Lincoln Park ghosts

According to Mysterious Chicago, for almost thirty years, picturesque Lincoln Park served as the City Cemetery, and home to thousands of corpses which some say were never moved. Construction in 1998 alone unearthed 81 bodies!  But experts claim that many bodies were never moved. The Ira Couch tomb still stands on the south end.

In 1837, The state of Illinois gave Chicago a piece of land outside the city limits to use as a burial ground. This land was located in what is now the southern edge of Lincoln Park. From 1843-1859, it served as Chicago’s City Cemetery, including the family-owned lots, Potter’s Field and the Jewish and Catholic cemeteries.  According to sources, There were tens of thousands of burials in the cemetery, many due to cholera outbreaks. During a six-day period in July of 1854 more than 200 cholera victims were buried in the Potter’s

John H. Rauch, who was a doctor, began writing papers about the hazards of the cemetery. Because the grounds were so near the lake and below the water table, the bacteria from the bodies was at risk of seeping into the water supply. Another reason is that the city inhabitants were tired of a cemetery so near where they lived, and they decided they wanted a pretty park along the lake front. In 1869, the city officials passed control of the cemetery grounds, along with the northern 50-acres of unused area of the cemetery property, already used as a park, to the Lincoln Park Commissioners.

Cemeteries such as Graceland, and Rose hill were established because of the over crowding in Lincoln Park.

Bodies were supposedly moved from 1868-1880s, but sources claim only 10 men working to move them. Also, shortly after, the Chicago Fire destroyed many of the markers in the cemetery and graves were missed as well as lost. The only one that was left was the Couch Memorial, which is still in the park.

Many of the haunting s have been witnessed at the Lincoln Zoo staff who have seen ghostly apparitions of people in Victorian dress as well as the same woman in a white dress. She tends to frequent the Lion house but quickly disappears when seen. In 1962 when the Zoos barn was built for farm animals, they found a body when they began digging but left it undisturbed and built over the grave. The director sought instruction from officials on what to do with very little responses. Paranormal activity has been seen in this area of the zoo. Doors slamming and phantom footsteps are constantly heard. Theresa’s Haunted History offers a great explanation of ghosts on You Tube.

Ghost hunting: Mother Rudd

By Caryl Clem:

Halloween Night legends, rumors

Next door house, forbidden territory

October 31,1958, perfect time to explore

Myth or truth about ghost luminosity.

Uninhabited upper floor floating, flickering light

Spied as I press face against window at night.

Clothesline Northern Star quilt swinging

Nobody home, windless day, unhinging

Constantly looking for clues

“Are there ghosts ?” I muse

 

Five kids, huddle on the walk there

Look for ghosts, taunting friends dare

Mix bravery with  natural curiosity

Stay behind after Trick or Treat

Check out the barn as we hit the street.

 

Barn’s looming shadow swallows me

Wooden slats apart like missing teeth

Stepping inside a visible gap in the wall

Suddenly swirling, pushing cold air squall

Terrified, I run  away from the barn,

Temperature change, the air warms

Above in a second floor window, a bright single light

Shining a path home through the dark night.

 

Across shared narrow driveway

Neighbors Halloween Flashlight Treasure Hunt underway

“Why are you so late?”

“Nothing, bathroom stop”, I state.

Still no concrete answers to  my question

About Mother Rudd’s apparitions

Until paranormal investigation

McHenry Paranormal County Research Group

Documented findings ,the real scoop

Electromagnetic meter readings support

Paranormal activity claims, proven

Fogged then clear picture images taken

Shadows within a room report

Spirits refusing to be forgotten.

 

Temperance Tavern-Gurnee Stagecoach Inn

Under a woman’s management in Gurnee, a Temperance Tavern opened in 1843 replacing alcohol with popular beverages such as coffee, tea, milk, ginger beer, lemonade, peppermint water and raspberry vinegar.  Widowed business woman, Wealthy B. Harvey with several local women managed the kitchen and lodging accommodations. The inn was within sight of the intersection of two major roads by a river crossing bridge. Meals and a bed were conveniently located for travelers going in any direction.

