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Thread: Went to see the Chesterville "Witches" Grave

  1. #1
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    Went to see the Chesterville "Witches" Grave

    There is a legend in Chesterville, Illinois about an Amish woman who was banned from the church a hundred or so years ago for speaking out against the way Amish women were treated. They branded her a witch and banished her. She disappeared, only to be found dead in a cornfield. After letting everyone view the 'witches' body, they buried her in the Chesterville Cemetery, planted a tree on top of her grave (to keep her spirit from wandering) and put a wrought iron fence around her grave to warn people a witch was buried there. Supposedly, people have seen her spirit around her grave. When I read this legend online, I got very angry...not sure why. I don't think her spirit is at rest.
    This weekend, my daughter, her friend and I went to see her grave. It took us awhile once we found Chesterville to find the cemetery, but we finally found it. It is a very tiny cemetery out in the country, and sure enough, her grave was there. When we pulled into the cemetery (one tiny gravel lane), and stopped, it was very quiet. As soon as we got out of the van, millions (it seemed) of birds went nuts, screeching. We found her grave, it had a large square tombstone, very old and mossy, impossible to read...history, according to the websites about her, has forgotten her name. The tree was HUGH, it looked like two trees had grown into one massive one, like the old spooky trees you see in scary movies. The ground around the entire grave is at least six inches higher than the rest of the cemetery, as if something is slowly pushing the tree up and out of the soil. I really felt the anger and lonliness there, as if a great injustice has been done. I feel a real connection with this person, but also felt as if we were being pushed away from the cemetery. As soon as we got back into the van, before we even drove away, the birds stopped screeching. All of them at once. I can't get this person, the Chesterville Witch, (my daughter and one of my friends think her name was Sarah, I say Julie or Julia, but those are just...guesses?) out of my mind. Does anyone have any thoughts or insights on this?


    Milliscent
    _
    You say 'crone' like it's a bad thing...

    can't find what I'm looking for...maybe it's not there to find?

    Thank you Linx for the great Book of Shadows!!!

  2. #2
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    Go back an do a rubbing of the stone, you might find out her name and/or some other interesting info. Also check out the local Amish newsletters (If they print such things) from the time or copies of the local paper. They should have some info. Go to the local bar in the afternoon and question the old townsfolk. The Amish will most likely be no help, but you might try to speak to them too. If they'll talk to you they'll probably know a great deal more and remember it better than the other villagers. Also, what kind of tree is it? If its a hard wood and it's that huge it's most likley been there longer than a century. As for the birds, it's migration time. They'll be all around in strange noisy flocks for several weeks. If it hapopens agin on your next trip it'll start to get odd, but not once this time of the year.

    Maybe bring her something so she knows she's not alone. It's chilly out, I can't imagine a bit of brandy would go ill. Or research the Amish hex signs and bring one you feel is appropriate. Even just a sprig of rosemary would get your point across. But if you are this drawn to her maybe try to clear her name, or at least give her a name and make her innocence clear in the eyes of the world. Your could do a lot of good here both for her, other Amish women, and for the witchy folk.

    Salaam.

    Last edited by HolographicJoe; October 27th, 2004 at 02:24 PM.

  3. #3
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    The facts

    Quote Originally Posted by Milliscent
    There is a legend in Chesterville, Illinois about an Amish woman who was banned from the church a hundred or so years ago for speaking out against the way Amish women were treated. They branded her a witch and banished her. She disappeared, only to be found dead in a cornfield. After letting everyone view the 'witches' body, they buried her in the Chesterville Cemetery, planted a tree on top of her grave (to keep her spirit from wandering) and put a wrought iron fence around her grave to warn people a witch was buried there. Supposedly, people have seen her spirit around her grave. When I read this legend online, I got very angry...not sure why. I don't think her spirit is at rest.
    This weekend, my daughter, her friend and I went to see her grave. It took us awhile once we found Chesterville to find the cemetery, but we finally found it. It is a very tiny cemetery out in the country, and sure enough, her grave was there. When we pulled into the cemetery (one tiny gravel lane), and stopped, it was very quiet. As soon as we got out of the van, millions (it seemed) of birds went nuts, screeching. We found her grave, it had a large square tombstone, very old and mossy, impossible to read...history, according to the websites about her, has forgotten her name. The tree was HUGH, it looked like two trees had grown into one massive one, like the old spooky trees you see in scary movies. The ground around the entire grave is at least six inches higher than the rest of the cemetery, as if something is slowly pushing the tree up and out of the soil. I really felt the anger and lonliness there, as if a great injustice has been done. I feel a real connection with this person, but also felt as if we were being pushed away from the cemetery. As soon as we got back into the van, before we even drove away, the birds stopped screeching. All of them at once. I can't get this person, the Chesterville Witch, (my daughter and one of my friends think her name was Sarah, I say Julie or Julia, but those are just...guesses?) out of my mind. Does anyone have any thoughts or insights on this?


