Showmen's Rest

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Showmen’s Rest is a section of Woodlawn Cemetery where remains from a 1918 circus-train wreck were buried in a mass grave. Between 60 and 110 employees were killed when another train conductor fell asleep, causing his train to strike the circus train. Many of the victims’ names were not known, so some of the markers say things like “unidentified male” or “Baldy” or “4 Horse Driver.” Today, the section is still used for burials of circus showmen. The cemetery is rumored to be haunted. Locals say the sound of phantom elephants can be heard at night.

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Geographic Information

7818 W Cermak Rd
Proviso, IL
United States

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41.85059933129038, -87.81878721718385
Cook County, Illinois
Nearest Towns:
North Riverside, IL (0.6 mi.)
Riverside, IL (1.1 mi.)
Berwyn, IL (1.3 mi.)
Broadview, IL (2.0 mi.)
Forest Park, IL (2.0 mi.)
Maywood, IL (2.3 mi.)
La Grange Park, IL (2.5 mi.)
Brookfield, IL (2.5 mi.)
Lyons, IL (2.6 mi.)
Stickney, IL (2.7 mi.)


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Comments (12)

  1. Omg I knew something was strange about e cemetery because every time I walk past that cemetery down Madison im always on the phone with a friend , then in the phone I hear strange whispers and I ask my friend did she hear it she said no… then I made her be quiet then the whispers continued but she didn’t hear it …. then one day I was at home and my sister was walking down Madison from the train stastion and I was in the phone with her then I heard the same whispers from last time , then I asked my sister is she walking past the cemetery yet and she said she was walking pass it now,, which is why I was hearing e noises I heard before when I was waking pass it. omg I totally knew something was strange about that cemetery

  2. The animal sounds come from the Brookfield zoo which is nearby. I used to drive by that cemetery late at night with my dad in the 1960’s and could hear the animals.

  3. So true I always pass this cemetery when i’m going to my cousin’s place, I always have my EMF device wirh me, and I swear the energy goes up like crazy.

  4. My brother and I visited this place when we were in Chicago visiting my uncle. We arrived at night and we started walking around.. Everything seemed normal, but we felt a strong presence of someone or something around us. It was a strong uneasy feeling and we both felt it. The hairs on my arms were standing straight up. Anyway, as we ventured further and further down away from that certain area of the cemetery, everything returned back to normal. It was quite strange. If you are in the area, you should go and check it out.

    • Elephants and other animals were killed, but they were not buried in this cemetery, as this is a human cemetery. My friends and I used to visit Showman’s Rest as kids and teenagers. It was always kind of odd and had a creepy vibe. I never heard the animal sounds, but it is close to Brookfield Zoo. But, this zoo has not had elephants in many years.

  5. I grew up in NR. In sixth grade, we had a seance in my friend’s garage on 5th Av. The previous owner had killed himself in the garage and was buried in Woodlawn. We tape- recorded our seance and could hear animals in the background of the recording. ’82

  6. I think it’s haunted.
    My son was about 4 years old at the time and he tripped while we were there. He kept telling us something pushed him. It was very strange and he was frightened.
    We never talked about ghosts or anything of the sort. To this day I think a ghost pushed him.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.