Cumberland Cemetery, located near the town of Wenona in Marshall County, is rumored to be the home of a headless lady, spook lights, and the ghost of a little girl. The cemetery itself is rich in history. It was the site of the first farm in Evans Township, and its rolling hills were once occupied by a fort built during the Black Hawk War to protect the nearby settlers from marauding Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo Indians.
Marshall County was settled comparatively late. Illinois became a state in 1818, but the first white settler in Evans Township, Benjamin Darnell, arrived there in 1828. The book Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties tells us that his nearest neighbor lived six miles away in what became Roberts Township.
Benjamin Darnell had ten children, including a 14 year old daughter named Lucy (the date of settlement given here, including Lucy’s age, is different than that given by Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk in the Illinois Road Guide to Haunted Locations. I believe my source to be more accurate).
Lucy took ill and died in 1829. Her family buried her on their farm, and her grave formed the cornerstone of Cumberland Cemetery. It is thought that the spirit of the first person (or animal) to be interred in a cemetery becomes its guardian. Perhaps that superstition explains the origin of the young girl’s ghost reportedly encountered in Cumberland?
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).
Saturday, October 15th – My appearance at the paranormal meet & greet in Charleston, Illinois kicked off the first event in a book tour I am dubbing the “Heartland is Haunted” tour. The event in Charleston was organized by Becky Guymon of the Illinois Metaphysical & Paranormal Society and featured groups from east-central Illinois. After the meet and greet, I conducted a tour of haunted places around Coles County. The event was an overwhelming success, and I’m very excited about my appearances all next week in the second leg of the book tour. “Heartland is Haunted” t-shirts are available for $14. Check out what Angela Howser of the Disclosure had to say about the event:
In keeping with the ‘spirit’ of things, we attended an event Saturday (10.15.11) in Charleston that was the kick-off of a week-long series of appearances for our columnist and friend, author/publisher Michael Kleen… he was downstate and continues to be a bit south of his stomping grounds of Rockford promoting his books of the paranormal and local history and legends.
Kleen will be giving cemetery tours and presentations as they pertains to local legends and reports of hauntings; later this week, October 22 ,he’ll be in [Macon] County with our friend Angie Johnson, who is conducting a tour of a local cemetery, Peck, which she’s leading the way in restoration of. In order to fund restoration, Angie is also conducting a ghost hunt, and has raised quite a bit of money with this fun and successful venture, all for the good of the cemetery preservation. Angie is emerging as a state leader in the Association for Gravestone Studies,a fascinating venture.
Upcoming tour dates, times, & locations:
Camargo Township Library in Villa Grove, IL
October 20, 2011 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Beads N Botanicals in Urbana, IL
October 21, 2011 – 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Barnes & Noble in Champaign, IL
October 21, 2011 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Book Warehouse in Tuscola, IL
October 22, 2011 – 1 to 3pm
Legends and Lore at Peck Cemetery
October 22, 2011 – 5:00pm – 8:00pm
The Streator Times posted an interview with me today about the May issue of the Legends and Lore of Illinois (on the “hatchet lady” of Moon Point Cemetery).
Check it out: http://mywebtimes.com/archives/ottawa/display.php?id=381419
My favorite quote: “For the record, no one threw hatchets at me while I was there.”
Thank you to everyone who came out and helped organize the book signing on Friday and Saturday night. Thank you to Willy Adkins and John Everson and also the guy who booked the event. I met a lot of cool people, saw some live music and a fashion show. It’s not every day that you get such a variety of artistic mediums displayed in one place. Here are a couple of pictures from Saturday night:
Michael Kleen, author of the Legends and Lore of Illinois, will be at Borders Books in DeKalb selling and signing copies of his brand new book Legends and Lore of Illinois: Case Files. This event will also feature other authors in the paranormal genre. Come meet Michael Kleen, buy a book, and stay and chat.
Here are the details:
Date: Friday, May 8, 2009
Time: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Borders Books
Street: 2520 Sycamore Rd
City/Town: DeKalb, IL
Things are a little hectic around here. As you can tell, I haven’t updated this website in about a month and a half, but I’ve never been the kind of person who rushes things just for the sake of it.
On January 1st I am officially announcing the start of the Black Willow Grove project, a fictional look at the Midwest’s “most haunted” town–Black Willow Grove. Each month will bring a new location to light. I will be posting pictures and background information on each of these locations, all culminating in a novel staring The Fallen from the Legends and Lore of Illinois. This novel will focus on The Fallen’s investigations into these places, so essentially what will be posted on this website is a large public brainstorming session.
Speaking of the Legends and Lore of Illinois, its brand new website will be launched at the beginning of the new year as well. This site will also be hosted on WordPress, and it will be easier to navigate and find what you are looking for.
The new issue of Black Oak Presents is also coming out on January 1. This will be the greatest issue to date, so don’t miss its release on www.blackoakmedia.org.
Finally, I am going to be working on a collection of my chapbooks called Michael Kleen’s Early Works, possibly edited by my father, et al. This book will contain several edited and updated versions of The Distance of Sorrow; Tales of Coles County, Illinois; Home of the Brave Part 1; and Six Tales of Terror. Getting all of these in one bound edition is a great deal! I’m looking forward to seeing it in print later on this year.
That’s all for now, see you in a few weeks.