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Illinois.  Seemingly endless acres of cornfields begin to stutter with subdivisions as you travel northeast.  It is a place where countless Indian tribes once roamed great plains of prairie grass and wild onion bogs.  There now lies a fertile and productive state, dotted with communities large and small, littered with factories, grain elevators, skyscrapers, and the occasional Dairy Queen.  Callused hands worked the soil, worked the iron, worked the coal mines.  They lived here in little pockets of Italy, Africa, Germany, China, Wales, Greece, Ireland and Poland. They filled the cemeteries.

Each group holding on tightly to their rich heritage, the folklore is colorful.  In the warm months festivals spring up in dozens of communities every weekend.  People like to talk about their heritage, their long struggle to make it from wherever their oldest remembered relative lived and through into the present.  They like to talk about their family and how they have been hard working farmers, factory workers, or policemen.  They like to tell stories about a time long ago, just past the reach of most of us.  A more romantic time, in their eyes, when granny met grandpa at a Chiv-a-ree in Decatur, or when uncle Frank lost his hand in a metal press on the south side of Chicago and lived to tell...And then there are the strange stories. The stories told late at night at Boy Scout camp, and the stories your black-sheep aunt told you when the other adults weren't listening...

In memory of Richard Crowe, longtime Illinois ghosthunter

1948-2012

 

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HAUNTED ILLINOIS HOTELS AND INNS

Chicago - The Congress Hotel

Once owned by Al Capone, who lived in suite 800, the Congress is like an old showgirl, sort of wrinkly and stale, but occasionally revealing an illustrious past.  With hallways that have been described as "like in 'The Shining' ", and secret escape routes that still exist decades after Capone's death, the Congress seems a sure bet for hauntings.  Once housing statesmen and celebrities, the Congress has outlived it's celebrity.  Couple these facts with a mysterious murder that took place in the 20's, and the fact that room "666" is sealed shut without explanation...  520 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605    (312)427-3800

Chicago - The House of Blues Hotel

The House of Blues Hotel in the landmark Marina City complex was formerly a office building prior to Loews hotels gutting it in 1998 and making it into the swank boutique hotel it is today. Adorned with an odd combo of folk art from the deep south, Byzantine inspired stained glass, and north African style embellishments, (not to mention the signature House of Blues garbage bag embellishments such as old shoes and beer bottle caps that are nailed to the walls...) the building does not even hint at it's past as a stuffy office building. As the story goes, a little girl died in the building (it is unknown when or why) and is said to haunt the rooms. One visitor claimed their little boy heard a girl saying "want to play with me?" and saw her apparition playing with his toys. Imprints of a small body are said to appear in the formerly unruffled sheets.
I have stayed at the House of Blues Hotel a number of times, and actually did experience something rather odd - odder yet was that I'd never heard any ghost story or paranormal anything in relation to the place when it happened, so I wasn't in the least anticipating anything. (which is a contrast to the bizarre nights I spent in Savannah, GA). Anyway, it was around 1999 or 2000, and my husband (then boyfriend) and I were staying there so we wouldn't have to make the 1 1/2 hour drive home after a show at the HOB club located across the parking lot. We had stayed there before a handful of times for the same reason. Anyway, we had been shopping, and my boyfriend had bought some new shoes that day. He had tried them on, laced them and walked around the room a little in them after we got back to the hotel (like most people do when they're breaking in new shoes). We hadn't started drinking yet (this is key, I realize... haha). We caught a brief nap before the show. I got up and showered, and when I went to leave the bathroom, the bathroom door was locked. I was fairly confident that I hadn't locked it when I went in - in fact, if I recall correctly, I think I had the door cracked open because the bathroom tended to steam up. The door stuck as I went to leave (after I realized it was locked) , like it was jammed from the other side - and that was the only reason I even paid any notice to the fact it was locked.  I walked out where my boyfriend was sleeping and asked him if he had locked the bathroom door for some reason, and of course he hadn't - it wouldn't make sense for him to lock himself out of the bathroom. He hadn't even awoken from his nap, he said.
I blew that off and chalked it up to premature Alzheimer's, and then something even weirder happened. My boyfriend went for his new shoes about an hour later, just before we were leaving to go out for the night. When he pulled them out of the box, one of the shoes was laced in a way that the "bow" was sitting side saddle on the shoe (the ends of the laces were both poking out of one side of the shoe instead of at the opposite holes near the ankle like they would normally be laced). He asked me if I was fucking with him, which I was not...

Anyway, that was an odd experience indeed.  Coincidentally, Dan Akroyd (who I think owns the chain of HOB clubs, or at the very least is heavily affiliated with them) has a brother who is a paranormal investigator, and has been since long before there were TV shows and the like about the subject.  I wonder why there hasn't been an investigation yet? Hmmm.

 

Chicago - The Wheeler Mansion This mansion, one of the only to survive the great Chicago fire, is listed as one of three haunted accommodations in Illinois in a 1999 book called "National Directory of Haunted Hotels and Bed and Breakfast Inns", which is like 25 bucks to buy used (so I haven't invested in it). There is a paucity of information online regarding the details of this inclusion, which isn't uncommon when dealing with buildings that rich bastards like to hang out in. The library of congress lists the index to the book, which claims the house has four spirits haunting it.

2020 South Calumet Avenue, Chicago, Phone 312.945.2020

 

North Aurora - Baymont Inn and Suites

The lobby is said to have a white spook light that darted around some customers on St Patrick's Day in 2001.  Room 208 reportedly has an apparition who has made a guest feel as if he is being "strangled". Staff reports phantom voices coming from empty rooms. 308 S. Lincoln Way

Okawville - Original Springs Hotel 

Nestled in the somewhat nondescript farmland of Illinois outside of St Louis, Okawville is home to a hot spring.  In their heyday, hot springs were sought out by people of all walks of life, thanks to their "healthful benefits".  After the fad had faded, and people moved on to other miracle cures for their arthritis and hacking coughs, many of the hot springs spas closed their doors: Wedron, IL and Alton, IL are two that I know of that are both reportedly haunted.

However, the hotel at Okawville stayed alive.  Though I've never been to the exact town, I've certainly been to the area a number of times, and I'd guess it was due in part to the fact it was probably the only hotel left in town.  Nonetheless, The Original Springs Hotel plowed through with Illinois Baptist diligence - through recession, depression and good times, as well.

At the turn of the century, the hotel was booming, along with other competitors it had at the time.  At some point during this boom, the owner, a rather young man at 28, blew his head off with a shotgun in a hallway in the hotel.  He was apparently distraught over the loss of his estranged wife.

Almost 100 years later, the old building is still reportedly haunted by ghostly footsteps in empty corridors, strange noises of old - timey music that come from nowhere, doors that open and shut themselves and of course, ghostly apparitions that flit through the darkened hotel. 41 Miles East of St. Louis, MO   Exit 41 on I-64   506 Hanover Okawville, IL 62271  (618) 243-5458

Springfield - The Inn at 835

 Like many entrepreneurs before them, the current owners of the The Inn at 835 set out to restore the faded grandeur of a once grand home.  The inn, once an upscale boarding house to the state capitol's elite, boasts a few entities nowadays.  Beautiful Victorian surroundings bear witness to peeling wallpaper that fixes itself later in the day, books that are moved by unseen hands, an elevator that chronically goes to the wrong floor (unexplainable by the people who have repeatedly 'fixed' it), and soft voices uttered by long dead mouths.  835 South Second St - Springfield, IL (212) 523-4466  

St. Charles - Hotel Baker -

Just an hour from downtown Chicago is picturesque St Charles, IL.  A throwback to a simpler time, when urban sprawl had not yet reached it's grasp out this far, the streets are lined with brick storefronts that whisper of the past.  One of the most stately of the old buildings is the Hotel Baker, which lies on the banks of the Fox river.  Built on the remains of the town mill in 1926 by the town's greatest forefather, Colonel Edward J Baker, The Hotel Baker was and is a sight to behold.

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.  100 W. Main St.  St Charles, IL  60174  (800)284 0110

Utica - Starved Rock Lodge/ Starved Rock State Park

The lodge is reported by staff to be haunted . Doors slam shut, cold spots, orbs in the park. History of mass Indian starvationthis is the great hall of the starved rock lodge, where many a barkeep has been scared silly by unseen hands as one tribe of Indians were cornered up on a bluff by another tribe. Those who didn't starve were forced to jump to their deaths in the river below. A double murder took place in the park in the 1960's as well, and there was and still is some local controversy that the man who was imprisoned for the crimes was framed, and the killer went free.

 

 

Rosemont - Sheraton Gateway Suites Hotel

Several deaths from suicides and overdoses seem to have left some residual activity here. Guests report seeing figures in their rooms, having their belongings strewn around the locked room while they were in the bathroom, and employees have heard odd typing sounds, The apparition of a man who jumped to his death in 2001 is said to appear at the top balcony.

 

HAUNTED ILLINOIS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Morbid Travel Tip: Visit the Pearson Museum at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine for a wonderful array of medical oddities, including a mummified human hand and a set of wooden dentures that an Illinois farmer carved himself and wore until his death.  A plethora of information on the practice of bloodletting is also on exhibit. 801 N. Rutlidge.  Open to the public on Tuesdays, but call ahead as the room is also used for lectures.  (217) 785-2128  (you might want to call just to get exact directions.  I trekked to this museum 2 years ago and never did find the location of it.  I finally gave up - I was so bummed ~ed.)

Cairo/Olive Branch - Shawnee National Forest

In 1970, a man who was on Route 3 fixing his stalled vehicle claims to have been tackled by a "large black cat", who injured him to the point of needing medical care before being scared off by the headlights of an oncoming car. (At this time there were no longer Eastern Cougars and no panthers in Illinois, though "a black panther was supposedly shot in Indiana in 1946"...) (From Weird America by Jim Brandon, long out of print)

 

 

Decatur - The Millikin Homestead Screams can still be heard from the basement, where dying people were locked in the basement during a flu epidemic.

 

Justice - Willowbrook Ballroom   *see "Resurrection Mary"

 

LaSalle - The Hegeler-Carus Mansion
This behemoth of a Victorian home, built by the wealthy owner of a chemical company, is the very picture of a Walt Disney style "haunted mansion". Locals claim the original owner's apparition appears in the windows, and in some versions he hangs himself. Reports of apparitions in the adjoining family graveyard, and of ghostly whispers, children's laughter, and footsteps in the house are also reported.

Mount Carroll - Raven's Grin Inn :

A regular hoot-a-nanny of otherworldly fun just south of historic Galena.  Proprietor Jim Warfield touts a one of a kind experience in his restored haunted speakeasy.  There is a chute that shuttles the tourist from the top floor down to the basement into the wine cellar.  It is the wine cellar that is said to be haunted by a "lady in white" .  She is described as: " She has long, straight black hair and a dark complexion, as if she might be part American Indian, she has been said by almost everyone that has seen her to be an attractive woman."
 Also, "orbs" have been seen floating about.  This is besides the many contraptions that dot the one hour tour. 411 North Carroll St.  1-815-244-GRIN ; located "behind the True Value and Charlie's Tavern"

Medinah - Medinah Country Club

On August 15th, 1985, a group of five golfers claimed to have seen a 5-6' tall, hair covered, naked sasquatch who had a "face like a pug" (Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century , 1989)

Utica - Starved Rock State Park  *see above

Woodstock - The Bull Valley Police Station (Stickney Mansion)

Recently saved from the wrecking ball by local government, this oddity of a home was built in the mid 1800's by a couple who were in to "spiritualism" and frequently held séances in their isolated palace in the great plains. Because of a belief they held, they had the house built with no 90 degree corners , "so the spirits wouldn't get stuck in them" or have "a place to hide". The legend says that the builder left one upstairs corner in the house with a 90 degree angle, and later Mr. Stickney was found dead in that corner. Most of the haunting stories came from a resident who bought the then dilapidated home in the 1970's, who claimed it was "tainted" by "Devil worshippers" and that he had heard unexplained noises. 1904 Cherry Valley Rd

 

Monticello - Allerton Park / Mansion
This was the country home of Samuel Allerton, one of the founders of the Chicago Stockyards and the First National Bank of Chicago. The mansion is reportedly haunted by a "lady in white" who has been identified as a frequent guest to the estate in life. She has made appearances in one of the guest bedrooms, walking along the pond behind the home, and pacing in the hallway in front of the room she has also been seen in.

