59White Cemetery, Barrington IL (north of Chicago)
- Nov 9, 2005This article appeared in the Tribune on Monday, concerning
White Cemetery. I've been to White two or three times (but never
at night) most recently in the summer of 2003; it was not locked then.
Graveyard haunted by ghost hunters
By Brendan McCarthy Tribune staff reporter Published November 7,
Officials seeking to safeguard a Barrington-area cemetery are
fighting a frustrating battle against what they say is a myth.
Ghosts. Spirits. Apparitions. Call them what you want. Local legend
has it that the 2-acre White Memorial Cemetery in Cuba Township,
in southwest Lake County, is haunted.
Township officials say no way, but dozens of people each month prowl
the cemetery, parking their vehicles along Cuba Road and using
strobe lights in an attempt to catch a glimpse of ethereal beings.
More than 20 people--including teenagers and middle-age ghost
hunters--have been arrested for trespassing in the last two months.
The nuisance has gotten so bad that township officials have permanently
locked the gates to protect the cemetery from vandalism and other
damage. The only people allowed in are family members, who are given
a gate key.
"It's a very unfortunate situation," said Priscilla Rose, township
clerk and member of the cemetery's board. "It's a nice country
cemetery that unfortunately has been the site of myths and legends.
I don't buy into all the stories though."
The busiest time of the year is October and November, Rose said,
citing Halloween and the Day of the Dead. In an effort to thwart
unauthorized visitors, the township has spent more than $10,000 on
a security system that includes motion sensors and cameras.
Lake County sheriff's police regularly patrol the cemetery. Because
it is continuously locked, anyone found inside without a key or
approval is charged with trespassing, Sgt. Christopher Thompson
"People are intrigued, curious, but what they don't realize is that
it has become bothersome," Thompson said. "Our position is that
although we find the folklore fascinating, it's our job to serve
and protect the area."
Thompson said he has not had any reports of ghost sightings from
"I don't think any of our deputies are afraid of the cemetery
assignment," he said.
On Halloween, an unspooky township highway commissioner sat in his
truck in the cemetery for eight hours, watching out for spooky
people seeking out spooky things.
"It was boring," said Tom Gooch, a longtime Barrington resident who
remembers hearing stories of White Cemetery ghosts as a child. "All
I saw was a lot of foolish people driving by with their lights off,
taking photos along the road, which is dangerous."
Gooch, who has relatives buried in the cemetery and believes in
"spirits but not ghosts," said everyone is worked up over a whole
lot of nothing. He wishes the local legend would fade away.
"Every time we get some press, some wacko climbs in his car convinced
he can see a ghost at midnight," Gooch said.
The cemetery is well-known among local ghost enthusiasts and is
featured on several Web sites.
"It's one of the most haunted sites in the region," said author
Dale Kaczmarek, president of the Ghost Research Society of Oak Lawn.
Kaczmarek has investigated the cemetery, and although he hasn't
found much in terms of ghosts, he believes it's haunted.
"There have been many reports of a phantom car that pulls up to the
main gates," he said. "Also there are reports of balls of light
that come up from the cemetery and float along Cuba Road."
The stories of White Cemetery are so rampant that a Palatine
independent film company, CNGM Pictures, has created two movies
based on the site.
But Gooch, a frequent cemetery visitor, and other officials aren't
happy with the attention.
"Those films are the result of an overactive imagination, similar
to whoever dreamed up the tooth fairy," he said. "The difference
is the tooth fairy is entertaining and doesn't harm anyone. These
films just stir up more myths."
"The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the
voices you are throttling today." -- August Spies, 1887
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