Ursula Bielski is one of the few credible folklorists to have examined this site in detail. As she pointed out in Chicago Haunts (1998), Archer Woods is easily passed over in favor of the more famous haunts that dot the area. In the past, she assured her readers, Archer Woods Cemetery was one of the most notorious of the local cemeteries as a result of its resident specter, a lonely, sobbing woman.
Like the sobbing woman of Bachelor’s Grove, it is likely that this spirit is in search of a lost child or lover. These apparitions are so common that they warranted their own category in Trent Brandon’s Book of Ghosts (2003). According to Brandon, the sobbing woman of Archer Woods Cemetery is known as a “Broken Heart” because “the feelings of guilt have become so overwhelming that this ghost believes that it must suffer forever to make up for her child’s fate.” (pg. 87)
What links Archer Woods Cemetery to the other locations along Archer Avenue, besides the predominance of ghostly women, is the appearance of a terrifying black hearse pulled by a team of mad horses. The vehicle has no driver. If you have read Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 1 Issue 12, the connection to St. James-Sag should be readily apparent.
What happens next? Click here to download the entire issue (.pdf) and find out!
Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 2 Digital Edition
Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2008 in a special digital edition for your favorite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 2: Archer Cemetery, Sunset Haven, Peoria State Hospital (Bartonville Asylum), Airtight Bridge, University of Illinois, Calvary Cemetery and ‘Seaweed Charlie,’ Lakey’s Creek, Peck Cemetery, Blood’s Point Road, Old Union Cemetery, Hartford Castle, and more! Plus, read letters from our readers, book reviews, ghostly games, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues from the archives of the Legends and Lore of Illinois.
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