Tinker Swiss Cottage in Rockford
Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum in Rockford is included in the upcoming season of “Jack Osbourne’s Night of Terror” on the Travel Channel. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)
By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — A Travel Channel show that brings Jack Osbourne and his celebrity friends to some of the scariest places across the country will include an episode this fall at one of the city’s most notoriously haunted sites.

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum, 411 Kent St., is featured in the upcoming season of “Jack Osbourne’s Night of Terror,” which debuts Sunday, Oct. 1. Tinker is slated to appear in the second episode of the season.

Osbourne, a reality TV star who is the son of heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne, brought model and actress Jenny McCarthy with him to Rockford to visit the historic mansion once occupied by early industrialist and former mayor Robert Tinker.

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The trailer for the show was shared on social media by the Travel Channel on Wednesday. Osbourne says in a voiceover that he brought McCarthy “to the mansion of a wealthy industrialist who watches over his property from beyond the grave.” The video shows a portrait of Tinker and images of the museum before cutting to McCarthy gasping.

The episode was filmed Dec. 19-22 during an extreme cold snap.

“They were here until 2 in the morning most nights,” said Samantha Hochmann, executive director at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum.

Aside from Osbourne and McCarthy, psychic medium Michelle Belanger also visited the museum.

“We knew Jack was coming, but we didn’t know who the other celebrity guests were until the day before,” Hochmann said. “They were the nicest people. All three of them.”

The historic cottage, where the Tinker family lived from 1865 to 1942, has long held a reputation for hauntings and regularly hosts paranormal tours.

Museum staff have reported seeing apparitions of the family, hearing footsteps inside the building when they’re alone, seeing items move out of place or rocking chairs start to sway.

“I’ve seen Robert a few times, I’ve seen his first wife a few times,” Hochmann told us during an interview in October 2021. “What I do is I just talk to them everyday, and occasionally they respond.

“For the most part it’s just as it is. They live their afterlife while we’re living our current life. Sometimes they intermingle and other times we go about our own businesses.”

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The season premiere on Oct. 1 is at the historic Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula, California.

The episode featuring Tinker is slated for Sunday, Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. central time. The episode synopsis says “recent construction at the museum has upset the ghosts of the Tinker family, leading to aggressive activity. Can Jack and Jenny soothe these restless souls?”

The museum plans to do a watch party on Oct. 15. It’s working on details for that event.

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at khaas@rockrivercurrent.com or follow him on X at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas and Threads @thekevinhaas

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