In July, 1865, the Roff family purchased the property that would become most associated with the Watseka Wonder story. It was during that same month that Mary Roff (the daughter of Asa Roff) died. Years later in July, 1877, the Vennum family lived in the house next to the Roff’s, and the paranormal activity began.
Peoria State Hospital (which has also operated under the names “Bartonville State Hospital,” “Peoria Asylum,” the “Illinois General Hospital for the Insane,” and the “Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane”) opened as an insane asylum operated by the State of Illinois from 1902 until 1973. The asylum has a total of 47 buildings on its grounds.