Alton - Elijah Lovejoy Monument

Apparently located in a cemetery, the monument to abolitionist and martyr to his cause Elijah Lovejoy, is haunted by Lovejoy's apparition as well as the ghost of a little girl who is buried nearby. Visitors report cold spots.

Chicago - Harpo Studios Inc.

The Oprah Winfrey Show studio, the former Chicago Armory, is said to be haunted by victims of the 1915 Eastland disaster (hundreds of people en route to a company picnic died when a ship capsized in the Chicago river). The building, like so many others in the area, was used as a makeshift morgue. Employees report phantom sobbing, laughing and footsteps; unexplained ragtime music has been heard; a security camera is said to have caught a woman in a gray gown and hat consistent with the 1915 era floating through a hallway. The footsteps of what sounds like a large crowd of people moving en masse has also been reported.  110 N Carpenter

Chicago - Robinson Woods (Robinson Reserve)

In 1955 the bodies of three nude, bound boys were found in a ditch in this area. Visitors report phantom voices, drums that are reminiscent of Indian drumming, moans, and the smell of lilacs in the dead of winter. Phenomena seems to revolve around the left side of the Robinson family monument. River Road, just north of Lawrence Avenue

Morbid Travel Tip: Chicago - The Field Museum

This 3000 year old bust from Egypt recruited a fan club after the June, 2009 death of Michael Jackson. The female likeness (with most of the nose lost to antiquity) bears an eerie resemblance to a post-op Jackson in his latter years. (Jackson, incidentally, hails from nearby Gary, Indiana.) However, the best attraction that was at the museum, the Jivarro Shrunken Head collection, was removed from public display in 2006.

 

 

 

Georgetown - Harry "Babe" Woodyard State Natural Area

Formerly a boy scout camp, hunters who visited the area reported odd disembodied voices, drumming noises, screams, spook lights, and even apparitions including that of an old woman in the parking lot.

Collinsville - Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

The apparitions of Indians and phantom spook lights have been reported around these burial mounds.

Near Goreville - Ferne Clyffe State Park

The Happy Hollow Trail is said to be haunted by Civil War soldiers and cowboys, and locals say it is eerily devoid of any animals or wildlife at night. Hwy. 37, one mile S. of Goreville. For more information, phone (618) 995-2411.

Equality - The Crenshaw House/Hickory Hills Mansion ("The Old Slave House")

One of the most shameful historical slave sites in Illinois is in a tiny village named "Equality".

The Old Slave House in the 1960's

In 1842, a wealthy salt mine owner named John Hart Crenshaw, along with his brother Abraham, built this Greek revival style mansion from the vast amounts of wealth they had accumulated operating two lucrative salt mines in southern Illinois. The Crenshaws were influential and ridiculously wealthy. At one point John Crenshaw's income equaled one seventh of the revenue of the entire state of Illinois. 3 A young state representative named Abraham Lincoln actually attended a gala at the home, dancing a waltz in the second floor ballroom, likely with kidnapped slaves stuffed into concentration camp style bunks in the third floor above him. In a town called Equality. Now that is some fucking irony.
The house in the 1960's, courtesy of this site

Part of the reason for the massive wealth was due to the fact the "Salt King of Southern Illinois" was allowed to use slave labor. Prior to emancipation, there was a law in place allowing businessmen to "import" slaves from slave states into free states like Illinois and use them for especially miserable tasks (like working in salt mines). Soon, this Illinois entrepreneur found that he could increase his profits by kidnapping free black men and women and selling them back into slavery in the south. The house is the last standing vestige of a once thriving "reverse underground railroad" system.

By many accounts Crenshaw also had a side hobby of siring the most virile and strong men with fertile women slaves to produce more slaves to sell. A man named "Uncle" Bob Wilson, who was known to have been one of the primary "breeders", was quoted by staff at Elgin State Hospital in 1941 (after he had been picked up in Chicago wandering 'ill and confused' ) as saying he had been forced to father over 200 children as a stud slave in the Hickory Hill house as well as others in the south. 2  He died at the Elgin facility in 1948 at age 112, and was Illinois' oldest living veteran at the time of his death.5, 6

Crenshaw kept his slaves in the third floor attic, shackled in tiny blood stained stalls ("The attic of this house has twelve small rooms, ranging in size from nine feet square to six feet by two and one-half feet. Some of the rooms contain shelves, which may have been used as bunks" 1). The open stalls were used for "breeding" as well as living quarters. The room itself was likely stifling, with only two windows and dozens of people crammed together.  I don't know if you've ever been in an attic room in the summer in Illinois, but I can tell you from my parent's farmhouse and their third story attic, it gets miserably hot and chokingly muggy. The room was rumored to have secret passages that lead to the main house and the river, to expedite his illicit dealings at night. He took to beating the slaves, sometimes to death.

Brought to trial in 1842, he wasn't convicted on the first count of illegally trading slaves. However, within a short amount of time he was on trial again, and in a tiny nugget of instant karma, a slave whacked his leg off with an axe. The slaves rioted and burned down his mill. He died years later and was buried alongside his wife.


After the slave house was opened up for tours in 1926, it soon became the infamous home to sightings of apparitions and the sounds of moaning and chains rattling. One turn of the century paranormalist named Hickman Whittington spent the night there
and died the next day from a sudden unexplained illness. Others, including some Vietnam vets who thought they had the gonads to stay all night, tried and failed in the quest to stay all night in the "haunted" attic. Finally, in the 1970's a local TV station put a TV personality up for the night in the slave quarters, part of a Halloween publicity stunt. He succeeded, a sort of prequel to the Geraldo Rivera's opening of the Capone Vaults (another Illinois media event) in that the spirits were apparently camera shy and they ended up with a pretty boring show. The longtime owners and caretakers closed off the house to overnight guests after a knocked over lantern nearly burned the old wooden building down. It was finallhy closed to the public in 1996 when the owners retired.

 One-legged and sour, Kidnapper John Hart Crenshaw sits with his super-hot old lady and his crutch

A number of John Hart Crenshaw's descendents deny any wrongdoing on the part of their long-dead relative, accusing historians and folklorists alike of a "cruel conspiracy" to "besmirch" their "good" name, citing a paucity of hard proof pointing to Crenshaw's illicit activity. On one internet post regarding the house, former owner George Sisk was accused by an anonymous ranter of "making the whole thing up" and adding the whipping posts and shackles as props to try and add a horror element to attract tourists. This is an unlikely scenario.

The Old Slave House is located near the junction of Highway 45 and Highway 13 in Southern Illinois. It is 14 miles east of Harrisburg. If you're heading east on 13, when you get to the junction of Route 1, you turn right onto Route 1 and head south for a little over a mile and it will be on your right, up on a small hill.
Update: The State of Illinois has purchased the mansion with plans to open it as a state historic site, and appropriated $150,000 for it's renovation in 2006 4. However as of Feb 2010, spending cuts and ongoing state financial woes have kept it from opening as of yet. I will keep you posted  ~ed.
Join Facebook group to re-open the Old Slave House

Joliet - Patrick Haley Mansion

Built by renowned architect and Egyptologist Frank Shaver Allen, this notable local piece of architecture has been investigated for spirits as far back as the 1970's. The architect, as well as an old woman who died in the home, a nanny, and a little boy are said to haunt; they have reportedly been seen by various people over the years. Odd, fire-like lights have been seen, slamming doors, screams and voices have also been reported. The home, incidentally, was used as a funeral home for many years.

Lockport - Runyon Preserve

There is a pioneer cemetery here, and reportedly this area was a local swimming hole. Visitors say that they can hear voices when no one is around, some of them sounds like a language spoken in "tongues" or unintelligible. Legend says it is a witch calling out to her coven. Market & Table Street

New Lenox - Sanctuary Golf Course

A Native American burial site was unearthed on it's construction; locals in the area say they can hear phantom screams and noises. Marley Road, one mile north of Route 30

Oquawka - Alexis Phelps House

Phelps, who earned his living from trading furs with the local natives and a lucrative smelting business, kept runaway slaves in this house. Alexis Phelps and the apparitions of slaves have been seen here. (footnote: you can also visit the gravesite of a circus elephant that was hit by lightning in this town)

 

Morbid Travel Tip: Visit Ahlgrim & Sons Ltd. Funeral Parlor and Mini-Golf in Palestine, IL for a few rounds of mini golf in the basement and an afternoon of impromptu embalming upstairs.  201 N. Northwest Hwy./Hwy. 14. Call ahead to schedule golf : (847) 358-7411

 

Petersburg - New Salem Village

Abe's ghost is said to walk around this tourist attraction, which sits where Lincoln's home was when he was a young man.

Prairie du Rocher - Fort de Chartres

A ghostly funeral procession is said to appear on midnight of every July 4th that falls on a Friday. (next is due 2008)

Springfield - Prairie Capital Convention Center

A boy who was killed at a tractor pull is blamed for doors and that slam themselves shut, and is said to wander about at night. An actor named "Joe" who was mugged and murdered in a back alley after a performance is also said to haunt.

 

Paranormal Tours UPDATED FOR OCT 2012
 

Alton - Alton Haunted Odyssey formerly Antoinette's Haunted History Tours

Alton - Ghosts of the Prairie Haunted Tours (Troy Taylor used to do a yearly Haunted Decatur tour as well as Alton - contact the aforementioned website for more info)

Aurora/Western Suburbs -Historic Ghost Tours of Naperville, Aurora, and Elgin - longest in operation in these areas, also offering a Phoenix, AZ tour.

Chicago - Archer Avenue FREE Self Guided walking tour app of Haunted Archer Avenue! For your smart phone

Chicago - East of Midnight with the Undertaker Spectral Shadow
Tours:
an Illinois licensed embalmer is your host on this tour!  (Looks like Carl's tour went tits up just like his old customers did. Sorry to hear it Carl! Send me a new link to run if you get another tour going ~ed.)

Chicago - Chicago Supernatural Ghost Tours ALL TOURS CANCELLED FOR 2012 Mr Richard Crowe passed away the summer of 2012

Chicago - The Hypocrites Theater Not technically a ghost tour, but... (offers "Haunted L Train Ride" in October) Oh my GOD how freaky and bad ass is this =D !


 

Chicagoland:  Haunted Historic Walking Tours Burr Ridge, Chicago Ridge, Midlothian, Oak Lawn, Orland Pk, Joliet, Justice, Willow Springs, Worth, Rockford and potentially out of state. Book very early  

Chicago - Graceland Cemetery Walking Tour (October - call {312}642-4600)
"Chicago Haunts" author Ursula Bielski presides over a two hour bus tour of notorious hauntings (October) (773) 404-2909

Chicago - Ursula Bielski's Chicago Hauntings Tours

Chicago - Excursions into the Unknown Haunted Chicagoland Tours with author Dale Kaczmarek

Chicago - Supernatural Chinatown

Chicago - Paranormal Gangster Tour

Decatur - Haunted Decatur Tours

Elgin - Elgin State Hospital Paranormal Tours - a former state psychiatric facility a'la "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"...

Elgin - Haunted Elgin

Elmhurst - Haunted Elmhurst Tour

Galena -Annie Wiggins Bed and Breakfast

Macomb - Haunted History Tours of Macomb appears to be no more... but thanks to the miracle of YouTube, you can take a virtual haunted tour of Macomb:

 

Naperville - Haunted Naperville Tours, touted as "best haunted tour in the midwest".

Naperville - Darkest Secrets of Naperville

 

 

 

HAUNTED ILLINOIS THEATERS

Decatur - Lincoln Theater

Haunted by a stagehand named "Red", who fell to his death here, and in the process ripped his arm off on a railing. People say they feel "cold hands" on them, hear footsteps when no one is there.  A woman is said to haunt the balcony, and a ghost named "Alan" is said to cast a strange form over the lights in the seating area. 141 North Main Street  tel: 217.855.0555

Decatur - Avon Theater

The specter of former owner Gus Constanopoulos has been seen in the hallways by the administrative offices.

