Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blue Island Ghost Stories

Blue Island Ghost Stories
As published in the October 21, 2009, Blue Island Forum
by Jude Coyle

Ursula Bielski has visited Blue Island several times as a guest of the Library. She is a writer and researcher of Chicago ghostlore. She has written Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City, More Chicago Haunts and Grave Yards of Chicago, all of which are available at the library. She
has been featured on A&E, the History Channel, The Learning Channel, The Travel Channel, PBS and on Chicago TV and radio shows. Her company, Chicago Hauntings, conducts tours and holds special events exploring Chicago’s haunted history.

On September 18th, Ursula, sponsored by the Blue Island Public Library and THE FORUM, visited Blue Island to meet with three Blue Island homeowners, and to hear of their experiences with ‘other worldly visitors.’ (For several months, THE FORUM advertised for residents willing to tell Ursula their story.) Greg Lochow of the Chamber of Commerce, Dan Carroll of the Library, sensitives Faith and Crystal, and myself followed a cameraman to each location.

Before I go any further, I need to point out a couple of things. First, this story in not about Ursula, but about the ‘sensitives’, their feelings and what happened behind the scenes. Keep in mind though, that this wouldn’t have happened if Ursula hadn’t visited us that day.

Now our sensitives, Faith and Crystal, not their real names, asked not to be identified. These women come from a long line of sensitives, and have known about their abilities since childhood. Neither have felt comfortable with them at first, and it wasn’t until the last twenty years that they have begun to use them. In casual conversation, the subject of Burr Oak Cemetery came up. Faith said she had driven by it a few years ago, when she saw images wandering about the fence. They looked displaced.

The first home we visited was a grand painted lady, complete with stained glass windows. We sat on a huge porch with the owner, who told us about an experience she shared with her granddaughter. Soon after her husband had passed, she and her grandchild were in the living room when they heard several notes sound from the piano. They were stunned as they stood within feet of it and neither had touched it. A moment later her daughter descended the stairs. She asked if her daughter had heard the notes. “Yes,” the daughter said. It was her father letting her know that he was doing well.

The on camera interview began soon after. The homeowner told of more experiences as Ursula, the homeowner and the cameraman moved about the house. Off camera, Faith and Crystal roamed about. We could see them, each traveling in a separate direction and neither conferring.
Faith calmed the dogs and Crystal took to the stairs. I came across Faith at one point. She told me that the interview should move towards the piano. I thought I would sneak in and direct them there, when they moved on their own. Faith said, “See, they’re being directed there now.”

After the interview I asked the ladies what they saw and felt. Both claimed to see activity on the stairs. They said that an older man resided there, as well as an older woman who was a family member of the owner. They also described a girl. Faith said that when she exited the car, she felt like running. That she was happy to be home, just like a young girl would feel. That let Faith know to expect the spirit of a child. In the living room Faith said she saw the girl playing the piano. She was dressed in white in the style of the ‘30’s. Not far away, visitors sat about the dining room table listening to the music. It was a Sunday afternoon, Faith said, and
the group members were enjoying themselves.

Inside the house, Faith saw a candy bowl and wanted a piece. She visited a room where she noticed the photo of a woman in a blue dress. The walls were painted the same color as the dress. She had a calming feeling. This particular room had a wicker chair where she saw the image of a woman taking comfort. In the side yard Faith came across a bench which sat next to a carved angel. The same lady also takes pleasure there.

The homeowner said that her mother preferred the type of candy in the candy dish, and it was her in the photo. After her Mom had passed, a neighbor gave the homeowner the bench that Faith described, as Mom had always admired it. Faith also described a spot in the yard where she saw the homeowner’s husband. The homeowner said that she had sprinkled some of his ashes right there.

I asked Crystal about her impressions. She said that she doesn’t see things the same way. Where Faith had feelings, like that of the girl glad to be home, or visions in her mind’s eye, Crystal saw energies, orbs, or flashes of light. She might hear a voice or come across a smell. It depended on how the entity wished her to experience it. Sometimes, she said, she might pick up a message. When she approached the first house she saw someone at an upper window watching her. She saw a great deal of energy in the home, more intensely on the stairs and the front portion of the living room, and again in the side yard. The homeowner confirmed that most of the activity occurs in those areas.

We moved on. The second house was not far from mine, so I parked at home and walked. When I met Faith next she was leaning against a tree outside the house. “There’s something wrong here,” she said. “Look. There’s no birds or squirrels. There’s something wrong with the entire block.” She was right. It was unnaturally quiet. There were no bird calls or chattering squirrels, nor was there anything in sight. Faith described how when she stepped out of the car, she felt that her legs would be knocked out from under her. Something didn’t want her there. She leaned against the tree, hoping to use it’s sturdiness as a way to ‘ground’ herself.

I didn’t hear the stories the second homeowner had to share, only that sometimes she sees an African American child in her bedroom, and she didn‘t understand why. He seemed out of place. I asked Faith later if what the homeowner saw in the house was related to what she described on the outside. “No,” Faith said. The house had a completely different set of issues.

We moved down the street to the third house. I walked with several others while others moved their vehicles. Faith and Crystal immediately reacted as they approached the property, and both in different ways. Faith asked to see the homeowner’s dog, who was barking in the background. She walked the dog during the interview, which took place outside. Crystal exited her car, and started walking towards the yard. Three or four steps later, she turned around and returned to the car where she stayed throughout the interview. Later, Crystal told me that something in the yard bothered her so much she couldn’t be there. I’ll leave this here. To find out what happened at the third house and to talk to Ursula, the homeowners and to hear stories, please call the library. Tickets to the airing of the interviews are available at no charge. It will take place at the Historical Society, 13018 Maple, at 7PM on October 27th. The film will be broadcast later on WDDE. Watch your listings for details.


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Enid Salamanca said...

Does anyone know anyhing about 12716 Maple in Blue Island. It's a big blue house... my friend and her husband just took a picture (since they are planning to buy the place) and there is an apparition in the window.They have a baby and I do not want the baby ther . I am in Ohio and have a bad feeling! It gave me the chills. if anyone has info please email me at