I had the pleasure of joining Doug and Linda Cannon, along with more than 20 other interested people on Sunday, October 21, for the Ghost Walks of Palatine.
After a brief introduction into the ghost world, as the Cannon's see it, we were on our way to do some ghost walking in downtown Palatine.
Near Smith and Colfax. During WWII, there were plastics factories on Colfax right at the bend as you travel from Smith toward Quentin Road. A worker walking to work, wearing coveralls and holding a metal lunch box, was hit and killed by a car at that very bend. He wasn't found until the next day, and Linda says there have been numerous reports of a man with coveralls holding a lunchbox seen in front of car headlights at night in the vicinity.
Former Palatine House Restaurant. A Palatine House Restaurant (formerly located near the train tracks by where Durty Nellies is today) patron who also was an avid jogger each morning in the early 1970's, was found dead in a grassy area off Northwest Highway near McDonalds. Many at the time thought her estranged husband did her in. In 1971, a group of customers at Palatine House Restaurant reported seeing that woman jogging by, though she had been dead for some time.
Hillside Cemetery. Linda and Doug once lived in an apartment across from the cemetery on Smith Street just north of Colfax. In the 1920's on New Year's Eve, a couple dressed up and headed out for a New Year's celebration were in a Model A. The car went out of control and both of them were killed right in front of the cemetery. There have reportedly been numerous sightings of a couple in a Model A dressed to the nines during many a New Year's Eve night over the years.
Palatine began as a farming community, and in the early days, Linda explained mortality rates were high and burials simply occurred on the family's farmland. Many of the burial locations were forgotten over the years as people lost their farms and couldn't afford to move their deceased family members' bodies. This reportedly explains the shadowy figures that are many times observed, especially in downtown Palatine where the family farms used to exist, according to Linda.
At the corner of Wood and Brockway, Linda told the group about a former male Palatine High School student in the 1940's. He whistled all the time, and once he graduated he was off to serve in WWII, leaving his girlfriend behind. While he was gone, the girlfriend met someone else, got married and had a child. When "the Whistler" arrived back home, he learned of this, and hung himself from the tree on the grassy, empty, intersection today. According to Linda, many people have reported hearing loud whistling in that area, especially at night.
Cutting Hall. Two ghosts, according to the Cannon's, have hung about Cutting Hall over the years.
In 1953, a 16-year-old girl working behind the scenes of a production ran up the stairs, fell backwards and was killed. She was wearing a plaid skirt at the time of her death, and numerous people have reported seeing her at Cutting Hall. In 1967, Charles Cutting, who Cutting Hall was named after, had been dead for 35 years. When the nearby Palatine High School (now Village Hall) lunchroom wall collapsed, employees rushed to fortify the wall so the students could finish their lunch. Someone took a picture, and a man in it looked eerily similar to Charles Cutting. Whoever he was, Linda said he was seen helping the workers mend the wall.
Firefighters' Memorial. The Firefighters' Memorial/monument located in downtown Palatine is a sad remembrance of the loss of five firefighters. Two were killed in 1946 when on a call their truck was hit by a train, dragging them to near where the monument stands today. Three others were killed in 1973 in the tragic Ben Franklin Fire. Cannon said orbs and shadowy figures are seen often near the memorial area.
Shay's Closet. The building where Shay's Closet (close to formerly) located dates back to 1875. Throught the years, many pictures taken in and right outside the building have included a short, overweight man. Cannon said it is believed he is a previous owner of the property, who has been dead for a number of years.
The Palatine Ghost Walk is concluded for the season, but be sure to look them up next year to learn more about these and many other stories shared during the walk. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, next time you travel to these locales around downtown at night, they might make you think twice about spirits.