Palestine- The Fife Opera House

This once grand opera house has housed many things other than thespians.  The odd tenants of this four story building that is currently being renovated have included a tavern, a hardware store, and even a mortuary complete with a morgue!  A paranormal investigation team that did research there recorded a woman's voice singing opera for a few seconds, as well as low, mumbly voices over their walkie talkies. Some members captured an apparition on the stairway and some orbs as well.  The ground floor is the only one accessible to the public, by appointment apparently.  123--125 S. Main St., Palestine

Chicago - The Biograph Theater

Yet another mob related haunting, the alley in which John Dillinger was gunned down by police is said to still be haunted by his specter. 2433-43 N. Lincoln Ave. (across the street from the Red Lion Pub)

Woodstock - The Woodstock Opera House

One of a legion of celebrated theater ghosts, "Elvira" is the one who chose to haunt this particular theater.  As the story goes, a young actress of that name threw herself six stories to her doom from the belfry of the structure.  Nowadays, her ghost, with long blond hair and wearing "a filmy dancing gown", hangs out in seat DD 113 and "comments" on the actors' performances.  Also, people claim to hear her dropping like a stone to the sidewalk outside.  121 Van Buren Street

Belleville - Lincoln Theatre

This grand old movie house is said to have ghosts who haunt the projection booth, main theater stage, and the basement.

Peoria - Bradley University Theatre

The apparition of a man in a brown suit has been seen, and people report the smell of men's cologne and cigar smoke.

Antioch - Antioch Movie Theatre

Staff reports "flood lights" that have turned themselves on then off again, strange noises like banging, and footsteps on the stairs in this grand old movie theater. 378 Lake St

Collinsville - Miner's Institute Theater

The spirits of two brothers and a young woman haunt the theater. The brothers killed each other in a fight over ownership of the building, local legend says. Actors complain that objects will disappear then reappear elsewhere, and objects have been moved for no apparent reason. Main st.

Havana - Lawford Theater

Luckily, someone has reopened this old theater! Visitors have reported cold spots behind the curtains (the theater now shows movies) 225 W. Main Street

Joliet - Rialto Theater

Said to be haunted by a female spirit. 15 E. Van Buren St


Peoria - Peoria Players Theatre

A former actor named "Norm" died during a performance, and is said to be a benevolent spirit here. People have seen his apparition back stage, and he has lingered in the women's dressing room. He is blamed for toilets that flush themselves , and coincidentally there is a painting of him in the bathroom.

 

Rockford -The Clark Arts Center at Rockford College

Students say that lights flicker, there is haunting piano music, and footsteps are heard -especially in the dressing rooms, and Cheek and Maddox Theaters.

 

 

 

despite his virile reputation, Mr Green Jeans was not the father of Frank Zappa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actor Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum was born January 5, 1910 in Sandwich, Illinois. He portrayed Mr. Green Jeans on the hugely popular children's show "Captain Kangaroo" from (the staggeringly long timeline of ) 1955 to 1984. Remember Mr Moose? Remember Picture Pages? Lumpy was the focus of an urban legend that falsely perpetuated the myth that he was the father of Frank Zappa.

 

 

 

 

St. Charles - Arcada Theatre

Odd voices, smells and cold spots are reported by visitors.

 

Sycamore - Sycamore State Street Theater

Customers report the sounds of crying and moans coming from the downstairs. 420 W State St

HAUNTED ILLINOIS RESTAURANTS

Chicago - The Red Lion Pub

One of the city's old stand by's, as far as haunted places go, the Red Lion serves up a few phantoms along with your Guinness and Shepherd's Pie.  Perhaps the only attraction on this site which has had a séance conducted in it on MTV's The Real World, The pub has been home to many, many other things over the years.  Including ghosts. 

The upstairs ladies room seems to get a lot of attention in things I've read about this pub.  Barring that the gal in question hasn't had too many Jager-Bombs, entities are said to appear here.  The strong smell of lavender seems to waft from nowhere, as well.  The current proprietor says the most strange reactions from visitors happen around a plaque he hung in front of a stained glass window, to honor his dead father who died in England and had no proper tombstone.  People are apparently overwhelmed with emotion in this spot.   Reader Stan added: "According to the barkeeper, a fight broke out during a card game and a man was stabbed; sometimes you hear the sound of furniture being moved around like a scuffle is taking place. The steak & kidney pie is superb!"

 2446 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago (Lincoln Avenue just north of Fullerton) 312-348-2695(across the street from the Biograph Theater)

Chicago - Hooter's (660 N. Wells)

The jukebox and phones frequently malfunction, and waitresses claim to hear footsteps and voices in the basement storage area.

Highland - House of Plenty Restaurant

Odd noises and a spook light in the basement are reported at this eatery. 802 9th St

Chicago - Adobo Grill  

Although this popular Nuevo Latino restaurant reports no unusual occurrences today, it was once a paranormal hotspot.  Originating as a bread factory in the late 1800's, the building had a series of businesses within it over the years.  In the late 1960's, a restaurateur opened "That Steak Joynt", which he filled with priceless antiques that he had collected from all over the city.  There were already lovely pieces there left from the bread factory, including a bust of a woman taken from a ship.  During this period, the building experienced it's greatest notoriety.  Several well publicized séances produced unusual occurrences, including one newspaper reporter getting very ill.  Barring the séances, workers who cleaned at night would refuse to come back, unseen hands would shove bartenders and servers, and the bust's facial expression would "change".  One barmaid was grabbed by an unseen force and drug to a stairwell - the experience leaving red finger shaped welts on her wrist. There was an oil painting of the dead wife of a wealthy Chicago milk salesman that would make everyone who sat near it feel cold. 

 Remaining until the early 90's and then sitting empty for a few years,  these days the highly rated and popular yuppie eatery denies any unusual paranormal activity.  Perhaps they're just not talking...  1610 North Wells

Belleville - The Pasta House Co.

This former hotel is said to be haunted by the screams of a woman and child who were killed here. 318 E. Washington

Carpentersville - New China Restaurant

Locals claim that this establishment changes hands oven and over due to the hauntings that occur here. Local folklore says that it is haunted by a former cook who was murdered by her husband. Other sources cliam it is haunted by up to 5 different apparitions. It was originally built in the 1950's or 60's as a Red Balloon Restaurant, then became a Marc's Big Boy, and reportedly exchanged hands several more times before most recently as Instant Replay Sports Bar. In 2010 it was gutted and remodeled inside and out. 72 N Kennedy Dr(rte 25)/Lake Marian 

 

 

Clarendon Hills - The Country House Restaurant

This restaurant, which was voted "best hamburger", also has the distinction of having a ghost. Several years ago, a woman brought her child into the bar, and seemed flustered. She tried to get the bartender to watch the child while she took care of something. Fearing she was going to abandon her child, he refused, and she angrily left. Just up the road she crashed her car and both she and the child were killed. Employees now complain of seeing a woman's ghost, especially in an upstairs storage room. Glasses and dishes seem to fly from shelves and break, and lights turn themselves on and off.

Elgin - Beef Villa

This local chain restaurant has an Elgin location in which employees and customers say they experience cold spots, equipment turning itself on and off, and whispers that are heard with no one around. Local legend says it is haunted by a young man who was shot and killed in the parking lot in the 1980's.

Elmhurst - Pizzeria (possibly Edwardo's Natural Pizza?)

This building is said by former employees to be haunted by a woman who hung herself here. A malevolent spirit, the gas was turned on and made the employees sick on one occasion. Other times "she" turned on a basement light, and moved objects in the bar area.  This pizzeria is in a "lovely stone manor", and was formerly called "Spaso Speakeasy". Edwardo's is the only pizzeria that I can find in the area that was listed in the account I read ("near the corner of North Avenue and Route 83"), so it might not be the correct business.

ILuvChat49 wrote: "On the note of the Spaso Speakeasy, the pizzeria was Cottage Stone Inn. Used to go there many times growing up. The last business that was in there was called Crossroads Bar and Grill, but like the previous businesses it failed.

What used to be the Ovalatine factory in Villa Park was haunted. I found that story off Shadowlands. It is now converted to apartments and townhom
es." Thanks!!

Wheaton - Ivy (formerly '120 Ocean Place')
Stan wrote to me and said "I spoke with a nearby (same block) Restaurant owner about this. It used to be a funeral parlor. Rumor has it, lights would be turn off by themselves. It really freaked the owner out. This is cool because it is the only authentic haunted house in my town and is still open to the public as a restaurant..."

from old entry : A chapel (see Stan's correction above) that was renovated into an upscale restaurant, employees say that a presence is felt on the back staircase. The ladies room also has an apparition that has been seen, and people have heard voices that call out their name when no one is there. 120 N Hale St

 

HAUNTED ILLINOIS TAVERNS, CLUBS AND BARS

Berwyn - Cigars and Stripes

Touted as "a nice place for strange people". Various customers and staff at this bar and comedy club report poltergeist like activity such as barware randomly falling from shelves and flipping themselves into the air, and the phone lifting itself. Noises like a party in the basement have been heard by the proprietor Ronn Vrhel's wife, who found nothing unusual upon investigating the noise. A lost set of keys mysteriously fell "out of nowhere" in front of a group of patrons at the bar. Vrhel said, "The keys slammed off one of the corners and just flew down the bar. I grabbed them and people were saying, 'What was that all about? Where did those keys come from?'" A foggy apparition has been seen by several in a back hallway. The club has been investigated by various clairvoyants and paranormal groups, who have perpetuated such fanciful storytelling as an Al Capone association and a colorful but now dead former owner of the (transplanted from another defunct establishment) antique bar who haunts her old spot. Also of interest is an in-house pro wrestling museum! 6715 W. Ogden

Carpentersville - Instant Replay Sports Bar

Locals claim that this establishment changes hands oven and over due to the hauntings that occur here. It is said that it is haunted by a former cook who was murdered by her husband. 72 N Kennedy Dr 

(9/11 update: Jessica writes: "Just an FYI, the sports bar in Carpentersville is no longer.  Its now a Chinese Restaurant.  Its called New China restaurant.")

Chicago - Webster's Wine Bar

The second floor bar, which was once a brothel, has a male apparition and sounds of footsteps.
1480 W. Webster.

 

Chicago/Chinatown - Tito's (Formerly Ethyl's Party, formerly Tito's On The Edge)

This nightclub was once Coletta's funeral parlor, cateriung to a mainly Italian neighborhood since the early 1900's. The current kitchen was once the embalming area and the DJ's area/stage was where the coffin display was. Patrons, owners and staff say it's haunted, some saying between karaoke sets they would experince cold spots and other strange phenomena including electrical anomalies. A bartender and owners the Tito brothers both claim to have seen apparitions ranging from a smoky cloudlike blob to a full spectral appearance of a man in a trenchcoat.  . . 2600 S. Wentworth Ave

 

 Chicago - Excalibur Nightclub  

The Excalibur Club is a well known Chicago nightclub, and almost everyone who grew up within 100 miles of it and has at any point enjoyed the bar scene has been there once or twice.   Just as stately as any of the other old Chicago architecture, its 22 foot ceilings and endless rooms of dance floors and bars have housed many a slicked up, cologned, gelled and primped twenty-something, in search of  love or lust or maybe only a stiff drink, a vicodin, and a person to make them feel pretty.  Some of the employees of the club say that after the legions of horny dancers have drug themselves out the door, there are a few who stay.  That, in fact, may always stay behind.  In a perpetual nightclub hell, complete with disco ball and a nightly barrage of lip-glossed hussies fixing their hair in the bathroom mirror.

    The building itself apparently sits on the site of the former Chicago Historical Society.  When Mrs. O’Leary’s cow tipped over the lantern that fateful night of the Chicago fire in 1871, the building went up along with most of the city, taking with it a few ill fated women who fled inside seeking shelter from the fiery hell outside.  Later, a rebuilt Historical Society served as a morgue, as did many other buildings in Chicago, to the 900 dead after the Eastland disaster.  The Eastland, packed with most of the employees of the Western Electric Company, capsized in the Chicago River when it became lopsidedly heavy with passengers who were mostly perched on the observation deck of the ship.  Their screams are said to still be heard from under the Clark Street Bridge, but that is another story entirely.

   Another theory of this haunting is about an original European settler to the area, who lived in the spot on the river where the building now lies.  Another land owner wanted this spot, and had him murdered to get it.

    Various employees at the club over the years have encountered much odder patrons that the usual dancers and drunks.  One bar manager recounted in Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66 (Robson et al) that a former employee left a room which had cases of beer stacked reasonably, awaiting to be stocked in coolers.   When he returned a few minutes later, the cases were perfectly lined up, and stacked up to the vaulted ceiling, with no one else or any ladders in sight.   The manager disbelieved the employee until he walked in one day to find a 500 pound statue perched atop a stack of chairs.  Other bizarre occurrences, including a teddy bear balancing perfectly on a steep ledge 25 feet up, candles re-lighting themselves after closing time and cries and screams from the empty downstairs bathrooms have been reported. 

