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Top 10 Creepiest Places in Illinois

As we at Mysterious Heartland know, the Prairie State is a very creepy place! Haunted cemeteries, colleges, abandoned hospitals, roads, forests, and schools abound. But what are the most creepy places in Illinois? After much debate, we are happy to bring you the first in a series of “top 10″ places to visit if you are looking for a good scare – the Top 10 Creepiest Places in Illinois:

10. Peoria Public Library

Peoria, Illinois

According to legend, the Peoria Public Library is built on cursed ground and is occupied by as many as a dozen different ghosts. Back in 1830, Mrs. Andrew Gray, a prominent Peoria citizen, lived in a house on Monroe Avenue. After her brother died, she gained custody of her nephew, who was always getting into trouble with the law. In time, he required the services of a lawyer named David Davis, who took out a mortgage on Mrs. Gray’s home as security. When the bill came due, Davis sued to foreclose on the home and collect his money. Mrs. Gray was enraged. She evicted her worthless nephew, and shortly thereafter his lifeless body was found floating in the river. She then cursed the property and all its future owners. As it came to pass, misfortune befell anyone who occupied the house, including a former governor of Illinois.

In 1894, Peoria purchased the property and built a library. Contrary to some reports, the library was built next to Mrs. Gray’s home, not over it. Never-the-less, the first three library directors all died under unusual circumstances. In 1966, the original library was torn down and a new one built in its place, but the ghosts remained. Employees have reportedly heard their names being called while alone in the stacks, felt cold drafts, and even claimed to have seen the face of a former library director in the basement doorway.

9. Lebanon Road

Collinsville, Illinois

On or around Lebanon Road are seven railroad bridges, some no longer in use. All of them are heavily coated in graffiti—a testament to their popularity for nighttime excursions. Local visitors have crafted a hellish tale around these seven bridges, which they dubbed the “Seven Gates to Hell.” The legend is that if someone were to drive through all seven bridges and enter the last one exactly at midnight, he or she would be transported to Hell. In some versions, the person entering the final tunnel must be a skeptic. In other versions, no tunnel can be driven through twice in order for the magic to work. Like Cuba Road in Barrington, an abandoned property near Lebanon Road has given rise to rumors of a “death house.” A closed road or driveway is alleged to lead to an old house in which a family was murdered. Moreover, a group of Satanists are said to sacrifice animals and children at the location.

8. Illinois College

Jacksonville, Illinois

Founded by Presbyterians in 1829, Illinois College is one of the oldest colleges in Illinois. Its first president was Edward Beecher, brother of Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. With such a rich history, it comes as no surprise that Illinois College is rich in ghostlore too. Nearly every building on campus is thought to have a ghost or two. Like Millikin University, the female dorm at Illinois College, Ellis Hall, is haunted by a young woman who allegedly committed suicide there. A “gray ghost”—a faceless phantom at that—hangs out on the stairwell of Whipple Hall. Another gray ghost, this one dressed in a Confederate uniform from the Civil War, has been seen in Sturtevant Hall. Phantom footsteps have been heard in Beecher Hall, the oldest building on campus. It is rumored that early in the college’s history, medical students stole cadavers from nearby hospitals in order to learn about anatomy. After a while, the hall where the bodies were stored began to smell, and the student’s grisly enterprise was uncovered.

7. Massock Mausoleum

Spring Valley, Illinois

The Massock Mausoleum in tiny Lithuanian Liberty Cemetery has long been the focus of local curiosity. Visitors have brought back stories of a “hatchet man” that guards the graveyard. The mausoleum itself is said to be warm to the touch and the scene of animal sacrifice. Red paint is spattered on the door, which has been sealed with concrete ever since the late 1960s when two vandals stole a skull from one of the Massock brothers. The Massock brothers’ mansion was located in the woods nearby, but was torn down in the late 1980s. Local teenagers used to refer to it as the “Hatchet Man’s House.”

Rosemary Ellen Guiley, in her book The Complete Vampire Companion, related the story of several men who encountered a “gaunt, pale figure,” in the cemetery at night. Fearing for their lives, they shot at the figure and ran. Later, a reporter who had heard about the men’s strange encounter came to the cemetery and poured holy water into a vent in the mausoleum, which produced a groaning sound. Because of the attention this location receives, police routinely patrol the area.

Check out these places and more in Michael Kleen’s
Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State!

6. Manteno State Hospital

Manteno, Illinois

Manteno State Hospital opened its doors in the early 1930s as construction on the sprawling hospital was still ongoing. Like Peoria (Bartonville) State Hospital, Manteno was laid out in a “cottage plan,” which meant that the patients were housed in a series of separate buildings rather than in one single institution. When it first opened, Manteno accommodated 6,620 total residents. Underground service tunnels linked all the buildings. In 1939, in an incident that Time magazine referred to as the “Manteno Madness,” 384 patients and staff came down with typhoid fever and more than 50 ultimately died.

