Illinois Witch’s Grave Has The Wrong Death Date, Do You Know Why?
The story of an Illinois woman's death in 1882 might be the only reason people still talk about a town that has been long gone.
St. Omer, Illinois has been gone since the late 1880s. In its heyday, the tiny town was home to close to 50 families, a general store, a blacksmith, and a post office. One of the last families to live in the area was the Barnes, who are buried in the cemetery.
The story behind the cemetery is chilling, to say the least.
One of the last residents to die was a widow, 23-year-old Caroline Barnes. Her husband Marcus died in a sawmill accident just a few months before her own death. The local legend is she was a practicing witch and she was hanged because of it, some say she was burned alive. Other sources say she died from pneumonia.
What makes this story super eerie is the grave in the cemetery.
The grave marker where Caroline and her husband are buried is a crystal ball on top of a pyre.
Pyre: a heap of combustible material, especially one for burning a corpse as part of a funeral ceremony.
Also, the stone allegedly glows at night when the moon is hidden by clouds. Several articles say melted candlewax can often be found on it. Apparently, people also practice rituals at the site.
Even more bizarre is the date of death listed for Caroline Barnes, the alleged witch. Did you notice it?
There's no way Caroline Barnes could have died on February 31, 1882. While some say this was a mere 1880s-typo, others disagree with creepy reasoning.
According to Atlas Obscura,
The impossible date is actually a preventative measure: The witch would rise again on her death date, but if her death date never came she wouldn’t reappear.
All the other graves face east to west, a typical Christian burial standard. This grave faces north to south. Is it because of the stone being knocked over or vandalized?
There is a Facebook page dedicated to St. Omer Cemetery.
[h/t AtlasObscura, Only In Your State]