     The “Dome Room” seems to be a particular hotspot, frequently setting off burglar alarms when no one is there.  On a recent episode of The Scariest Places on Earth (Fox Family television series), a psychic tried for three hours on a Ouija board to contact the three suspected spirits of Excalibur, to no avail.  The Eastland disaster, says psychics and paranormal investigators, produced a tuxedoed elderly gentleman and a little girl.  The Great fire, they say, gave the Excalibur the eternal soul of a woman in red.  She was once captured in a Polaroid flitting past a window.

    So next time you’re trying to impress the opposite sex at 3 AM in the Excalibur, think about this while you nurse your margarita:  The bar stool next to you might not be empty at all.  632 N Dearborn  Chicago, IL 

Chicago - The Red Lion Pub see above

Des Plaines - Galaxy Club

At the juice bar, it is said that you can hear people calling your name when no one is there. The puck of the air hockey game moves itself, and after close loud crashing sounds are heard inside the empty club. Spooklights are also reported. 9225 Golf Rd.  A reader wrote :  "The Galaxy club in Des Plaines, has been torn down for at least a year now.  Quite probably longer." After a glance at Google Maps there appears to be a Citgo station or a strip mall in the spot, probably both new structures.

LaSalle - The Ninth Street Pub

The Ninth Street Pub in LaSalle has been a popular tavern and restaurant since the late 60's or early 70's. In it's early days the small pub was closely situated to a residential home of an elderly Mrs.

Sonnenburg. According to the pub's proprietor, John Ebner, the lady absolutely hated the fact that the oft noisy tavern was next door, and she made it very clear up until she passed away in the mid 70's. He said he helped her with odd jobs and was a friendly neighbor, but the widow abhorred the noise from the tavern that frequently hosted area musicians.

One day she went into a bedroom closet and had some sudden illness, perhaps a stroke, who knows. She fell ill, and was wedged inside the closet, her body pressed against the closet door that, by the way, was built to swing into the closet for some reason. She was found an indeterminate amount of time after she died, still in the closet -- it seems that if she could've cried out that no one could've heard her from the street.

It seems she is still unhappy, even in the next life. The old woman's home was purchased by Ebner, and it was made into an addition with restrooms and pool tables. Recently a young bartender walked into the then empty area of the bar that once housed the disgruntled neighbor. He heard an old woman say "What in the hell are you doing here?"; when he turned there was no one to be seen. Later, the shaken bartender, who was far to young to remember the old neighbor woman, asked the owner "Did somebody used to live in this bar?" It sounds like somebody or something still does. And she's reeaally pissed that no one helped her out of that closet, I bet.

The haunted billiard room, formerly Mrs. Sonnenburg's living room

The walls of the pub are scarred by decades of band's fliers stapled to the paneling, and the "vintage" 70's stuff has actually been there since the 70's, not purchased on Ebay.  I've been there dozens of times, and have seen some freaky stuff, but never a ghost.  But don't ask me, because I'm sure I was well acquainted with Mr Jagermeister and Mr. Miller Lite each and every time.  253 9th St. LaSallemaybe you'll see a ghost between sets (Thanks to proprietor John Ebner for the info) Update 2008: They got rid of the macramé 1970's vintage stuff. Bummer.

Macomb - Top of the Town Tavern

The basement is said to have strange activity that terrifies staff. 8 W Side Sq

Thornton - Widow McCleary's Pub & Grill -

One of countless establishments to link their 15 minutes of fame to the late Alphonse Capone,  Widow McCleary's Pub & Grill is not unlike a lot of old brew houses in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, in that bootleggers supplied booze to the eagerly awaiting masses back in the prohibition days here.  Although scoffed at by the local historical society, the pub's employees blame the dead men who crossed Scarface for the strange things that happen there.  People report a haze that sets in the old brewery's basement, as well as strange noises. 400 E Margaret St. (2 miles West of Wampum Lake) (708) 877-7011

Willow Springs - Cavallone's West

Rumored to be one of Al Capone's speakeasies, the ghosts of whores who worked there and mafia hit men are said to haunt this biker bar. Apparitions have been seen, and customers experience cold spots, and felt as if someone was touching them when no one was near. Possibly out of business.  8933 S Archer Ave

 

HAUNTED ILLINOIS ROADS, PARKS, AND BRIDGES

(If any of the content from the following links seems oddly familiar to anyone... much is from my old  "Sancho's Illinois Valley Ghosts" page.  Since 1998 it has been pillaged and ransacked by various plagiarising jackasses who gave me no credit for doing the initial legwork for many of the Central Illinois stories. Cest La Vie. Such is the life of an internet hobby folklorist. ~Peg)

Alton - Church

My friend Jen took this picture in a church on a "ghost tour" in Oct, 99 in Alton, IL. The story behind the church was that a

 minister who was to be wed a month later hung himself from a rafter many years ago (they had actual newspaper clippings so
that part wasn't bull). The lady who spoke to us had been a member of that church for years, and she vehemently testified that she had, among other things, heard "parties" going on in the empty basement when she was alone there, that doors had locked themselves (the old fashioned kind that you have to maneuver and turn a key to lock) and that a evil presence from several pews behind the "smoke" in the picture had terrified her enough to get the hell out -- twice. Other members of the congregation reported similar stories; one couple, while picking out their wedding invitations, experienced double doors to the outside fly open on a perfectly calm day. I was convinced that they were sincere. This is the only picture out of a roll taken on the 5 hour tour that produced the odd "smoke" you see. I never had any other pictures turn out this way from this camera, that I'd had 3-4 years before taking the photo; no one was smoking in the room. It's the only one Jen took-- maybe I just don't interest spirits... There are two reasons I didn't give the location of the church... #1 I don't like to steer people into places to gawk and take pictures that really don't ask for that kind of attention, and #2 I honestly can't fucking remember the name of the church after 6 years... sorry!  But it IS a pretty good ghost story, don't ya think?

Arcola - Railroad Depot

Deep in Mennonite country, locals report a ghostly woman with a lantern along the tracks here.

Arlington - Ghost Tracks

Jackie wrote, "...a place north of Arlington, Illinois. There is supposed to be family graves in the front yards of old abandoned houses in the middle of nowhere. The last haunted place I have heard of is called Ghost Tracks. If you go out there at a certain time you will hear a train feel wind going by like a train is passing through but there is no train in sight. I also heard that sometimes the ghost train will stop and ghosts will come out to haunt you. A friend of mine said he went out there and he didn't believe it would happen so he put pennies and nickels on the tracks. Sure enough they heard a train coming and felt the breeze of a oncoming train but there was no train. But on the tracks all of the coins were flattened. We tried finding it once but my friend couldn't remember how to get there." Arlington is a tiny village in north central IL that is between Cherry and LaMoille, just north of I 80


Party on, Wayne.

Aurora - Leland Tower Hotel

This building, who has the distinction of holding a rare recording session for such Blues legends as "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Tampa Red, and Bill Broonzy in it's "Sky Room" ballroom in the 1930's, also has the distinction of being the leaping off point for every suicidal asshole for a hundred miles, it seems. Those who took a 21 story swan dive into the Fox river below are said to still haunt the place, with such complaints from live guests as rotten smells and moaning noises in the elevators. The Leland is not, as far as I know, open right now - but is on the National Register of Historic Buildings for it's association with the Chicago Blues. (I don't have an address, but the building remains the tallest in the town.)

Aurora - Mount Olivet Cemetery

Oddly enough, a 1958 Lincoln Continental is said to appear, flanked by women wearing clothing from the 1950's - then the whole scene vanishes into thin air.

Algonquin - Square Barn Road

The ghosts of two boys and a girl are spotted along this road late at night

Bartlett - Sunrise Park

Local legend says a crazy man killed a bunch of children in this park, and today visitors can hear their terrified screams echoing through the woods.

Bartonville - Peoria State Hospital for the Incurable Insane

The crumbling walls of the Peoria State Hospital for the Incurable Insane in Bartonville, IL has seen it's share of scary shit. This infamous local rat infested Gothic delight served the insane of the fine state of Illinois from 1902 until 1972. One of the many crumbling homages to the dark ages of mental health treatment, Bartonville has no doubt housed everything from the unfortunate housewife suffering from depression (with a less than understanding spouse), to the stark raving mad and untreatable schizophrenic who met his match in the form of a lobotomy pick.

The most famous story to come from Bartonville has become a little bit legendary, and you may have heard it before. This place is where it originated. A male patient who was called "Bookbinder", (whether it was a nickname or his surname, no one now knows) would stand against an elm tree in the hospital cemetery during each and every burial, and sob loudly for the deceased - if he knew them or not. He spent his life at the hospital, and eventually died there also. He was popular with the staff, and hundreds of them showed up to pay their respects at his burial. As the story goes, when they lowered Bookbinder into his grave, a moan was heard from the nearby elm. When people looked up, including the celebrated head of medical staff Dr. George Zeller, they saw Bookbinder, clear as day, leaning against the elm and sobbing. Zeller ordered the casket opened, as he didn't believe his eyes. Of course, there lay Bookbinder - stiff as a board. As they opened the casket, some reported that the apparition at the tree faded away. Soon after the funeral the elm died, and when they took an axe to it to cut the dead tree down, it "moaned", so they stopped. They decided then to burn it, and the moans were so pitiful during the burning, that they extinguished it. It is said to still stand among the graves.

The ghost of Bookbinder is said to have "appeared in front of 100 nurses and 300 spectators, according to the medical journal of Dr. George Zeller". * (Zeller made reforms at the facility, and the newer mental health facility built in nearby Peoria was named after him). Local ghost hunter Rob Conover went through the crusty old hospital with a Peoria Journal Star reporter on two separate nights in 1998, and the article claimed such phenomena as cold spots, "howling" noises, the sounds of footsteps chasing them, unusual equipment failure, a faint white glowing "thing" on a stairwell, and a greenish to white glowing spook light. Take rte 24 to Pfeiffer Road. Although some of the outbuildings of the facility have been renovated into warehouses and the like, the main building and cemetery are heavily patrolled and trespassers into the building are frequently arrested. To reach the cemetery, you come up the hill approaching with the hospital on your right ,you will take a left at a street that cuts through what used to be I think the nurses quarters, it runs to a dead end; at the dead end is a new business with huge trucks, look to you left, you'll see a little dirt/gravel path that's the entrance to the cemetery. Do not visit the cemetery after dusk.

Laura added: "There's an abandoned asylum in Bartonville Peoria Illinois. I'm sure you've heard of it. The hospital itself is practically impossible to enter, so me & my friends decided to find the cemeteries instead, (we figured it s public, for the course its a public cemetery. We explored all around the hospital just looking at it is scary in itself, maybe entering isnt the best thing we thought. There are some huge hills along side of the building , we decided to go down one, we went not even 5 ft in front of us down on t he hill, and it started to rain, no you can only imagine how difficult it is to climb up a dirt hill, especially since it s raining, it was hard but we all finally made it up, upon my last friend climbing up, he had found what appeared to be a femur bone of some sort? We are not sure if it was a human leg bone or that of an animal, all i can say in my opinion, it certainly didnt look the size of a animal bone. So needless to say we never made it to the cemeteries down the hill. Since we weren't goin in the hospital we went to the outside brickyard, it is enormous, all the bricks are very bright red still, me & my friend found ourselves crouching in the corner after hearing running footsteps in the brick yard, then it stopped. So we ran out of there of course lol. We decided on one last trip up to the porch in front of the hospital, big mistake. As we took our first step onto the porch its was very creeky & old , we went to see if the front door would open......it did indeed, only but half way my friend was budging it, when the door slammed shut! Iv e never ran soo fast in my life. So anyone wanting to explore this hospital, be very careful, i know you may want to enter it, but please dont, cops are always watching it, we got lucky. Most of the windows & doors are sealed shut w/ metal sheets. Just being around the hospital is enough to scare you trust me, go for the cemeteries & the crying tree , if you d like to know more about the crying tree there, look up Bartonville sanitarium, there will be a story of old bookbinder the patient and grave digger for that hospital, and remember be safe! An watch them hills. Enjoy!"  Thanks, Laura!

