The Chicago Southland is no stranger to haunted hot spots and local legends. With a long and colorful history, it’s no surprise that hitchhiking ghosts, abandoned cemeteries, historic haunts and other spine-chilling tales call the Chicago Southland region home. Here are a few of the spookiest spots in the area:
Axeman’s Bridge – According to local legend, in the 1970s, a man killed his wife, children and two policemen with an axe. When his crimes were discovered, he tried to escape into the surrounding woods. After a police pursuit, the axeman was shot and killed near a small bridge that crosses Plum Creek. Although the axeman’s house has since been destroyed, visitors to the area report hearing children screaming or laughing, the spirit of a crying woman, lights in the woods and the sound of someone running. The remains of the bridge can be found near 22867 South Old Post Road in Crete.
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery – Considered to be one of the most haunted places in the entire Chicagoland area, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is a notorious ghost-hunting spot, located in the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve. Established in 1840, the now-defunct cemetery was abandoned in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, many of the cemetery’s 82 headstones have since been damaged or removed completely. Visitors to the small cemetery have reported seeing orbs, phantom vehicles, a floating farmhouse, a two-headed creature, the spirits of monks, a black dog and the “White Madonna,” who is seen walking the grounds carrying an infant during the full moon. The cemetery can be found at 5900 West Midlothian Turnpike in Midlothian.
Resurrection Mary – Perhaps the single most prolific ghost story in the region, the tale of Resurrection Mary has both fascinated and terrified locals since the 1930s. Legend has it that after an evening of dancing, Mary, whose identity is still uncertain, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. She was buried at Resurrection Cemetery (7201 Archer Road in Justice) wearing a white dancing dress and shoes. For nearly a century, motorists have reported seeing Mary walking along Archer Avenue, seemingly searching for a ride. Some have even picked up the hitchhiking spirit, only for her to disappear from their cars a few miles down the road.
Thornton Distilling Co. – With sightings dating back to the early 1900s, visitors to Thornton Distilling Co., found at 400 East Margaret Street in Thornton, can anticipate a double dosage of “spirits” at this haunted locale. Located in the state’s oldest standing brewery, Thornton Distilling staff has reported seeing apparitions walking along the balcony that oversees the bar. In fact, during the distillery’s grand opening, a ghost was photographed on the balcony, as if joining in on the festivities. Whistling has been heard coming from the distillery’s subterranean well, which has ties to Al Capone’s bootlegging operation. Other strange phenomenon includes lights flickering on and off, loud footsteps coming from the empty upstairs, music being abruptly turned off (followed by disembodied screaming) and a strong, cold breeze blowing through the kitchen, knocking shelves off the wall and shattering dishes. Seances and overnight ghost hunts frequently take place at Thornton Distilling, for those brave enough to attend.
Other haunted hot spots to explore in and around the Chicago Southland include Ashbary Coffee House in Willow Springs, Chet’s Melody Lounge in Justice, Evil Horse Brewing Company in Crete, The Givins Irish Castle in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood and The Irish Legend in Willow Springs.