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Geographical Index > United States > Illinois > Madison County > Article # 651

Media Article # 651
Article submitted by Stan Courtney

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bigfoot announces his presence Big-time in little-known Illinois Gothic hotspot

By Eddie Middleton

There is an isolated, wooded area just outside of the little town of Hartford, Illinois that has long been reputed to be a very spooky spot indeed. This is where the old Lakeview Castle was built in the late 19th Century by an eccentric and wealthy Frenchman as the dream home for his new wife. There is nothing left of this formerly palatial place now but crumbling ruins, most of it destroyed by fire in the early '70's. This mansion with real turrets was built right out in the middle of the woods. The romantic Frenchman even constructed a moat around it [view Google Earth aerial photo at ]. He had created his own private fantasy world for himself and his new bride. They thoroughly enjoyed their life here for a few years until she died. Then he moved away never to be heard from again [read the colorful, storybook history of this place at :]. One might be reminded of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" that once was a place of bright cheer and happiness until it fell upon evil days and a deadly gloom descended upon it, an ominous zig zag crack running diagnonally down its wall as if symbolizing the curse that had fallen upon the Usher family. This comparison easily comes to mind when one sees the bleak atmosphere this Hartford Castle location now has compared with its glorious heyday. Of course there have been tales told over the years by those bold enough to venture into this forbidding spot after dark, of having seen the sad ghost of the deceased wife roaming the site of her once splendid abode. This is all part of the supernatural lore of "Eerie Illinois" written about in various ghost tour guides.

But what almost nobody knows about is that this place is also heavily haunted by Bigfoot. There has been a recent rash of sightings of this being in the immediate vicinity of the old castle starting back in late April of this year that never got reported to the news media or even to any paranormal investigator. A correspondent of mine who lives about ten miles from Hartford just filled me in on the details. This man told me that he used to play in the woods around the castle when he was a kid and every now and then returns to have a look around. Back around May 2nd of this year, he was wandering over the property (in the daytime)and spotted tracks of what looked like a human foot---but were 15 inches long and twice as wide as his own foot! A few days later he was talking to a friend of his who works the late night shift at a warehouse directly across the road from the woods that harbor the remains of the old castle. This person told him that over the previous two week period she and two other gate guards on their respective late night shifts had been badly scared a number of times by what was obviously Bigfoot activity. In her case she had not actually seen the creature, but had heard over and over again throughout the wee hours of the night (nearly every night) loud reports of heavy rocks hitting the side of the building [rock throwing is a typical Bigfoot retaliatory tactic]. And when this was occuring, she also smelled an awful odor like that of rotting meat. The Bigfoot stench is often mentioned by those who have had close encounters with this being. One can imagine how unnerving this must have been, especially considering that she was all alone at the time.

Within this same two-week period another guard at the warehouse had an even more dramatic, up close and personal, encounter with Bigfoot. This guard had always ridden his bicycle to work. He was riding-in one night to assume his late night shift, traveling along a lonely stretch of Poag Road that runs by Cahokia Creek which winds through the woods and crosses the old castle acreage---when he suddenly found himself face to face with a 9 or 10 foot tall hairy manlike creature standing on the side of the road. This thing let out a blood-curdling howl just as this guy almost ran right into him. I guess it's a miracle that the guard didn't fall off his bicycle! He somehow continued to manage to peddle his vehicle---and a lot faster then. He raced on until he reached the guard gate, and in an extremely agitated state told the man he was relieving all about his encounter. This man, simply not believing his story, laughed at him, telling him he was full of sh**!

As fate would have it, on the next night this man who had made fun of the first guy's fantastic tale of a Bigfoot encouner had his chance to reconsider the wisdom of his ridicule. During his shift a Bigfoot came and stood directly across the road from the guard gate and vented a hideous howl at him. It would have been poetic justice had he actually messed in his pants, considering the ugly thing he had said to the other guard. And for all we know this did happen as he was so shattered by what he witnessed that he quit his job the next day.

Postscript : My friend who found the huge footprints all around the moat area of the castle ruins tried to talk to the guard who had had the encounter on his bicycle, but this man refused to talk to him and, in fact, said he didn't ever want to talk to anybody about it again. I suppose this is typical of people who have experienced the unknown much too close for comfort. It's hard for those who have never had this privilege to imagine how traumatizing it can be.

As one interesting side note, when one looks at the aerial photo from Google Earth of the castle moat, it is seen as a perfectly symetrical triangle with curved edges with one of its angles pointing directly east in the directon of Cahokia Mounds only twenty miles away. This is the largest Native American burial site in the U.S. It probaby is situated on a ley line. If this is the case, then the Hartford Castle due to its proximity to it may be a paranormal hotspot as well.

The Bigfoot activity in this area continues to this day. I wouldn't advise going there though to snoop around at night. These awesome, possibly supernatural, beings apparently don't appreciate people intruding into their playground.

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