Hello fellow ghouls and goblins, being it’s that magical time of the year, I thought I’d fill you in on some of the local area haunts. I live near LaSalle County in Illinois, in the north central region. I know that the Chicago area is loaded with haunted places, but beers are around $8 a can, so why the hell would you want to go hunting there.
Instead, I’m going to tell you about a few places around me, where the beers are way cheaper if you can’t find the ghosts. And, as a bonus, a few of the places, you can drink beers while looking for the ghosts.
- 9th Street Pub…I am more than familiar with this place. It is a great place to see a band, drink affordably, gamble, play pool, all in a dive bar feel. I honestly love this place, and John Ebener is a local legend. John will put a band on stage that’s crappy, until they turn good, and is one of the few bars left that still has bands. But I digress. The place is haunted. Online, they tell the story of an old woman who used to live next door that complained about the noise, and John bought her house and expanded. I have heard from a few people that they have been in the basement (there’s a bathroom there, and since smoking is banned), they smoke there(allegedly)(when it’s cold), and they’ve felt someone there, or they have seen an old woman. I’ve also heard from people there after close (workers), that you hear strange noises, voices, etc… Granted, it’s a bar, but the tales are very similar, but not so simiar that you think it’s a pat story. Even if it is, the food is decent, the bar is great, and John is a hoot, and has my son DJ (Halfshell Heroes).
- Hotel Kaskasia…The story here is a woman jumped to her death, and haunts the place, though it is also believed that her boyfriend/husband pushed her. I can literally walk out of my job, and look at this place. About 15 years ago, they closed the place. By then all the crazies and bums lived there. They’d eat at a restaurant I worked it, and most were batshit crazy. Back in the day, it was elegant, respectful, and a draw to beautiful LaSalle. Not so much any more. Allegedly it was going to get reopened, and they were going to pull in crowds from Starved Rock. To the point they had an electrician come in, and work on the Electricity to get it up to code. No small task. But it has sat closed for at least 25 years. I personally don’t know anyone who has seen this ghost, because like I said, the people I knew who lived there were crazy, and saw all sorts of shit.
- Starved Rock Lodge…Take an old lodge (very nice place, if you ever get a chance to stay there,( I suggest you do), a state park named Starved Rock (Illinois (the tribe) Native Americans starved on…well…a rock), an famous murder (#keepChesterin), and how can this place not be haunted. I’ve been all around the park, I have been in the lodge, and I have also been to St Louis Canyon (Chester allegedly bludgeoned some women there), and other than the creepy man who followed us and the dogs (he was real, I smelled him), I’ve never seen a ghost. I’ve never felt a feeling of unease, or heard voices. Other people have. I could understand why if they did.
- Mystery Restaurant on Shooting Park Road. I don’t want to be McSued, so I can’t say which one, but it isn’t Burger King, Little Caesars, or the Deli place that I’ve never eaten at and should. I have never experienced the ghost, but I have been there when a girl named Tracey came up from the basement in hysterics because she turned around in the cooler and she was standing outside (another old lady). I also know a guy who was unloading a truck with the slide, which makes it impossible to walk up and down the stairs when unloading a truck, and the woman walked right past him from the stairway, and out the back door, and disappeared around the corner. They were 100% positive, and if you work there, you know someone who’s seen her. The two I personally knew are convinced they saw her, and brought it up in a regular conversation…well, Tracey ran up the stairs crying and announced it to all of us, so I don’t think they were lying.
- Stagecoach Road…This is a road that runs between Morris and Seneca. I have been on this road many times, and it’s pretty creepy, and parallels the Illinois river. Water attracts spirits, so… In the past, the road was used by stagecoaches (shocker) and thieves would hide in barns and the such, rob said stagecoaches, and sometimes, a little blood was spilled. People say all the time that you see shadowy figures or strange lights along the road. I’ll be honest, I’ve been on it at night, and haven’t seen anything, but it’s got lots of trees, not many houses, you can throw a rock in places and hit the river (well, Bryce Harper could), so I can believe that there are spirits there.
- Aux Sable Cemetary…I have been here. 1PM in the afternoon. A warm September day. I spent an hour and a half there with the caretaker. We wandered all over the grounds, so I could tell him the only line (I located utilities at the time), was the phone line going into the shack that he called an office. I did not take one step in that place without feeling I was being watched. Yes it was secluded, no, I was not including the caretaker. There were cold spots here and there (non shaded). When he went into said office, you could almost hear the whispers. One of the creepiest places I have ever been to. Rumor has it a little girl haunts it, I did not see her. She must have known I don’t like children.
- My house…Yes, I live in a haunted house. At least I used to. Since my ex wife left, all the things that would go bump in the night have not bumped in the night. According to her, she thinks there is something in her basement, I’m pretty sure/hoping that they followed her. On a side note, I have had no less that 5 guests state that they have seen a shadow person walk into my bedroom, and disappear once they went into my room (great). I half believed them, until I saw a shadow person walk to the threshold of my room and disappear. I was sick at the time, maybe I was delusional, but It was after the fever broke. We had a nursing rocker, that would start rocking every once in awhile. We had cats who would stare into a corner, with nothing in said corner. But…when she moved out, apparently they all followed her, because I threw out the rocking chair, and the cats don’t chase nothing but mice.
- Hatchet Lady Cemetery in Streator…First rule: Keep your Peter out of Streator. The only other state that works with is Kansas. South of Streator, there is a cemetery that has a really cool attraction, the only way to get to it is sometimes blocked off by a train. Back in the day, it was also a spot for the kids to go out, read the Bible, and sing Kumbaya. Oh, and drink beer and screw, I mean, it is Streator. As an added attraction, an old woman who lived by the cemetery, would come strolling down the lane with a hatchet, and chase all the kids today. I know this isn’t a ghost story, and she was very real, because she threatened more than a few people I knew. I’ve been out there, never saw her, but woof.
Here’s my local list. I know there are other alleged places, but I think most of them are bullshit. Theres a hotel with a haunted room, in Depue there’s a road with a symbol that keeps reappearing (and apparently disappearing every time I’ve tried to find it) every time they redo the road, everyone knows of a haunted building (Carus Mansion, various other structures), but these are the ones I have experience (well, ex wife and Aux Sable) with, or know someone who has.
So if you ever hit IL, I will take you to 9th St, we can hope the Halfshell Heroes are DJing, and if not, we can drink until we see that woman, or vomit. Word to the wise, never, EVER, sit on the toilet, because you will have an encounter.
@ me @jaycanchu. Twitter and Instagram. I’m on Facebook too. And Reddit. If you want to send me money, I DO accept checks.