The Ghosts of Springdale Cemetery
The Lady in White, a Witches Circle and a Haunting Tune
About The Cemetery:
Springdale Cemetery, located in the central Illinois city of Peoria is the beautiful final resting place of over 78,000 people. The cemetery, dating back to 1855, is massive encompassing roughly 233 acres of rolling hills just off of the Illinois River. The cemetery also has a large public mausoleum as well as fifteen private mausoleum's, each grander than the next.
There are many famous burials in Springdale Cemetery including former Governor of Illinois Thomas Ford. Ocatve Chanute, who was a civil engineer is also buried there. He was a mentor to the Wright Brothers in their pursuit of perfecting the first plane. Among the buried at the cemetery, nine-hundred of the graves are of military veterans and hero's.
Though the cemetery is a lovely, peaceful place, there have been times where that peace was disrupted. On the night of June 17, 1935, a young lady named Mildred Hallmark was headed home by streetcar after a date night at the local movie theatre. She was last seen getting off the streetcar at her stop, before vanishing. The next morning, a search was conducted to find the missing Mildred, who's body was found inside of Springdale Cemetery. Upon finding her naked body, it was clear that the 19 year old Mildred was the victim of a gruesome murder. It would take a short while to determine who was responsible but in the end, it was found that her murderer was Gerald Thompson, a local 25 year old man who had been responsible for many rapes though never convicted until he was caught for Mildred's murder. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by electric chair at the Joliet prison that same year. He was executed in October of 1935, giving Mildred's family a little bit of closure though it would never bring back their beloved daughter.
The Ghost of the Lady In White:
Since the murder of Mildred Hallmark, a ghostly lady in white has appeared within the cemetery, often times close to where her body was found. She appears as a full body apparition, wandering the cemetery wearing clothes much like she wore on the night of her death which included a white dress and hat. She has been seen quite often by graveyard visitors in the 85 years since her death.
The Witches Circle:
A family by the last name of Cole are buried in a circle surrounding a granite monument in another portion of the cemetery. This particular plot is known as the witches circle at the cemetery due to the circular pattern as well as the many seances that have supposedly occurred at this plot. Sitting also at this location is a lone old tree known by many as the "devil tree" with it's pitchfork shaped leaves. It is said that at least two people have sadly hung themselves from the infamous tree. Odd activity have reportedly occurred here including disembodied chanting, odd shadow figures, cold spots and the feeling of being watched by an unseen force.
Other Ghostly Experiences:
Though the two stories above are the most famous paranormal activities within the cemetery, there have been many reports of others. From haunting music, to disembodied voices, to the random apparition appearing out of this air, the cemetery appears to be crawling with spirits from a time gone by. Many people have reported hearing someone talking to them but have found no one in the area. Another situation occurred when a man was out for a walk around the sprawling cemetery when he came upon an elderly man who struck up a conversation. They spoke for awhile then said their goodbyes. The man watched as the old man turned, took two steps and then vanished as if he was never there to begin with.
My Experience at the Haunted Cemetery:
I recently visited Springdale Cemetery on a very cold and windy day which made investigating pretty tough. I spent a majority of my time in the Summit Range area. Here I was drawn to a couple headstones that had been knocked over. I don't know how long it has been since they fell but you could definitely feel the overwhelming sadness of the area.
As I was visiting these headstones (pictured above) I began to hear music coming from, what I suspect was around the 1920's but I could be off by a bit, but I do not it was from a long time ago. I followed the music for awhile, which led me to a lovely mausoleum that had clearly been touched by time. I no longer heard the music but was completely absorbed by it. The door had a slight hole which made it possible to see inside the mausoleum. Inside was the burial chambers of the dead along with flowers which had clearly been there for quite awhile as they had all turned black and brittle with age.
As you can see from the pictures below, the mausoleum is really cool. A couple of my followers on Instagram spotted what appeared to be a face in the picture of the inside of the mausoleum. What do you guys think?
I personally believe that this cemetery is definitely haunted. It has so much history and so many buried there, it would be harder to believe that it is not.