4/6/2014 Sylvia Shults

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This week Eric, Lon and Amy welcome Sylvia Shults to the program. Sylvia Shults has been a paranormal investigator for several years. She began her career as a ghost hunter as a result of doing the research for her nonfiction book Ghosts of the Illinois River (Quixote Press, 2010). Her fascination with ghosts dates back to her childhood, as she is an avid reader who was raised on Grimm’s Fairy Tales. A few years ago, Shults was inspired to write a collection of people’s supernatural experiences at the Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville, Illinois. This project quickly swelled into Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital. The book incorporates the history of the asylum as well as the many ghost stories that have arisen out of the asylum’s abandonment. In an effort to separate fact from fiction, Shults thoroughly explores the true history of the hospital.

“It’s fascinating,” she says. “The Peoria State Hospital was a place of great advances in mental health care. Was there agony there? I don’t doubt it. Mental illness is an agonizing thing. So is alcoholism. So is TB. But that’s not nearly the whole story of this remarkable institution. There was also incredible tenderness and caring. Dr. George Zeller was responsible for unprecedented reforms in the field of mental health care. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to write a book that not only tells some really unnerving ghost tales, but also the true stories of Dr. Zeller and his dedicated staff.” Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital is a result of years of research. Shults spoke to dozens of people who have had paranormal experiences at the abandoned asylum. She has also done many investigations of her own. The book, and Shults’ research, was featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters (“Prescription for Fear”, which aired January 30, 2013).

Shults lives in Illinois with her husband. She works at the Fondulac District Library, mostly in order to feed her book addiction. She also serves as the Publicity Director for Dark Continents Publishing. In addition to nonfiction, she also writes romance and horror. She is the first to admit that there is a fine line between the two.

"Sylvia Shults's FRACTURED SPIRITS is a fascinating, touching, creepy, riveting read -- a sort of Central Illinois Ghost Adventures -- set in the defunct chambers of the Peoria State Hospital. Shults is a natural story-teller, and she gets at something deeper and more poignant here than mere phantoms..." - Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling co-author of THE WALKING DEAD: THE ROAD TO WOODBURY

www.sylviashults.com and www.darkcontinents.com

Visit www.facebook.com/FracturedSpirits for an interactive experience. Listen to EVPs, watch videos, and share your own ghost stories about the Peoria State Hospital!

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