The Roff Home in 1895 Watseka Wonder & Roff Home: America's First Documented Case of Spiritual Possession
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The Roff Home

» Timeline of Ownership
» The Renovation
» Victorian Italianate Style
» A Tale of Two Porches
» Around the Home
» Out Buildings
» The Grounds

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About the Roff Home

Many people with storied lives have lived in the home at 300 E. Sheridan St. in Watseka, Illinois. From infamous spiritualists and prominent families, to a notorious federal judge and a female aviator and violinist, the past owners and occupants of this home have left their mark on some particular aspect of Watseka, Iroquois County, or the broader world.

The Roff Home and the Watseka Wonder Story

This property has been uniquely associated with the Watseka Wonder story since it was first purchased by the Roff family in July 1865, the same month that Mary Roff died. This is the home that Lurancy Vennum lived in for 100 days with the Roff family when she believed that she was possessed by the spirit of Mary Roff.

When you visit the Roff Home, you will feel like you are stepping back into the 1800s, to the time of Mary Roff and Lurancy Vennum. The Roff Home sits on five acres on the edge of Watseka, protected on one side by a stand of old-growth oaks, and surrounded by 60 catalpas. The landscape is also dotted with magnolia, walnut, pine, and hickory bark trees, as well as many flowering bushes, such as bridal bouquet, lilac, and snowball. Behind the house, a beautiful view stretches back into the countryside, revealing a tree-lined Iroquois River and a magnificent stand of some 50 oak trees that burn orange and red with foliage at the height of autumn.

All rooms of the home are open for viewing, except for one small room used as an office. More than 90% of the available area of the home will be available during your visit.

The Roff Home retains much of its original detail. People on-hand during your visit can help distinguish the original details from later renovations, and they can point out hidden wallpaper and edging that probably dates from the late 1800s. You can also learn about the architecture of the home and this home's unique history to the town and county and to the many important residents who have lived here.


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