At Mysterious Heartland, we spend a lot of time crawling around the ruins of some of Illinois most notorious and spooky abandoned hospitals, mansions, and schools. But what are the scariest cemeteries in Illinois? After much debate, we are happy to bring you the Top 10 Creepiest Cemeteries in Illinois! Note: Many of these cemeteries have been vandalised in the past. Please be respectful when visiting and always adhere to cemetery laws. If you attempt to go to any of these places at night, we cannot be held responsible for what happens to you.
10. Ramsey Cemetery
Haunted “Caves” are Ramsey Cemetery’s claim to fame. Formed by thousands of years of erosion, generations of local residents have carved their names, alongside proclamations of love, into the sandstone walls. Legend has it that a werewolf and a man with glowing red eyes inhabit the area. According to several histories of Effingham County, the backcountry was always rough and tumble, and the roads and hills were inhabited by transients and brigands. Some of them may have occupied the rock shelters near Ramsey Cemetery. As for the cemetery itself, it is rumoured to be haunted by a man who committed suicide there in a chapel that has since been torn down. That story, at least, is true. The unfortunate incident occurred in the spring of 1961. Distraught over his wife’s infidelity, the man blocked the entrance to the cemetery with his car and shot himself with a shotgun.
9. St. James-Sag Cemetery
St. James of the Sag Church and Cemetery, abbreviated as St. James-Sag, sits on a bluff overlooking the juncture of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Calumet Sag Channel. The church and cemetery have distant origins. One burial can be traced to 1818, but the graveyard began to be heavily used in the 1830s when Father St. Cyr built a log chapel to accommodate the spiritual needs of the Irish canal workers. The limestone building that exists today was built in 1850, and in the past few decades phantom monks have made appearances here. According to Richard Crowe, a police officer by the name of Herb Roberts encountered nine of these monks in the early morning hours the day after Thanksgiving, November 1977. The officer reported that the robed figures ignored him when he ordered them to stop, and they seemed to disappear as he pursued them beyond the gates of the cemetery. No monks have ever been stationed at this parish.
8. “Cemetery X”
“Cemetery X,” or “Graveyard X,” as it is known, is actually Thomas Anderson Cemetery, located south of Taylorville near the tiny town of Clarksdale. It was founded in 1867 by Tavner and Polly Anderson. This cemetery’s claim to fame seems to be its inclusion in a documentary called “America’s Most Haunted,” which Troy Taylor highly dramatised in Beyond the Grave as well as Confessions of a Ghost Hunter. Dozens of amateur pictures of mists and orbs taken here have circulated the Internet. According to local legend, there is a phantom wolf that guards the cemetery, and an old section that is only reachable at night after “the trees part.” Attempts to keep this graveyard’s identity a secret may have inadvertently attracted more attention to this location.
7. Blood’s Point Cemetery
Flora Township, Boone County, Illinois
A cornucopia of urban legends have attached themselves to this aptly-named rural avenue and its neighbouring cemetery. Visitors have reported seeing phantom vehicles and a dog with glowing red eyes. According to legend, the railroad bridge was the scene of a deadly school bus accident, as well as more than one hanging. These hangings have also been attributed to a bridge along nearby Sweeny Road.
The cemetery itself is said to be visited by a wide variety of phenomenon—from orbs, to a phantom dog, to a vanishing barn, to the disembodied laughter of children and electrical malfunctions. Blood’s Point was named after Arthur Blood, the first white settler of Flora Township. Some locals maintain that he brought a curse with him that remains to this day.
6. Moon Point Cemetery
Moon Point Cemetery is an old graveyard located just south of Streator in Livingston County. Like other rural graveyards, it became an object of folklore in the late 1960s and ‘70s when local teens, looking for a place to ‘hang out’ after dark, picked this isolated location to drink, spin yarns, and play pranks on one another. Locals believe the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a “hatchet lady.” This lady went insane, the story goes, after either her son or daughter died, and every full moon, her spirit is seen stalking the cemetery, hatchet in hand.
The remoteness of the cemetery is accentuated by the fact that a railroad track bisects the road leading to it. It is said that anyone who is caught in the cemetery while a train passes will be trapped there. That much is true. According to legend, however, your car will also die and not be able to restart until after the train has gone.
5. Aux Sable Cemetery
Aux Sable is a quaint, garden-like cemetery tucked in the woods near Aux Sable Creek in Grundy County. Despite an otherwise mundane existence, it continues to be a point of contention between local youth and law enforcement. The legends associated with the cemetery are of the usual stock: strange car trouble, the ghost of a young child, and rumours of a gate to Hell.