She was considered a lady of influence, supporting community affairs using her inn as Town Hall for elections, and meetings. In 1856, Wealthy married Erastus Rudd who managed the farm land surrounding the stagecoach stop. As the reputation of the inn grew, residents fondly called the House-” Mother Rudd’s”. Customers raved about winter sleighing parties or her fancy Christmas dinners featuring rare oysters and specialty pastries.  As Union supporters, Rudd’s assisted The Underground Railroad by hiding slaves.  Stone boulder foundation framed with two story red barn slats. During the restoration of Mother Rudd’s, hiding cervices between walls and a secret door by a waiter’s station support Underground Railroad claims.

The barn was leveled filling in the ground around it for safety in the early 1960’s.   In the 1950’s while living in back of Rudd’s House, the barn with partial board walls and barricaded barn door looked to me like a great place to search.  Stories of fugitive slaves were whispered at the grade school within sight of spooky barn.  To stop my curiosity, Dad and I walked to the barn. Holding my hand, eyeing several deep caving in holes in the floor, he said, “You can’t play here because you could fall in and never be found.”

Since 1984, The Village of Gurnee maintains the land and building while The Warren Township Historical Society runs the museum, tours and collection of pertinent materials for the historical landmark.

Investigators claim ghosts haunt Gurnee house by Abby Scaff  Daily Herald Corresponden

“ the ghost meter” is one of the tools Tony Olszewski of the McHenry County Paranormal Research Group used while investigating Mother Rudd Home for spiritual presence…mysterious jagged streaks of light appear in some photos…images of the 170-year-old..residence appear blurred while the next shot is clear…other photos show luminous orbs appearing in different shapes. over 1,200 photos were taken…recordings can hear a sigh or a whisper…within the barn ..energy that is fear, hope, warmth….. …feelings of a runaway slave.  “

Ten of the most haunted colleges in Illinois

Loyola University:    A little over a decade in the early 1900’s when the Chicago Jesuit-affiliated school was known as St. Ignatius College, were the beginnings of a relationship between a nun and Jesuit priest. Apparently, the nun fell pregnant and, the devastated sister reportedly hanged herself on the 14th floor of what is now the school’s Mundelein Center for Fine and Performing Arts (previously Mundelein College). The priest later discovered the nun’s body and was so upset, he committed suicide by jumping out of a window. Students have since reported a flickering glow from the same window. Some have also heard strange sounds like a humming from the room where the nun had hung herself. Others after taking pictures have seen glowing orbs in the photographs.

Benedictine University:  In Lisle, at one point, the University was closed because of so many haunting s. One ghost is a boy in a blue shirt and shorts who wanders the campus and then disappears. According to sources, Jaeger Hall is haunted with children. Two ghost children were actually photographed in Neuzil hall. The campus was originally an orphanage and a girl had drowned in a lake on the grounds.

Rockford University(College): Like many colleges, there are several places on campus that are haunted. Clark Art Center, which is home to two theaters, have had witnesses see lights flicker in the back stage areas as well as hear a bell in the prop room chime on its own. The Adams Arch is actually the doorway to the old Adams Hall building, which was built in 1891 and is another famous place to hear the ghostly laughter of a girl when you are standing under it.

Morton College: In Cicero, just outside of Chicago, many claim that the college is haunted by a young girl who was killed on the Laramie Bridge, not far from the college. According to sources, security have actually seen the ghost of Emily on various rooftops of the college. Others have heard her cry out in the theatre.

Western Illinois University: Numerous hauntings have taken place due to many who committed suicide at the University. Ghosts have been found at Bayliss Hall, Simpkins Hall,Tanner, Thomson and Washington Hall. In 1972, a young man fell down an elevator shaft and his image has been seen today. Many students have observed flickering lights, cold spots, strange noises as well as floating images.

Southern Illinois University: Many books have been published about the hauntings in several buildings of SIU. Wheeler Hall, which was once the university’s library, and Shryock Auditorium are haunted as well. It has been named one of the top 50 haunted colleges throughout the United States. A former mental health institution and nursing home was purchased by the school in 1957. After being called Building 207, it was demolished in 2013 but click on the link for more information concerning the graves that exist today.

University of Illinois In Champaign, the library has been haunted which moved to its current location in 1928. Many believe the main stacks are sinking and images have been seen within them. The Lincoln building has a ghost located on the third floor which is next to the English building which used to be a women’s dormitory where a lady committed suicide. Flashing lights and slamming doors have been seen as well as ghostly visits in the Psychology building.

