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Calvary Cemetery

Download this issue!Calvary Cemetery – Evanston, IL
By Michael Kleen

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Compared to Chicagoland’s more notorious haunts, Evanston’s Calvary Cemetery is barely a footnote, yet it is not so obscure as to escape the pages of most books on Chicago and Illinois ghost lore.  This picturesque resting ground along the shore of Lake Michigan is home to a tale too strange to resist even brief mention.  It is the tale of “the Aviator,” or as he is sometimes affectionately known, “Seaweed Charlie.”

The Aviator’s ghost story appears in Ursula Bielski’s Chicago Haunts (1998), Jo-Anne Christensen’s Ghost Stories of Illinois (2000), Richard T. Crowe’s Chicago’s Street Guide to the Supernatural (2000, 2001), and Troy Taylor’s Haunted Illinois (2004).  Richard T. Crowe, as always, has done impeccable research on the tale and found its likely origin in a real event.  Unlike most hauntings, that would make the story of Evanston’s “Aviator” grounded in historical fact as well as geography and folklore.

The story begins along Sheridan Road between Lake Michigan and the eastern gate of Cavalry Cemetery.  During the day, there is hardly ever a break in traffic and bicyclists and joggers navigate the winding path along the boulders overlooking the lake.  It is a charming scene.  Between the late 1950s and 1960s, however, some passersby were treated to the alarming sight of a man drowning far out of reach in the icy waters.  Even more startling was what came next.

What happens next? Click here to download the entire issue (.pdf) and find out!

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Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 2 Digital Edition

Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2008 in a special digital edition for your favorite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 2: Archer Cemetery, Sunset Haven, Peoria State Hospital (Bartonville Asylum), Airtight Bridge, University of Illinois, Calvary Cemetery and ‘Seaweed Charlie,’ Lakey’s Creek, Peck Cemetery, Blood’s Point Road, Old Union Cemetery, Hartford Castle, and more! Plus, read letters from our readers, book reviews, ghostly games, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues from the archives of the Legends and Lore of Illinois.

Order it today for Kindle.
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