Manteno State Hospital was later renamed the Manteno Mental Health Center and closed in 1985. The north side of campus became a veteran’s home. Other buildings were consolidated into the Illinois Diversatech Campus and rented to businesses. The main administration building became a bank. Despite public health concerns, a housing project called Fairway Oaks Estates was recently built at the location. Since the hospital’s closure, many people have visited its remains and have come away with strange stories. They have seen apparitions of patients and nurses, and have heard voices over the long-defunct intercom.

5. Cuba Road

Lake Zurich, Illinois

Cuba Road sits nestled between the towns of Lake Zurich and Barrington, both upper and upper-middle class retreats. It is the setting of a plethora of paranormal phenomenon, including a phantom car (or cars), a pair of spectral lovers, and a vanishing house. A side street called Rainbow Road formerly had the distinction of being home to an abandoned mansion that some believed was an old asylum. Along Cuba Road sits White Cemetery, which author Scott Markus has referred to as the Bachelor’s Grove of the north-Chicago suburbs. This small, rectangular graveyard dates from the 1820s and its ghostlore concerns mysterious, hovering balls of light.

4. Greenwood Cemetery

Decatur, Illinois

Greenwood Cemetery is rumored to be one of the most haunted locations in central Illinois. According to Troy Taylor, the land that would become Greenwood was originally an Amerindian burial ground, and then was later used by the first white settlers to bury their dead until the late 1830s. These graves have since disappeared. The oldest visible marker on the grounds dates back to 1840, and Greenwood Cemetery was officially established in 1857.

One of the most interesting stories at Greenwood concerns the ghosts of dead and dying Confederate prisoners who were dumped at the cemetery on their way to a prison camp and buried in the hillside under what is now a memorial to Union soldiers. Years later, heavy rain collapsed part of the hill, mixing the bodies together. The hill was repaired and the bodies reburied, but many believe their spirits were permanently disturbed. Another popular legend concerns the so-called “Greenwood Bride,” who wanders the grounds in her wedding dress searching for her fiancé, who was murdered by bootleggers. Greenwood Cemetery is also haunted by phantom funerals, ghost lights that flicker in the southeastern hills, and other, more sinister apparitions.

3. Williamsburg Hill

Cold Spring Township, Shelby County

Ridge Cemetery and Williamsburg Hill are notorious in the lore of central Illinois. The hill is the highest point in Shelby County and once sheltered a town, in addition to its cemetery. Williamsburg, as the town was known, was platted in 1839 by two men, Thomas Williams and William Horsman. Many Horsmans can be found buried in Ridge Cemetery to this very day. The town disappeared in the 1880s as the railroad bypassed its inconvenient location. The legends surrounding Ridge Cemetery involve occult rituals, spook lights, phantom funerals, and the ghost of an old man who disappears upon approach. Animal mutilations have also been reported in and around the cemetery.

2. Hickory Hill Plantation

Equality, Illinois

Also known as the Crenshaw House or the Old Slave House, this mansion was built in 1838 by John Crenshaw and his brother Abraham. Crenshaw owned vast salt mines in Southern Illinois and was one of the wealthiest men in the entire state. He also owned over 740 slaves. Illinois entered the Union in 1818 with strict “black codes” on the books. The Illinois constitution prohibited the slave trade, but permitted those residents already holding slaves to keep their property. Visitors to Crenshaw’s plantation included Abraham Lincoln. Slaves were kept in cramped cells in the attic of the mansion.

As early as 1851, there were reports that the mansion was haunted. The German family who operated the estate between 1850 and 1864 reported hearing strange sounds coming from the attic. After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, tourists began to come and visit Illinois’ only plantation. They heard phantom footsteps, voices, and singing. A legend spread that no one could spend the night in the attic. Many tried, but every last one was scared off before dawn. In the late 1920s, one “ghost hunter” is believed to have died after spending the night there. Today, the mansion is owned by the State of Illinois and closed to visitors.

1. Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

Midlothian, Illinois

Bachelor’s Grove has been a south side enigma for over three decades and is one of the most famous haunted cemeteries in America. Some say it was named after a group of single men who settled in the area around the 1830s, but a family named Batchelder owned the land. One of the most controversial sightings around Bachelor’s Grove involves a phantom house. In the 1970s, Richard T. Crowe collected stories from dozens of eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen a white farmhouse at various places in the woods alongside the trail, complete with a glowing light in the window. There are several foundations and old brick wells tucked away in the woods—evidence that there were homes nearby sometime in the past.