Milikin University:   James Milikin received a charter to build the Decatur University in 1901 and was to be an off shoot of Lincoln College in Lincoln. It is said that its theater has a ghost called the rail girl probably one of the colleges most popular ghosts. There have been numerous reports of strange sounds and footsteps in the theater. Stagehands and set designers have dealt with disappearance of props used during productions. Generally, tools are missing all the time.  There are also hauntings at the Old Gymnasium that was established in 1911.

Lincoln College: In Lincoln,  the college is rumored to have ghosts in the University Hall that was built in 1866. Mist forms on windows and an actual face was seen in the bell tower. A boy and girl passed away in the late 1800s and many feel that their ghost images remain at the college. In Olin Sang Hall, electronic equipment has been tampered.

Illinois College: In Jacksonville, Illinois was founded in 1829. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mark Twain were lecturers at the college during the early years. Illinois College was also known as a station for the Underground railroad and there were many famous graduates over the years such as William Jennings Byan. Beecher Hall claims to be haunted today with the footsteps of Bryan or Abraham Lincoln since he spoke at the college often. Effie Smith often haunts the Smith house. There are many other buildings on campus were lights turn off and on without explanation and images vanish in closets.

 

 

Be careful how high you push

My childhood backyard held a yellow and red metal swing set with two straight seated swings, a teeter totter and a slide; the latter I had no use. But how I loved to swing; higher and higher. I never fell. When I visited my South side Chicago home in 2009, after briefly talking to the present owner, she sadly claimed that my swing set had been uprooted to make room for a new garage.

In 1992, my daughter loved to swing, too, at Ruth Powers Park in Downers Grove with her best friend and brother. The swings were rubber without restraints. She did not need the only baby swing. She was three! A big girl and Mom liked to push. However,  one beautiful afternoon Mom pushed; only to have her topple over.

Kaleigh fell, in shock, holding her arm  and when I looked at her arm, the elbow was not in the right place. We had walked to the park,only a few blocks from home. No cell phones, of course. But we all cooperated, knowing that this was an emergency and ran together. I cradled her arm until we reached our driveway and the nearest car. Later that evening, she had surgery, a cast for everyone to sign and an overnight stay in the hospital together.

Assisting in a kindergarten class, during outside recess this month,  twice a day, my kindergarten friend grabs my hand and walks me to the playground as she says lets swing and picks out her favorite. The same kind of swing from 1992. I told my daughter, who is now 29, about my little partner at school and in jest,she asked me if the five year old knew my history with swings.

Of course not... but I do remember.  Every time I get behind her to push and position myself in just the right spot..just in case, she yells..higher…higher…higher. I tell her to hold on tight….hold on tight….hold on tight. She laughs as her feet try to reach out towards the trees in front of her. As each day passes, she begins to pump a little more. watching her classmates swing next to her. Some of them help me out and push her too. Someday, I can breath a sigh of relief.

Like another child, another season, another day, another moment,she will begin, soon enough, to soar on her own.

 

Apple picking treasures

BY CARYL CLEM:

Nestled in a paper bag, spicy apple pie

Pride of the Elegant Farmer, Mukwonago Wisconsin

Delectable reviews in Gourmet Magazine by food spies

Down the apple picking trail treasures abound

Country farm stores also sell pumpkins, cider, pears

Tables of taste testing samples often appear

Brightonwoods Orchard and Aeppeltrewow Winery in Burlington

Mouthwatering 150 varieties, apples ready to take home.

Nearby, in Woodstock, Homestead Orchard

Since 1880,  a famous Apple wizard

Apple lovers enjoy 5 other orchards near Woodstock Square

Wagons,  animals , hayrides, corn maze, bakery, and more

Royal Oak Farm Orchard near Harvard

For the bare bones, no frills Apple gourmet

Heinz Orchard, in Libertyville, pick then buy

Or Prairie Sky Orchard in Union, Illnois

Just to name a few of my fall choices

Take advantage of farm charm

Time outside gathering harvest fruit selections

Savor the flavor, Find your orchard connection

No matter in what direction,  relish apple picking in autumn.

After the impact: Thoughts on 9/11

Thirteen-year old Richard worked on his model train and listened to his favorite radio show which was interrupted with an alert that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. At first, actual witnesses at Pearl Harbor thought it was a training exercise.  As if it happened yesterday, Richard still remembers the day. It became his first exposure to the true definition of terror. What would happen next?

