What can I say about St. James that will adequately describe it and not detract from it as an active site and a registered historic landmark?…I chose the designation of trip ten because like most of the others I have usurped in the area as one of my ongoing sites, I have lost count so it seemed like a legitimate approximation …The legend associated with this location as promulgated by the links below is founded on the police reports of between 8-10 hooded “monk” figures ascending the tombstone dotted incline before coalescing into the twilight darkened summit that lies beyond the church perched regally atop the hill …one particularly compelling incident was reported by patrolling officers at 2:30 am on the Friday before thanksgiving 1977 when he personally witnessing the retreating specters vanish beyond the limiting illumination of the overhead parking lot lights at the time …I have ruminated on the historic implications associated with this area recently as it is in close proximity to the Canal Junk Yards, Fairmount and The Willow Brook Ballroom (Resurrection Mary) …The tumultuous labor disputes surrounding the I&M Canal system, the Native American trial and waterway transportation routes and even the close proximity of a Mob burial ground that was discovered and excavated in the 80′s that has strangely resurfaced from the archival depths of my long term memory and I will elaborate on in a future blog …
The decision to make a Sunday morning visit to St. James was tempered by the desire to interject some energy variable into my long term repeat locations and as I got a few shots of the late morning Mass attendees as they filed languidly into the church from inconspicuous vantage point across the parking lot I realized that this decision would likely at least provide some interesting holiday season base photos … My batteries drained more rapidly than usual on this blustery early December morning and as I have experimented this in the summer there , I was hard pressed to attribute it to the cold weather exclusively …the parking lot was rapidly filing to capacity and even spilling over into some of the auxiliary parking alternatives along the front gate partially because of a craft show that was commencing in the old parsonage building next to the entrance …
The PA system that broadcasts the Mass out into the cemetery leads one to wonder if the sermons and eerie organ dirges accompanying the congregation singing the selected hymns of the service are intended to be shared with the cemeteries dead or is it intended to ward off something else altogether? …I have always found the continued presence of St Michael’s prayer and medieval rendering of the Arch Angel poised to impale the devil featured prominently on the main page of the churches website ominous and conspicuous by its seeming inappropriateness… A more heretical interpretation of the hooded spectral “monk” figures sighted there in the past alludes to the vexing prospect of this being related to the reports of satanic rituals involving animal sacrifices in the woods beyond the church grounds …
An evening of incessant snow days after the Sunday morning visit enticed me back the following Thursday AM to add some shots of the grounds blanketed in white has made this the first time I have made two separate trips to a site to add to the opening narrative base photos and may set a president for certain future endeavors …the debilitating cold drained the batteries even more quickly this time and I suppose some new rechargeable are in order but the whine of the straining camera mechanisms in the sub zero wind chilled environment in addition to the numbness and rapid loss of dexterity in my cold stung fingers made this an even more abbreviated visit, but the 23 or shots I got should suffice in capturing the isolation of this edition in contrast with the Sunday morning full capacity congregation atmosphere that first set of photos represented …
A previous night visit there made accessible by the Wednesday evening service last fall tempted me to wander out into the darkness of the cemetery beyond the protective illumination of the
stained glass windows and parking lot lighting … and as the PA piped into the graveyard blended
with the increasing howling of coyotes and I fumbled with my camera settings and struggled to maintain my composure as the increasingly disconcerting agitation of the coyotes that my intermittent camera flashes did not reveal but sounded close enough to be within the nearby fence line bordering the woods ….
A shrill streak from an indeterminate animal confirmed my suspicion that there was something more than the amplified recitation of the rosary wafting through the night air that was inciting the frenzied fury of the coyotes… although it did seem like the beginning of “The Apostles Creed” triggered a unified bellowing howl from the estimated 4-5 pack members that were apparently pausing to revel in the now barely audible whimpering of this poor creature in its final death throes…A couple of steps backwards to include the entirety of lager than most monument predicated a trip over a small stone landing me promptly on my posterior following an less than agile countering step or two that failed to circumvent the fall and only added to the momentum…The expletive that I uttered that would have been better suited and accentuated by a crescendo cymbal crash must have competed with amplified rosary recital because the coyotes fell dead silent for a moment …then at the precise second the Apostles Creed portion of the rosary recycled to repetition again the unified howls erupted again with increased furor and seemingly closer proximity…I heard a familiar voice say: “go now” …needless to sayI decided not to attempt grade D EVP via cell phone voice recorder to capture that certain voice that seldom breaks silence unsolicited ….
As many of us strive to assign an eschatological significance to the recent surge in paranormal activity, one wonders if the inordinate amount of it which this area in particular is notorious for is related to geomagnetic factors, ley lines, history, Native American lore, random dimensional overlapping, the converging galactic alignment of 2012, the close approximation to Argonne Labs, The nearby mob burial grounds unearthed in the 80′s (stay tuned) or the even the fenced off radioactivity contaminated section of adjacent )*Red Gate Woods, few can deny that there is something making this section of the Chicago suburbs a hotbed of supernatural interest ….
More on the net::
*Red Gate Woods
Here are the unedited (compressed) photos of my two recent trips to St James ….12/09 (104 total)
Be sure to watch for photo analysis updates in the PUG forum thread on this topic: