It would appear that every old structure in Illinois that has been preserved over the years has a story to tell, and some of these legends involve at least one or more ghosts. There are a lot of abandoned places in this area, and some of them have weird atmosphere that makes our hearts race.
The Valley and the rest of this state are home to a variety of historic places that are popularly believed to be haunted. These places range from old hotels and theaters to mines, prisons, and even airplane graveyards. If you are the type of person who doesn’t believe in the presence of the supernatural, now is your time to show everyone else that they’re wrong by spending your weekend in one of these creepy locations.
So what are we waiting for, then? Let’s have a look at the list of haunted places in Illinois that you may want to visit in order to disprove the beliefs of other people.
1. Graceland Cemetery
There are many legends about ghosts in Graceland Cemetery, but the statue of Inez Clarke, who was only six years old when she died in the 1880s, is among the most well-known. The Inez statue has been claimed to move on its own, according to witnesses. Some adjacent residents have even reported hearing sobbing.
On several occasions, security personnel patrolling the area at night discovered the statue to be gone; yet, each morning, the artwork had magically reappeared in its original location. Other people spotted a young girl who had been playing in the graveyard. The fact that Inez Clarke isn’t even interred in Graceland Cemetery adds a whole new layer of strangeness to the situation.
2. Lincoln Theater
When it comes to haunted places in Decatur, many people point to the Lincoln Theatre. The Lincoln Theatre, which hosted vaudeville and silent films in the 1920s, is rumored to be haunted. It has been said that a ghostly youngster may be seen running up and down the stairs, and another spirit enjoys playing pranks in the projection booth.
3. Tinker Swiss Cottage
It is reported that this house is haunted since it was originally used to care for youngsters who were near the end of their lives. People have reported hearing the voices of children, as well as humming and whistling. It is a widely held belief that the Tinker family’s departed members continue to linger at this modest mansion.
At this time, the cottage is offering ghost tours that go for a full three hours. Even the show “Ghost Hunters” on the SciFi Channel helped spread the word about the location.
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4. Woodstock Opera House
One could argue that the ghost who haunts the Woodstock Opera House has the finest seat in the house. Elvira, the opera house’s phantom, supposedly committed suicide by falling from the tower after being passed over for the principal role.
This stunning woman with her long hair is assigned a balcony seat all to herself. During performances, audience members have reportedly seen the chair collapse. She’s been known to rearrange the set pieces as well. Don’t mess up your lines, or she might groan in her row 113 seat.
5. Original Springs Mineral Spa and Hotel
Okwaville is a sleepy little village in southern Illinois, hidden among the cornfields. Aside from being the only active mineral spring in the state, it also has a reputation for being haunted. Some employees won’t even go into the hotel’s original wing when it’s dark out of fear for their safety.
In this place, a ghostly white woman is seen walking the halls and one of the guest rooms. Footsteps and other unexplainable noises have been heard in the sealed-off chambers. A guest even claimed to have heard voices in his room which, it turns out, was the one where the hotel’s previous owner was discovered dead back in the ’60s.
6. Showmen’s Rest
In 1918, a circus train derailed in this area of Woodlawn Cemetery. Between 60 and 110 circus performers who were on the train are laid to rest in this mass cemetery. The grave markers for the unknown dead are affectionately referred to by nicknames, such as “Baldy.”
Over 750 graves of magicians, circus proprietors, and stunt pilots may be found in this section of the cemetery. It is possible that the distant cries of elephants could be heard reverberating through the night sky if you were to arrive.
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7. Bachelor’s Grove
One of the most haunted spots in the Chicago area is this old cemetery. In the 1950s, it became a focal point for paranormal activity. Approximately seven ghosts are thought to linger at Bachelor’s Grove. Glowing orbs also float lazily across the air.
A woman’s ghost has been heard pleading with tourists, “Have you seen my baby?” Nonetheless, the “Farmer” ghost stands out as one of the most unsettling sightings. A local farmer was drowned here, and the pond has since become a dumping ground for the mob’s newest kills, so a hunched over ghost is said to emerge from it occasionally. Even as far back as the 1970s, people have told police they have seen the “Farmer.”
8. Holmes Death Castle
Readers of Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City will be familiar with the events leading up to and including the several homicides that occurred during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (historians believe that H.H. Holmes may have actually killed hundreds of people during his lifetime).
Screams can still be heard in the neighborhood and pets become visibly scared while passing by this site in Englewood, despite the fact that there is no longer a sign of the “Murder Castle” where serial killer H.H. Holmes resided (a post office now occupies the site). Even in the building’s basement, employees have seen strange things that can’t be explained.
9. Greenwood Cemetery, Decatur
The origins of Greenwood Cemetery are shrouded in mystery. No one knows when this cemetery was first used because no documents exist. The Decatur area was once inhabited by Native Americans from the Illini Confederacy. The site of their interment is thought to be a section of the present-day Greenwood Cemetery.
There is no doubt that this cemetery is presently among the most haunted in the United States. In the Public Mausoleum, people claimed to hear screaming. Moreover, you might see the ghost of a Confederate soldier who died there during the war.
10. Resurrection Mary
Hitchhiking on Archer Avenue in the 1930s, Mary was struck and killed by a car that fled the scene. She had been out dancing at Willowbrook Ballroom with her boyfriend just before the tragedy. She then stormed out of the apartment in search of a ride home after an argument broke out between the couple.
People who have seen the ghost of a woman in a white dress and dancing shoes say she is buried in Resurrection Cemetery. There have been occasions when she has hailed cabs without anyone suspecting anything.
11. McPike Mansion
Atop Mount Lookout Park, the highest point in Alton, stands the McPike House. It has not been occupied since the 1950’s. Since that time, weather and vandals have caused extensive damage to this historic home.
These haunted spots in Illinois have the ability to keep you up at night. Although they are not for the faint of heart; yet, you are free to visit them if you choose to do so.