Like Barrington’s Cuba Road, Munger Road in Wayne, Illinois sits at the periphery of the Chicago suburbs and has attracted many strange legends. The road itself penetrates deep into Pratts Wayne Woods and until recently was remote and not very well traveled. Rumors of abandoned houses and occult practices abound. Motorists have also reported being chased by a wolf with glowing red eyes as well as a vanishing Oldsmobile.
Perhaps the most famous legend centers on the now-defunct railroad tracks that intersect with Munger. The legend is a familiar one: three children pushed a baby carriage across the tracks just in time to save it from a passing train. Unfortunately, the children were killed. Today, if your car happens to stall on the tracks, phantom hands will push it to safety. While that is a common rural legend, a train did in fact derail nearby.
According to a former forest preserve employee interviewed by author Ursula Bielski for her book Chicago Haunts 3, an old abandoned house also sat north of the railroad tracks. Its owners left after a fire, and vandals and curious teens moved in. Naturally, they claimed the house was inhabited by Satan worshippers. The house was demolished in 2000.
“There was a hole in the floor where a fire had ruined the house for its inhabitants…” the forest preserve employee said. “There were numerous signs of vandalism and the discarded packages of masks and things which someone had used in a lame attempt to scare someone else.” He described the house as being two stories, white, and surrounded by large oak trees.
As mentioned earlier, rumors of a train derailment turned out to be true, although the old man who lived in a shack next to the railroad tracks was not crazed and his family was not killed, as some claimed. When the train derailed, it came to a stop against his home, but no one was injured.
The many legends of Munger Road formed the backdrop for the 2011 horror movie of the same name, written by Nicholas Smith and produced by Kyle Heller. In the film, two police officers from St. Charles hear about four teenagers who have gone missing while investigating the story of the children killed at the train crossing. They fear that a serial killer is involved in the disappearance of the teens.
According to locals, Munger Road used to be closed to traffic. Teenagers ventured down there to explore the abandoned houses and nearby woods. Today, the road is nicely paved and there is a steady flow of traffic.
That has not stopped the fascination with this place, however, and visitors remain convinced that ghostly children will push their cars safely over the railroad crossing. If you visit, you just might catch a glimpse of these phantoms in your rear-view mirror as you pass over the tracks.