North Central Illinois: Streator, Tonica, Oglesby, Lowell
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Streator - Moon Creek Cemetery
Mark shared this fascinating tale with me:
"I'm a Streator native who's resided in California for over twenty years now, but I had a scary night at
Moon Creek back in the '70's before they realigned the entry road to the highway. That's a whole other story, but what I'm writing you about is what I got on film during a visit this past August.
I used a digital camcorder and a microcassette recorder when I visited the cemetery twice in one day: once during the day, and once that night. During the day I stopped and started the camera. I heard children giggling as I walked along the back edge of the cemetery. It should be noted that there were two boys buried there who burned to death playing with gunpowder. The daylight shoot wasn't anything spectacular. I saw evidence only of vandalism, nothing supernatural.
Nightfall was an entirely different matter, however. I was accompanied to the cemetery by two young practitioners of wiccan who happen to live in Streator (whom I also interviewed on tape) and we saw several displays of paranormal activity. Whisperings are evident on the tape, one quite forceful repetition of 'Get out, get out' that was hissed directly into my ear (I was driving a convertible, with the top down) as we entered. Another audio occurrence that was quite disturbing was the grating of a large concrete object against another (kinda like a sarcophagus lid being nudged). We also heard unified pounding coming from underneath the ground. Unfortunately that didn't record well.
Visually we captured various light flashes in the woods and within the cemetery. Some danced around the tombstones. The most startling occurrence, however, was when we videoed a tombstone that revealed a daguerreotype image of a young 19th century man, wearing a hat from that time period. All three of us saw it, and it takes up a significant portion of time in its revelation.
As we crossed over the railroad tracks to head back to the highway we recorded sustained red and white light orbs floating and meandering over the fields on either sides of us. The coupe de gras was that both young ladies discovered simultaneously that they had their necklaces turned completely around on their necks. I would love to get this film analyzed and enhanced by parapsychologists and video experts.
As a sidebar, I'd like to tell you that I'm pitching a screenplay based on the cemetery to seven producers this month and next month. With any luck (and some ghostly inspiration) the script will be optioned and we'll be on location there. Although, I don't know if the specters will cooperate, it can't be said Moon Creek wouldn't make good subject matter for a scary film. "
UPDATE July 2011 Independent film producer Mark Pierce contacted me a few years ago to discuss this area, and later sent me this note: "I am the guy from Streator who you so graciously posted my 2002 account in Moon (Point) Creek Cemetery. In my writing I mentioned that I was going to pitch an idea for a movie about it. Well, I went ahead and produced it myself, and it is practically finished but has about 25% of the scenes to shoot. I am talking to producers in LA at the end of July to either get them to finance the completion or buy out the whole idea. Anyway, I wanted to give you a picture of the poster for the film... The actress portraying the Hatchet Lady is Maria Olsen. She played Mrs. Dodd/The Fury in 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief'. " Mark, a Streator native who also wrote, directed and stars in the film, posted on his company website recently that the movie is tentatively scheduled for independent release in October of 2011. There is a trailer posted on YouTube that features scenes filmed in Moon Point Cemetery. Thanks Mark!
By the way, I didn't break out my Lizzy Borden costume again for the movie poster, (please note the similarities in the 'Editorial Review' photo below) but I would have!
-- I used to go to this place; "Moon Creek Cemetery" just south of Streator, IL. This creepy old place is surrounded on three sides by thick trees and brush; the entrance crosses a railroad track. As local folklore states, if one is caught after dark in the cemetery when the train goes by, you won't be able to start your car (or it will die if you are in it). A ghost of a witch that lived in the aforementioned run-down house will come out and do, of course, unspeakable things to those left in her "yard". In high school I went there with friends on Halloween night (1990 maybe?); We, of course, didn't see squat.
a few readers wrote:
"we used to go out to an old, abandoned cemetery outside of Streator, to get into the ghost mood. then we would go to some old house near there for a sťance. I remember sitting in this falling-down house in a circle and trying to bring back the previous occupants, who, of course, had died horrible deaths. as I recall this cemetery and the house were south of town, surrounded by corn fields. of course, we never saw anything happen but we sure did scare ourselves silly."
