Saint Omer Cemetery

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At Saint Omer Cemetery, legend has it that there is a witch’s grave. According to the story, Caroline Barnes was hanged by the townspeople for witchcraft. As she went, she cursed the town and vowed to come back for revenge on the anniversary of her death. To trick her, the townsfolk inscribed her gravestone with the death date of Feb. 31, 1882 — which of course, doesn’t exist. Her headstone still stands, and looks like a sphere on a stack of logs.

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Geographic Information

St Omer Road
Ashmore, IL
United States

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39.5685523, -88.03095889999997
Coles County, Illinois
Nearest Towns:
Ashmore, IL (2.5 mi.)
Kansas, IL (5.0 mi.)
Oakland, IL (5.9 mi.)
Westfield, IL (8.0 mi.)
Charleston, IL (9.2 mi.)
Hindsboro, IL (9.7 mi.)
Redmon, IL (10.5 mi.)
Brocton, IL (11.4 mi.)
Humboldt, IL (15.5 mi.)
Newman, IL (16.1 mi.)


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Comments (9)

  1. I visited here in 2014 and the gravestone is certainly strange. I’d love to research the actual history, but as I’m several states away, I’m unable. But definitely worth checking out.

  2. I was just there today looking for an old friend I thought was buried there. My husband said I think this is the cemetary they say is haunted. About that time we were within 10 feet of of what they call the witches grave. We stopped dead in our tracks as it felt cool on this very hot July day and we both got goose bumps all over our bodies. I asked a woman who was there by herself weed eating the graves about my friend she said she didnt believe she was buried there. Which we determned after looking she wasn’t Anyway we asked the lady about that grave with the VERY odd headstone that sits rather strangely shaded between two very old trees. While the rest of the place is sunny. She said her and her husband are the care takers and she has seen shadows before and turns and they are gone and that sonetimes she just feels scared and never goes to work there late in the day. She also said sometimes there is money laying on the grave then it disappears. She also said the man that cared for the place before said one time a man just kind of appeared then disappeared. I gotta tell you the whole thing has me a little spooked and even found it strange that this woman would be there by herself at all. We had our dog with us but he didn’t act as though anything was wrong and he defunetely would have reacted it anything out of the ordinary was going on. I just want to put the place out of my mind and never think it again. It’s that creepy!

    • I’ve been there several times and I have taken my team in there to investigate. We got a few evps that were very clear. It is said that Caroline will follow you home unless you leave her some change as a peace offering.

  3. This is actually my 3 times great grandmother and she is not a witch. The reason the date is the way it is was because the person that inscribed it was illiterate and they were told she died the last day of February and he thought that all months had 31 days. Her headstone is actually turned the wrong way because it was knocked over before and when it was put upright they didn’t pay attention to how they put it up. The money disappears because we clean it off since it is just disrespectful to the dead. The legend was actually started by a family member and it spread to students at Roy and they started going there and messing around. How would you feel if this were your relative. Your welcome for the information though. We were just there last weekend and found broken bottles, $3.47 and hair clips/hair ties. It really makes me sad to know that this is how people treat the dead.

    • My fiancé, myself, and my daughters went to the grave and we just went to see it for the lore, we don’t mean any harm. However we did leave a quarter there on the stone…no offence, just thought it was some obscure respect towards her. We went there yesterday, if you haven’t been there in a long time, there’s more flowers, broken bottles, a sea shell, a recovery medallion, some money, and an unused cigarette.

    • also unanimous  |  

      not to mention the time we spend scraping wax off the stone because of disrespectful people burning candles on top as in the picture above. we have several relatives resting at this cemetery and every time one of us visits we try to keep it clean, but it happens so often its hard to stay up with the cleaning.

    • Hello,
      The end of June we traveled back to central and southern Illinois visiting family and friends. Along with visiting, we also did some searching for ancestors in local cemeteries. During the pandemic my wife joined a copy genealogy sites and has been gathering our history. The cemeteries where we had family buried around Ashmore included St Omer, Ashmore, Shoot, Miller and also the cemetery east of Kansas. We were shocked when we realized Caroline Barnes happened to be a great aunt. My great, grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Shoot (Prather) was Caroline’s sister. Unanimous, you will be happy to hear when we were at St Omer around June 22 the grave and gravesite all looked clean with no coins, trash, candles. etc. There was a small bouquet of flowers someone had left. In our direct family line we found my great, great grandparents,( Caroline’s parents), William and A. Emaline Prather. Caroline and Sarah had 9 siblings.
      Take care

  4. e were just at St Omer the end of June. My wife has been researching our roots. Sarah Elizabeth Shoot (Prather) was my great, great grandmother on my father’s side. Sarah and Caroline were sisters. Growing up in Ashmore, we had heard the story of St Omer, however just recently found the family link. Unanimous, you will be glad to hear the gravesite and stone were clean at the end of June when we visited. We searched several cemeteries in the area, Ashmore, Miller, Shoot and the one east of Kansas. We were able to find several ancestors for our research.
    Take care

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