Barrington - Cuba Road and White Cemetery
Legendarily eerie to locals, they say that phenomena such as white spook lights, a phantom house, a ghostly hitch hiker, a black car that disappears, and the apparition of an old woman with a lantern are some of the oddities on Cuba road in this wealthy north western suburb of Chicago.

Bloomington - BroMenn Hospital

Formerly the "Mennonite Hospital", the 3rd floor is said to have a room at the end of the hallway that has the lingering smell of death that won't go away, and a call light that constantly malfunctions and beeps when no one is in the room. Reportedly add noises come from the room, and it can no longer be used because of all the odd occurrences.

 

Bloomington and Bolingbrook - Spontaneous Human Combustion

59 year old bank janitor Aura Troyer is cited in Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century (1989) as a case of possible spontaneous human combustion. The man was found in a Bloomington bank's basement in 1942 with his clothes burned off of him, uttering "It happened all of the sudden" before he imminently expired. Also listed is Bea Oczki of Bolingbrook, who, in 1979 was consumed by flame (all but her feet) in the characteristically strange manner of other cases of purported spontaneous human combustion.

 

 

Bloomington (Funk's Grove/McClean) - Bigfoot Sightings

In tiny Funk's Grove, along historic rte 66, a sasquatch lurks - according to several eye-witnesses. In a 2006 article by The Chicago Reader, the tiny burg, known for its delicious maple syrup (apparently invented right here in Central Illinois by a lucky Indian squaw, according to this site) and the Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum, was rattled by the fleeting appearances of a 7 plus foot tall hairy biped that smelled of rotting meat. Local mall cop Chris Vielhak and his father Tom claim to have had a close up encounter as well as several other brief glimpses of the mystery ape. Chris even claimed that something large attacked his car when he was coming home from work one night  - scraping up his paint job and rattling it down to the axles.

Cambridge - the "Death Curve"

As local legend tells it, a distraught farmer's wife methodically killed her five children by decapitation in her front yard in 1907. Stark raving mad since the untimely death of her husband from a respiratory ailment, she then set her house aflame and blew her own head off. The house was supposedly on a curve outside of this tiny farm town, and at 10:27 PM the widow can be seen standing next to a post on the curve where her house was. Cambridge is in northwestern Il, southeast of Moline

Canton - Cry Baby Bridge

I don't know if someone assigned an essay on ghosts in a school near Canton, Illinois, recently,  but I received these stories from two separate readers on the same day:

Danielle wrote: "This is a true occurrence that happens every night at midnight, in Canton IL. Crybaby's bridge is east on
cypress street, past the gravel.

A long time ago, around the 1900s, there was a small family of 3 living in the woods near what is Canton IL today. There was a father, a mother, and a smallgirl. One day the girl was out picking flowers, and she drowned in a nearby river. The family grievedterribly over her death, and they abandoned their house in the woods and burnt it to the ground. About 20 years after her death, strange occurrences started happening. Around midnight, every night, people would report seeing a white transparent figure walking through the river that the small girl drowned in. And every Halloween night, somehow a replica of the house the small family lived in is rebuilt, and burnt to theground."

Soon thereafter, Jennifer wrote: "There is a road here in Canton called blackjack which, I know from firsthand, is haunted. There are several stories that I have heard of but I know for sure that one is true. Ok, this is the one legend that I know is true: On Halloween night at exactly twelve midnight you follow the winding gravel road to the first bridge you get to but don't get out of your vehicle. If you turn your lights off and your car lock your doors and role windows up and listen really close and you can hear a baby crying. The legend is that a young woman threw her newly born baby into the creek and watched it drown. This story takes place back in the early 1900's. There are a few other stories about this road that I don't know very well but I have heard the baby cry. I bout shit my pants when I actually heard that too. You get there by going to canton and following 11th Ave. to the north thru the country a lil bit until you get to cypress and you turn right on that road (turn away from the town lights) and follow it as far as it goes till it turns into a gravel road. There you are on Blackjack. Ask any teen in canton they will tell you the stories. Oh and one more pointer don't get out of your car if it breaks down. Bad things happen to those who do. If you ever break down: lock doors, role windows up and DON'T get out, and DON'T go alone..."

Thanks Jennifer and Danielle!

Centralia - Foundation Park

This nifty park has a merry go round, in front of which one family reported apparitions appearing in photographs.

 

Centralia - Anomalous Large Feline  In 1971, Howard Baldrige claimed to have seen a large cat east of town on Route 161. He described in as yellow with short legs, about twice the size of a large tomcat: "a shrunken lion... with a face like something on television"  (From Weird America by Jim Brandon, long out of print)

 

 

Champaign - YMCA

The YMCA on Church street has had reports of cold spots, lights turning off and on by themselves, strange noises, and the doors on third floor opening and closing by themselves. Balls have rolled themselves down the steps.

Chesterville - "Witch's Grave"

 Chesterville, Illinois is a very small village that does not appear on any map. It is located just west of Arcola, in the heart of Illinois Amish country. Most of the inhabitants of the small town are of the Mennonite faith, living without benefit of electricity or modern conveniences.

Located just outside of the village, and across an ancient, one-lane bridge, is the Chesterville Cemetery. It is in this small, secluded graveyard that a traveler can find the "witch's grave". No one remembers her name today, but in the middle 1800's, she was a young woman who lived in the area and was reputed to be a "witch". She was said to have had supernatural powers over animals and people but also was said to have healing properties to her powers also.
She died at a very young age and her father surrounded the grave with an iron fence and planted a small sapling next to the grave. Over the years, the top of her grave marker has vanished and the tree has grown quite large, swallowing the iron fence completely on one side. Legends say that the spirit of the young girl has been seen near her grave on certain nights of the year.
Chesterville is located just west of Arcola, Illinois. The cemetery can be found by turning north at Chesterville and then taking the fork in the road to the right. Follow that road across the bridge to the cemetery. FYI: People used to plant trees over the graves of their loved ones
to prevent desecration of the grave by grave robbers (who would sell the remains to doctors and scientists)

Chicago - Clark Street Bridge

Victims of the 1915 Eastland disaster are occasionally reported to police as "luminous and floating" in the river below the bridge.  Screams are heard.

 

 

Don't ever fuck with a Chicago kangaroo
 
Chicago/Plano/Lansing/Dalton City/Rock Island - Kangaroos Amuck

From 1971 to 1976 there were a rash of kangaroo sightings which seemed to be centered in the metropolitan Chicago area. The first report took place in Evanston by a Northwestern University security guard. In October 1974 a kerfuffle took place in a northwest side alley, where two on duty Chicago policemen arrived to subdue a kangaroo that was combative and "growling". The wayward marsupial apparently started "to scream and get vicious" when one of the officers tried to handcuff it* (no shit...)  Officer Michael Byrne continued, "My partner (Leonard Ciagi) got kicked pretty bad... we got in a few punches to the head and he must've really felt it." He added that if they'd had their nightsticks handy, "we could've really hammered him." No doubt warming himself in the sweet glow of victory, the kangaroo jumped over a fence to freedom - leaving the two officers in his wake. (see a reenactment here) Several more kangaroo sightings took place in the city, mainly concentrated on the northwest side (Sunnyside/Mulligan Streets, Belmont, Oak Park St., Austin Ave., Eastwood Road, and in the Schiller Woods...) before the 'roo headed for the cornfields via rural Plano. Off duty Plano cop John Orr said he spotted the surly bandicoot on the evening of October 25th while driving on Riverview Road. On November 6th of that year, The Wall Street Journal (oddly enough) reported a kangaroo sighting in the middle of a highway at Lansing, IL. More reports surfaced throughout northern Indiana (Rensselaer, Carmel, Sheridan) before the sightings recurred in Illinois in 1975 south of Dalton City, then again in April 1976 in Rock Island. A final sighting with photographed evidence occurred in Menomonee, Wisconsin in 1978. (from The World's Strangest Stories, 1983) *(Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century , 1989)

Recently discovered UPDATE: (from Wikipedia) "In the winter of 2005, a kangaroo mysteriously appeared hopping around in the snow on farmland just west of Dodgeville (Wisconsin). The story was carried in news outlets throughout the country, including the Chicago Tribune and MSNBC. No one knew where the kangaroo had come from. A few days after the kangaroo first appeared, it was captured in a barn west of town and taken to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. Attempts to find the owner of the kangaroo were unsuccessful, and to this day no one has any idea who owned the kangaroo and how it turned up in the snows of southwestern Wisconsin. The kangaroo still resides at the Henry Vilas Zoo."

 

Chicago - Clark Street

Between the horrific capsizing of the mighty Eastland on the Chicago river in the 1911 that killed hundreds and hundreds of people, and the legacy of the mafia, Clark street can't hide from it's infamous past.

When the steamer The Eastland capsized it became one of the worst mass transit disasters in history.  Carrying an overload of Western Electric employees and their families to a company picnic on July 24th, 1915, the exact cause of its' capsizing is still being debated.  The local homes and businesses along Clark and LaSalle street were turned into makeshift morgues for the literal piles of corpses from the disaster (including The Excalibur Club and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios, formerly the Chicago Armory).  Cleanup and burials of the 835 victims took weeks.  The dead stunk up the muggy summer air with their decay before anything could be done with the carnage.

Skip forward to Valentine's Day, 1929 at a garage on 2122 N. Clark.  Six men and a German Shepard lay dead.  One man lay dying.  He mutters to the police "nobody shot me" before being hauled in the meat wagon to the nearest hospital to die.  This was the way Al Capone did business, and the papers did their best to show it, publishing the pictures of bullet ridden men missing half of their head from Cairo to Rockford.

The aftermath of these two famous Chicago tragedies have left some ghost stories.  People claim to still hear screams from the Clark Street Bridge, where the Eastland sank.  Various reports of haunted houses along the street, from the temporary morgues, have been whispered at neighborhood bars on Halloween.   As for the garage, it was torn down.  The bricks were hauled away.  One man who stockpiled some of the brain splattered and bullet riddled bricks to sell to morbid souvenir seekers claims that they have ruined his life, that he is a cursed man.  Now the grassy lawn of a nursing home, the area is said to be haunted.  Not by any of the slaughtered Bugs Moran gang, but by a phantom German Shepard.

Chicago - Chicago Water Tower

This historic landmark, built to resemble a Medieval castle to symbolize the city's strength, the tower was one of the few survivors of the great Chicago fire.  An apparition of a man is said to be spotted peeking from the windows.  Michigan and Chicago Avenues

 

Chicago - O'Hare International Airport-

Chicago Tribune reported : "A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees (as many as 12) who observed the phenomenon." The incident happened on November 7th, 2006. It was quickly dismissed as bullshit by an official United Airlines spokesperson , but "the Federal Aviation Administration said its air traffic control tower at O'Hare did receive a call from a United supervisor asking if controllers had spotted a mysterious elliptical-shaped craft sitting motionless over Concourse C of the United terminal." No controllers reported seeing anything anomalous.

 

 

Chicago - Board Options Exchange (CBOE)  In 1979 two traders got into such a violent fight over a trade that one ended up dying next to the fountain outside the exchange. Cleaning crews at night report the sounds of arguing men when there is no one around. 400 S. LaSalle Street

 


 
Chicago - Pennies From Heaven

In December 1975, one dollar bills rained from the sky over LaSalle Street, $588 of which was returned to police. (Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century , 1989)

 

 

Collinsville - Keebler Road


A mansion that was on this road used to hold slave auctions in the basement. (The home has since burned down.) Locals say that the apparitions of women carrying baskets on top of their heads like slave women used to would walk between this house and a nearby cemetery.

 

Crete - Roads and Woods

 

In a story very similar to the "Ax Man" folklore from Spring Valley, the Crete story says the man murdered his whole family, hanging them on meat hooks in his butchering shed in the 1970's. Police ended up gunning him down in the nearby woods. The bridge and woods are said to be haunted by the spirits of the family. On Monee Road, a girl is said to haunt, and people have heard blood curdling screams. On Sangamon Road, the apparitions of a woman and child have been reported, usually on rainy nights.

 

Crystal Lake - Barnes & Noble

 

This corporate chain bookstore occupies a piece of land that local folklore says was willed to a church by an old woman, specifically to be used for a school. Employees say that carts roll themselves around, and even report seeing an old woman in the storage room. 5380 Northwest Hwy

 

Crystal Lake - McHenry County YMCA


This area was in the recent past farm land that has been engulfed by the suburbs in the last 20 years. Folklore says that a farmer killed his family in a house near here, and people report the sounds of screams from the YMCA parking lot.