"Hi, I don't know if you have heard of this cemetery- Moon Point Cemetery. It is in Streator, Illinois and was once known as Moon Creek Cemetery. Moon Point is said to be very haunted. When a
vehicle enters there they usually die for no apparent reason. There are roomers of a "hatchet lady" who went
crazy long ago and still seen walking around. There are also many other stories. My cousin and 5 of her friends went there one night. Their car died when they entered. A woman appeared and started coming (floating) towards the car. This woman was the one who was believed to have hung herself. Just as she was about to touch the back of the car, it started and they
immediately drove off- not looking back. My cousin will never go back there..
Thanks for your time,
"Now this one is for real about the moon creek cemetery. If you go there, and a train goes by, (meaning your trapped in the cemetery) then all the ghosts come out."
Quinn burst our bubble and wrote:
"moon creek cemetery is
also only a fable. the "house" is actually a
run down barn no longer used. 100 yards from the cemetery. the train
tracks are a good 250 to 300 yards away from the grounds. the car
starting myth was a joke played on some kids who were drinking out there
and some of the older kids took an ignition fuse from their car and
faked not being able to start their own. after the train passed they replaced the small fuse and to scared gasps and oh my god's the car started again. remember the kids were drinking so the trick played out fine for the older ones. again, not paranormal."
A word to the wise for ghost hunters from Don:
"My buddy and I went to check out the Streator Moon Creek Cemetery over the weekend. His wife is from there so we found it with no problem. After going down the dead end road a bit we realized we missed our turn. We turned around in the road to go back and were met by a Livingston County Police officer who wanted to know what we were doing back there. Now please keep in mind we were both dressed in black fatigues with combat boots on. We told him what we were doing. He chuckled, and asked for our ID's. He noticed that I had my USMC Criminal Investigation Division badge and asked me about that. He said that they had problems with vandalism, poaching and under age drinking back there. But since we were both older than he was ( I am 33 and my buddy is 36) he would show us the way back. He lit up the area with his spot light and told us if we needed anything he would be up the road. The area is surrounded on three sides by dense timber. There was a full moon so it was lit up pretty well."
Here's a sort of tragic and interesting story that partly takes place just south of Streator "in the woods" , exactly where the Moon Creek Cemetery now stands:
August 21, 1879
Taken From The Henry Republican, Henry, IL
"William Sample - Charged with a Base Crime, and Shot by an Infuriated Father of an Alleged Victim.
A former citizen of Coal Holler in Whitefield, Wm. Sample by name, has got into trouble at Streator, and came near losing his life by being shot with a revolver. We publish the particulars as we find them in the Streator-Monitor-Index of Friday last. Mr. Sample was favorably known here, and those who know him best will be loth to believe him guilty of the alleged crime brought against him. We copy:
On Tuesday afternoon, considerable excitement was caused upon our usually very quiet appearing streets, by the shooting of William Sample by Dick Evans. The cause and effect may be found in the following: That afternoon William Sample appeared in Esquire Donaghho's court, - charged with abduction for the purpose of prostitution. The grounds for the complaint were that he had induced, at different times during the past four or five weeks, three little girls about 12 years of age, by giving them dandy, raisins, etc., to meet him in the woods, where he is charged with having taken improper liberties with them, inducing them to make improper exposures of their persons, etc.
Last Sunday afternoon two married women residing in the south part of the town (where the offense is alleged to have been committed) claim to have seen tow of the little girls go into the woods. From what they pretended to know of the past, they became suspicious that all was not as it should be, and also went into the woods to see what was going on, and report that they saw Sample lying on the ground with one of the little girls on each side of him, with the clothes of one of them in a not very becoming position. Soon after that Mr. Sample and the little girls were made aware that somebody was watching them, and they at once sought another location, or ran away.
