Haunted Cemeteries In Illinois
A State Rich in Tradition
My home state of Illinois (pronounced without the 'S', thank you very much!), is a state that is rich in history and tradition. I could write dozens, if not hundreds of hubs about everything I have learned about Illinois over the years. My family was big on historical trips around the state. You ever see those 'historical marker' signs? Yeah, we stopped at every single one my step-father saw. Maybe I will delve into some of my knowledge in future hubs.
For now, I will take you on a trip through some of the many, many supposedly haunted cemeteries in Illinois. During my research, I found more than I had bargained for. This was originally supposed to be a hub on a variety of haunted places in Illinois, but the vast amount of information was a bit overwhelming. I decided to break it down into parts. The first part, obviously, covering the haunted cemeteries. There are many! So many, that I will not be covering them all in detail, but I will highlight some, and list some of the others.
So, put on your hiking boots, grab your flashlights, and let's go! Don't forget the bug spray! The mosquitoes in Illinois are very annoying. It's going to be a long night.
Probably the most famous haunted cemetery in Illinois is Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The legend of Resurrection Mary is one that is quite familiar with many people, even those not familiar with Chicago ghost lore. Just ask anyone from that area, and they will tell you the legend of Resurrection Mary. Or, you could just keep reading!
Resurrection Mary, so named for the cemetery where she is rumored to be buried, and where she tends to haunt. Resurrection Cemetery is located on Archer Avenue in Justice. Her real identity is unclear, but old cemetery records do have details of a Polish girl buried there that fits Mary's description.
Mary is said to be a beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed girl in her late teens, to early twenties. She is said to have died in an automobile accident in 1934 on her way home from a night of dancing at the O. Henry Ballroom. The ballroom has since been renamed as the Willowbrook.
Sightings of Mary started about five years after her alleged death. People driving down the road had complained that they saw a young woman in a dress trying to jump on their car's running boards as they passed by. Sometimes, she hitches rides to the ballroom. She can be seen dancing the night away. She is quiet and rather vague when answering questions. At the end of the night, Mary asks for a ride home, asking that the driver head north on Archer Ave. She will usually vanish from the car as it passes by the cemetery. Other times, she asks that the driver stop short of the cemetery, she gets out of the car and vanishes as she heads through the gates.
She has occasionally been seen inside the cemetery, as well. One such account is from a man who had been passing by the cemetery late one night, when he happened to see a woman who appeared to be trapped inside the cemetery. She was holding onto the bars of the gate, as if trying to get out. He went to get help, but when he returned, the woman was gone. In the spot where she had been standing, the bars were visibly bent, and at the curves where the bars were bent, were the smallish hand prints of a young woman pressed into the metal. The bars were replaced, so no evidence of this still exists today.
Many other accounts of encounters with Resurrection Mary exist. I could probably devote an entire hub to the legend of Resurrection Mary. A song called, "The Ballad of Resurrection Mary", was written about her, and a few movies based on the legend have been made. One such movie, made by an small independent film company, even won an award at a Chicago film festival.
The story of Resurrection Mary, and Resurrection Cemetery, was recently featured on the Travel Channel's program, Most Terrifying Places in America. Stop by one of these days, and find out for yourself.
Resurrection Mary movie trailer
Bloods Point Cemetery
Bloods Point Cemetery
The name alone is enough to give you a chill, though the origins of the name are far more mundane than one would think. Bloods Point Cemetery and Bloods Point Road are named for Arthur Blood, who settled the area in the 1830's. Though, a name like Bloods Point is still a little creepy, no matter the source.
Locals claim that the cemetery is not haunted, but that doesn't put an end to the rumors, and does nothing to thwart would-be ghost hunters from visiting the area late at night. A small warning, should you decide to seek out the supposed haunts of Bloods Point Cemetery; the cemetery closes at dusk, and trespassing is prohibited. Police frequently patrol the area due to the attention the area gets.
Still, despite the police presence, and despite the claims of the locals that the area is not haunted, people still claim to have seen and heard things. Sightings of white, glowing orbs and mysterious mists have been reported. Electrical problems, such as flashlights turning off, and cameras malfunctioning inside the cemetery have also been reported. Once outside, everything returns to normal, and the devices that didn't work, start working again. This is a common claim in regards to paranormal activity.
Strange noises have also been heard, from cries, whistling, whispering and growling, as if from an angry dog, can be heard from the shed located on the property.
Bloods Point Cemetery
Archer Woods Cemetery
Archer Woods Cemetery
The gates to Archer Woods Cemetery are located along Kean Road, kind of tucked away off the more traveled thoroughfares in Chicago. The gates are often found unlocked, so entry to the cemetery is possible, even after dark, but again, be cautious if visiting a cemetery after dark. Upon entering the gates, visitors are greeted by stacked up burial vaults awaiting their deceased residents. Albeit, and ominous first look at the cemetery, to be sure. Archer Woods Cemetery is often forgotten about in Chicago ghost lore due to the popularity of Chicago's most famous ghost, Resurrection Mary.
The ghost said to haunt this cemetery is called "The Sobbing Woman." It is said, that as you walk around the cemetery, eerie cries can be heard, compared to the sounds of the sobbing of a woman. A white, filmy form of a woman is often seen floating near the gates to the cemetery. She is called "The Sobbing Woman", and you can often hear her cries. Why does she cry? It is rumored that she is searching for her lost love, or for a child that she lost before her death. Her forlorn spirit wanders the cemetery, sobbing and searching for her long lost loved one. It is a sad, and heart-wrenching story.
