Locations: Fox Run Subdivision in Geneva versus Lakey’s Creek in McLeansboro.
Histories: The Fox Run Subdivision was built over the former site of the Illinois State Training School for Girls, which operated between 1893 and 1978. The purpose of the “school” was to rehabilitate juvenile girls who had been convicted of a crime in the Illinois court system. Inevitably, deaths from illness and suicide occurred at the facility over the course of its 85 years in operation. Girls without families, or who had been disowned, were buried in a cemetery on the property. Several infants were buried there as well, and today the cemetery contains 51 graves.
Lakey’s Creek is the setting of quite possibly one of the oldest ghost stories in Illinois. Long before a concrete bridge spanned the shallow creek 1.5 miles east of McLeansboro, a frontiersman named Lakey attempted to erect his log cabin near a ford along the wagon trail to Mt. Vernon. One morning, a lone traveler stumbled upon Lakey’s body. Lakey’s head had been severed by his own axe, which was left at the scene. According to legend, his murderer was never found.
Hauntings: Shortly after construction was completed on the Fox Run Subdivision, some residents began to report eerie encounters. Most of these encounters centered on the tiny cemetery at the southwest end of the subdivision, but some—notably ethereal singing, knocking, and a physically aggressive phantom wearing an old-fashioned suit—were experienced by at least one resident in her home. Since the 1940s, visitors have reported seeing red eyes in the woods around the cemetery, as well as the specter of a woman in a white gown or flowing dress in the cemetery itself. Others have heard a crying infant.
For decades after the murder near Lakey’s Creek, travelers reported being chased by a headless horseman that rode out of the woods along Lakey’s Creek. “Always the rider, on a large black horse, joined travelers approaching the stream from the east, and always on the downstream side,” folklorist John Allen wrote. “Each time and just before reaching the center of the creek, the mistlike figure would turn downstream and disappear.” The headless horseman has been seen much less frequently in recent years.
Which of these two locations do you think is the scariest? Leave your comments below!
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