One of the little girls was the daughter of Dick Evans, and what is claimed to have been seen was reported to him. Monday he came to town and took legal advice and on Tuesday suit was instituted as stated above. We are informed that all three of the little girls deny positively that any such intimacy existed between them and Mr. Sample, as does also Mr. Sample. Two married women claim otherwise, and it remains to be seen when the trial is concluded whether there is a "nigger in the fence" or not. Several witnesses had been examined Tuesday afternoon, when the little daughter of Mr. Evans was called. She went into the court room crying bitterly. As she passed by Mr. Sample, to take her seat in the witness's chair, he said to her, "Mary, tell the truth about this matter; tell all you know about it."
The words had scarcely left the lips of Mr. Sample when Richard Evans left his seat, not more than six or eight feet from Sample, stepped toward the latter, and before anybody knew what was to follow, drew his revolver and fired, the ball striking Mr. Sample in the forehead, just above, the left eye, passing to the right, and lodged somewhere about the nose. Evans could not have been more than three or four feet from Sample when he fired, and it is a miracle that the shot did not do its deadly work instantly. Sample fell to the floor immediately, and was thought to be a dead man. Esq. Donaghho picked him up and placed himself between Sample and Evans, and officer Gaut at once seized Evans and disarmed him. J. T. Buckley was sitting on the right of Sample, and if Evans had missed his mark, Mr. Buckley would undoubtedly have been the victim. Those in the room were not long in making their exit, for Constable Gaut made such a command and impressed it upon their minds with a pair of revolvers pointed at them.
Sample was taken to Dr. Taylor's office where a portion of the bullet was removed, and he is now doing well, his life being in no danger from the effects of the wound. Evans was taken to the calabose where he remained a few hours. The same evening he appeared before Esq. Donoghho, charged with attempt to kill, waived an examination and his bail was fixed at $1000. Dr. Evans and Jake Moon became his bondsmen.
Sample's case was continued until Monday next. He gave bonds of $500 for his appearance, with Fred. Eades as bondsman. As the case is not yet decided, we do not feel at liberty to express an opinion. We have given the facts as near as we could obtain them, without favoring either side, and our readers must draw their own conclusions. At best it is a very unfortunate affair for all hands concerned, as both men have always borne excellent reputations, and undoubtedly would never have occurred had it not been for some long tongued women who allowed their imagination to do a great deal for them in laying the case before Mr. Evans. So far as we have been able to learn, Mr. Sample has always been very fond of children and taken great pleasure in giving them apples, candy, etc., but has never before been looked upon as a man who would be guilty of any improper liberties with little girls."
UPDATE JULY 2011 I returned to Moon Point for the first time since about 1990, and snapped a few photos. Its actually a very well maintained, nice little cemetery. Unfortunately some dicks had broken and kicked over a lot of the stones at some point. So if you decide to visit, try to exclude that one dude you know who has anger problems, a drug habit, or no impluse control. Enjoy your virtual tour of Moon Point Cemetery, without having to worry about someone calling the po-po.
Streator - (Not The) Plumb Mansion: The Fergusen House Private Property
"there is a house in Streator that I believe still stands. it's near the viaduct and the rumor was that some old woman haunted it nightly. also, the old plumb mansion, out by Marilla park, was supposed to be haunted. when I was a kid, the Dorden family lived there, and (the family's daughter) would allude to strange noises, footsteps, etc., in some of the rooms. the house, I believe, still stands, but is no longer a residence. and if you see it, it does indeed have the "look" of a haunted house."
It has been like chasing my tail finding out where the Plumb Mansion was. I grew up near Streator, not in Streator, so a lot of details on things like this are weak at best. One person wrote that it was by Marilla Park, which is what I remember hearing as a kid, but another said it was demolished and stood where a church is on E Broadway street, not really near Marilla park. Right across the street from that church is this house (see below), which was recently for sale and listed as a "historical 3 story mansion", but I don't know if it is the Plumb Mansion, or perhaps just a wealthy neighbor of Plumb... if you are out there reading and would like to claify what became of the Plumb house and it's location, please send me a note... thanks
footnote: This appears to be the one, as the identical address is listed in the 1901-1902 Streator City Directory as belonging to Col. Ralph Plumb (Marilla). It has been purchased, and from the photos it seems it is not only still standing, but also in pretty good shape!