Archer Woods Cemetery
Despite the name of the cemetery, this cemetery has nothing to do with the home of Elvis, nor is Elvis buried here. Graceland Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Chicago. It was established in 1860 as a private cemetery, by Thomas Bryan, a lawyer, and was designed by a landscape architect named H.W.S. Cleveland. It is a beautiful cemetery with gorgeous landscaping, and a classic feel. It is worth a visit just for the picturesque park-like beauty.
Several ghosts are said to haunt the beautiful, old cemetery. The most famous of the ghosts here is that of Inez Clark, a young girl of six years old who was struck by lightening at a family picnic. There is a life-sized statue of the child, put up by her heart-broken parents, at her grave site. The statue of Inez is encased in glass, to protect it from not only the elements, but also to protect it from vandals. It is said that on stormy nights, the statue will disappear from the glass case. The spirit of the young girl can then be seen wandering around the cemetery, dancing in the rain, and playing among the headstones.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
Bachelor's Grove is a strange cemetery. It is located in what is now Rubio Woods Forest Preserve in Midlothian, a suburb of Chicago. It was founded in the mid-19th Century as Everdon's Cemetery. The area was once a popular site for picnics, as well as a great fishing spot at the quarry pond nearby. The cemetery took a drastic decline, due to vandals and lack of upkeep in the 1950s and 1960s. It is all but forgotten, now, and is a sad sight to see.
Various urban legends are said to have originated in the cemetery and the area around it. Including the ever popular story of the "hooked maniac", who preys on unsuspecting lovers after escaping from a mental hospital. The hooked maniac attacks the male companion after he goes out, looking to see where the 'strange noises' they hear are coming from. This is, of course, a classic urban legend that has been told, and re-told in various forms, in many different places.
Many strange things have been seen in Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, including glowing orbs of light, phantom cars that disappear into the night, and somewhere around 100 ghosts. Some of these are a more common sight than others. Then, there is the legend of the "Wandering Farmer". See the video for more detailed information on this story.
One such ghost is called the "Madonna of Bachelor's Grove." A young woman dressed all in white. She may be the very same woman seen by a paranormal investigation group in the early 1990s. They claim they saw a woman dressed in old-fashioned clothes, sitting atop of a tombstone. A picture of the supposed ghost, taken with infrared film, was captured by the group. If she is indeed a ghost, and not a hoax, it is the most startling, and amazing, proof that ghosts do exist.
A 'phantom house' is also supposed to appear out of the shrouding mist on the trail leading to the cemetery. The house is rarely seen, but those who claim to have seen it describe a startlingly similar picture. The house is a two-story Victorian, with a colonnaded front porch. A faint glow can bee seen coming through the windows. No records show that any house was ever built in that area, and no one has ever claimed to have entered the home. If anyone ever has gone into the home, they have never left to tell the tale.
Claims have been made that witchcraft and satanic activities have, and still do, take place at the cemetery. The secluded location makes it an ideal location for such activities. Some evidence of such practices were found in the 1970s. Graves were dug up, tombstones rearranged, and animal remains were found on the cemetery grounds. Whether the vandalism is the result of trouble-making vandals or a coven of witches, is unknown. It does seem that all the disruption to the cemetery has stirred up the spirits that reside there.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery was also recently featured in the Travel Channel's program, Most Terrifying Places in America. If the stories are true, I can see why.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery Travel Channel
Other Haunted Cemeteries In Illinois
The list was far too long to cover them all in depth. I even had to leave some out all together, maybe to be added at a later date. Some stories were vague, or hard to believe, so I left them out. Here are a few more cemeteries in Illinois that are said to be haunted.
Campground Cemetery (Mattoon, IL): Campground Cemetery is a small cemetery near Lake Paradise Road, just outside of Mattoon. People have claimed to see phantom picnickers at the cemetery, dressed in turn of the century clothing. Strange lights have also been seen in the area of the graveyard.
Aux Sable Cemetery (Minooka/Morris, IL): It is said that there is a little girl in the cemetery. You can see her if you get out of your car, and when you see her, a paralyzing force takes you over, and you feel as if you can't move. Car doors are said to lock themselves, windows fog up when no one is in the car, and when you try to leave, the exit has been mysteriously blocked, only to be clear when you look again. It is said that there are tunnels that run under the cemetery. No trespassing here, so be warned if you decide to venture out here, you may be arrested.
Evangelical Church Cemetery (Oakbrook, IL): Near the Graue Mill underground railroad station is a church, and behind the church is a small cemetery. It is said that this is a very haunted place. The bodies of slaves that were attempting to escape to Canada, that never made it, are buried here. It is said that the spirits of these slaves haunt the cemetery, and that you can often see their restless spirits.
Mt. Pleasant Cemetery (Olney, IL): Claims have been made that the little old church that stands at the front of the cemetery is haunted. Legend has it that if you knock on the front door, you can hear sounds coming from inside the church. Sounds like singing, music and footsteps. Claims of phantom funerals being seen have been made, though they stopped doing funerals there in the 1950s.
Greenwood Cemetery (Quincy, IL): There is a mausoleum in the cemetery, and it is said that you can see children playing around the area. Strange lights have been seen near the back part of the graveyard, as well.
Mt. Hope Cemetery (Tremont, IL): There is a large, stone covered grave there that is said to be the final resting place of a church organist who was buried with her organ. The legend is that if you put your ear to the ground or the stone, you can hear her playing her organ from the grave.
Please, Do Come Back
I have decided to continue this in another hub. Maybe even a series of hubs on the subject. I have enough on cemeteries to do at least one more. So, please, come back and check out the next installment on the Haunted Places of Illinois; Haunted Cemeteries of Illinois Part II.
© 2010 Anna Marie Bowman