Another popular ghost is the White Lady, or Madonna, of Bachelor’s Grove, who is said to be searching for her lost infant. This ghost, or one very much like it, was supposedly captured on a now famous photograph taken using infrared film. The pond adjacent to the cemetery has its own share of legends. Stories say it was one of the hundreds of places scattered around Illinois where mobsters dumped their victims during the roaring ‘20s. A policeman reportedly saw the apparition of a horse, followed by a man and a plow, walk out of the pond and cross 143rd Street. The ghost is said to belong to a farmer who drowned in the pond when his horse decided to take a swim one day, pulling him under the murky water in the process.

————————————
Haunting Illinois by Michael KleenCheck out these places and more in Michael Kleen’s Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State! Three years in the making, the 3rd edition of Hunting Illinois is your ticket to adventure in your own backyard. This edition contains 60 new listings and 35 new pictures, for a total of 260 haunted or mysterious locations and more than 120 photos and illustrations. Divided into eight distinct regions and listed by county and town or neighborhood, each location features a description, directions, and sources from a wide variety of books, articles, and websites. Haunting Illinois challenges you to get off the couch and start exploring our wonderful State of Illinois. Go here to order!

Sorry guys, this page is copyright MysteriousHeartland.com, 2010. You do not have permission to copy this for any reason. Please learn how to cite your work.

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Comments

  1. cherry rd in oswego il isnt hunted..lame

  2. wong djowo says:

    Hmm in Hospital is more haunted. Check it out if you dont believe it. Soo scary and soo many things happen on that places

  3. Go check out fox river pavilion @ 400 e. Newyork st. In aurora il. I workd there for 7 years the place is haunted more than any place u mentioned hear it was a hospital but wen i workd there it was a nursing home we closed down in 2010 but i still get creeped out walkn past the building but i got paid good workn there lol

    • You need to share some stories! I grew up in that neighborhood and the whole area has a distinctly spooky feel.
      If anyone cares to venture out that way, be sure to check out the old Root St. Cemetery… which can be accessed from Root St. (duh) where there is parking. It is hardly a block north of Fox River Pavillion. It’s behind the old Catholic school.
      There aren’t many headstones left because the cemetery has been vandalized and neglected since the 1920’s! The headstones were also used decades ago as landfill for the Phillip’s Park golf course :o The southeast corner is was a mass grave for cholera victims and I tell you that cemetery has bad karma. Trust me.

      • I can recall working the grave yard shift @fox river pavilion on the 4th floor… after 10pm the building is locked to all visitors unless theres a death and in that case we would buzz people in such as a minister or ambulance or family members .. well on this freakishly quiet night were sitting at the nurses station and the elevator dings .. no worries were thinking maybe its a worker from the 3rd or 5th floor but the elevator stops on 4 and no one got off… we brushed it off as oh well and joked about the ghost that mite be playing with the elevator.. LOL.. it was so funny for 20 seconds at that time we here a loud scream down the hall we jumped up to look and see where the noise was coming from and i had chills up my spine by this time and we see a nun going into a residents room well myself and 2 nurse aides walked down there to see number 1 who and why was there a scream and where and why was there a nun in the building… well im getting the creeps thinking about it and long story short when we got to the room where the scream seemed to come from which so happens to be the room the nun entered the guy whose room it was had died like at that moment he was still very warm he had’nt even lost color yet so by him being a d.n.r.
        we called the morgue and sent him away never seen the nun again… next evening when i got to work while doing our rounds and talking about old mr.green who passed last night the workers i was there to relieve said mr.green has alot of pictures we tried to give them to his daughter but she said throw them away … i asked why they said she only said the pix brought back bad memories so i looked at a few of the pix and standing there with mr.green was the nun fully gowned looking the same way she did when she came and got him the night before…. blew me away im still creeped out and i never found out what relation she was to mr.green but she was at least 20 yrs older then him from the pix .. i gota lota stories to tell about the fox they closed the doors in2010 because of rapes in murders and i worked there for a long time i wish some one would go listen to them walls … they talk and please visit the chapel on the 2nd floor.. OMG im getting chills again

  4. Cassidy burke says:

    I live in the town by midlothian. And i have seen the lady ghost. It is cool and if u go up to the metal gates u can see indented handprints!

    • are you for real? resurrection mary’s story was about indented handprints on the bars. I’m sorry but I believe that its real but I don’t think you saw it just saying.

  5. Gayle Elliott says:

    There is also Resurrection Cemetary with “Resurrection Mary.” Don’t forget that one!

    • Captain America says:

      That’s Peck’s Cemetary outside of Decatur.

      • milkywaywaoman says:

        i have been there and yes it is spooky,even been to the chesterville cemetery,home of the chestervillr witch?

    • Be sure to visit the huge mausoleum… it’s eerily lit, has big creepy statues and it weirdly quiet. It was spooky and awesome in there!

