Around town with Judy Martini: Lake County’s most haunted places

The gloomy, rainy weather last week was the perfect time for a trip to some of Lake County's most haunted places. Believe in ghosts or not, the tour had many interesting historical elements to it and was well worth braving the stormy weather for. The event, a recent bus tour held in Northern Lake County by Nick Sarlo of Shadow Hunters and Ursula Bielski, author of Tales of Haunted Chicago. After a seminar at the Lake Villa Library, attendees took off from The Lodge in Antioch with over 50 attendees who braved the weather which was perfect for a haunting. The Lodge, which legend says may be haunted, is located on Main Street in Antioch and at one time was the home of Al Capone's tavern and gambling house. The story was that Capone's building had faced three fires or bombings during the mob years of Chicago and that mobsters would come out to the Chain O'Lakes area to hide out from the law. Folklore says that there are tunnels under the Main Street area that lead up to Antioch High School and were used to smuggle things for the mob or to hide-out, and at one-time used for transportation of slaves.

Our next stop was the historic Lehman Mansion in Lake Villa. An old brick building on the site is said to be a slaves quarters. We then toured an area in the Painted Lakes subdivision, where it was said that Indian burial mounds and trails were once used by the Indians to go up through the Chain O'Lakes area and up to Fontana, Wisconsin. The tour then took us to St. Patrick’s Cemetery up by Wadsworth, which is called Devils Pool. Myth says the woods near the cemetery are the location where a witch named Mary Worth was buried outside the cemetery because locals would not allow her to be buried inside the cemetery.

The tour proceeded to the Golden Pyramid House near Wadsworth, which is a huge 6 story golden structure which was built by the Onan family. The Pyramid House is said to contain hidden powers and that the College of Lake County completed a study which showed that plants grew three times faster at the location because of the positive energy the pyramid contains. We proceeded to Great America which was said to have many haunting experiences because of the roller coasters and that several people had died there when the Demon Thrill Ride got stuck.

There were over 30 possible stops in Lake County for paranormal events but because of the weather and traffic our final stop was the scariest location - The Gate in Libertyville. Folklore has it that this is the location where a teacher went crazy killing, decapitating then impaling four of her students on the gate leading into the school off of Rt. 120 back in the early 1900's. The old school was torn down in 1982 and is near the Lake County Forest Preserve’s Independence Grove.

If you missed this tour, there will be another ghost tour held later in the year, you can check out there Facebook for upcoming events. Nick Sarlo, a Lake County native, will be filming his new TV show, True Ghost Stories, and it will be aired on TV this Fall. You might just see something about Lake and McHenry County on the show that you didn't know about.