By Bruce Cline, director of the Little Egypt Ghost Society
Photo: This grave is the one belonging to the train engineer, John Chapman, who was killed in the wreck and still haunts the cemetery to this day.
Lisa, one of our lead investigators, found some interesting information while conducting research at the Carbondale Public Library. On March 31, 1888 there was a horrific train wreck near Oakland Cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois. Further research revealed that the ICRR was cited for unsafe conditions less than 2 weeks prior to the train wreck.
John Chapman, the engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad train, was killed in the wreck on Sunday morning, March 31, 1888. He was born in Lincolnshire, England, October 9, 1854 and was aged 33 years, 5 months and 22 days. Funeral Services where held at his residence, Sunday, April 1, at 2 o’clock p.m. by Rev. F. Stolz, and his interment at Oakland Cemetery was conducted under the auspices of the Masonic Fraternity. The undertaker charged forty dollars for casket and other expenses.
Until the 1990’s, railroad tracks ran along the northern boundary of Oakland Cemetery. On many occasions, earth lights have been seen along the tracks. Photographs taken near the north boundary of the cemetery show various wispy vapors among the gravestones.
We wonder if the train wreck of March 31st, 1888 has anything to do with paranormal sightings at Oakland Cemetery.
Bruce Cline is the Director of the Little Egypt Ghost Society based in Carbondale, IL. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army as a Corps of Engineers Officer. He is a former municipal, county and state law enforcement officer. Bruce lives in Carbondale, IL with his wife, Lisa and several cats and dogs.