Crystal Lake - Covered Bridge Trails

A stream that runs through the area has reports of spook lights. Walkup Rd. N. 0.6 miles from jct with IL176 in Crystal Lake to the bridge at 5000 Walkup Av

Danville - Hungry Hollow Road

The road got it's name by children that starved to death here during the great depression when a snowstorm cut them off from their parents one winter. Locals say that you can hear voices saying "food, please" and "food".

Des Plaines - Trailer Court

 

I was listening to WGN last night - Halloween night, and they had Richard Crowe as a guest. Crowe, a Chicago ghost hunter whose tours have been around for years and years, was talking about local haunts.

On May 25, 1979, a DC-10 left Chicago O'Hare International Airport bound for Los Angeles. A publisher's convention was about to commence there, and a lot of the 271 passengers were writers, publishers, etc. Two of Playboy Magazine's editors were on board. None of them were to reach LA.

(left - the remains of the DC -10)

The jet fuel bloated plane hurdled toward the end of the runway, and just after takeoff, an engine plummeted off of one wing and skidded to a halt in some dirt at the end of the runway. The DC-10, fatally disabled by the loss of it's engines, and now impossible to steer by Capt. Walter Lux, crashed into a field adjacent to a trailer court in Des Plaines, IL. A mushroom cloud of flames shot above the city like a canopy, and was said to have been higher that the peak altitude the plane had achieved. The sheer blistering heat kept firefighters and paramedics at bay, unable to combat the inferno that engulfed all 271 on board and 2 on the ground. Until Sept 11, 2001, it was the worst airline disaster in the United States.

My ears perked up while driving home; Mr. Crowe had to be going somewhere with this one. None of his other stories had ever let me down.

There is a training facility for police dogs where the field was.  Did I mention the trailer court across the street? Well, apparently it's still there after all these years. And some of the residents say that so are the passengers of American Airlines fight 191 to Los Angeles International Airport. 

A woman called the show and asked Crowe if he remembered talking to her a few years before on the phone. She had called in to tell him about going to the trailer court to pick up a friend's child for school and the heat inexplicably would drop to a chill in her car, regardless of how warm it was before entering the gates. She had gotten him interested in the place, which he later investigated further and said is now writing a book about.

On his investigations, he said he found accounts of flickering lights, not unlike the light of a flashlight but with no apparent source. One person accounted that there was a indentation, a butt-print, if you will, on their sofa that had visited one particularly uncomfortable evening.

Crowe's best account was of people who said that they would hear a knock at the door and find no one there - not so strange until he talked to those who had greeted people who knocked at their door, carrying luggage and babbling about a connecting flight that they needed to catch... then would turn and run away.

All I can think is how sorry I feel for these poor people. If you buy a big old musty house to restore, then dealing with ghosts may be part of the bargain. If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in life living in a trailer at the end of the O'Hare runway, you shouldn't have to deal with ghosts, too.

 

Douglas County - Country Road

Between Tuscola and Oakland is an area where local say a ghostly girl runs in front of cars; an impact is felt, but there is no one there upon inspection. The area is called "the lost 40" because an area of it won't show up on any GPS systems due to a geological anomaly.

Decatur - Greenwood Cemetery

During the civil war, a trainload of confederate soldiers en route to a Chicago prison camp caught the yellow fever and died.  They flopped them all (and some that weren't even quite dead, allegedly) in a mass grave along the tracks in Decatur - now a hill in the Greenwood cemetery.  Orbs are frequently caught on film here, and ghostly soldiers have been seen walking the grounds.  A weeping woman is seen sitting on some steps, then fades into nothingness - always at dusk.  Oh, and by the way - Decatur was built on one huge sacred Indian burial ground. Greenwood cemetery is located in south Decatur, just west of rte 51

Decatur - The Third Floor Above Bell's Jewelry Store

Supposedly the "most haunted place in Decatur", this abandoned upstairs living space once occupied a whorehouse and speakeasy during prohibition. The current jewelry store owner has had his alarm set off, and found all the cases opened during the night-- with nothing missing. The sounds of loud footsteps and talking come from the 3rd floor, and an electrical worker working on the lines allegedly heard the same sounds and the whirling of a "roulette wheel". The space has been unused since that time, the walls still plastered with the pinups of "flappers" from magazine ads. 112 E. Prairie Street


East Peoria - Cole Hollow Road
In 1972 a "monster" Nicknamed "cohomo" (not kidding lol) or the Cole Hollow Road Monster was spotted in this area, and reportedly some "tracks" were found of this "Bigfoot" like biped.  The story sparked such a nerve with locals, that Tazewell County Sheriff's deputies had to deal with dozens of local ya-hoo's, all packing shotguns and the like, as they formed a Bigfoot lynch mob and flooded the woods on July 27, 1972.  Other phenomena on this road includes spook lights and rocks that fly from the woods.

Elmhurst - Train Tracks

The locals say a phantom man with a lantern haunts a train track in this 'burb.

Fillmore/Bingham - Abandoned Church

East of Fillmore is an abandoned church and cemetery that are said to have phantom piano music, loud unexplained noises, and drum beats from a nearby ancient Indian burial ground

 

 

Freeport/ Caledonia/Overland/Alton - modern day Pterodactyl

On April 9th, 1948 a "monster bird" larger "than an airplane" put on an aerial show above the farms and highways in the Freeport and Caledonia area, with several passersby reporting sightings of a creature that "kept circling and banking in a way that (I'd) never seen a plane perform". Similar sightings were reported in Longview, Washington on the same date. Later that month on the 24th, retired US Army Colonel Walter F Siegmund reported an enormous bird "the size of a small pursuit plane" near Alton, IL, so large as to cast shadow over two houses at once, as it was "aviating at about 500 feet (above)". Several other residents reported the same, including two local policemen. One stated he mistook it for a glider until it flapped its wings. Interestingly enough, Alton is the site of the Piasa bird painting/petroglyph - a relic of the local Illini tribe painted on the side of an enormous cliff that was first reported by explorers Marquette and Joliet. Local folklore claimed a man-eating "demon" "thunderbird" entity would appear to them here to signal oncoming rain and in answer to their prayers. Today, the Piasa bird is the local high school's mascot. Various sightings of Pterosaurs and Kongamatos have been documented in modern times all over the globe.  (From Weird America by Jim Brandon, long out of print)

The Piasa bird petroglyph in Alton, IL was "restored" in 1934 and greatly embellished (plus painted on backwards) by non-native settlers after the original (see Marquette's sketch) was blown into oblivion by some greedy bastards who were quarrying the rocks there.

Havana - Park District Gymnasium

In the recent past a young man was reportedly accidentally locked in the bathroom and died there. His apparition has been seen playing basketball late at night, and people have heard screams for "help".

Hoffman Estates - Shoe Factory Road

The ghosts of little children are said to be spotted near the lake along this road. An old grain silo where a man jealously murdered his wife is said to be bitter cold even in the scorching summer heat, as well.
From Hoffman Estates, take Hwy. 72 (Higgins Road West to Shoe Factory Road (just west of Barrington Road)

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Justice - Archer Avenue

No Illinois ghost page would be complete without the infamous story of the phantom hitchhiker.  Resurrection Mary is a story as old as it gets, as far as ghost stories go. 

At the Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois, there is a piece of fence that bears the impression that two hands left a permanent mark, like the sear marks on a steak, right in the wrought iron bars.  No one can deny the assumption that Mary left them there.

Mary Bregavy was a lively young girl in 1934.  She liked to take a ride down Archer Avenue every chance she could to go dancing at the O'Henry Ballroom.  One cold Chicago evening, however, a horrible car accident took Mary away from her dancing, and from this life.  At least for a while.

Five years after Mary was laid to rest in Resurrection cemetery, an unsuspecting young man was driving along Archer Avenue when he spotted a young, blonde hitchhiker along the road.  He picked her up, more than willing  to give her a ride to the dance hall.  As they passed the iron gates of the cemetery, she vanished completely from the passenger seat.  He was the first of many to tell a similar tale.

Mary has made appearances often over the years.  Some even claimed to have danced with her at the ballroom, now called Willowbrook.  Her dress never changes, and some of her rides have described her as wearing "old fashioned" clothes, or at the very least not wearing enough to combat the frigid Chicago winter winds.  Her face has become nondescript over the years, with each new sighting of her describing her face as a black empty spot.  Resurrection Mary's ghost appears along Archer Avenue in south Chicago. Take I-294 to 95th Street. Follow 95th Street west to Roberts Road. Take Roberts Road north to Archer Avenue. Resurrection Cemetery, 7600 South Archer Avenue, Justice, IL 60458.

Lacon - Old Salem Cemetery

"There is a haunted cemetery called "Old Salem Cemetery" near Lacon. There is also a hanging tree right in front of the gates to the cemetery. this place is one of the freakiest places I have seen. If you are going east of Lacon turn right on the last road next to the church. Go straight for 5 or 6 miles and turn right at a T-intersection with a barn on that side. Go a mile an half and turn right before the hill onto a dirt road. That should get you there." ~thanks to Jackie
Old Salem Cemetery has had stories circulating around it for years. My own sister was in high school during the late 70's and went there to drink beer one night with friends. When they arrived there were "robed" people who were standing around a bonfire with a calf or a goat (she couldn't tell which). Obviously, they got the hell out of there before they disrupted the cult's religious ceremony... Other locals say that you can hear a child crying (possibly related to the story of a little girl who died in a fire), hear screaming and see spook lights.  As the story goes, you can't get a match to light near the little girl's grave.

Lake Forest - The Schweppe Mansion

 The far north Chicago suburb of Lake Forest has many attractive old homes. The Schweppe mansion is not excluded in these ranks. Built in 1913, the 20 bedroom English Tudor style home once housed a wealthy suburban couple. During the days of wine and roses, the 1920's, the Scweppes had grand parties evocative of "The Great Gatsby". At one point, the crown prince of Sweden spent time here with his wife, strolling the grounds with its lush gardens and fountains.
    Mrs Schweppe was the wealthier of the two; her father had given the couple the home as a wedding gift. When she died at 58, she left the bulk of her estate to her children. Left with little money of his own after the great depression, the $200,000 Charles Schweppe was left was a paucity compared to the wealth he one enjoyed. In poor health as well, Charles ended his life with a bullet through his head four years after his wife Laura. A servant found him in his office with a suicide note scrawled on a piece of paper next to him.
   The stately home stood empty for 46 years, with family members keeping up the grounds and structure. Over this period of time, there was a window overlooking the front driveway which never accumulated dust or grime. All of the other windows would be cloudy with dirt, but the one window, in the master bedroom remained clear.
 In 1987 a family of seven bought the mansion for 5.5 million dollars, a drop in the bucket for what lakeside property goes for in a wealthy suburb, especially a beautiful old stone mansion. The family who lives there report, among other things, a bizarre twisted footprint in the floor of an upstairs room, and the sounds of servants making themselves busy in the middle of the night-- long after anyone working for them had gone. As of the phantom window, the owners say that it now gets dirty the same as the rest, however the image of a stately older gentleman is sometimes seen from the drive, peering down at incoming guests; or wandering through the bedrooms at night. This is a private residence in a heavily patrolled area.  Do NOT Trespass or you'll run the risk of being arrested.

LaSalle/Peru/Utica - click here for locations

LaSalle - St.Vincent's Cemetery
Said to be haunted by a man who sits on a grave with his hands by his face

LaSalle - Educators of Beauty

The "Educators of Beauty" cosmetology school in LaSalle was once a flop-house hotel; As the story goes, a degenerate living there fell asleep with a cigarette and burned to death in his room. When a couple of my friends were attending the school several years ago, the teachers would talk about all of the odd things that have happened there, especially in the upstairs part of the building. "George" (I think that's what they nicknamed the ghost) would flip hairdryers on and off, as well as the lights. Once in awhile, one could smell stale cigarette smoke when no one else was around. The older teachers were afraid to be there alone at night, according to my friends...122 Wright St

Lockport - Bruce Road

A disembodied male torso is said to float toward your car and then disappear.

