The musical group Sunspot and Alton Hauntings Tour coordinator Luke Naliborski made an impact on a intent crowd Tuesday night at Maeva’s, talking of Alton’s haunted folklore, then a sampling of the popular band’s music.


Mike Huberty, a musician in the group, was impressed by Naliborski and Alton. The band interviewed the Alton Hauntings tour coordinator in a podcast, then performed.

“It went very well,” Huberty said. “Luke was a pleasure to talk to; I could have talked with him all day. He had a lot of stories and is really excited about Alton and its history. I like it when people are more about history than superstition. He was a guy that could get into gritty details, while someone else might gloss them over.”

Sunspot performed a dedication to Leonard Nimoy or “Spock” in a song called “Sha Ka Ree,” a Star Trek reference. Sha Ka Ree was believed to be the center of Vulcan mythology, Huberty said. Nimoy died at on Feb. 27 at age 83.

Huberty said Alton people are very friendly and he thought patrons learned of his upcoming appearance on or on posters.

“Everyone at the coffee house was attentive. They were cool with listening to us talk for an hour and having Luke tell stories. My impression of Alton is very positive. Once you get into the hills of town you can see a lot of its history unfold. There are a million stories I would like to hear and check out.”

Wendy Staats, a definite people person, said she loves playing, touring and meeting people.

She said it was “awesome” coming to Alton and hearing some of the quirky stories. “It is one of the pleasures of this kind of career,” she said.

Huberty’s favorite story was about the Confederate prison and how there was an island not claimed by either Illinois or Missouri.

The haunted island on the river was also known as Bloody Island, Sunflower Island and Small Pox Island, Naliborski told those in attendance and listening to the podcast. 

“It was a place where duels took place and it wasn’t a particularly haunted story, but there was a connection that James Shields challenged Abe Lincoln to a duel there. I thought that was very interesting.”

Legends of the Milton School House, where the podcast and show took place, were also discussed, along with Nailborski’s experience on the television reality show “Mysterious World’s America’s Ghost Hunters,” an investigation of a secret passageway and storeroom beneath the First Unitarian Church.

Huberty and the band originated at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisc., in the mid-1990s.

The band has toured and written a considerable amount of music over the years.

When it came up with the name Sunspot, it did so because they wanted a name of astronomical significance.

“We have all been in each others' lives and our families know each other really well. We have played 1,000 shows together and traveled all across the country cramped in the same van,” Huberty said. “We are absolutely thick as thieves. We love what we do and the best thing in the world is to play for people and getting to know an audience.”

Staats is a drummer, violinist and singer, and Ben Jaeger, a guitarist, is the other member of the band. Jaeger is joining the other two on later legs of their tour.

The group has six full-length albums. It released a song, “El Chupacabra” on Tuesday in Alton. That song was inspired by episodes of “See You On The Other Side.”

Huberty said his group writes about weird topics that interest them. Many of their songs come from interviewing interesting people in the field, much dealing with the paranormal.

“We thought it would be fun to interview and talk about some of Alton’s stories so we can learn about them,” he said.

Huberty said he thought Maeva’s Coffee Shop was a delightful venue with some of the nicest baristas they had ever met. He thanked Meredith, the owner for her delicious, warm atmosphere and beautiful décor.

“If we lived in Alton, Maeva’s would surely be a place we’d hang out regularly because it just has a good and welcoming vibe,” Hubert said. “It is interesting the building in which the coffee shop resides is an old school house that was built in 1904. It has its own folklore and tales of interest.”

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