(update 9/2011) Jennifer was kind enough to share her research on this house with me and my readers:
The home in the pictures was owned by Rose and Ricardo
xxxxxx during the 1990's through the early 2000's. Rose ran a private care
nursing home out of the home (many deaths during that time period). Rose's
daughter was a friend of mine, and I spent a lot of time in this house. We were
always told a lot of stories about the location:
1)The home was used as a funeral home at one point, the basement housing the embalming quarters.
2)A young boy who resided in the house was tragically killed when he fell out of his father's carriage and his head was crushed under a buggy wheel.
Although, I cannot verify those stories at this time, I have seen two different apparitions in the home, on three different occasions. The house is inhabited by two female spirits that I can personally attest to: one donning white, and the other in what I would call funeral garb, long black dress and black veil. The night I was awakened by the lady in black, I fled the house, I didn't even bother to grab my shoes on the way out! There were also reports of a little boy spirit in a second floor back bedroom, footsteps and other unexplained noises throughout the home, and an ominous presence in the basement.
I now live several blocks away from the house, and drive by it often, always referring to it as the 'hell house'. So, I have done my research via the Streator Historical society and genealogy searches of the Ferguson/Buckley clans. Here is what I've got so far...
The Plumb mansion was located at the parcel of 509 East Broadway. The mansion was gutted, and subsequently demolished many, many years ago. A church now stands on that piece of property.
The home in the pictures on the web site is actually the Ferguson House. It is located at 510 East Broadway, directly across the road. There are photos circa 1910 of the house at the historical society museum. Ownership of the home was shown as being by Belle and Frederick Ferguson in the 1889 records. Fred ran the Ferguson Plumbing Company in Streator, IL. Although, the records I have found at this time show Fred and Belle as having only one child that lived onto adulthood, it could be possible that my source was incomplete.
Then in 1893 it was shown as being owned by Joel Buckley, Belle's father. This is the same year that Belinda, his wife died in the home. I am still trying to unearth why Joel took ownership of the house only three years before his own death, or what his occupation was. But, I will not be able to drive by the home without answers, and I plan on continuing my mission of finding the truth behind what I have seen in the house!
Bridget wrote, about a cemetery I believe is near Streator: " I have been to St. Mary's graveyard and recommend that everyone should just stay away from it. I have heard many stories ranging from a horse/man thing that protects it to Satan worshipers and even to a very wealthy family who runs lights to frighten people out of their area. Whatever is there, should remain left alone."
Streator - The Legend of Sister Connie and the Plumb Hotel
There used to be the Plumb Hotel in Streator (maybe the same wealthy family?); when I was a little girl it was famous for having a witch who "lived on the roof". It was demolished in the early 80's; I think it was where the Teke's tavern patio is now; if you know for sure, please email me and set me straight ...
Someone did - across from Teke 's , Dicks floor warehouse is there know
footnote, 2011 - What I didn't remember from childhood was that the Plumb Hotel also had a particularly seedy strip joint in the basement in the 1970's. Thanks old man at the bar for the tip! ~ed
So, I came across this site about a "DEW Line" training facility and it's"geodetic radome" that was somewhere between Streator and Wenona along Rte 17 until the mid 1980's. "Gee, Peg", you might be thinking, "Just what the hell does this random cold war fact have to do with the price of tea in China?" Wellll, Mr. Ed Groelle wrote a nice little article about his time in Streator and there were some sweet photos of the PLUM HOTEL, which he stayed at while he was training at the previously mentioned dome. The photo which looks likes a reasonable place to stay was taken in 1965, and the other photo (just how I remember the Plumb looking) was taken about 1992, nearer the time that the homeless lady lived on the roof. Ed added, "It was not much when we were billeted there. The Dewline people probably kept it alive way pass its sell date. I remember we used to call it the Tiltin' Hilton." Also on the page: "it is said that the notorious gangster Al Capone and his crowd frequently drove down from Chicago and would stay at the Plumb. It was the most elegant hotel in town at that time. So it is quite possible that in future years many Dewliners were billeted in a room used by ol' Scarface himself! This is a bit of trivia of which probably 99.9% of Dewliners are unaware." Apparently that 1% of Dewliners don't know that they say that about every old bar and hotel within 150 miles of downtown Chicago - but then again maybe Al did stop in to get loose and shoot dice, who knows...
