I received the following message on Facebook concerning Volume 3 Issue 2 of the Legends and Lore of Illinois about Ramsey Cemetery. I have always felt it was wrong to blame fans of folklore and ghost stories for the vandalism that occurs at rural cemeteries whether they are rumored to be haunted or not. Others, however, have a different opinion.
“I am writting you about your write up about Ramsey Cemetery in Feb. 2009. This is my family cemetery. It is not haunted. There is no werewolf or warlock or ghosts. These are all stories that have been imagined by people that were either high or drunk. This beautiful cemetery has been plagued by partiers, drinking, drug use, littering and vandalism. Tombstones have been toppled over and destroyed. Graves have been dug up, property has been destroyed.
This Cemetery is not a long forgotten place that has been left for decay. It is the finally resting place of my loved ones…my grandparents & great-grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins. My Uncle that died serving his country is resting here. One day I will lay my parents to rest here and some day it will be my finally resting place as well. Please try to show respect for those buried here and their familes that mourn them.
You wrote about the Ramsey Cemetery in Feb. 2009. In April 2009, 40 tombstones were pulled down. Including my grandparents and Uncles stones. Thank you so much for encouraging people to find my family cemetery, walk through my family property searching for non-exsisting caves and ghosts, werewolves and warlocks. One question? Did you have permisson to tresspass on private property looking for caves, werewolves, warlocks and ghosts?”
A link to the Illinois laws and statutes governing cemeteries has been available on this website for a long time. Here was my response to this lady’s concerns:
“I am aware of what happened at Ramsey Cemetery and other cemeteries like it. It is a tragedy that some people do not respect burial places. However, you cannot blame my publication for what happened. Those stories are well known in the area and have been written about in books and articles, and elsewhere on the Internet. I am simply retelling the stories. Many rural graveyards (unfortunately) suffer vandalism without having any stories associated with them. I have never encouraged any acts of vandalism and, in fact, am very interested in cemetery history and preservation. One of the purposes of my publication was to provide pictures and as much information as possible so that people do not feel the need to go there. But even if they did, my readers are respectful of burial grounds and take care to leave them as they were found.”
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