispers, a woman moaning, strange lights seen on the second floor, doors opening and closing, and apparitions seen in the outside windows from the townsfolk convinced David that he should take a different  approach. Just maybe! He was entrenched in the building 24/7, spending the majority of his day (and nights) there. He was a witness. And he wanted answers. He began letting paranormal teams in to investigate. Their experiences confirmed what he already knew. The now entitled—Triska Opera House—was very haunted!

   In May of 2014 our team, South Central Paranormal, made the journey along the corridor of I-74 West, turning north after the border to arrive in Rossville and the Triska Opera House. We had heard the stories. Time for some fun!