Springdale Cemetery - Atlas Obscura

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Springdale Cemetery

This graveyard is home to the so-called "Witch's Circle." 


This sprawling cemetery, which dates back to 1855, is the final resting place of more than 78,000. But it’s best known for a series of spine-tingling rumors and allegations of occult activity. 

In the middle of this cemetery is a large grave site only accessible by foot that some call the Witch’s Circle. You must walk through a path surrounded by a savannah until you stumble across the grave marked A.S. Cole. The family was once one of the richest in Illinois, having been alcohol manufacturers, but now their family name is associated with witchcraft. The family itself is innocent, but the circle has been rumored to be the site of many witch gatherings for decades now. 

In the 1930s, a woman went missing, only for her body to be found dead in the cemetery. This did in fact happen and there are many news articles documenting the murder and the trial of the man who killed her. He was later executed in Joliet, Il for her murder as well as other crimes he committed. Some say she wanders the cemetery at night and sits at the gazebo near the Whispering Woods pet cemetery.

One final legend is that the grave marked by the last name Purple belongs to a warlock said to return at some point. He was an Illinois Supreme Court Justice during the Civil War era who had a reputation of being extremely mean and wicked. This is why he is rumored to have practiced witchcraft and as a preventative measure, his grave contains many large rocks in a pile to keep him underground. 

Some less spooky information is that this cemetery was a part of the rural movement. This can be seen by the way the paths go through woods and up hills. There was also once a lake within the cemetery, but it has been gone for decades now. Abraham Lincoln himself admired the cemetery and at one point thousands of people would wander its grounds by foot or carriage every Sunday. Those times have long passed, but it remains a hidden relic that locals still enjoy today.

Know Before You Go

There are two entrances; however, the secondary one is usually closed. The main one is accessible off of North Prospect Road. Also, there are a lot of pedestrians and bikers so beware while driving. 

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