Is Cambre House & Farm Haunted?

Cambre House & Farm

This historic Illinois farmstead may be haunted by several generations of its namesake family

Paranormal Reports at
Cambre House

  • Doors in the farmhouse are said to often be opened by unknown forces
  • Footsteps have been heard rushing down the stairs and out the front door of the house
  • A woman’s apparition has reportedly been photographed watching weddings from inside the house
  • The farmhouse’s front door lock has locked on its own, as well as disassembled itself from the inside
  • The spirit of a young girl is frequently reported around the farmhouse
  • Visitors have claimed to encounter significant cold spots throughout the house
  • Phantom footsteps and voices have been heard in the barn on the property
  • Past investigators have reported equipment malfunctions in the living room
  • Shadow figures have been seen shifting around the grounds at night

History of Cambre House & Farm

Traveling down the winding gravel roads outside of Nauvoo, Illinois, it’s easy to feel like you’ve fallen back in time. And the farther you venture, the faster time rolls backward.

By the time you reach the brick-lined gateway to Cambre House, modernity may feel like a distant memory. But at the end of Cambre’s snaking dirt driveway, the inviting embrace of history will be there to greet you.

For over a century and a half, the purple-clad saltbox Cambre House has been the center of the farm’s operation. Though the farm fields and apple orchards are gone now, the farmhouse remains frozen in time. And so do the souls lingering within it, or so the farm’s ghost stories say.

Along with being a picturesque escape overlooking the Mississippi River as well as a wedding venue, Cambre Farm has built a reputation as one of the region’s most haunted homes. From phantom footsteps to apparitions, the hauntings are just part of the home’s allure.

Timeline of Cambre House & Farm's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Cambre House & Farm through the years

Even the barn on the property is home to ghosts who whisper and walk


The story of Cambre Farm began in 1860. That year, Adolphe Cambre and his family bought the land that would one day be their farm. They moved to Nauvoo with the Icarians, a utopian society the family was a part of. While many Icarians moved on, the Cambre family put down roots in Nauvoo.

In 1867, Adolphe, a woodworker, completed the saltbox house for his family. Reportedly, he built the saltbox home to fool the tax collectors. They would charge more per floor, but never went around the back to see its second story.

One famous account of paranormal activity at Cambre House featured the spirit of a former resident peeking out the window and into a wedding photo


For over a hundred years, the Cambre family lived in the farmhouse. At one time, the three-bedroom home held the Cambre couple and ten children. Four generations of Cambres lived on the farm over that time. While Adolphe Cambre found work as a cabinet maker, later Cambres operated the farm as an apple orchard.

Apple picking at Cambre remained a popular activity for Nauvoo locals into the 1940s. But by the 1970s, the Cambre family’s presence in the region waned. The last Cambre resident moved out in 1978, and the home was auctioned in 1979.

Many paranormal investigators have heard footsteps upstairs, only to hear them on the ground floor when they go up to investigate


After the 1979 auction, Cambre Farm was sold to Relly and Lois Fowler. The Fowlers didn’t move right in, though. Cambre was stuck in 1860, still using an outhouse and pump water. So instead, the Fowlers made the home their dollhouse. They filled it with antiques and artifacts.

Even when indoor plumbing couldn’t wait, the Fowlers built bathrooms into closets and attics rather than build add-ons. By the 1990s, the Fowlers wondered what to use the old farm for. And, in 1993 came its first glimpse of the future, with its first hosted wedding.

Shadows are rumored to run between pews in the Cambre backyard


Though Cambre House hosted its first wedding in 1993, it wouldn’t enter the venue business for a few years. After Relly and Lois Fowler, the farm fell to their granddaughter, Rebecca Williamson. Williamson hoped to turn the property into a wedding venue and short-term rental, and by 2018 weddings returned to Cambre.

Today, weddings are a fixture, powered by the home’s historic charm…and its haunting legends. Now, couples travel from far and wide to Cambre Farm, hoping for a little spooky mystery along with their matrimony.

Cambre Farm’s Phantoms

Hauntings are no stranger to Cambre Farm. Ghostly activity has been encountered around the house since the late 1970s. One long-standing haunting report about the house stems from specific doors inside.

