- HISTORY & HAUNTINGS OF ILLINOIS -
THE GHOST OF LAKEY'S CREEK
Located in Southern Illinois is the small town of McLeansboro. For nearly 150 years, a headless rider has been seen haunting a concrete bridge that spans the murky waters of Lakey's Creek. Who is this phantom rider and why does he haunt here?
The creek was named after an early settler named "Lakey", who started construction on a cabin near the creek. The structure was to lie just a short distance from one of the major trails in those days, the road from Mt. Vernon to Carmi. Lakey made quick work of the cabin and always had time to stop and visit with neighbors who came calling. This was what he was doing one evening when he was last seen alive....
The next morning, some neighbors found his decapitated body propped up against a tree near the cabin. His bloody head was lying nearby and it appeared that Lakey's own ax had been the murder weapon. The killers, whoever they might have been, were never found. Lakey was buried next to his unfinished cabin... but he wouldn't stay in the grave for long.
The night after his funeral, two men were walking near the abandoned cabin when they spotted a headless figure on a large, black horse. The rider took his mount over the river and abruptly vanished. Two nights later, other travelers encountered the same ghost, giving rise to an enduring legend.
The frightening figure, which just may be Lakey's ghost still searching for justice, has appeared sporadically for more than a century. Today, a concrete bridge crosses the river where Lakey's cabin once stood. Do travelers still encounter his ghost here? Many area residents will assure you that both Lakey, and his legend, live on.
McLeansboro is located in the eastern part of Southern Illinois, in Hamilton County. Lakey's Creek runs through the town and a concrete bridge marks the locations of both the old cabin and the trail from Mt. Vernon to Carmi.
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