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Thursday, November 1, 2012

GREENWOOD CEMETERY - DECATUR




Greenwood Cemetery is located near downtown Decatur, Illinois. It is one of the
most haunted cities in the United States. To it's south, is
the Sangamon river and lake Decatur. It may be haunted because a lot of
downtown Decatur is built over Native American burial grounds
of the Illiniwek tribe. The older part of the cemetery is said to
be built over one of these burial mounds. The history of
Greenwood Cemetery is interesting and very exciting to read
about. You can read Troy Taylor's book called Haunted Decatur to find out the history and hauntings of  the most haunted city in the midwest! There is no wonder why the place is haunted. Many weird and
disturbing things have happened within it's boundaries. In the
late 1820's moonshiners had a still down by the river. While
they were making their brew...and probably sampling it, a small
group of Indians passed by. Being foolish and probably drunk, the moonshiners chased the Indians through the woods and as they were going up the hill
on the southwest side of  what is now the cemetery, they shot them. Fearing
retaliation from the tribes, they decided to hide the bodies in
a ditch and cover the bodies with rocks. You can still see the
rock filled ravine today. The oldest recorded burial in
Greenwood cemetery is from 1840, but the cemetery was used as a
a common burial grounds before it became Greenwood Cemetery. It
is said that slaves that died along the underground railroad (a
line ran through Decatur) were buried here in unmarked graves.
The train line ran next to the cemetery and made it easy to hold
the burials at night, in secret.
During the Civil War, trains came through carrying both
Confederate and Union soldiers en route to Camp Douglas near
Chicago . The soldiers on the trains were usually sick and dying
from disease or wounds and again the closeness of the tracks
made it a good place to bury those that died on the way to their
destination. The Union soldiers were buried with honor on the
top of the hill and the Confederate were buried at the bottom of
the hill.  It is said that a train came through Decatur filled with
Confederate soldiers dead, or dying from yellow fever. Their
bodies were stacked in graves at the bottom of the hill. Some believe not
all of them were all of the way dead but this was never proven and no one really cared. This picture shows the hill as it looks now.

 This is one of the most haunted sections of the cemetery.
To add to the haunting legends, one rainy season, a few decades
later, the hill was destroyed by a mudslide and the bodies and
caskets came sliding out, mixing Confederate and Union soldiers
remains. Not knowing which remains went where, they reburied
them all at the top of the hill with a memorial to all Civil War
soldiers.
 In the early 1900's before they built Lake Decatur,

spring floods came and washed out the lower part of the cemetery,
washing caskets and remains down the river. When the water went
down, people were finding caskets, tombstones and bodies in farm
fields and along the river banks. Again, not knowing who was who, they
reburied the bodies and remains higher up in the cemetery.
One of my favorite haunting legends from Greenwood is that of the
Greenwood Bride. I'm not sure what year it was but must have
been during prohibition because the groom was said to be a
bootlegger. On the night he was supposed to elope with his
bride, he was murdered and his body was found in the Sangamon
River. The young bride waited all night for her lover and when
he didn't show up, she went home worried about him. The next
morning, she was told about his death. She was crazed with sorrow.
The doctor gave her sedatives and the next morning, her body was
found in the river near the spot where her lovers body was
recovered. Her grieving parents, filled with guilt for not
wanting their daughter to marry the bootlegger, buried her in a
wedding dress that they found in her closet. Now they say her
spirit roams the cemetery, in her wedding dress, searching for her lover.
In the early 1900's the cemetery was a beautiful place to be
buried but later for lack of funds became overgrown and trashed.
In the 50's volunteers cleaned it up. Then in the early 70's a
group of kids went in and destroyed a lot of stones. A large
mausoleum was tore down because of it being in bad repair and
dangerous to the public. The bodies were moved to other graves  in the
cemetery.There are ghost lights that thousands of people have seen zipping through the south end of the cemetery for over a century. The lights are real and unexplained. Any one can see the lights if they sit outside of the fence with a little patience after dark. So many bad things have happened in Greenwood Cemetery... .no wonder it is  haunted!  Some other haunts here are phantom funerals, mourners who aren't really there, cold spots,strange lights, mists, and high EMF readings (electromagnetic field).

HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED on my visit.
They day we visited was as hot as H-E double hockey sticks! It
was 102*. I had my Fuji camera and my Galaxy 8mp phone
camera. I had new batteries in my Camera. I had taken a
couple of pictures. We climbed the hill where the Civil War
soldiers had been washed out of the ground. I went to take
another picture and as I did the camera shut off. The batteries
were drained. You all know ghosts drain batteries! I always
carry 2 extra sets of freshly charged batteries, so I replaced
the batteries and started to take another picture, and it
wouldn't take a picture, it shut off again. I thought something
was wrong with the camera so I took the rest of the pictures
with my phone camera.


Close to the Civil war section where my other camera wouldn't
work, I got strange this strange mist you see on the lower right
side of this picture. Oh by the way, when I got home there were no pictures at all of Greenwood Cemetery on my Fuji camera, and my camera worked perfectly without changing the batteries left in from changing them at the cemetery.

Then on the side of another small hill, I got this strange light on the ground. It kinda sorta looks like a small white light in the center of a star. 
 There are lots of beautiful tombstones in Greenwood Cemetery. It used to be a place where people would like to walk or picnic on Sundays after church.
My favorite picture here is the one at the beginning of this story. It looks like it has at least two people in it. The first one I noticed was the one of a female mourner in a white dress and perhaps a white scarf on her head bowing with her hands either on the white stone in front of her or folded in front of her. She is standing behind a white tombstone. In front of her is a shiny white statue or stone with what looks like outstretched arms. She is almost under the part of the statue that sticks out. That statue or part of a tombstone or whatever it is, looks weird too. Here is a cropped picture.


 Could this be our Greenwood Bride? I put the full size picture as my desk top screen display. I was looking at it close one day and saw something else strange in the picture. It looks like a man by the top right side of the big tombstone in front, with a white shirt on and black pants. Is it another phantom mourner? Or could it be the groom looking for his bride?
Another picture that I think is kind of weird, there is a strange white thing in the center right side of the next picture...it looks like a white sheet ghost lol. It is hanging there above the second tombstone on the right, the one with the sunlight on it. I don't know what it could be, maybe it's light reflecting on a tombstone. Maybe it's a ghost wondering what I was doing.
  It was too hot outside to spend a long time there, although I was at Greenwood for about an hour and a half. I would like to go back on a nicer day, maybe when the daylight hours get shorter so I can hang around until after dark and wait for the lights that zip through the south end of the cemetery. That would be awesome to see! Could they be the spirits of the Native America's slaughtered there by the moonshiners? Or maybe the spirits of those washed down river during the flood looking for the rest of their remains or their tombstones? Maybe they are the Civil War soldiers whose remains were mixed together during the mudslide? Or maybe spirits of those soldiers buried before they were dead.
 What ever they are, they are real and I would love to see them...wouldn't you?