Sorry about swiping your photos of the Tiltin' Hilton, Ed. I couldn't find an email to ask your permission.
FYI: The Plumb family boasts a former member of the House of Representatives: Ralph Plumb (1816-1903) is interred at Riverview Cemetery, Streator, Ill.
"the family is from the
descendants of col. plumb, a col
from the civil war.
2nd, the "hotel witch" was a mentally disturbed woman who inherited
hotel from her deceased husband and moved into the long abandoned
structure somewhere around 1983. the city tried several times to deem
the structure condemned but never succeed. After several vandalisms
some youths set it afire and the city contained the blaze and just let
it basically burn down. (it was only 5 small blocks from the fire
the woman, " sister connie" as she called herself, was so disturbed that she walked around town dressed as a nun chanting prayers in "Latin". as far as sleeping on the roof she slept in the top floor rooms with holes she cut out so that she could await the holy spirit of god to come to her so she could have the reincarnation of christ. Very sad case, but not supernatural. the building was located on the nw corner of north Bloomington st. across the street from Teke's tavern. the spot is now a large flooring goods store and small warehouse."
"You were wondering about the Plumb hotel in Streator Il. Here you go. The hotel was located on the corner of Bloomington St and Main if I remember my streets right. Anyway the story about the "witch" that lived on the roof is a little out of whack. The lady you are referring too was Mary Shafer, I remember because of the similar names, the story goes that she was a upstanding member of Streator's elite. Her husband was supposedly a High ranking member of the military, A colonel in the army I heard, and their son was following in his foot steps. Supposedly both of them some how were killed with in a week of each other in Vietnam and the grief of losing them both so close drove her over the edge. Anyway that's the story of what got her there.
What I remember with Mary" the lady in black" as she was known. My mother knew her from growing up there. She was a very quiet lady that always dressed in black. As she did her rounds in town she would drag a wagon or sled depending on the weather. But as the years went on she seemed to get more and more eccentric. She was never violent or anything like that, that I know, but her grip on reality was slipping. Any way towards the end of her hanging around town she was living in the Plumb hotel which had long been closed. The police had several times booted her out but she always managed to get back in. As the story goes that in one of her "conversations" with God he told her that he was sorry for taking her son and husband and that to make up for it He would marry her. The only thing he needed was for her to cut a hole in the roof of the hotel and sleep under the hole and when the time was right he would come down and be her husband. We'll I guess she did and it would probably get cold lying there because some how she started a fire in the hotel that burned it to the ground. The last I heard it gave the Police the proof they needed that they got her committed and hopefully the help she needed. I never saw her again after that but that is what I remember about those two incidents. Hope it helps."
thanks to Jeff
Morbid Travel Tip: While in Streator, visit the Streatorland Historical Society Museum and learn all about the guy who started Baskin-Robbins, the guy who discovered the "former planet" of Pluto, George "The Honeyboy" Evans - who was a star of vaudeville with hits such as "Look Out For The Hoodoo Doo Doo Man" - as well as many other famous dead citizens of Streator. Also, the city library was built by Andrew Carnegie and is on the National Historic Register.
Streatorland Historical Society
306 S. Vermillion
Streator, IL 61364
Museum Hours: Mon - Fri 9:30 - 2:30
Oglesby - Private Residence Poltergeist
A friend recently related a story from about 8 years ago when he lived in an apartment above a business on Walnut in Oglesby with his wife and son. On one occasion, he came home from work and entered his locked apartment to find blood and human feces smeared on the walls and ceiling of his and his wife's bedroom. One other occasion he found "a big pile" of human feces laying in the middle of his bed. One would think that this person really made the wrong person mad, but the next part of the story adds a new dimension to what the man related to me as more of a supernatural occurrence than a mere vandalizing of his home: he said his toddler aged son would talk often about "the man who comes through the wall in the bathroom". Jeez. No wonder they moved out.
