Many thoroughfares are associated with local legends, but this Chicago-area road is known for so many uncanny events that it frequently turns up on lists of the scariest roads in America. Drivers on Archer Avenue say they’ve seen ghoulish monks, ghostly horses, and something called the “gray baby.”
The source of the hauntings, however, is much older than most think.
Supposedly, Archer Avenue is built on Ley lines—lines that long-forgotten groups of people drew between important monuments. These lines are said to channel all of the earth’s energy, both spiritual and alive, around the planet, like rivers of surging spectral energy. Many believe that building on this Ley line has caused the road’s history of hauntings, which began as early as 1934.
The street itself is just, well, a street. Yet, this twisted avenue seems to hold some of the most haunted experiences Illinois has to offer. It begins in Lockport and winds all the way north into the edge of Chicago’s China Town.
The stretch of Archer Avenue between St. James Catholic Church and Resurrection Cemetery is the area where visitors are most likely to encounter its best-known resident, Resurrection Mary.
Reportedly, Mary is the ghost of a young woman on her way to a ball. An oncoming driver struck her, which resulted in her death. There have been dozens of reports of Mary hitching rides with drivers and then entirely vanishing into the Resurrection Cemetery near Chicago. There are no explanations for this occurrence, and no malicious intent has been heard of when speaking of the spirit.
Then, there is Sacred Heart Cemetery. Sacred Heart is a small graveyard dating back to the time when farms still dotted this area. It can be found along Kean Avenue in Crooked Creek Woods, south of the haunted intersection. 103rd Street dead-ends in front of the cemetery. Out of all the stories in the Archer Avenue “triangle,” Sacred Heart might be home to the most incredible: the strange tale of the “grey-haired baby” of Sacred Heart Cemetery.
According to Richard Crowe, the legend began in the 1950s. Allegedly, a man and his wife died in a car accident near the cemetery. Their baby somehow survived by being thrown from the vehicle and stays in the forest preserve, feeding off the local wildlife. Sometimes on moonlit nights, passing motorists catch a glimpse of a hairy creature in their headlights, and equestrians riding on the nearby trail report something unseen spooks their horses.
Another version of the legend takes a more supernatural turn. A woman named Terrie told Richard Crowe that in the 1970s, locals believed a werewolf to be buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery. A small, nondescript stone in the graveyard corner appeared to be set apart from the others. This gravestone is the source of the rumor. Moreover, the fence near this grave is purposefully bent downward. Terrie said, “Rumor was this was so the werewolf could get in and out.”
The surviving feral child version of the tale almost makes the story seem plausible. After all, there are documented cases of children raised by animals, but how long could such a person stay hidden at the outskirts of a metropolis like Chicago? It’s been over five decades. Nevertheless, many believe that they encountered something strange and mysterious lurking in the woods around Sacred Heart.
Archer Avenue, to say the least, is one busy supernatural roadway. If you are in Chicago, it may be worth a drive. Who knows? You may meet an ethereal hitchhiker or spot a Lipan.
Until Next Time,
Sources: mysteriousheartland.com; The Hartford Extra Mile; Blueprint, soutblueprint.com