Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy Halloween - From My AOL Archives

and There is a church here in the Southern Suburbs. I'm reluctant to give out the name simply because of the problems caused by teenagers looking for thrills on Halloween, and this particular parish has seen its share. This Church is the second oldest parish in the Chicago area, and has the oldest church building still in continual use. It is built on high ground, way above the roadway. Big gates lead into the church grounds. Many of the original parishioners are buried in the church yard. I've heard it said that to read the names on the grave stones is like traveling through any cemetery in Ireland.

and This parish was established to serve the Irish immigrants in the 1830's who came to this area to help build the I&M Canal. It connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. With the addition of the I&M Canal, Chicago was able to springboard into contention as the most active inland port in the country.

and Anyway this Church and its grounds are haunted. One priest to serve the parish used to comment that he spent a great deal of time in the evening at his rectory window. He said that the ground where the graveyard is located seemed to have a pulse, moving steadily up and and down, as if breathing. There are several stories related to this place.

and Once upon a time a young priest served there. He fell in love with one of his parishioners, and that he decided to give up the priesthood. On the night that he planned to leave, he ordered a carriage to pick both him and his lover up. When the carriage arrived, she was inside waiting. He exited the rectory with his bags in hand and climbed in. They took off too quickly, taking a huge, hilly curve on their way to the gates. The carriage flipped, killing both the priest and his love. Sometimes late at night, the carriage returns for its passengers.

and Another strange sight is that of an old fashion hearse with prancing black horses, arriving at the back gates with a child's coffin in the rear. No one is quite sure who the coffin belongs to, or why the hearse returns again and again.

and A recent sighting involved an Illinois State Trooper. He was making his rounds one evening about this time of the year, when he passed the church. He pulled over to the side of the road, as was his habit, and shined a light into the woods surrounding the church. He he noticed movement. He honked first, and then got out of his vehicle. He yelled, but didn't get a reply. When he shined his light across the grounds, he caught a glimpse of what looked like a retreating person in a long dress. The officer called out again. The person ran. The officer followed uphill over rocky, holey ground. He said that whoever it was that he followed seemed to float easily over all the obstacles he tripped over. He used a flashlight. The other person didn't. When the officer crossed into the open gates of the cemetery and church yard, the person disappeared. He listened for the sounds of breaking twigs, or other sounds of movement, but heard nothing. He continued his search, taking in the entire grounds, but did not find anything. Eventually he gave up. In his report, he mentioned that he chased trespassers from the church grounds. What he didn't mention, was that he honestly believed that he might have been chasing a ghost.

and There have been quite a number of sightings over the years, and it has proven to be quite a challenge to rid the property of thrill seekers. The police were virtually ineffective. Then one of the monks to reside at this church came up with an idea. He let it be known that if caught, the monks would take the trespasser in, and make him kneel on raw beans, or ball bearings, or even uncooked rice all night long as he prayed for his soul. Very few thrill seekers came after hearing that. Those few who did encountered a decapitated head that screamed and screeched until the trespassers ran off. The priests didn't want to admit this, but the vision of the screaming skull materialized when a parish pastor hopped out from behind a tree. He flipped on a flashlight which he held at the tip of his chin, while screaming as loud and as long as he could. Over the years the thrill seekers are finding other outlets. In fact the gates leading onto church grounds are left open all day and all night.

and One more story, and I'm turning in early. In the City of Chicago, on the Southside, is a Catholic Parish famous for its All Souls Day haunting. Again I won't mention the name because of the problems this story has created with thrill seekers. This happened only once. On November 2, 1960, six monks appeared in the choir loft of this church during Mass. Three monks in white robes stood to one side of organ, and three monks in black or gray robes stood to the other side. It was reported that there were only about 18 or 19 people in the church at the time. The monks were noticed almost immediately upon their appearance. The parishioners backed away from the choir loft, heading to doors as far away from the choir loft as possible. These were fire doors, and they were locked. The parishioners pushed against the doors and banged on them. The monks rose into the air and flew about above their heads. People screamed and the monks sang and chanted. Finally one monk proclaimed to the parishioners, "Pray for us!" At that moment the doors flew open and the parishioners rushed out. At once, the priest gathered up his parishioners and made them promise not to mention the tale to anyone. You can see how far that promise went!

H A P P Y H A L L O W E E N !

6 comments:

Indigo said...

Wonderful eerie tales from around your area, perfect for All Hallow's Eve. (Hugs)Indigo

Jeannette said...

What fascinating stories, you know I love this sort of thing. I so enjoyed this posting and the great photos that go with it.

Rose said...

The church is lovely.......the stories eerie! Interesting.

Hugs, Rose

moshell's lilbit of space said...

I so know where this is...and yes, it is scarier than Resurrection....I love your "ghost" stories....

We never did go to this one, but I am not a fan of cemetaries anyways (spooky)

Chris said...

Wow, great stories. Loved the monk one!

kbear's heart 2 said...

Again, i LOVE your ghost stories! glad you brought these back:-)~kbear