Saturday, November 14, 2020

Haunted Carbondale Rain House


I have no idea how this house acquired the name “Rain House” but Jim Justus refers to it by that name in his 2009 book Weird Egypt. The house stands at the corner of Poplar and  Oak and, back in 1982, was the property of a SIUC marketing professor by the name of Sion Raveed, who before coming to the university had been involved in some questionable international money transactions. Along with teaching at SIUC, Raveed also acquired several houses in the Poplar Street area, subdividing and renting them out to students. At the time, SIUC was still seeing high numbers of student enrolling, finally peaking at around 24,000 about 1990. This influx of students produced a concurrent demand for student housing. Many of the mobile homes parked around the city date back to this era and Raveed took full advantage of the demand, in the case of Rain House hanging curtains to divide the basement into living quarters.

Spring break of 1982 found Carbondale deserted, as students and faculty both deserted the town for other climes. Most faculty and students returned to class the Monday after break, Raveed a noticeable absence. A second day passed without Raveed showing for classes. Meanwhile, the residents of Rain House started noticing a foul odor coming from the basement. Originally thought of as a particularly vile bad of laundry left by a student that had not yet returned, the smell increased in foulness. Attempts to contact Raveed to have something done about it proved futile so a house resident finally ventured into the laundry room from whence the stench emanated. Finding a laundry bag the source of the smell, the student opened it and inside found Raveed’s body stuffed inside with over a dozen stab wounds in the chest.

Due to Raveed’s international connections, this is the only time, as far as I know, that local, state and federal authorities all investigated the same crime. Unfortunately, despite the amount of investigative power focused on the murder, the authorities did not capture a suspect until a couple of years later when Raveed’s former property manager, who had left Carbondale for Canada, confessed to his current girlfriend that he had stabbed Raveed during an argument.  Extradited to the US, he was tried and convicted.  Even Raveed’s funeral was somewhat strange as only a few members of the marketing faculty along with one lone woman attended the funeral in Pleasant Grove Memorial Park off old Highway 13. Saying she was his sister, she quickly wrapped up his affairs and left, never, as far as I know, visiting the grave or Carbondale again. If you want to visit Sion Raveed’s grave, it is located along the road in the far right corner of Pleasant Grove but be sure to stop by during daylight hours

Over the years, residents have reported the smells of both something dead and a strong cigar (Raveed was known to enjoy a good cigar). A strong breeze has been felt moving through the house and televisions have changed channels by themselves.  Lights and fans turn on and off by themselves and dogs have always been uncomfortable there. If you stop by, remember the house is private property and best viewed from the sidewalk.

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