Peoria State Hospital -
Peoria State Psychiatric Hospital in Bartonville, Illinois, is the location of the well known local ghost story of Old Book. He was one of the first patients in the hospital when it first opened in 1902. Old Book was popular, well liked and he took on the role of gravedigger in the hospital cemetery during his time there. It is said that after burial services for dead patients Book would lean against an old elm tree and cry for the dead. Sources say that Old Book’s name was A. Bookbinder. He had worked in a printing house but after a mental breakdown he became mute and no one at the hospital knew his real name so he simply became known as A. Bookbinder or Old Book. His grave is marked 713 in the hospital cemetery.
According to local legend Old Book’s funeral was attended by hundreds of patients and staff. When workers were attempting to lower his coffin into the grave they noticed that it felt very light as if it were empty. Suddenly, the sound of crying echoed from the elm tree in the cemetery and everyone in attendance looked over to see Old Book standing by the tree. Surprised to see the dead man the hospital director ordered the coffin to be opened and they found Book’s corpse still inside undisturbed. It is then the crying stopped. After his funeral the elm tree began to die but any attempts to remove the tree from the grounds were met by the same ghostly weeping sound echoing from the tree. It was not until the tree was struck by lightning years later that it was able to be removed from the cemetery.