  6. david graham says:

    Not too long ago i went to the hickory hill plantation (not supposed to be there and go some pics. i got a pic of the house i can send to you. notice u didnt have one u can put up if u want

    • donna arresi says:

      i have alot of pics of this old farm house ! was one of the last tour groups to go there ! it creepy my sister seen an old woman praying at the top of the stairs going into the attic!

  7. Ayla Stein says:

    Reblogged this on On top of the bookshelf… and commented:
    In the spirit of Halloween and all of the Supernatural I’ve been watching!

  8. I’ve never actually seen anything on Cuba road, but at times, driving on it, you feel ‘lost in time’…an eerie feeling indeed.

  9. mental hospital and cemetery in bartonville, Illinois most haunted place in the state

  10. Harpo Studios in Chicago. It was used as a storage area for the bodies from the Eastland disaster, a sailing outing for Western Electric employees.

  11. ahhh bachelors grove! not shocked its #1 ive been there many times sneaking in as a teen to walk around and look, not destroy like some people. but we have had black shadows follow us around, weird noises from the pond like loud splashes, we went sooo far in one time trying to find the disappearing house and everyone’s flash lights stopped working and we all took off with the lights on our phones. we saw a white figure in the grave yard that would come out and then go behind a tree and disappear. white spots float around in the grave yard. that place is really haunted!!

  12. manichappiness says:

    Diversatech is hardly there anymore they’ve tore most of it down sadly enough.

  13. I live about 1/4 mile massock mausoleum spring valley

  14. Come check out jdc. Old sanitorium just closed down. Miles of tunnels. Many died there. Dark n creepy now

  15. You have obviously not heard of nor been to the East Galesburg area, where there are two very creepy places.

    The Purington Brick Yards are overgrown, deep in the woods, down a dirt trail.
    My own grandfather worked there in the 1930’s and – more recently, they found the skeletal remains of an as-yet unidentified woman in the East Galesburg Brickyards in 1996. The brickyard officially closed in 1974. The area is rampant with gang activities, wild animals, and deadly snakes.

    http://www.kville.org/kchistory/Pure.html

    The Hall House Ruins & Bootlegger Dance Floor
    Drive East down Main Street until you hit the bottom of the hill into East Galesburg, and you can see a little white house sitting among the trees. That was my childhood home. If you knock on the door and ask nicely to explore the ruins across the lake, my grandmother may possibly let you.
    My grandfather’s childhood home sits across the lake in ruin. There is a dilapidated bus from the 1940’s sitting next to the house. As you look from the north side of the lake, you see this:

    The embankment is actually the old Trolley tracks that ran from the square in downtown Galeburg all the way to the East Galesburg fire house. There were stops along the way, two of which were at this very spot (in the photo) and about 200 yards east of this point, where bootleggers ran liquor back into the woods. Way back in these woods, if you dare to venture through the overgrown brush, you will find a clearing that is oddly rectangular – that is a 20×20 foot marble slab used as a dance floor by my great-grandparents. Rumor in my family is that Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Shirley Temple, Robert Frost, and Carl Sandburg hung out there whenever they stopped in on the train headed to or from Chicago.

    • Xoandre, I have in fact been to Galesburg. I got my MS in Education from WIU, and I dated a girl from Galesburg. I apologize for not knowing your family history, as interesting as it is. If you would like to write an article about it for the website, I would be happy to publish it. Please email me at mysteriousheartland@blackoakmedia.org

      • I will review the guidelines for submitting work and compose a piece for you. Unfortunately, I do not have many photos of the area and live 200 mi East of there now, so – unless I can have a relative snap some photos – It will mainly be text.

  16. Anything up in the northern suburbs into Wisc?

  17. U guys r f****** idiots for believing in the supernatural. Have u not heard of a thing called science? Prove the supernatural, I dare ya. Scientists r waiting and willing to admit they’re wrong.

    • This website has nothing to do with science…

    • I was actually watching something on dsrk matter the other day, and its been agreed among many scientsts that unexplainable phenomenon known as dark matter may very well be where the paronomal comes from. After death, your energy still goes into the universe and the shadow world of dark matter which we cannot see (most of the time) or understand is theorized by some scientists is what we call “the super natural”. So before you go pissing on other peoples parades, why dont you do some research on what you preach? YEAH, SCIENCE BITCH!

  18. Sandi Drescher says:

    If I am allowed to say here : Also, check out ” Unexplained Mysteries of Jacksonville and the surrounding area” by Scott Maruna. Pretty interesting stuff.

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  2. […] This public library is said to have been cursed in 1847 by Mary Stevenson Gray (or Grey), who previously owned the land where the library now stands. The curse is rumored to have caused the untimely deaths of three library directors in the early 20th century who now haunt the library. More coverage here. […]

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