Illinois December 14, 2016
We Dare You To Take This Road Trip To Illinois’ Most Abandoned Places
With the rich history of the Prairie State it’s not surprising that there are some pretty creepy abandoned spots throughout the state that will pique the interest of ghost hunters and history buffs alike. Prepare for your hair to stand on end as you make this heart-thumping pilgrimage across Illinois to these incredible forsaken locations. The interactive map is
here if you would like to change the starting point or alter the stops you make.
1. Devil’s Gate, Libertyville
As legend has it, behind the iron gates once stood a school. While the story surrounding Devil’s Gate may change a bit depending on who tells it, they all still tell the tale of a lunatic who jumped over the fence and kidnapped several girls. He later beheaded the girls and placed their heads on the spikes that are still at Devil’s Gate today. Whenever the moon is full they say that the heads of the kidnapped girls appear on the spikes.
2. Damen Silos, McKinley Park
It’s hard to believe that these creepy silos are actually located right in the city of Chicago, but they give you a quick glimpse into the kind of industrial landscape of Chicago’s rich past. These grain elevators have been sitting abandoned since the late '70s after a large explosion left the silos with severe damage. Despite being a tad disturbing it’s become a popular place for photographers, artists and even filmmakers to go.
3. Axeman’s Bridge, Crete
You could easily pass by this bridge that spans Plum Creek and not think much of it, but this place is involved in some rather interesting and disturbing local lore. Some residents say that a man nicknamed “Axeman” would kill kids that he found trespassing on his land, while others will tell you that the man actually lived in a nearby now-abandoned house. Legend has it that the man chopped up his family and then killed police officers when they came to the home. He was later shot and killed on the old bridge by a team of police offers. There are still remnants of the home near these woods.
4. Manteno State Hospital, Manteno
Once a psychiatric hospital in this rural town in Kankakee County, this place is believed to be one of the most haunted places in Illinois. What made Manteno State Hospital a bit different from other mental hospitals during the 1930s is that patients were given the medical attention they needed in a cozy, peaceful setting while also learning how to grow crops to help them gain unique skill sets. Then in 1939 typhoid fever got ahold of the patients. As if this wasn’t bad enough, this hospital became a testing facility for government psychiatrists who wanted to test malaria and untreated STDS in the 1950s. The hospital’s psychiatrists also performed electric shock therapy and lobotomies, and the ice tubs can still be found where they submerged schizophrenics to treat their hysteric episodes.
5. Peoria State Hospital, Bartonville
Also referred to as the Bartonville Insane Asylum, this place was run by Dr. George A. Zeller who focused on more humane ways to treat mental illness. Whenever a patient would die at the hospital one of the patients, A. Bookbinder, was responsible for helping with the burial. He mourned everyone who passed away and when Bookbinder himself died, Dr. Zeller and staff had reported seeing the ghost of Bookbinder mourning his very own funeral. They even had to open up his casket to make sure he was still inside (which, of course, he was!).
6. Vishnu Springs, Colchester
If you are fortunate enough to make a right turn along the La Moine River then you may just end up in Vishnu Springs, a town that was once a popular place for those looking to enjoy the tranquility of the rural life while also partaking in the healing waters from the springs. If you go to Vishnu Springs today you won’t be greeted with homes or storefronts. Only an old hotel remains as proof that this area was once a home for some. People who’ve come here have spotted a woman all in black 19th-century clothing and the echoing sounds of a blacksmith’s hammer in the stables near the hotel.
7. Ashmore Estate, Ashmore
This estate was first an almshouse before it was sold in 1959 and became a psychiatric facility. The psychiatric home didn’t last more than five years before it was shut down. A few years later it gained new ownership and underwent some structural changes and additions. Unfortunately, financial hardship caused the hospital to close its doors again in 1989. As of 2006, the Ashmore Estate was purchased and turned into a haunted house. You can now stay overnight in this place that offers up tales of pagan rituals and dismembered bodies. If you dare, stay overnight to experience some ghostly activity of your own.
8. Hickory Hill Plantation, Equality
Also known as the Old Slave House, this Southern Illinois plantation was once owned by John Crenshaw during the early 1800s. Crenshaw was believed to have taken free blacks and runaway slaves and locked them up on the 3rd floor of this plantation home. The chains that were attached to the floor remained until around World War I, when the metal rings and bondage might have been sold for scrap. Those who’ve stayed in the home have heard ear-piercing screams echoing throughout the house, as well as deep moans that were loud enough to shake the attic walls. Around the 1920s, an exorcist was believed to have gone into the house to rid the place of spirits but quickly fled and died of fright a few hours later.
It’s amazing how many buildings with such a rich history have been left behind to wither and decay here in Illinois, so naturally it’s impossible to pinpoint them all. Is there one place that wasn’t on the list that is a must-see for anyone willing to make this spine-tingling trek? If so, we want to hear about it in the comments.