Friday, November 07, 2008
For the uninitiated, Archer Avenue (also known as IL-171) is a stretch of road in the southwestern Chicago suburbs with an extraordinarily haunted reputation. From the legend of Resurrection Mary, the quintessential "ghost hitchhiker," to reports of mysterious chantings and ephemeral hooded figures gliding up a bluff at St. James Sag Cemetery, Archer Avenue is considered by many aficionados of the paranormal to be the "Ground Zero" of Haunted Chicago.
We visited St. James Sag (above, the bluffs where the mysterious hooded figures reportedly disappeared) right around Halloween, but the Willow Springs area is spooky year-round, from what we hear.
The intersection of Willow Springs Road and Archer Avenue, where we photographed these whimsical hearses outside the Ashbary Coffee House is a remarkably charming, quirky small town area near the Cook County Forest Preserves. If you find yourself at the Ashbary, be sure to check out the café library and upstairs meeting room - and try one of their delicious peanut butter lattés, a perfect warm-up for a chilly hike through the Willow Springs Woods.
(Be sure to click on the image for full resolution - the license plate reads "GREYL 80," and yes, the sign on the door does say, "Hearse Chicks Get More Stiffs". Claire from "Six Feet Under" would be proud!) For a fascinating look this eerie little corner of the Midwest's largest city, check out Ursula Bielski's excellent book Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City.
As Homer Simpson might say: "Mmmm...ghosts..."