My husband's uncle told me recently that a home he rented in Oglesby - (I have yet to find out where) in the 1980's was haunted. He said that the laughter of children would permeate the night air, and during the day toys would pick themselves up and walk across the living room.
(not really, but interesting side note on it's namesake who also lived there once)
"When I was in College
we went to an abandoned mansion in Elkhart. This was
the former home of Illinois Governor Ogelsby. The place was huge!!!!!! I
went with two friends, I later went on to be a Recon Marine and one of the
other guys I with is still in the Army as an Airborne Ranger. We definitely
thought nothing would get the better of us.
We only lasted 15 minutes in the house. I really felt like we were being
watched and that whatever it was did not want us there. When we started to
go to one of the upper floors we all felt a very cold gust of wind. That
really shook us up since this was August and it was very warm that night. We
then heard a door "slam" from upstairs and decided it was time to go. We ran
down the stairs and got in the car and left.
Not long after that the home was burnt to the ground. All that is left is
the mausoleum. Even that place gives me the willies."
Tonica - Country Road near Tonica
A reader wrote: "I was 16 and it was maybe September, not really sure now, in 1992 I and I remember it was absolutely pouring down rain at around 8pm. My parents live outside of Tonica (between Streator and Oglesby... Tonica, IL) I was leaving my parents to visit my friends who live in town in Tonica. Anyone who has been to my house knows there are no street lights on this 3 mile road to civilization. I could barely see in front of me as I drove and my wipers were not fast enough to clear much away from the front windshield. I was driving slowly through the puddled road when I noticed head lights coming from straight ahead. Since I knew that there was a T intersection when I got to the end, I figured someone was in the ditch across the road since you can only go left or right at the stop sign. Then the lights slowly veared and began driving down my small road so very slowly. I had to pull quite a bit into the sunken side since the road is very narrow and the vehicle coming my way was very large. I was almost at a hult waiting for the car to pass so I could resume driving to the stop sign. Since everyone knows everyone down these old roads, I looked over at the passing car. to recognize who it was. Well I lost all blood in my face when I saw it was a Hurse slowly passing by me!!! I don't know if it was my imagination but I didn't see a driver and I know I saw the back of the Hurse had it's inside lights on and could see the curtains illuminated. I didn't look any further and drove to the stop sign. In my rear view mirror I saw the brake lights on and it was at a complete stop!!! I quickly turned left and never looked back. I got to my friends house and was afraid to get out of the car but more afraid to stay in it. I ran inside without knocking and told my friends what had happened while in tears. I called my mother to warn her of the spooky car and even she believed me with the terror in my voice. The next day my mother called my friends house and said I don't mean to scare you but one of the old neighbor ladies who lived alone died in her home at around 2am. I turned pale again, and we all realized why the hurse was driving down my road the night before. "
Lowell - Abandoned Brickyard
Tracy sent me this great photo:
Well, I don't know if this qualifies but this is a photo I took on time exposure in one of the brick ovens in the old brick yard in Lowell. The other film I processed was not plasma marked only this one shot. When I was there this particular time The silo for the coal sounded like a faint sound of children screaming and I had this funky feeling as if I were being followed. I can honestly say I never get spooked very easily however this was one time that just struck me funny. I have photographed many places but this particular time was different. When I went back to rephotograph like I do many of the places I took my mother with me thinking she could scare anything away and even she got spooked. That time I didn't hear what I had that first day. Here's the photo it maybe something and it maybe light refractions I got because it was a 5 minute exposure into a pitch black kiln with a hole at the top and a window directly across from me. but you tell me what you think!
Lowell is a tiny village due south of Utica about 3 miles