    Milliscent
    First, all you have to do is talk to a few of the residents of Chesterville to find out that this spirit is not at rest. It has been my experience, that the "Witch" is very hostile. My father-in-law was once a resident of the tiny town of Chesterville, living across the river from the cemetary. The first time I was first introduced to the "Witch" story, was the first time I visited him with my now wife. Let me tell you, the energy of this spirit is one not to mess with. During my time in Chesterville I witnessed countless "wierd" things. Including cat's acting in mysterious ways, the sightings of several different spirits, and several Amish spirits. Yes, the "witch" is an interesting topic to discuss. However, the truth of the matter is, this community (area) as many more dark secrets.
    I guess the point I am trying to make is be careful what you look for. You may find it, you may feel or see the Chesterville Witch or her energy. But sometimes, you may not like what you find. This is a very dangerous spirit. And she's just the one people talk about. Alot of tragedy as seen this town. Alot of pain and anger fills the spirits that still walk this towns streets. And sometimes, what you see is not what's there.
    I have a photo of what I believe to be the Chesterville Witch, if anyone is interested in viewing it.

  4. #4
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    The birds were probably going nuts because you were in trespassing on their territory. I've had birds fly at me, which is disconcerting, but once out of their area they settled down.

    When the Amish ostracize a member of their society it is complete, even their family won't speak to them again. It's as if they no longer exist so this poor woman really suffered the loss of her entire world and must still be absorbed in that anguish as well as anger at her treatment.
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  5. #5
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    http://tarotcanada.tripod.com/WitchPlumHollow.html

    This one is my area - pretty cool.

    Cheryl
    "There is no cry of pain without, at its end, an echo of joy. --Ramón de Campoamor (Spanish poet, 1817-1901)

    http://www.tarotcanada.ca

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FutureEndeavours - quarterly newsletter archive.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghosthunter
    I have a photo of what I believe to be the Chesterville Witch, if anyone is interested in viewing it.
    Can you post it here? I'd love to see it.
    ____________
    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.




  7. #7
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    Can you give the link to the website that you found about this woman? I want to see it.
    "I have a deep fondness for all paranormal......."

    "magick is the sweetest nectar of life................"

    "As above...So below...."

  8. #8
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    I did a web search for “Chesterville Witch”.

    This site has a photo of the grave, the fence, and the tree:

    http://www.prairieghosts.com/chestcem.html



    This site wonders if she was killed by “visual antes”.

    It has a different photo of the tree and fence.

    http://www.internationalsocietyofparanormalinvestigators.com/Chestvillewitch.html



    By the way, these sites say the Amish woman was “banished”.

    The usual practice is “shunning.”
    ____________
    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.




  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghosthunter
    First, all you have to do is talk to a few of the residents of Chesterville to find out that this spirit is not at rest. It has been my experience, that the "Witch" is very hostile. My father-in-law was once a resident of the tiny town of Chesterville, living across the river from the cemetary. The first time I was first introduced to the "Witch" story, was the first time I visited him with my now wife. Let me tell you, the energy of this spirit is one not to mess with. During my time in Chesterville I witnessed countless "wierd" things. Including cat's acting in mysterious ways, the sightings of several different spirits, and several Amish spirits. Yes, the "witch" is an interesting topic to discuss. However, the truth of the matter is, this community (area) as many more dark secrets.
    I guess the point I am trying to make is be careful what you look for. You may find it, you may feel or see the Chesterville Witch or her energy. But sometimes, you may not like what you find. This is a very dangerous spirit. And she's just the one people talk about. Alot of tragedy as seen this town. Alot of pain and anger fills the spirits that still walk this towns streets. And sometimes, what you see is not what's there.
    I have a photo of what I believe to be the Chesterville Witch, if anyone is interested in viewing it.

    Wow, new life for this thread!
    Oh, cool, a picture...I would love to see what she looks like, because I have this "minds-eye" view of what I think she looked like. And yes, unfortunately, the whole area around Chesterville (Arthur, Arcola, etc...) has a darkness to it that is hard to explain, something you have to feel for yourself. I think a lot of it has to do with the oppression against women in that area, and no, in traditional Amish communities, it has still not changed over the years. Women and girls are still raped and brutalized at the hands of male family members, and very little is done about it, except in the isolated, and I mean VERY isolated, cases that make it out of the community. As for the Chesterville Witch, I didn't feel threatened by her at all after I went back. I have been there several times since my first post, and can sense a strong presence there, but I never feel any anger directed at me. It is as if having her plight told to the world has appeased her somewhat. I have had some really strong visions concerning her, one so vivid, at the moment of her death. It was like I was actually looking through her eyes out across a barren cornfield. It seemed like very early fall or nearing spring. There was a breeze blowing a few blades of grass. and a bloodstain growing on her white apron. Hard to explain, but it was like I was in two places..seeing through her eyes, and seeing her on the ground, from above. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don't feel threatened at all by this spirit.
    She is almost like a friend.
    As for articals on her, the most "comprehensive" one I have read is in the book "Haunted Decatur Revisited" by Troy Taylor. It doesn't have a lot of info in it, but more than anywhere else. As for asking the residents in and around Chesterville, the Amish won't talk about her, and the rest only tell what is already known.
    Also, the pictures of her grave don't do it justice. You can see the upraised ground around her grave in them, but what it doesn't show is that the rest of the cemetery is flat. The tree, so massive it's limbs almost cover the entire cemetery, has grown THROUGH the wrought iron fence and one side of the fence seems to have been..?stolen? because it's not there anymore. Odd, because I could have swore it was there last year, but one side of the grave is competely open now.

    Warm Regards,
    Milliscent
    Last edited by Milliscent; September 13th, 2005 at 01:53 PM.
    _
    You say 'crone' like it's a bad thing...

    can't find what I'm looking for...maybe it's not there to find?

    Thank you Linx for the great Book of Shadows!!!

  10. #10
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    I am looking forward to seeing that pic!

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