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The 7 Creepiest Graves in Chicago's Infamous Graceland Cemetery

There are strange stories and ghosts around every corner ...

Built in 1860, Graceland Cemetery is an enormous cemetery on the city’s north side. Covered with willow trees that seem to hide ghosts at every corner, this sprawling park is full of famous Chicagoans and even more infamous haunts. Some of the country’s creepiest burial sites are located inside the Graceland Cemetery, from a statue that cries to a monk that will show you your own death.

Dexter Graves, The Eternal Silence

chicago graceland cemetery
  • Photo Credit: Richie Diesterheft / Flickr (CC)

Does it get much creepier than a monk with a blackened face as your final resting spot? Maybe if the artist also named the statue “The Eternal Silence”. And, maybe, if you consider that local lore says that bad things happen to anyone who attempts to take a picture of Dexter’s final resting place. According to legend, your camera might break or you will find a blurry photo if you try to capture the monk's solemn visage. Another tale? If you look directly into the monk’s eyes, you will see a split second vision of your own death.

Related: 12 Haunted Cemeteries to Visit Before You Die 

Daniel Burnham's Private Island

chicago graceland cemetery
  • Photo Credit: Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner / Flickr (CC)

Daniel Burnham’s incredibly isolated grave will give you an uneasy feeling. The famous city planner, who redesigned Chicago after the Great Fire and created the famous Flatiron in NYC, is buried across a bridge out onto an island on the pond. The grave itself sits under a weeping willow, adding to its detachment from the rest of the crowded burial ground. 

The Palmer Mausoleum

chicago graceland cemetery
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This huge mausoleum looks like a Greek temple dedicated to wealthy Chicagoans Potter Palmer and his wife Bertha Honore Potter. While it’s a stunning monument to the couple, visitors report that standing in the mausoleum fears them with dread. It’s been called eerily quiet and even colder than the rest of the cemetery. The mausoleum is so creepy that it was even featured in the 1978 Omen sequel, Damien.

Related: 9 Underrated Paranormal Books That Will Get Under Your Skin 

Victor Lawson, The Crusader

chicago graceland cemetery
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Victor Lawson is buried here, but the stone monument of a knight in shining armor holding a sword and shield looks like it belongs to another era. Victor Lawson was a pioneering Chicago newspaper publisher who revitalized the Chicago Daily News. Lawson is forever remembered by this knight who, seemingly, could come to life at any moment. 

The Getty Tomb

chicago graceland cemetery
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Henry Garrison Getty, a lumber baron, made his wife, Carrie Eliza, this peaceful resting place. It remains one of the most admired tombs at Graceland Cemetery. Famous architect Louis Sullivan (who is also buried at Graceland) designed the elaborate tomb complete with intricate circles etched into the sides. The tomb is best recognized by its turquoise iron gates that appear to lead to nothing—simply blackness that alludes to what is inside.

Related: Tombs of Tinseltown: 6 Haunting Los Angeles Cemeteries 

Bruce Goof's Futuristic Stone

chicago graceland cemetery
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Bruce Goff was a futuristic mid-century architect who took his signature style with him to the grave. His marker differs from others on this list, as it doesn’t look Gothic or even particularly threatening. Rather, it looks like something meant to lure space aliens. It’s a stone triangle with a greenish crystal rock sitting on the top of it. It’s the kind of grave that hints that visitors might be out there.

Inez Clarke: The Girl Who Didn't Exist

chicago graceland cemetery
  • Photo Credit: leyla.a / Flickr (CC)

This might be the most famous grave in the cemetery, not just because of the eerily alive stone child encased in glass. According to most stories, Inez was a little girl who was struck by lightning while playing outside. Her distraught parents wanted her grave to be a perfect stone replica of their little girl. Employees of Graceland swear that this might be more than a replica: The restless soul of Inez might also be present. Some employees have claimed that whenever there is a storm, her statue disappears—leaving only an empty glass box. Visitors claim to hear a little girl crying when they visit. 

The problem with these claims is that its quite hard to prove Inez Clarke actually existed. Census reports of the era show no records of an Inez Clarke of any age at the time that she was recorded to be alive. The gravestone is marked by the artist “A. Gagel”, leading some experts to conclude that this grave is actually just an advertisement for the artist’s work. 

The cemetery itself shows no record of an Inez Clarke actually being buried there. According to their documents, a little boy named Amos Briggs is buried in the plot. It is, however, possible that Inez was buried with her grandparents’ surname, Briggs, with the Amos record being a misread version of Inez. In any case, whoever does reside in the grave is not resting quietly.

Related: Haunted Grounds: Bonaventure Cemetery and the Ghost of Gracie Watson 

Featured photo: Colleen McMahon / Flickr (CC); Additional photos: Richie Diesterheft / Flickr (CC); Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner / Flickr (CC); leyla.a / Flickr (CC)

Published on 31 Jul 2017

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