It’s getting to be Halloween season, and that has our minds turning to hauntings. We’re not thinking about haunted houses, however. We’re more interested in haunted roads that can lead to spooks and accidents, such as Archer Avenue.
If you’ve ever traversed a dark, lonely road (and who hasn’t?), you know how creepy driving on them can be. However, some streets and highways out there seem like particularly haunted roads. One of these is Chicago’s famed Archer Avenue, which has been frightening drivers for years.
Chicago’s role in the automobile industry
While we generally think of Detroit as America’s auto capital, Chicago also played a significant role in developing this country’s “horseless carriage.” In fact, it is likely that the first auto show in the United States took place in the Windy City.
This first auto show was held in conjunction with a famous car race between Chicago and Evanston in 1895. That race actually provided the impetus for what would become a growing car industry in Chicago. At least 22 local car manufacturing companies were founded in the following five years, and at least 12 successfully produced vehicles.
In the subsequent decade, the car manufacturing industry took off even more in Chicago. At least 28 companies produced 68 models of vehicles during that time. However, the industry began to decline in the city around World War I as car manufacturing shifted to Detroit.
Archer Avenue’s haunted legacy
The Travel Channel reports several legends and ghost sightings related to Archer Avenue that are likely to make any traveler think twice before driving it alone. It’s apparently one of the most haunted roads in America.
Archer Avenue’s roots can be traced back to a Native American path that supposedly held magnetic powers. These days, drivers occasionally report spotting mysterious, hooded figures on Archer. They also have been known to encounter ghost hearses or “Disappearing Mary,” the ghost of a girl killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Chicago Hauntings offers a tour of this famous road, which they also say hosts “banshees, werewolves, phantom monks, and Chicago’s most famous ghost, the vanishing hitchhiker known as ‘Resurrection Mary,’ who is said to have burned her ghostly hands into the cemetery gate.”
Other haunted roads in Illinois
Illinois is actually home to quite a few haunted roads for those adventurous souls who dare to travel them. Q98.5 has shared some of their favorites with listeners.
First on their list is Kennedy Hill Road in Byron. Apparently, in 1980, motorists reported spotting a woman who became known as “The Phantom Lady of Kennedy Hill Road.” She soon disappeared, however, and has not been seen since.
Another famed haunted road in Illinois is Cherry Road in Oswego. A young couple took a sharp turn at the end of the road too fast and crashed after their prom. The young woman was killed, and supposedly, the young man wrote “help” on the road in his own blood. Travelers on the road have reported seeing the ghost of the unfortunate girl.
Finally, Lebanon Road in St. Claire and Madison Counties would be a great place to suggest a nice drive for your enemy. Boasting seven abandoned bridges, this road is often linked to the Seven Gates of Hell. Rumor has it that if someone drives under all seven bridges and enters the last one right at midnight, they will find themselves entering the gates of hell.
So if you’re bored this coming Halloween and have already hit all the haunted houses around you, maybe it’s time for a new spooky adventure on the road. You never know what sort of ghosts, goblins, and ghouls might show up outside your car window.