This is an extended version of our interview with Larry Wilson that we featured in the November 2009 issue of the Legends and Lore of Illinois. Download the entire issue by clicking here.
Larry is a paranormal investigator from central Illinois who has created an independent documentary on Ridge Cemetery and Williamsburg Hill titled “Strange Williamsburg Hill.”
What compelled you to make a documentary about Ridge Cemetery and Williamsburg Hill?
There were several factors in selecting a location to do an independent film. First in order to film and produce an independent documentary on a limited budget the location that I would select needed to be close to my home in Central Illinois. I also wanted a place that had a long history of eyewitness accounts of strange and unexplained occurrences. Being familiar with the legends of many of the so called haunted places in Central Illinois, two locations immediately stood out in my mind. “Anderson Cemetery or Graveyard X” located near Palmer, Illinois and “Williamsburg Hills Ridge Cemetery.” Both places are secluded and the claims of strange and unusual occurrences have been told about these places for years.
There are no special effects to sensationalize what is happening at Ridge Cemetery, the video footage and photos paint a pretty good picture as to how secluded, beautiful but creepy at the same time that this place is. The interviews with average people who have had encounters and experienced the strangeness of the Hill speak volumes. I hope the film will entice a few of your readers to take a road trip to see if they can experience any of the oddness of Ridge Cemetery for themselves.
There are a lot of stories circulating about the hill, which have you found to be the most credible?
These are average people from Central Illinois who have nothing to gain by telling their stories and if it wasn’t for the fact that so many people from the area have heard the stories or have talked to people who have experienced similar things, they possibly could risk being ridiculed or laughed at by some of the local people by going on camera and telling these stories…
With that being said I have had several personal experiences myself while filming at Ridge Cemetery. There was nothing as exciting as seeing an apparition but I did experience some of the strangeness of the Hill such as walking into cold spots, and feeling as though I was being watched and followed. I recorded one EVP that says “Wellman.”
What other places have you investigated, and which would you say was the most “active”?
Some of the better known places that I have investigated include the old LaBinah Bistro Restaurant in Hannibal, Missouri, the Rockcliffe Mansion also in Hannibal, Missouri, Kemper Military Academy in Booneville, Missouri “Kemper was the location for Childs Play III, The Morse Mill Hotel, Morse Mill Missouri, Anderson Cemetery- Graveyard X, Palmer, Illinois and the Villisca Ax Murder House in Villisca Iowa to name a few.
Several of these places are very active. I worked with Paranormal Investigator and Film Producer Paul Robinson from Columbia, Missouri on three of his films. “Spirits of Rockcliffe Mansion” released in 2007, “Spirits of Kemper Military Academy” currently being edited and we also collaborated on a documentary at The Villisca Ax Murder House in Villisca, Iowa that has not yet been named but will be released in the future.
What is the story surrounding the old “stone house” in Christian County?
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to investigate the cabin and it is no longer in Christian County. It was located not too far from Anderson Cemetery but has been from what I have been told moved to Rochester Illinois near a city park. I have seen the stone cabin at the park in Rochester but I’m not sure if it is the same cabin.
The stone cabin was said to have figures that would appear in it. Supposedly a man, his wife and their children lived in the cabin. Legend is the man killed his family then hung himself on the bridge nearby. It was rumored that if you went into the back room of the cabin no matter how cold it was it would become very warm.
When can we expect “Strange Williamsburg Hill” to be released and where will it be available?
The film will be released sometime in November 2009 so by the time this interview is posted in your November issue it should be available or at least very close to being available. I plan to debut it locally at first and then will enter the film at various film festivals… I hope to have a website up and running shortly but if any of your readers are interested in purchasing the DVD before the website is available they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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