Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Lifestyles

February 20, 2009

Real Folklore

Rumors of hauntings and paranormal encounters may forever be connected with Effingham’s Ramsey Cemetery, also known as Casbar Cemetery, yet one investigator recently published an article trying to explain some of those rumors.

Michael Kleen, author of “Legends and Lore of Illinois,” featured Ramsey Cemetery as his February case file. Kleen, a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, refers to his job title as a folk historian.

“That means that I examine the history of a place from the perspective of the people living there. To me, their stories are just as important as names and dates, but you can’t have one without the other,” Kleen said.

In “A Quick and Dirty Guide to Ramsey Cemetery,” Kleen explained some of the possible origins to the rumors. Two of the most popular stories linked with the cemetery are tales of a werewolf and a man in a black cloak with red glowing eyes. Kleen thinks the tale of the werewolf may be associated with the less desirable groups of people who used to take up residence in the woods and caves near Ramsey Cemetery.

“As I explain in the ‘Legends and Lore of Illinois,’ Effingham County had a reputation in the 1800s as being a rough and tumble area. A lot of times, individual thieves or gangs would make their homes in the backwoods and among these kinds of rock shelters,” Kleen said.

And what of the man with a black cloak and glowing red eyes?

“His appearance might have something to do with the occult activity that is rumored to take place in the cemetery at night, or he might dwell in a more earthly realm — in the mind of local visitors,” Kleen wrote in his article.

Kleen also has heard of another story surrounding Ramsey Cemetery that could possibly link the stories together. According to this tale, a warlock was supposedly hung from an old oak tree near the cemetery.

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