Villa Kathrine is a lovely Moorish-like castle found, of all places, in the Midwest. The unique structure is built on a bluff with a fantastic view overlooking the Mississippi River.
George Metz, the man who built Villa Kathrine in 1900, was a native of Quincy, Illinois. He had traveled the world as a young man, and returned to Quincy to build a home modeled after the Villa ben Ahben in Morocco. Rumor has it that Metz built the house for a lady love who eventually broke his heart.
Mr. Metz lived in the castle for 12 years with his beloved dog, Bingo, a huge Great Dane. George and Bingo were the best of friends, and after Bingo’s death, George sank into a terrible depression. Metz sold Villa Kathrine in 1912, leaving behind the bones of Bingo buried on the grounds.
When Metz returned to Quincy in 1913, he was dismayed to find his old home in ruins. Not only were wild animals living inside the structure, but all the furniture and walls had been destroyed. Metz stayed in the area, and died of pneumonia in 1937.
The building remained vacant for many years. Eventually in 1978, a local group known as Friends of the Castle began restoration work on the abandoned building, which was completed in 1998.
The most prevalent paranormal activity reported at Villa Kathrine appears to be that of the dog, Bingo, whose toenails can frequently be heard tapping across the floor.
An investigation in the spring of 2009 by a local paranormal group found evidence of several other entities residing at the Villa.
I listened to several EVPs on their website (www.rivertownparanormalsociety.net), and they are fascinating! One EVP picked up sounded like a lady yelling in German from the basement area. Another EVP is an affirmative response to the inquiry from Mr. Metz’s bedroom: “Mr. Metz are you there?” My favorite EVP are the words: “Oh sweet dog.” Other EVPs including “I’ll watch the door” and “Mary?” are also picked up during the investigation.
The Villa Kathrine, currently owned by the Quincy Park District, is on the National Register of Historic places. For the last couple of decades, Villa Kathrine has been the location of Quincy’s Tourist Information Center and the Quincy Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tours are available. For more information, call 217-224-3688 or 217-617-5460 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.