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haunted cemeteries


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Read about Chicago's haunted cemeteries......

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery                                                                                                                           

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery is a large Catholic cemetery established on July 4, 1923 by the late Cardinal Mundelein. From about 1901 to 1910/11 this was the location of the Worth Race Track. Since it's consecration, well over 90,000 interments have been made in the cemetery and approximately 1800 are buried annually.

The late Mayor Richard J. Daley is buried in a section near the cemetery entrance on 111thStreet. The same section also contains the burial place of Dan Ryan, long-time Cook County Board President.

Within Section 7, visitors will find the highly decorated grave of Mary Alice Quinn sometimes referred to as "Chicago's Miracle Child". Mary was born on December 28, 1920 to an Irish family. She was very mystically inclined; almost the Chicago version of Saint Theresa, to whom Mary was very devoted. She claimed to have seen a religious image on her wall and since that day became very devoted to religion. Before she died, Mary told her parents that she wanted to come back to help people after death. She died on November 8, 1935 at the tender age of fourteen.

Many incidents have been related, especially in the late 1930's and during the early 1940's of Mary's apparition appearing to people throughout Chicago's southside. In fact, she has appeared to people around the world! They come to the cemetery and leave candles at her grave and also pray for favors. Some take away handfuls of dirt while others leave behind prayer books, rosaries, crucifixes, religious medallions and notes requesting divine intervention.

The current manifestation that is most often reported at the gravesite is the overwhelming scent of roses even in the dead of winter when there are no trees or flowers in bloom. The odor is definitely not somebody's perfume or stray smell as it is concentrated within a few feet of the grave and nowhere else. Even though there may be stiff breeze blowing, the psychic odor does not drift away with the wind!

There is also an alleged recent medical cure attributed to Mary Alice Quinn. A young couple gave birth to an infant that doctors diagnosed as terminal and would not live out the year. The couple refused to give up hope for the child. They had heard about the stories of Mary Alice Quinn and decided to pray to her for help. They brought their baby to the site, laid her on the grave and began to pray. All at once there was an overpowering scent of roses in the air. From that day the baby's health took a turn for the better and lived, mystifying the puzzled doctors and specialists.

Archer Woods Cemetery                                                                                                                                 

These cemetery gates are never locked, so entry is easily accessible. As you walk in you follow a path that leads around in a circle. As you leave the cemetery it's said that a white filmy form floats among the trees near the gates. She is called "the sobbing woman", you can also hear her sobs and wails. The strange part is that you only see her as you exit and never when you enter.


Graceland Cemetery                                                                                                                                       

Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, is one of the oldest graveyards and boasts several hauntings. The most famous is the spirit of Inez Clark. Inez was just shy of seven years old when she was struck by lightening at a family picnic. Her parents, distraught over the loss, had a life-size statue of the child erected at her grave site. The statue is enclosed in glass, protecting it from the elements. On rainy nights, when thunder is rolling, the statue reportedly disappears from the glass box, and a young girl can be seen roaming the cemetery grounds.


Mount Carmel                                                                                                                                              

Just inside the Harrison Street entrance to Mount Carmel Cemetery in south suburban Hillside is a rather impressive-looking statue of a woman holding a bouquet of roses in her arms. This monument marks the gravesite of Julia Buccola Peta, often know as "The Italian Bride".

Julia died in 1921 in Schaumburg of apparent complications from childbirth and was buried here with her stillborn infant. Shortly after her burial, her mother, Philomena Buccola, began to have a series of unusual dreams in which her deceased daughter, Julia, would beg and plead with her to exhume her grave. This went on for sometime as the poor mother tried to have the local priest grant her permission. Finally after six years, permission was given.

In 1927, the grave of Julia Buccola Peta was opened, the casket lifted out of the ground and placed on the grass. As the lid was pried off the coffin, there was Julia still as fresh and perfect as the day she was buried.  

Friends and relatives of Julia said that because the body was uncorrupt could only mean that she was a saint. The body of Julia was resealed in a coffin and reburied. An imposing monument was erected showing Julia in her wedding dress holding a bouquet of roses. On the base of the monument are two small porcelain photographs. The first one shows her in her wedding dress and it is the one the monument was copied from. The second picture is photographic proof of the story because it shows Julia lying asleep in her coffin, loose dirt lying around the casket and the lid just taken off.

