” In St. Charles, Illinois, there is a very fancy hotel on the west side of the river, right downtown on Main Street. The facade is done in a faux-spanish style with a terracotta roof and beautiful painted tiles. Inside, the whole lobby and the ballroom is made a gleaming marble; they are separated by a short flight of stairs and a wall of doors that are always open. Way back when, a family was staying in the hotel. There was a mother and a father and a little boy that came to the hotel every year in the summer. The little boy used to play in the lobby and the ballroom with his ball. He would roll it down the stairs, and watch it bounce on each step, boing, boing, boing. But one time when he was running down the stairs after the ball he tripped and broke his neck on the marble. His mother threw herself into the river in grief not long after, and his father only lasted a few years before he also killed himself. To this day, on afternoons in the summer, you can hear the ball bouncing down the stairs. You might see a man and a women standing next to each other in the ballroom, watching the stairs.”
Dawn heard this story when she was 17 and, although it is set in the town where she grew up, she heard it from her manager at a shoe store one town away.
Research failed to turn up this exact story, but there are records of another haunted hotel story in St. Charles that shares some similarities with this one.
From http://www.ghosttraveller.com/Illinois.htm:” As the story goes, a chambermaid was thrown over by her lover, also an employee of the hotel. When he left her cold after a bad night of poker, she cried for days and days, finally drowning herself in the shallow Fox river behind the hotel. Her cries are reportedly still heard by guests to the upscale establishment, and she likes to mess up the sheets once in awhile.”
That story is also documented in About.com’s Haunted Hotel Guide: http://hotels.about.com/od/hauntedhotelsatoz/p/hau_hotellbaker.htm
It is possible that the original ghost story was simply modified into a macabre cautionary tale about what happens when parents leave their children unattended. However, St. Charles, IL hosts ghost tours that are based out of the St. Charles Historical society, so it would seem that there are a plethora of ghosts to be found, and this story could be a distinct, but less-documented one.