Thursday, October 25, 2007We're big fans of cemeteries (great places to visit, wouldn't want to live there), and we recently discovered Graceland (at Clark and Irving Park) just reopened after a major cleanup following August's violent tree-felling storms.
While it's not as large or old as our old fave, Rosehill, it's much, much creepier for some reason. We took a short trip there this past weekend, and had the strange feeling we were being followed, even though no one was around whenever we looked behind us...probably just a trick of the acoustics, as the "L" tracks adjoin Graceland's east wall and the wind seems to play odd tricks.
It doesn't help matters that one of the first monuments that greets you is the tomb of Henry Graves, one of Chicago's first settlers from Ashtabula, OH. (read Henry Graves' obituary from the September 1st, 1907 edition of the New York Times) Nothing wrong with Graves' grave, except that it's fronted by the spectacularly eerie Lorado Taft sculpture*, "Eternal Silence" (above) - an amalgam of Destiny from Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Dickens' Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, and the Grim Reaper sans scythe. A cursory bit of research confirms that yes, the statue does indeed represent Death.
Graceland Cemetery is reputed to be one of Illinois' most haunted, but normally I don't place too much stock in that. However I do have a rather freaky story. We were followed - slowly - for several minutes...by a white balloon.
The balloon eventually blew over to the razor wire separating the train tracks from the "cheap seats" and died a violent death. Click the YouTube links, and watch the carnage for yourself. I wish I could say that no balloons were harmed in the making of this video, but I'd be lying.
* If you don't think "Eternal Silence" is creepy, consider the fact the figure stands about 9 feet tall. RuPaul's got nothin' on old E.S.