For Richard and the next generation better known as the Baby Boomers everyone knew exactly where they were when John F. Kennedy was shot. When first announced, some thought it was a mistake; the President would be fine until the second fatal announcement that confirmed his death. I was in the grade school library when it was announced over the loud speaker. I even remember the agonizing cries followed by a deafening silence that stifled the country.  It was the first time school was dismissed early without the sounds of celebration. No one knew what to do, what to say but they moved through the days ahead with caution; immobilized by fear. I remember watching nothing else but the dramatic events of our President’s death unfold on television. At the scene of JFK’s shooting, Governor Connelly’ wife, had cried out, that they would kill us all. What would happen next?

Ironically, both American tragedies mirror the perfect responses and actions of the American people years later as they witnessed the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001.

While remembering my own place in time when the Twin Towers fell, I decided to ask others about their memories of 9/11. One recalls sitting in a Freshman English class in college and someone running into class to say that the World Trade Center had been attacked. Class, too, was dismissed for the day. And another was asleep but awakened by his hysterical father who was telling him to get up and watch the news, that the country was doomed.  What would happen next?  But then someone who overheard my curiosity about remembering 9/11 spoke three quiet but penetrating words, “I was there.”

She began her recollection of 9/11 describing a gorgeous, cloudless day on Church Street in New York City, visiting a friend from school, when she  saw the first plane crash and thought it was an accident. And for a brief second, I remembered that one moment the President was still alive. When the second plane hit, she knew that it was not an accident.  A fireman grabbed her and her friend, having them hide; protected underneath a fire truck.  It seemed like time had stood still under that truck…would they kill us all? She listened to the desperate screams, sirens blaring but then an eerie silence along with the smell of sulfur. Days later, it was like a disaster film as people wandered the streets of New York. It changed her life, her dreams and she joined the police force because of its effects

Though many feel that Pearl Harbor or the assassination of John F Kennedy  cannot be equalized to the events of 9/11, any American tragedy leaves a lasting impression; creating nation-wide emotional pain  encompassed by mortal fear; always prompting the question where were you that fateful day. Unless your memory has been altered or too young to develop those mnemonic skills, we all get a perfect score when answering that question.

However, as we remember the 17th anniversary of 9/11, will we express thanks for our own and be grateful for the ones who continue to fight for us today? Can we give ourselves high marks for reflecting on the lives lost, families stricken and the brave responders who didn’t think twice about their own welfare but tried to create calm within the storm?

If we can always remember exactly where we were at the time tragedy claimed our attention, we can take time to increase our participation grade and honor those whose lives will be forever impacted by the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

(Originally published in the Chicago Tribune)

Grand Power

By Caryl Clem:

As indispensable as a backup flashlight battery

When life darkens, ahead difficult navigation

Love and wisdom shine in body form

Action centered supporting family

A search light offering a brighter platform.

Transportation to school

Bedtime requests, tuck in stories

Searching birthday gift “cool”.

Spend a 24/7 hour weekend monitoring children

Claiming their company, part of your vacation.

Flip any traumatic tragedy

Reversed by smiles and humor

Into a laughable comedy.

Events spun inside out

Removing personal doubt.

 

Grandparents, living source of family history

Legendary, bridging time

Discover what is mine

Building links to our ancestry

Linking past, future into a living story

Depending on your reliability.

Not important if one’s memories blur

You will always be honored for who you are.

Happy Grandparents Day

Silver lining

By Caryl Clem:

Grandparent images, time bound perception

Colorful aprons, housekeeping armor

Sunday worship wear, high style hat fashion

High laced, freshly shined cleats, echoed on the wood floor.

Sunday dinner, family secret food traditions

Lively family issue deliberations

Sprinkled with storytelling sensation.

Heirloom handmade game board covers the table

Betting chips pair with the wild card shuffle

Game on, all out competition.

 

Later, embracing hugs soothed the pain

To a question without an answer, move forward

Believe in yourself, believe it’s yours to obtain

Passionate patience shaping every word.

A domain ruled by the theme, Welcome

Our door and hearts are always open

 

Pictures in weathered family album

Gray hairs shinning in the sun

Figures responsible for my surviving

Truly, my life’s silver lining.