 Loves Park - Rest Stop

Eerie noises like children laughing are heard here. 173 & Mitchell Rd

Mascoutah - Renschler Road

A Gravity Hill: it appears as if your car is running uphill if you put it in neutral. People report disembodied voices as well. Area used to have a train track where a man and his son were killed.


McClure - Grapevine Trail

This dangerous road has sounds like screeching tires and women screaming.

Mendota - Snyder's Grove Nature Area

Locals claim this area is haunted. Phenomena includes spook lights, a phantom man hanging from a tree, and the sensation of feeling someone pulling you under when you swim in the pond there. Stories say that some teenagers drowned there years ago, and they are trying to pull swimmers down to drown them. Also, in 1985 a little girl from another nearby town was found dead 4 miles east of Mendota in a drainage ditch, weighted down with stones - which is right about where this park is, by the way. I can't find any information on if this is a wildlife preserve or a private piece of land that is rented out for special occasions, so please use caution in going to this area. Coming north from Peru on hwy 251, take a right on rte 52 just south of Mendota (Troy Grove Blacktop). Turn left (north) on E 4th Rd and travel until you see a brown sign for Snyder's Grove Nature Area, at which point you turn right and follow N 3873rd road until you come to the park.

 

Mendota/Troy Grove - click here for locations

Millstadt - Zingg Road

People report the apparition of a hung man from the bridge, and a phantom truck that will "chase" your car. between Millstadt and Belleville off State Route 163

Middletown - 400th Avenue Bridge

Locals say that the area has odd phenomena, including whispers, screams, and even apparitions.

 Midlothian - Bachelor's Grove Cemetery (or, "The Most Hyped-Up Cemetery This Side of the Rockies")

This cemetery, reportedly one of the most active (in the US) as far as paranormal events go, was officially established in 1864, although there are plots there from as far back as 30 years before. It was so named because of the great number of bachelors who were buried there, many of which were German immigrants who helped build the Illinois-Michigan Canal. The last burial there was in 1965, at which time the place was already desecrated and vandalized. During prohibition, the lagoon that borders the cemetery was a "popular dumping ground" for those who crossed the Chicago mafia. The other odd occurrence that happened here was that of a farmer in the 1870's whose horse slid into the lagoon along with the plow, thus killing itself and the farmer who was strapped to it.
Specters and sightings in this cemetery include:
The White Lady (aka Mrs. Rogers, aka The Madonna of Bachelor's Grove): only during a full moon will this "lady in white " appear. Said to be a woman who was buried there next to her son. She is carrying a baby, in some accounts.
The Phantom Farmhouse: Reported many times especially in the 1950's, an idyllic white farm house, complete with porch swing and picket fence, has been said to appear then disappear off of the gravel path that leads to the cemetery.
The Ill Fated Farmer and his Horse and Plow: as described above... near the lagoon, of course.
A Two-Headed Ghost: near the lagoon
Various ghosts, including a yellow glowing apparition, people in monk's robes, and a ghost that a woman claimed to have passed her hand through on the path.
Spook lights: Including most commonly blue lights that dart about in a manner that seems planned, in other accounts red darting lights that leave a comet-like trail.
Phantom Vintage Cars and Trucks: said to appear along the turnpike outside of the cemetery. People have had what they thought was an accident after colliding with cars on this curve; when they get out to investigate, there is no damage-- even though the drivers have distinctly heard the noises associated with twisting metal and broken glass. The car that caused the crash is nowhere to be seen.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is located on the edge of the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve, near the suburb of Midlothian, Illinois. Follow I-294 south to Cicero Ave and take the Midlothian Turnpike. Go west to the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve. It is off of the main road and down a gravel path. The area is heavily patrolled and can be very dangerous at night.  It is heavily wooded.  Please don't go there without a friend.

Minooka/Morris - Aux Sable Cemetery
 
Aux Sable Cemetery - when you enter if you stop and turn of your car you will be visited by sprits on the bridge before enter the cemetery. Fires have been started mysteriously. The old grave keepers house has tunnels under it two go to some where and the third has a gate to hell supposedly. There have been many sightings on paranormal activity. Paranormal activity includes the locking of car doors, fogging up of windows, and the entrance being blocked while attempting to leave. Police do not want visitors there.
Aux Sable is located in the countryside between Morris and Minooka.

Monmouth - Dead Man's Curve

A haunted tree is said to be on a curve on highway 34, causing car accidents in this dangerous spot. (east of town)

 

New Athens - Tunnel Hill

A phantom dog has been reported here - it "growls" and makes the occasional midnight appearance.

New Lenox - Corner of Gougar Road and Route 6

A headless apparition is said to haunt this stretch of road, a victim of suicide by hanging nearby.

New Lenox - Messenger Woods Nature Preserve

When driving past, people have reported hearing screams and seeing strange shadows flit across the road in front of their car. 3.5 miles north of New Lenox

Olmstead - Ohio River Shark

On May 14, 2010 WLWT news in Cincinnati reported that a fisherman in Olmstead, IL found a recently dead 2 foot long bull shark on a boat ramp near receding flood waters. Bull sharks have been known to live in fresh water, however they are not known to swim this far up a river system from the Gulf of Mexico. A local  biology professor at Shawnee Community College said he physically observed the shark and said it is a spiny dogfish shark, which is not able to live in fresh water. Theories that a fisherman dumped the shark there, after catching in in salt waters, are prevalent among those familiar with the case.

Olney - Green Lantern Road

Olney, the Home of the White Squirrel, is also home to a legend of a ghostly man in a trench coat who carries a green lantern down this road and into the woods.

Olney - Salvation Army

A little boy who died after falling out of a shopping cart here is said to move objects around the back room. 302 E Main St

Olney - Burrow's Cave

In 1982 retired Army Ranger and prison guard Russell Burrows claimed to have, while hunting along the Little Wabash River, stumbled upon a cave that held priceless artifacts from ancient man, including large amounts of gold and burial chambers akin to the Egyptian Pharaohs. Any artifacts that were shown to the scientific community were initially dismissed as "obvious fakes", and the text on the inscribed tablets were said by experts to be a gibberish combination of various dead languages. Burrows' story itself is fishy on many levels. He claims after being humiliated and badgered by critics he grew weary of the hubbub and simply dynamited the entrance to the cave in 1989. Ten years later Ancient American Magazine founder Wayne May says that he convinced Burrows to show him his cave, and claims that Burrows in fact led him to a cave entrance that had been dynamited. In attempts to circumvent the damage and go inside, May said the cave had since flooded and filled with debris to the point of uselessness while afoot. Soooooo, May raised money and collected various experts to open the cave. This took 3 1/2 years, and when he returned to do so, he was told by Burrows:   1. that this was not the original cave, that the REAL cave was 40 miles away (take that, dirty scientist!!)    2. Burrows didn't even own the land on which this (equally nifty American Indian artifact filled) cave is   3. This new cave was to be referred to as "Tombs of the Embarras" (insert laugh track here), not "Burrows' Cave"   4. that Burrows' Cave (not the Tomb of the Embarrassed, er Embarras) is in the process of being excavated by a super-smart, super-secret team of  archaeologists who wish to remain anonymous. Mmmm - K.

Amazingly, May found evidence to support the original descriptions/maps of Burrows' Cave with ground penetrating radar. Read about it here. There is little to be found online on what the findings were on subsequent expeditions by May. Whatever was found since was apparently not Earth-shattering.

Theories surrounding possible explanations of a real burial chamber as described by Burrow are mind-bending and too numerous to list without devoting weeks of research. That's what google is for, my friend. Go for it. Lets just say there are folks who are really, REEAALLY into this story (either backing up Burrow or lustfully discrediting him), including the Mormons. Don't even get me started on the Illinois Nazi that comes into the picture...

Burrows' cave is still causing controversy: in 2009 a History Channel program entitled "The Holy Grail In America" featured the story and artifacts.  Burrows has been described as having a penchant for wearing military uniforms of various eras as his everyday clothing. He sounds like a total fucking hoot, regardless of what the science scholars think. I want to have him come into my bar so I can pour him a drink and listen to his bullshit for hours. You can buy his autographed book for $23 here:  Russ Burrows, 117 Chestnut Street, Windsor, Colorado 80550.

Morbid Travel Tip: visit the site where a Circus Elephant Was Killed By Lightning in Oquawka, IL.  Thanks to Roadside America for directions: Signs pointing toward "Elephant Killed By Lightning" direct you to Norma Jean's grave from all points in Oquawka


 

Orland Hills and Macomb - Anomalous Rampant Blue Flames

As reported by The Chicago Tribune, a private home in Orland Hills was the location of dozens of strange anomalous phenomena in Apri1 1988. Fire investigators ruled out ruled out arson, natural gas, methane leaks, sewer gas, and electrical malfunctions in the pursuit of knowing what caused blue flames to shoot from outlets, causing house fires (but not disabling the home's electrical systems in any way). On one occasion, a white fog - so thick an investigator "couldn't see (his) hand in front of (his) face" - permeated the house along with a stifling sulfur smell. Samples of the fumes sent to a laboratory showed nothing unusual. Twenty-six incidents were witnessed and documented by investigators and policemen. Owner Karen Gallo lamented "All of this talk about a haunted house is ridiculous." Her family of four moved out on the advice of police and local fire officials. The house was deemed unlivable by the family's insurance company and was bulldozed by October of that year.

The World's Strangest Stories (1983) touched on a similar story from Macomb in August 1948, when a farmhouse there was subject to small, unexplained fires of blue flame on the walls and ceilings. The fire chief at the time, Fred Wilson, said, "we have the word of at least a dozen reputable witnesses that they saw mysterious brown spots smolder suddenly on the walls and ceilings of the home, and then burst into flames." 200 fires were recorded in the house in one day before finally it was consumed. The following day two nearby barns burned down - and the farmer's 13 year old niece confessed to arson - however some locals and reporters were skeptical of her involvement in the house fires, many of which were witnessed as they ignited on the ceilings and walls.

Oswego - Cherry Rd.

The word "help" is said to be scrawled in blood on the road some nights. It re-appears in an area where a terrible car accident took place. An apparition of a teenage girl is also reported.

Ottawa area - click here for locations

Palatine - Smith and Route14

The location of a Brown's Chicken where, in 1993, two men brutally murdered seven customers and employees for a little bit of money, then stuffed them in a walk in freezer. The building has since been torn down, but prior to the apprehension of the killers in 2002, the sight had reports of cold spots, sounds of screaming and gunshots.

Pekin - California Road

Reports of a spook light and a strange mist. connects Sheridan Road with Broadway Road

Peru - McKinley Park
The spirit of a little boy is said to haunt this playground. Locals say that there was a school at the location, and a little boy was killed in the basement. The boy's cries are heard and the park lights flicker. McKinley park is near the LP high school football stadium

Peoria - OSF St. Frances Medical Center

The Catholic hospital is said to be haunted by two nuns who served there many years ago.

Peoria - Illinois Central College North Campus

Until the late 90's, this was George Zeller Mental Health Facility; these cavernous buildings are rumored to be home to disembodied voices, apparitions and strange noises, including phantom ambulance sirens that sound as if they are coming up the entrance road. 5407 N. University (this was still a mental hospital when I worked here for a couple of weeks in my nurses' training back in 1994... so the screams were definitely from the live ones...~ed.)

Pontiac - Humiston Woods Nature Preserve

Local folklore says that little children running through the grass here feel tiny hands pulling their feet down toward the dirt. The story, as it goes, is that the park is sitting on an ancient Indian burial ground that had many children buried there. 2100 East 2100 North Road (815) 844-5831

Princeton - Trailer Ghost

From my new favorite ghost site comes this horrifying tale of double-wide spectral phenomena:

"Old Single Ghost Can't Stop Twisting His Knob
I am quite sure our mobile was haunted when we first moved into it 8 years ago. An old, single gentleman had lived here for years. Died in the hospital, technically, but spiratually
(sic), I feel he hung on here for awhile. The knobs on the kitchen cupboards would somehow come loose and just drop off on the floor. Many times over! I would go out and screw them tightly back onto the doors and then a couple days later, they would fall off again. I could never find any possible physical reason for this to happen. Plus, sometimes the newspaper would lay on the coffee table and the pages would flutter in the breeze, but their were no windows open and the ceiling fan was not on. Eventually, the knobs stopped falling and the paper stopped fluttering. I guess the former owner finally realized that he didn't need to be here anymore and moved on to heaven or wherever.
Submitted by Barb in Princeton, IL "

Ramsey - Ramsey Cemetery

Old cemetery in Fayette County that has haunted caves; local folklore says that a ghost of a man in a black cloak with red glowing eyes and a "werewolf" have been seen here. The caves are reportedly haunted. Many, many of my family are buried in this tiny cemetery.  This is the first I've heard these stories. ~ed.

