Aux Sable is a quaint, garden-like cemetery tucked in the woods near Aux Sable Creek in Grundy County. Despite an otherwise mundane existence, it continues to be a point of contention between local youth and law enforcement, with paranormal tourists caught in the middle.
The legends associated with the cemetery are of the usual stock: strange car trouble, the ghost of a young child, and rumors of a gate to Hell. Aux Sable has yet to appear in any books on Illinois ghostlore, but it has been discussed and debated at length on numerous websites.
According to History of Aux Sable Township and Villages by D.A. Henneberry, Aux Sable Township was a hunting ground for Pottawatomie Indians before Europeans arrived. The first white settler in the area was Salmon Rutherford, a notable figure in pioneer Illinois. He arrived in 1833 and established the settlement of Dresden.
The land around Aux Sable Creek provided fertile soil for farming, a bountiful harvest of timber, and a large population of wild bees, which supplied honey for the settlers. The honey was made into an alcoholic beverage called Metheglin (otherwise known as mead).
The nearby town of Minooka was platted in 1852, but did not experience much growth until after 1858. Aux Sable Cemetery was probably in use around that time. Referring to the local residents, Mr. Henneberry wrote, “religion has taught them to subdue any evil tendencies they may have ever had with very noticeable results.”
But this suppression of evil tendencies did not prevent rumors from spreading about satanic worship at Aux Sable Cemetery. In the 1980s, a moral panic over Satanism gripped rural Illinois, so a remote cemetery, hidden from prying eyes and a favorite drinking spot for teens, was a natural incubator for such rumors.
The most notable story at Aux Sable concerns the ghost of a young girl that has been seen lurking around the cemetery. According to the Shadowlands Index of Haunted Places for Illinois, the ghost will only appear if you get out of your car.
The story has generated a lot of discussion on Strangeusa.com, where contributors reported that, recently, someone removed the headstone of a six year old girl and left it on the playground of an elementary school. They allege the ghost belongs to this particular girl.
An anonymous visitor to Strangeusa.com, claiming to own the property around the cemetery, had this to say: “Whether your [sic] a ‘paranormal investigator’, hallunicnating [sic] drug addict or just kids looking for a fun time, please stay out of the woods.” A search of the Morris Daily Herald shows that police have arrested visitors numerous times in the past few years.
The stories of Aux Sable are too many to list in detail here, but one thing is for certain, hundreds of people risk arrest to explore this remote location. Perhaps it is the perception of danger that keeps them coming back for more.