 

 

Gifts for Granddad; Ties, tacks, clips and cuff links

Over the decades, ties have always been the if all else fails gift to Dad, Granddad, Uncle and any other man in your life that wears the occasional suit. But what ever happened to the elegant pin or shiny tie clip to go along with it?

Actually called tie tacks, the pin has a 300 year history and pins were made in solid gold decorated with pearls, onyx and opals. The problem with buying a tie pin along with that tie you purchased for Granddad’s special occasion is that little hole that got bigger and bigger in the expensive silk you spent hours picking out for him.  Unfortunately, the new tie wins out over the pin to keep it in place.

So how do men avoid getting their tie caught in the desk drawer at work or worse yet, landing in the mash potatoes and gravy at that family dinner? Actually, a lot of men seem to spend a great deal of time smoothing their tie in place as they were work, eat and drive seemingly reacting to a pain in the gut.  My father always liked the tie clip that he would receive with his new tie at Christmas but again, unless you were careful about placing that clip in the same place every time, you could damage the tie. In recent years, tie bars have become more popular and less likely to cause chaos. Isn’t it better to ruin your tie with an attractive clip or bar than with spaghetti sauce?

And what about those beautiful cuff links; another great gift for Dad. Some of you may not even know what cufflinks are; the decorative little fasteners that were placed on two sides of the cuffs of men’s long sleeved shirts and women’s dress blouses as well. You could actually have a set of cufflinks monogramed with your Uncles initials. Eventually, buttons began to replace the need for cufflinks. But shirts are still made today with a French cuff that do require cuff links. Generally, young men may be able to experience cufflinks with the first Tuxedo they rent for prom or even for their wedding. And like everything else, the Internet can easily show how all these male accessories can be used efficiently.

As jewelry for women tends to define their personality and tastes, tie clips and cufflinks do the same for men. When I would observe my father dressed to kill, the type of tie, clip and cufflinks identified Father’s character and said something important about his feelings on life, love and business. He would always claim that his accessories were messy and my mother and I would always admire his ability to suit up in elegance.

So if you need a gift for that special Granddad, think about purchasing a tie clip, cufflinks and shirt instead of just a plain old tie.  Maybe that stainless steel clip or rose gold links can be engraved with just a few letters reminding your Grandfather what he really means to you.

The Tie Chest   an Ebay store, offers a great collection of vintage tie accessories.

Gifts for Grandmother; the royal charm bracelet

All my travels, hopes and dreams as a child were recorded in my charm bracelet; a mechanical wishing well that opened and closed for good luck, a pineapple from Florida, a sail boat since I dreamed of having one someday, the Eiffel tower from my uncles trip to Paris, the golf bag symbolizing the days of miniature golf with Dad, the grand piano I was to play as a concert pianist along with the tiny heart you could open though too small to add pictures. Though tarnished and just a little too small, I still smile and dangle the tinkling memories of the past. Though I could never sell, children’s vintage bracelets from the 1950’s and 1960’s can command a solid price at auctions and on Ebay today.

After digging deeper into my jewelry box mess, I found my Mothers charm bracelet which was started by my Dad in the 1940’s; a gold link chain entwined with pearls that fits me perfectly. My father was responsible for the bracelets exquisite remnants; his gift to her to satisfy every occasion. Her first charm was a flat heart of gold with a tiny ruby in the corner engraved with her certificate of marriage to my Dad in 1949. Her second was shaped like a box with her scripted name, the third was a rose placed on a gilded background for her birthday and finally the fourth was my little Queen, their only child, with my name and birthday.  Unfortunately, my father died when I was twelve and that halted the tradition of adding to the bracelet. Though as the years progressed into adulthood, my marriage and own children, Grandma received a necklace with charms including pictures of her grandchildren; still a great gift idea for those that favor neck jewelry.

By the 1970’s charm bracelets lost their luster but became quite collectible in the 1990’s and now in the 21st century, charm bracelets have regained their royal status. Craft your own bracelet by building a family legacy of miniature frames for Grandma’s wrist or create a bracelet that identifies Grandmothers personality. My personal design would  have to include trinkets of books, pens, maybe letters of the alphabet and computers just to name a few.

And while you decide on the perfect gems for Grandparents Day on September 9th, I will be admiring an addition to my tired jewelry collection while wearing my Mom’s classic bracelet, in memory of her, that showcased her charm and the ones she loved. I also found her watch for the other wrist and since that is also supposedly in style once again, my accessories of memories are complete.