 

Rockford - Bell School Rd

Spook lights and an apparition of an old man are seen in the cornfields here.

Rockford - Cherry Vale Mall

Employees complain of being locked inside bathroom stalls, that tidy stores at closing time are in the morning disheveled, and that objects move on their own. 7200 Harrison Ave

Rushville - Train Bridge

A phantom train is said to run across this bridge outside of town

Schaumburg/Rolling Meadows - Holiday Inn

The Who guitarist Pete Townsend claims that in 1967 he heard God speaking to him at the Rolling Meadows Holiday Inn. In his 2012 autobiography, Who I Am, Townsend revealed, "Suddenly it became clear that I longed for a transcendent connection with the universe itself, and with its maker. While I made progress with my search for meaning, Keith (Moon) was causing havoc with a birthday cake, a car, a swimming pool, a lamp and a young fan's bloody head."

 

 

 

Seneca - Spontaneous Human Combustion

I recently discovered a story from the year 1885: The Rooneys were enjoying their Christmas Eve by partaking of some whiskey with their hired hand at their home in Seneca, Illinois. Mrs. Rooney, a portly woman, sat up late that night drinking with her husband, celebrating the Christmas holiday. They probably planned to visit their grown son, who lived nearby, the following day.

The hired man had retired early that night. Early on Christmas morning he descended the staircase, hung over and searching for some water to quench his raging cotton-mouth. Much to his chagrin, his turning stomach couldn't ignore the fetid odor that permeated the small rural home. Indeed, anyone who has been around burnt human flesh knows that it is maybe the worst smell that one can encounter. To the farm workers' horror, Mr. Rooney lay on the floor, dead from what would later be noted as smoke inhalation. Just feet away was a hole burnt clean through the floorboards.

Frantic, the hired man rode to the Rooney's son's home, fetched him, and the two men returned to further investigate this very un-Christmas-y sight. After entering the house, the poor orphaned son barely had time to absorb the sight of his dead father on the floor before he stuck his lantern down the charred hole in the floor, grasping for some explanation, and found a withered sooty skull, a few neck bones, and a pile of fine black ash. Mom.

Cases of spontaneous human combustion have fascinated people for years, almost as long as they have perplexed scientists. They are characterized by the unexplained cremation of a person, usually an obese woman. The odd part, the part that sets it apart from other accidental deaths in a fire, is that the person burns at a very, very high temperature--enough to reduce the body to a finer carbonaceous substance than even a crematorium can achieve, and that objects just mere inches away from the victim remain unscathed. A case in Bolingbrook, Illinois in 1979 involved a woman who burned in this manner, and her entire lower leg, as well as a newspaper 3 feet away, remained unburned.

Spring Valley - click here for locations


St. Charles - Munger Road

The vicinity of the railroad tracks have had reports of spook lights.

 

St. Charles - Prairie St

A ghostly car is said to pick up a bright white apparition from the curb, then vanish.

Sterling - Rock River/7th Avenue

A ghostly woman is said to walk along the tracks, calling for her children

 

Streator Area - click here for more Streator stories

 

 

 

moon creek movie posterStreator - Moon Point (Creek) Cemetery

This has been the focus of local ghost folklore for decades. Stories of a "hatchet lady" abound, as well as reporting of spook lights, an apparition of a man in 19th century clothing, strange car trouble within the cemetery, and the sounds of giggling children. There is a legend of a woman who spent a lot of time in the cemetery caring for her only son's grave (who had died young in a war);  her ghost was reported after she passed away in the 1980's. One reader who wrote me did an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) test there and said he had heard "get out" repeated oven and again. When I visited there in the early 90's (at midnight on Halloween no less - and no, I'm not kidding), not a damn thing happened. Well, I got drunk on "Boone's Farm" strawberry wine - but that's for another day... Moon Creek is just south of Streator on a country road off of rte 23. This cemetery has been vandalized by numerous assholes over the years, and county police patrol it very often. Do not visit after dusk. UPDATE July 2011 Independent film producer Mark Pierce contacted me a few years ago to discuss this area, and later sent me this note: "I am the guy from Streator who you so graciously posted my 2002 account in Moon (Point) Creek Cemetery.  In my writing I mentioned that I was going to pitch an idea for a movie about it.  Well, I went ahead and produced it myself, and it is practically finished but has about 25% of the scenes to shoot.  I am talking to producers in LA at the end of July to either get them to finance the completion or buy out the whole idea.  Anyway, I wanted to give you a picture of the poster for the film... The actress portraying the Hatchet Lady is Maria Olsen.  She played Mrs. Dodd/The Fury in 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief'. " Mark, a Streator native who also wrote, directed and stars in  the film, posted on his company website recently that the movie is tentatively scheduled for independent release in October of 2011. There is a trailer posted on YouTube that features scenes filmed in Moon Point Cemetery. Thanks Mark! By the way, I didn't break out my Lizzy Borden costume again for the movie poster, (please note the similarities in the 'Editorial Review' photo above) but I would have! Read Mark's experiences at Moon's Point Cemetery, as well as some more photos, here.

 

 

 

 

 

Tolono - railroad tracks

Locals say there is a ghost train that appears around 2AM; phantom screaming and spook lights also reported.

Tonica - country road near Tonica

A phantom hearse has been reported near this tiny farming village

 

Urbana - Train Depot on Miami Street

One of the stops for the train that carried the corpse of Abe Lincoln from Washington DC to Springfield, IL, a ghost train is said to appear, staffed with skeletons in blue coats, billowing smoke and whistling. Clocks are said to stop when the train comes though. Similar stories are reported all along the route that the Lincoln death train took.

Vermont - West Quarter Road

Apparitions and colored spook lights are reported by locals.
Vernon hills - Big Bear Lake

A pregnant woman who drowned in the lake is said to haunt. Lakeview Parkway

Villa Park - 7 Eleven

Folklore says that the convenience store was built atop a cemetery. Employees report phantom voices and rattling sounds on the graveyard shift. 340 W Saint Charles Rd

Wayne - Powis Road railroad tracks

Folklore from the area says a family died in their car here when it was hit by a train; cars are said to be "pushed" from the tracks by invisible hands.

Watseka - Lantern's Lane

An amber colored spook light is reported near Watseka. Starting from Watseka, turn left (South) on S. Second street. Follow this road out of town to Woodland. Turn right (West) at the Body Cemetery, then immediately take a left turn (South) on 1980E for about 2 miles. Turn right onto 1200N Road (Lantern's Lane)

Wauconda - Larkdale

A little boy who drowned is said to be seen standing by the no swimming sign at the pond here.

Wenona - Cumberland Cemetery??

This beautiful old cemetery is thick with local ghost folklore. Stories range from a hatchet man and his headless wife appearing to a "Horcow", some kind of bizarro, Island of Dr. Moreau, cow - horse combo that one reader claims to have spotted. Spook lights, a phantom little girl, and another reader claimed that her sister-in-law's car caught aflame when she was poking around there one night. Cumberland Cemetery is located within a mass of wooded country roads between Wenona and Magnolia. If you stop at a gas station in Wenona (Magnolia has no businesses as far as I know) I'm sure who ever is working can probably direct you to it. It is patrolled by county police at night.

 

Willow Springs/Indian Head Park - German Church Road

Two sisters who were brutally raped and murdered near here are said to haunt the woods. Near Willow Springs

Willow Springs - Maple Lake Light

A red spook light is frequently reported above this man-made lake

Woodstock - Ryders Woods

Spook lights are reported in this area, as well as a hazy black apparition.

 

 

Wood River/ Alton

In May 1971 al large gray blob that resembled bubbling rising yeast dough appeared here. Exactly two years later to the day, a similar mass was discovered in Dallas, TX.(From Weird America by Jim Brandon, long out of print)

 

 

Yorkville - the dam

An infamous area where canoers often drown. A phantom family (parents and a small daughter) have been reported by locals, carrying paddles and life jackets from the dam. They vanish as they near the river front park. Hydraulic Street

Zion - Loyal Order of Moose Club #667

The ghost of a little blonde headed girl who died in the 1940's giggles and flips lights on and off. Sheridan Rd

 


have a look-see at my first website, which is somehow still functioning without my help 12 years later...

   Click for Chicago, Illinois Forecast


Did something happen to you you can't explain? A giant lizard in Minnesota? A goat-man in Florida? A time-space wormhole in the Black Rock Desert? Send me your story at:

scarystory @ weirdness . com

 

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Bibliography:

  *Peoria, IL Journal Star October 1998 (Bartonville Asylum)
The Shadowlands : an invaluable resource on the net for ghost hunters !!
Weird Travels, Most Haunted Journeys: The Travel Channel
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shadowlands/2007/index2.html
http://www.kcchronicle.com/MainSection/other/357578445901083.php
http://www.eastlanddisaster.org/
http://www.crimelibrary.com/capone/caponesaint.htm
http://hotels.about.com/cs/hauntedhotels/p/hau_hotellbaker.htm
www.prairieghosts.com
http://www.allstays.com/Special/haunted.htm
http://theshadowlands.net/famous/bartonville.htm
http://www.eco-absence.org/il/bartonville/
http://www.arborwood.com/awforums/print-topic-1.php?fid=1994&taid=58&topid=1922
http://www.mendotareporter.com/main.php?story_id=3809&page=34
http://www.island.net/~blues/fox.htm
http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PressReleases1998/Loews_Blues_Feb1998.html
http://cityguide.aol.com/chicago/halloween/?page=ghoststories2004
http://www.bfro.net/GDB/show_article.asp?id=286
http://www.aghostpage.com/illinois.htm
http://www.arborwood.com/awforums/print-topic-1.php?fid=1994&taid=58&topid=1922
http://www.mendotareporter.com/main.php?story_id=3809&page=34
http://www.island.net/~blues/fox.htm
http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PressReleases1998/Loews_Blues_Feb1998.html
http://cityguide.aol.com/chicago/halloween/?page=ghoststories2004
http://www.bfro.net/GDB/show_article.asp?id=286
http://www.aghostpage.com/illinois.htm
http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf061/sf061g17.htm
http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/24838908.html?dids=24838908:24838908&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Oct+16%2C+1988&author=David+Elsner&pub=Chicago+Tribune+%28pre-1997+Fulltext%29&edition=&startpage=3&desc=BULLDOZERS+LAY+HOUSE+TO+REST+MYSTERIOUS+FIRES%2C+STRANGE+FUMES+DEFEAT+INVESTIGATORS
http://www.westerncourier.com/main.cfm?include=subApplication&subApplicationName=quickRegister&fuse=registrationOrLoginRequired&thereferer=http%3A//www.westerncourier.com/media/paper650/news/2002/10/25/TheEdge/haunted.Dead.Walk.Not.Your.Normal.Paranormal-441989.shtml
http://www.alcade.net/ghost/lantern.htm
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/index.html

http://www.angelfire.com/scary/chicagohaunts/illinoishaunts.htm

http://carpentersvilleplayhouse.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/views-of-improvement-throughout-carpentersville/
http://carpentersville.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/a-proud-history-of-carpentersville/

http://urbanacitizen.com/main.asp?SectionID=3&SubSectionID=5&ArticleID=143655&TM=83764.64

http://www.chibarproject.com/Features/Haunted/Haunted.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/chi-ufo-united-airlines,0,4694653.story
 

This Illinois section has by far more listings of private properties than any of the other states I cover, as this was the playground of my youth and I have the most stories to tell about this state.  I'll be the first to tell you that a lot of property owners don't think the excuse of "looking for ghosts" is very valid or cute... DO NOT TRESPASS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY!

(Disclaimer: it is upon the reader of this site to use good judgment in frequenting the places listed herein; it is not the responsibility of the proprietor of ghosttraveller.com if a reader commits an illegal act, such as trespassing,  based upon what he or she reads here.  It is the reader's responsibility to research the given areas discussed in this forum prior to visiting, and to ensure that it is not illegal to visit said place prior to visiting, or to obtain permission from the owner prior to visiting)