Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.
Was it the cool night air? Was it overactive imaginations? Maybe it was eating that last big slice of pizza, something like Marley’s “undigested bit of beef” that made those boys see a ghost on Aspen Ln.
It sure scared Bob & Tommy as they walked home from Shakey’s Pizza at about 9:30 pm. They were heading home along Aspen Ln. and had just passed Hawthorne when they saw something strange by the creek. They reported it to be a 6 ft. tall misty form hovering over the same spot in the creek. As they approached it, the misty form went into a tree. They hurried to a friend’s house and they all went to see if it was still there. Sure enough, it was still in the tree. Being typical boys, they decided to throw stones at it. To their surprise, it began chasing them up to the corner of Bluebonnet and Aspen were it stopped and hovered over the ditch. Too afraid to run home, they went in their friend’s house and waited until a car came down the road to light up the dark street as the bolted from the house and ran along with the car till they reached the safety of their homes.
Was there a ghost on Aspen Ln.? Word spread fast. Larry and Ric made sure that the newspapers heard about it as well as everyone else in their crowd. In the weeks that followed this ghostly discovery, crowds of people came to see the ghost. The adults that came out to Aspen Ln. told the police that they were only watching out for the kids and making sure they didn’t trespass on the neighbors property. Oh yes, the police became a part of the ghostly gatherings trying to disperse the curious adults and teens.
The neighbors invited friends to come and join in the nightly watch for the ghost. Several adults did confess to seeing the ghost but refused to give their names to the newspaper. Crowds gathered each night only to be more and more disappointed when the Aspen ghost refused to appear or perhaps it was spooked by all the people.
Everyone seemed to have an opinion as to what the ghost might be. One man said that the area had been Indian camping grounds. It could have been an Indian returning to his favorite campsite. Another felt that it was nothing more than gas vapors coming up from the creek that went through Parcel A. Kids in the area tried to help the ghost stories along by tacked up a white paper ghost to the tree.
Whatever happened to the ghost on Aspen Ln.? It’s anybody’s guess. Maybe it was real. We’ll never know.
Thanks to Norma Simone who wrote “Haunting the Ghost of Aspen Lane” in the Aug. 27, 1969 edition of the Record Newspaper.
Please tell your stories of growing up in Hoffman Estates at the Hoffman Estates Museum’s 55th birthday celebration for the Village on Sept. 27, 2014 from 1 to 2:30 pm at the Village Hall. We want to hear all about the things you did that you didn’t tell your Mom about until now. The Hoffman Estates Village Hall is located at 1900 Hassell Rd.
Hoffman Estates Village Historian