Since the early 1970s, the owners of the house have experienced a basement door that would not remain closed. Some say caused by spirits

Doors within Cambre Farm are notorious for opening and closing without known cause. One usual suspect, the basement door, has been mysteriously opening and closing since the late 1970s. Another, the door to the upstairs attic, has acted similarly for decades.

At times, it would refuse to stay closed, while at other points it would refuse to open. All the while, no rational reason for the door’s behavior was ever identified.

Former residents and visitors alike claim the living room is the most paranormally active area in the Cambre House

Door Locking Ghosts at Cambre

While some specters on the farm like to open and close doors, others frequently mess with door locks. The front door in particular regularly falls victim to this phantom prankery. Visitors to weddings and ghost hunts alike will sometimes find the front door mysteriously locked. While trying to unlock these doors, they find keys that worked moments before no longer budge.

The door’s lock has been replaced numerous times. However, the problem continues to arise, but only at strange times, and only ever when no one is left in the house. In one instance, the locking mechanism was seemingly disassembled from the inside-out.

One ghost story from the cambre house features the owner encountering a spirit who ran down the stairs and out of the front door

Cambre House’s Ghostly Footsteps

Another claim of ghostly activity at Cambre is the frequent sound of phantom footsteps. Disembodied footfalls have been commonly reported around the farm for decades. They remain some of the most frequently reported paranormal happenings at Cambre.

One of the most remarkable reports of this is that an unseen entity will be heard rushing down the stairs and out the front door of the home. Unlike most homes, however, the front door is on the opposite side of the house from the bottom of the stairs. So, those who have heard this spirit’s footsteps have been able to trace them through the entire house.

The Cambre House of Nauvoo, Illinois is oddly shaped, this is believed to be a method of evading taxation

Child Spirits at Cambre Farm

There have also been reports of child spirits around Cambre Farm, or at least one child spirit. Child-like voices have sometimes been heard and recorded by investigators. Pranks are also often played on ghost hunters in the home. One of these harmless games involves the oft-reported footsteps.

Some visitors have reported hearing ghostly footsteps upstairs and go up to investigate. But then, they will hear the footsteps downstairs. This playful game of chase has sometimes gone on for entire nights. Many believe this child ghost to be Eglantine Cambre, Adolphe’s daughter, who died young and is buried on the property.

Cambre Family Apparitions

While not as common as some other activity, apparitions have been seen around Cambre House. Perhaps the most well-known instance of this comes not from a ghost hunt, but from a wedding.

In one photo taken of the event, the clear figure of a woman can be seen watching from a first-floor window. Researchers were given the photograph to examine further. They were shocked to find that this figure is similar to photos of Hortense Cambre, Adolphe’s wife.

Shadows of strangers have been reported in the woods at night encircling the Cambre House

The house isn’t the only area of Cambre Farm that’s known for its shadow figures and apparitions. The yard around the home is also known for many shifting shadows and strange silhouettes. While no one knows who these shadow figures are, some believe they are Native American spirits, as there are believed to be Native burial mounds on the property.

Haunted happenings are also reported in the old barn near the property. Now used for events, the barn is said to be the site of disembodied voices and even more ghostly footsteps.

Drawn images of the ghosts of the Cambre House from a psychic medium who vitsited

Cambre House Ghost Hunts

Ever since opening to ghost hunts in 2016, numerous other ghost stories have come out of Cambre Farm. Ghost hunters have reported equipment malfunctions while in the living room. Others have encountered significant cold spots in the house. While some drafts can be expected, cold spots are reported to get below 20 degrees on warm evenings.

Additionally, investigators have had numerous encounters with the ghostly footsteps in the house. Others have captured the mysterious door opening that many have claimed to witness.

Cambre Farm’s Bright
& Spooky Future

While the original goal of Cambre Farm’s revival was to become a wedding venue, the farm’s operation now embraces the ghostly side of things as well. Whenever it’s not booked for a wedding, you can be sure Cambre House is taking time to host something spooky. You can even book a hybrid, haunted wedding package at the farm!

Pews are in the backyard where hosted wedding celebrations occur, but rumors of strange shadows moving in the night are reported as well

Whether you’re interested in haunts or rustic atmosphere, you can find something for you at Cambre Farm.

And if you’re booking a wedding, consider leaving a seat open for some ghostly guests. Maybe the Cambre’s themselves will be there to make your special day a little bit spookier.