The most notable story at Aux Sable concerns the ghost of a young girl that has been seen lurking around the cemetery. According to the Shadowlands Index of Haunted Places for Illinois, the ghost will only appear if you get out of your car. Recently, someone removed the headstone of a six year old girl from the cemetery and left it on the playground of an elementary school. The ghost allegedly belongs to this particular girl.
4. Greenwood Cemetery
Greenwood Cemetery is rumoured to be one of the most haunted locations in central Illinois. According to Troy Taylor, the land that would become Greenwood was originally an Amerindian burial ground, and then was later used by the first white settlers to bury their dead until the late 1830s. These graves have since disappeared. The oldest visible marker on the grounds dates back to 1840, and Greenwood Cemetery was officially established in 1857.
One of the most interesting stories at Greenwood concerns the ghosts of dead and dying Confederate prisoners who were dumped at the cemetery on their way to a prison camp and buried in the hillside under what is now a memorial to Union soldiers. Another popular legend concerns the so-called “Greenwood Bride,” who wanders the grounds in her wedding dress searching for her fiancé, who was murdered by bootleggers. Greenwood Cemetery is also haunted by phantom funerals, ghost lights that flicker in the southeastern hills, and other, more sinister apparitions.
3. Ridge Cemetery
Cold Spring Township, Shelby County, Illinois
Ridge Cemetery and Williamsburg Hill are notorious in the lore of central Illinois. The hill is the highest point in Shelby County and once sheltered a town, in addition to its cemetery. Williamsburg, as the town was known, was platted in 1839 by two men, Thomas Williams and William Horsman. Many Horsmans can be found buried in Ridge Cemetery to this very day. The town disappeared in the 1880s as the railroad bypassed its inconvenient location. The legends surrounding Ridge Cemetery involve occult rituals, spook lights, phantom funerals, and the ghost of an old man who disappears upon approach. Animal mutilations have also been reported in and around the cemetery.
2. Massock Mausoleum
Spring Valley, Illinois
The Massock Mausoleum in tiny Lithuanian Liberty Cemetery has long been the focus of local curiosity. Visitors have brought back stories of a “hatchet man” that guards the graveyard. The mausoleum itself is said to be warm to the touch and the scene of animal sacrifice. Red paint is spattered on the door, which has been sealed with concrete ever since the late 1960s when two vandals stole a skull from one of the Massock brothers. The Massock brothers’ mansion was located in the woods nearby, but was torn down in the late 1980s. Local teenagers used to refer to it as the “Hatchet Man’s House.”
Rosemary Ellen Guiley, in her book The Complete Vampire Companion, related the story of several men who encountered a “gaunt, pale figure,” in the cemetery at night. Fearing for their lives, they shot at the figure and ran. Later, a reporter who had heard about the men’s strange encounter came to the cemetery and poured holy water into a vent in the mausoleum, which produced a groaning sound. Because of the attention this location receives, police routinely patrol the area.
1. Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
Bachelor’s Grove has been a south side enigma for over three decades and is one of the most famous haunted cemeteries in America. One of the most controversial sightings around Bachelor’s Grove involves a phantom house. In the 1970s, Richard T. Crowe collected stories from dozens of eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen a white farmhouse at various places in the woods alongside the trail, complete with a glowing light in the window. There are several foundations and old brick wells tucked away in the woods—evidence that there were homes nearby sometime in the past.
Another popular ghost is the White Lady, or Madonna, of Bachelor’s Grove, who is said to be searching for her lost infant. This ghost, or one very much like it, was supposedly captured on a now famous photograph taken using infrared film. The pond adjacent to the cemetery has its own share of legends. Stories say it was one of the hundreds of places scattered around Illinois where mobsters dumped their victims during the roaring ‘20s. A policeman reportedly saw the apparition of a horse, followed by a man and a plow, walk out of the pond and cross 143rd Street.
Check out these places and more in Michael Kleen’s Haunting Illinois:
A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State! Three years in the making, the 3rd edition of Hunting Illinois is your ticket to adventure in your own backyard. This edition contains 60 new listings and 35 new pictures, for a total of 260 haunted or mysterious locations and more than 120 photos and illustrations. Divided into eight distinct regions and listed by county and town or neighbourhood, each location features a description, directions, and sources from a wide variety of books, articles, and websites. Haunting Illinois challenges you to get off the couch and start exploring our wonderful State of Illinois.