Illinois October 12, 2018
These 8 Freaky Tales About Illinois’ Most Notorious Witches Will Chill Your Bones
This October is the perfect time to read up on some creepy stories. We’ve got eight freaky tales about notorious witches that have lived in Illinois, and they’re not for the faint of heart.
These ancient legends are traditional Illinois folklore that everyone in the state should know well. Scroll on to check them out.
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1. The St. Omer Witch Grave
Back before any of us were born, there was a woman named Caroline Barnes who was accused of being a witch in the town of Ashmore, Illinois. In the 1880s, she was hanged and then buried alive when she would not die. The strangest thing about this witch grave is that it lists an impossible date of death: February 31. It is believed this was done because legend says spirits would rise again on the day they died, so this seeming mistake was possibly done to prevent Barnes from returning. Additional clues that make everyone believe this is the grave of a witch are that is faces north and south and that it is shaped like an orb atop a pyre. Decide for yourself if you think this woman was really a witch by checking out previous coverage of this creepy tale
2. Mary Worth
This old legend is believed to be the origin of "Bloody Mary," the woman whose face you see (and who may kill you, depending on your lore) when you chant her name three times while looking in a mirror while standing in the dark. This is one of the most notorious witches in the world, let alone Illinois. Legend has it that Worth would kidnap and torture runaway slaves and that when locals found out, they burned her to death. Many believe her body was buried on her property. When a family inhabiting the property moved a stone to use it as a front step, ghost activity began. The house, which was located west of Gurnee in Lake County, proceeded to burn to the ground in 1986 and no other structure has successfully stood since.
3. Eva Locker
In the 1830s, the Southern Illinois county of Williamson was plagued with a traditional witch who performed many spells to terrorize the area. She was known for stealing milk by hanging a towel over a barn door, sending children and the elderly into fits, and causing all sorts of other malaise that overcame the locals. She is one of the most notorious witches from Illinois for these reasons. Eva Locker was even known to kill cows by magically filling their stomachs with hair balls. Legend says she was killed by Charley Lee, a notorious witch hunter, who shot an effigy of her with silver bullets.
4. The Williams Sisters
These are two of the most notorious witches in Illinois for the incredible feats they were witnessed achieving. They were known to eat flies, talk to each other in made-up languages, and dance on the edge of their roof at night. It was reported that they would perform impossible acrobatic feats and scream and shriek. The sisters claimed it was an old woman who lived down the street from them who made them do those things. Hundreds of people claimed to see the dances, and it was even reported in the papers. Whether they were witches or good actors is up to you.
This tale is one of disaster and sorrow. It is believed that Beulah was a school teacher when her schoolhouse caught fire and all the children inside died. The town blamed her for the event, and she felt so much shame and guilt that she bought the burnt schoolhouse and used it as her home. Legend says she went crazy due to the accident and that she would often call out the names of children through the woods. It is also rumored that she kidnapped teenagers and tortured them in her home. Regardless, her house in Rockford is haunted with her restless spirit.
A man bought 500 slaves and brought them to Monroe County, Illinois in the 1720s. Some of the people living nearby believed the slaves had powers. When one of the slaves owned up to it, claiming to summon the devil and speak with the dead, he was tried and put to death for voodoo. As we all know the Salem Witch trials did not actually result in any hangings, this is the only case of execution for witchcraft in the history of the United States.
7. Chesterville Witch
This tale involves a conservative Amish town and a liberal woman who spoke out against the church in the early 1900s. She turned up dead shortly after making her beliefs known, and it is likely because her peers thought she was a witch. Her grave is situated in the Chesterville Cemetery and is overgrown with a large oak tree. Many believe this was done to prevent her spirit from taking revenge on the community. There have been reports of her ghost lurking around the cemetery, but she has not been seen elsewhere in town, so the tree many have worked.
8. Black Annie
What is now a cautionary tale that parents tell their children was once the story of one of the most notorious witches in the Midwest. The woman behind this ghostly figure is believed to be a local who was run off her land when Mount Vernon locals thought she was threatening their livestock. In subsequent years, there was a massive tornado that killed more than 30 people while injuring at least 800 more. Many reported seeing a woman in black wondering through the debris while crying and screaming. Later, in the early 1900s, reports of a woman grabbing people in the streets started to surface, and many, whether they believed it or not, said it was Black Annie.
For more creepy tales, check out
10 urban legends from Illinois that will keep you awake at night.
What other notorious witches do you know about? Share your favorite stories with us below in the comments.