31 October 2006

did i write about this last year?

Here's some background information on Rhoda's Grave, found outside Trenton, IL, where I grew up.

Lebanon, IL - A dorm is said to be haunted by the ghost of "Rhoda Penn Calbreath" who according to legend killed her daughter "Hester" when she caught her practicing witchcraft in the nearby woods. People who have tried to take pictures of Rhoda's grave have never been able to get a clear picture. Reportedly, a group of students spent the night at her grave years ago and got a tape recording of a young girl saying "Mommy, please don't kill me." (from here)

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Rhoda's grave can be found in a small family cemetery in a wooded area just five miles from the intersection of US 50 and State Road 160 in Trenton. As the way I remember it from when I was a kid, there were no houses nearby, except for an old falling down two story four-square just off the woods. Perhaps it was a barn, or perhaps it didn't exist at all; It's funny how memory works (or doesn't).

The path from the road to the cemetery was well worn, as I'm sure Rhoda's grave got more traffic than some of the businesses in town. I remember a group of headstones overgrown with weeds, and at least one grave still surrounded by a small grave fence. The rumor was that if you kneeled on Rhoda's grave, your knees would bleed. As a kid I had a theory that the only reason your knees bled was that someone broke glass there. In any case, I never did kneel. As I got older, they started building new houses around the grave. It always struck me as odd, and I wondered if the people building nearby knew the legend. I'm sure they picked up on it when people kept stopping on the road after dark.

Once I was out at Rhoda's grave with my cousin. She was new to driving and had her window down, and my uncle was sitting behind her. As we were discussing the legend, he reached his hand out his (rear) window and into hers (front) and grabbed her shoulder. You can imagine how loud she screamed.

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Feel free to correct any mistakes I made here... does anyone else remember a house? Maybe it was a barn.


Dave H said...

Oooh! New colors.

I don't remember a house. Nor a barn.

That website is a horror in itself.

I'll be seeing JG Saturday night. I'm hoping for something memorable...

I just thought of this JG experience I had back when he was still working in StL. Some of this may be skewed in my head, but the main story is correct.... He had a show at Comedy Etc/Friday's/Ramada in Fairview. I had just starting dating Michelle and she was apprehensive about the JG experience (so Jamie came along). It was a 3 comedian show, J was second. The first guy was young and new to the standup thinger and bought over half the crowd, most of which were in the 18-25yo range. They all laughed at this guys stuff and were having a good time. When it was J's up, he made a joke saying: "I'd like to thank the cast from Dawson's Creek for attending tonight." Well, I thought it was hillarious, but I was the only one. The rest of the bit was history, over half the crowd was turned off. I enjoyed the show, that joke was awesome, but only to me. I'm sure he learned something that night. I know wouldn't have.

I'm hoping for something memorable that isn't horrific for J.

SyntaxError said...

I used to live in New Baden until 1994. Wesclin class of 92.

Been to Rhoda's one time back around '90, and there was the remains of the house's foundation in a farmer's field and the family well next to it, which had been filled in, but had apparently not gone dry, as the ground very wet in a large circle. Everywhere else was dry.

There were no other houses around back then.

I've heard many of the stories of course. Never heard the bleeding knees thing. In my day it was said that if you laid down on Rhoda's grave, you couldn't get back up by yourself. Don't know of anyone who was brave enough to find out.

The only thing my group experienced was the following: It was a bright sunny warm day. Must have been spring as there were no crops coming up yet. As we got out the car, it suddenly turned dark, windy, and cold, and it rained heavily. Until we got back in the car.

The weather suddenly went back to warm, clear sky, mild breeze, and the rain stopped like a faucet being shut off.

I don't know that it was paranormal, but it sure was odd and creepy.

SyntaxError said...

Forgot to add that the way I heard it, Rhoda went crazy and murdered her entire family including the baby, who she threw down the well alive.

Before the well was filled in, it was said you could hear the baby crying.

I guess every generation has a different version of Rhoda's legend.

unwilling participant said...

Sorry to disappoint you...but being the great great granddaughter of Rhoda I can assure you...she didn't kill her entire family.

Raven said...

hey Syntax, I was class of '91 and I heard the same thing, only I hadn't heard the part about her throwing the baby down the well. Come to find out is is just a legend, but, it sure makes for spooky fun during October, doesn't it?

Skailer Russell said...

Where is this located?