But Julia's story goes much farther then just the body in the ground. Students of Proviso West High School just east of the cemetery on Wolf Road have reported seeing a girl walking through the cemetery by night. In fact, rumors that Julia was walking through the cemetery emptied a school dance near Halloween in 1976.

A carload of people driving down Harrison Street were startled to see a girl walking through the tombstones. They saw this girl and stopped the car to have a better look. They assumed it was someone playing a prank for Halloween. As they watched, they became very frightened because they realized that it was pouring rain outside and although it was very wet, the girl that they could see only 25 to 30 feet away walking through the cemetery was perfectly dry. Her hair and dress untouched by the fall weather. They left the area in a hurry!!

Interviews from the Hillside Police Department have yielded strange things out there like odd white shapes floating around. This has been seen by a number of the police department. These are apparently different from the Julia sightings, as these are multiple sightings.

Julia is most often seen around the small administration building just inside the Harrison Street entrance to the cemetery. And the most recent paranormal occurrence out near her grave is the psychic smell of roses especially in the colder months when fresh flowers would all but be dead! "The different scents are quite distinctive," says Chicago floral designer Ruth Bukowski. "I was there in November of 1982 and the flowers I smelled were definitely baby roses - better known as tea roses."

In 1978 an eyewitness reported seeing the grave of Julia apparently glowing!

 Mount Carmel contains many other fascinating graves, including those of Al Capone and Deanie O'Banion.


St. James                                                                                                                           

The Church at St. James Sag is the second oldest Catholic Church in Northern Illinois and dates back to 1833. It was originally a mission and was the site of a French signal post in the late 1600s. Father Jacques Marquette might have offered Mass on the bluff in 1673 and/or in 1675. Three buildings make up the parish structure. The first is the unique and beautiful church; the second, the rectory built with the same pale yellow Lemont stone in 1942; and the third, Saginaw Hall built in 1912 and later remodeled in 1970. The large main gates, fabricated in 1905 for Western Electric in Cicero, were installed at the entryway in 1980. This location is commonly known as "Monk's Castle" because it was said that if you were caught trespassing out there at night, the monks would catch you and make you kneel down on ball bearings all night in prayer. There never were any monks stationed here and it's simply a folk legend.


A very interesting report comes from a Cook County policeman and a two-page report submitted by him. The encounter occurred on the Friday before Thanksgiving in 1977. The officer was on patrol about 2:30 in the morning and as he drove past the cemetery he saw, through the gates, eight or nine figures dressed in monk-like outfits. Knowing that there should be no one in there at that hour, he called out to them to come out and be arrested for trespass. The monks just continued to walk to the top of the hill. He then grabbed the shotgun from his car and began to pursue these individuals. The monks had no difficulty with the terrain, however the police officer was stumbling and tripping over tombstones and unleveled terrain. He got to the top of the hill within seconds of the individuals however they were no where to be found. He then ran down the hill towards 107th Street but found nothing. Even an intensive search later turned up no clues as to the identities or whereabouts of the monk-like figures. He now believes that what he encountered were not humans at all but some kind of ghostly phantom manifestations.

The area has been known to been haunted well back to the pioneer history of the area. The area was settled by the Irish back in the 1830s. They formed what was called the Sag Community. A former pastor Father Ploszynski, who died in the rectory on May 10, 1970, confided to friends on his deathbed that he could often look out his rectory window at night and see the ground rising and falling as if the earth itself were breathing!

The first reported ghost story dates back to September 30, 1897 and was reported in the Chicago Tribune. Two musicians Professor William Looney and John Kelly decided after finishing their performance about 1 in the morning to stay in a small building overnight. About an hour later, Looney was awakened by the sound of hoofs on the gravel road. He looked out the window and saw a carriage. It came up the road that is now Archer Avenue and up to the gravel entranceway, stop and turn around. He saw what appeared to be a girl in a white robe just appear out of nowhere. She got into the coach with the driver, they turned around again and just as they passed the archway, the coach, driver and everything just vanished! This was during Rev. Bollman's reign.

Recent reports include a phantom black stallion which many people have seen roaming the graveyard at night and the face of the devil in appearing in rectory windows.

St. James is located near the intersection of Archer and 107th Street and nearby Rt. 83.


For Bachelor's Grove, click here

For Resurrection Mary and Resurrection Cemetery click here


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