Does the Ghost of William Newton Haunt Greenwood Cemetery?

By David Gesiorski and Tony Episcopo


William H Newton tombstone at Greenwood Cemetery. Picture courtesy of

In October 2011, Northern Illinois Paranormal Team (NIPT) conducted an investigation of Greenwood Cemetery in Decatur, Illinois. Greenwood is infamous for its Civil War section of the cemetery. In the past, spirits of soldiers who were buried there have been reportedly seen and heard by visitors. These sightings included Confederate soldiers, who were prisoners of war kept at Camp Douglas in Chicago. They were brought to Greenwood to be buried.

Many of these soldiers, it’s said, were buried in mass unmarked graves, which could be the reason for the high reports of ghost activity in that particular section of the cemetery. NIPT has been to Greenwood multiple times for investigations and has recorded some unbelievable evidence in pictures and including some incredible EVPs.

During our latest investigation in October 2013, we possibly encountered a spirit of a soldier who we photographed standing at attention next to a headstone during a previous investigation in the 2011. Investigator Tony asked whether the soldier in the photo was there and if he could tell us his name. During the audio review later that night we heard a male voice say “Newton.”

During a ghost box session not long after that, investigator Dave had asked if someone there could tell us their rank in the military. We heard “Captain” come through. After hearing that on the ghost box we asked, “Can you tell us your name?” A voice came over the ghost box and said what we think is “Philips,” and even though we didn’t hear it at the time. During evidence review we did hear an EVP a couple seconds later say very loudly (and sounding frustrated) the name “Newton” again.

It was almost as if this spirit was frustrated that we didn’t respond to him when he said his name the first time, but we obviously could only hear the names during audio review later that night. We then decided to look into the name Newton and see if we could find any history on it and amazingly we found that there is a soldier who was in the Civil War and is buried at Greenwood Cemetery with the name of William H. Newton.

The next day, we went back to the cemetery to look for the headstone of William Newton in the area we were the night before, near the headstone where we originally photographed the soldier standing. After a long search, we couldn’t find it. There are a large amount of soldiers who were in the Civil War buried in all parts of the cemetery, and the cemetery is quite large.

One of the main reasons NIPT does investigations is to try and get answers of what happens after we pass, but to also help people in times of need and have nowhere to turn when they can’t get answers to things they don’t understand that are happening to them. We feel in this case that maybe William H. Newton was trying to let us know he was there. Maybe Mr. Newton wants us to write this story so a relative or someone who knows about him might come to visit, or pass on some other message he was trying to tell us so he can rest in peace.

For more information on this investigation, previous NIPT investigations or to contact NIPT please go to our site Also on Facebook Northern Illinois Paranormal Team

Picture of shadow standing at attention in 2011. Photo by Northern Illinois Paranormal Team

Picture of shadow standing at attention in 2011. Photo by Northern Illinois Paranormal Team


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