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Illinois Edition - Urban Legends, Monsters And Haunted Places, The Series
I have lived in Illinois for just under 35 years, in that time I have found this, mostly rural, state to be overflowing with well known urban legends and ghosts. It is for that reason that I have decided to sidestep (slightly) away from my normal genre of horror in movies, and test the waters, by wading into the vast pool of local legends that this state has to offer.
My goal is to get the readers involved by leaving comments below, telling of your own areas strange tales and legends. Considering the large quantity of unique stories Illinois has to offer, mine will barely amount to a drop in the bucket, so feel free to add your legends from here or for that matter anywhere in the world.
The McPike Mansion - Alton, IL.
The McPike mansion was built by Henry Guest McPike in 1869, whose ancestry includes at least 2 patriots who fought side by side with George Washington During the Revolutionary War. In 1908 the house was purchased by Paul A. Laichinger who supposedly lived in the house until his death in 1930. At one time this Victorian style mansion was one of the most beautiful homes in Alton, but the years have not been kind to the McPike Mansion as it has been abandoned since the early 1950s, and has often been the victim of vandelism.
In 1994 Sharyn and George Luedke bough the house from auction, with the hopes of restoring the structure. During this time the couple, along with many others in the community have come to the conclusion that this house is indeed haunted. It had often been rumored throughout the years of being so, but since the couple has purchased the home and spent so much time there the rumors have grown to local legends.
There are many different rumors as to who it is that haunts this place but the most notable is Paul Laichinger. Sharyn claims to have had her first encounter with Laichinger about 6 weeks after she bought the house. She had been outside watering some plants when she saw a mysterious figure watching her through one of the windows. Though chilled by the event, she was able to notice the mans clothing, before he vanished. Apparently he was dressed in a striped shirt and tie, identical to what Paul Laichinger is wearing in a photograph that Sharyn now possesses.
Along with Laichinger another spirit is thought to inhabit the home, a domestic servant Sharyn had nicknamed Sarah, having no idea who she may have truly been at the time. During a paranormal investigation it is said that the group was gathered in the wine cellar of the mansion when one member of the group felt ill.
The woman was then accompanied upstairs by another person from the group, while the rest of them waited for their return, several minutes later they heard the sound of the woman's footsteps descending the stairs and crossing the basement floor. The steps were followed by a pause and then the scraping sound of the wine cellar door brushing the concrete floor as it opened, but when the door finally came to a rest there was nobody there. The two women that had left were still upstairs, and the entire event had been captured on tape.
Large Birds Over Illinois - Various Areas In Illinois
Illinois has an outstanding number of large bird sightings in comparison to any other state. Now, when I say large bird, I am not referring to an eagle or any other common species, the birds in these sightings are said to have wingspans of nearly 20 feet.
These creatures are known as Thunderbirds, they have been mentioned throughout Illinois history and American Indian folklore is filled with stories of flying monster birds with enormous wingspans carrying away humans to feed upon. Along with the enormous wingspans the birds are said to have razor sharp beaks and claw like talons, and at time described as being very similar to the pterodactyls of prehistoric times.
One of the earliest legends of these winged beasts comes from, once again, Alton Illinois. Just north of the city is a huge rock painting portraying an extremely menacing winged creature. At one time the painting was actually an ancient petroglyph, showing the image of two of these creatures.The original painting existed for hundreds of years dating back to at least 1673 when it was first described in the journals of Marquette. Due to deterioration they had to be recreated in order to preserve their life in history. Nobody knows for sure who created the original paintings.
In 1836 Professor John Russel was noted as making a tremendous discovery concerning these creatures. While exploring with his guide, high up on the bluff above the original paintings, they found a cave. Upon entering they noticed the entire floor of the cave to be covered in human bones, and they had claimed the mass of bones to be nearly 4 feet deep in all areas of the cavern.
There have been many other sighting since then, of these giant monsters, carrying off their human victims, even as recent in history as 1977. In a town by the name of Lawndale in Logan County two of these creatures were said to have been circling in the sky before finally swooping down and attacking 3 boys. One of the birds is said to have actually carried one boy a distance of 35 feet before the mothers screams frightened the bird. The creature then dropped the boy and they flew away in the direction of Kickapoo creek.
The list of these sightings are practically endless, enough that it would certainly be worth looking into further. The bulk of the sightings still continue to be in the Alton area.
Do you believe there could be any truth to urban legends or ghosts sightings?
Resurrection Mary - Chicago, IL.
Chicago is well known for a lot of different reasons, mobsters, baseball, pizza, hot dogs and haunted places to name a few. Well, we're not here to talk about hot dogs or baseball, we're here for legends and ghosts. By far the most famous ghost in Chicago's history is the infamous beauty Resurrection Mary. This lovely, blonde hair, blue eyed apparition has been haunting since the late 1930s.
As the story goes, this girl was with her boyfriend at the O'Henry Ballroom located on Archer Ave., now called the Willowbrook, when they happened to get into an argument, she then stormed off in a fit of anger. At that point she began to hitch hike down Archer Ave. between the Willowbrook and Resurrection Cemeteries main gates, but before anyone could pick up the lovely young lady she was struck and killed by a hit and run driver. It was very soon after that people began to see the ghost of Resurrection Mary, in her long white dress and blonde hair hitch hiking for rides along Archer Ave.
The Grave Of The Chesterfield Witch - Chesterfield, IL.
Just west of the town of Arcola, deep into Amish country, lies the very small town of Chesterfield. You can no longer find this village on any map but it is still there. Right outside of this village is the Chesterfield cemetery and within this cemetery is the grave of the Chesterfield Witch.
She was said to be a liberal minded woman often known to stand up for the treatment of women by the Amish community, and for this she was labeled a witch and said to have worshipped the devil. The elders of the Amish community banished the woman and she soon disappeared altogether after that. Eventually her body was found in a nearby field and labeled as death by natural causes, and was taken to a local funeral home.
It is said, the funeral home displayed the body to visitors, as an attraction, and chance for people to see an actual witch. The poor woman was eventually buried and a tree was planted near her grave. The superstition being, that a tree will bind the spirit to the grave. The tree still remains, but it is thought, that should it ever die, her spirit will be free to seek revenge upon the Amish people who betrayed her. It is often reported that her body is seen standing over her grave, waiting for the tree to die.
As I said before the tales I'm sharing are nothing compared to what Illinois history has to offer, there are many more interesting stories out there. Nearly everyone has heard an urban legend or ghost story about the city or state they live in, so what's yours?