In the heart of Illinois’ Amish country lies a grave the locals don’t talk about. Not far from Arcola is the village of Chesterville. Legend says a mysterious woman, known only as the Chesterville witch, is buried in the town’s cemetery.

Who was the Chesterville witch?

According to the century-old story, the witch was a woman who called Chesterville home. Being outspoken and unafraid to speak her mind, she often challenged the beliefs and faith of the predominately Amish population.

This “rebellious” behavior was a problem and a threat to the town elders, who decided to brand her a witch. They claimed she was a practitioner of black magic, a follower of Satan, and a companion of multiple Hell demons.

The townspeople blamed her for a series of tragedies and cases of sickness in the small village. Some reportedly claim she cursed the town for the treatment she received and promised to seek revenge, even after death. Not long after, she disappeared without a trace.

witch in cemetery

A dead body is found and quickly buried

The dead body of the Chesterville witch was ultimately found in a nearby field. While suspicions arose about her cause of death, officials hastily determined the woman died of natural causes.

Her body was taken to the Chesterville Cemetery and buried. However, residents still feared the Chesterville witch would make good on her promise to return after death and terrorize the village.

To keep her spirit from rising out of the ground, villagers planted an oak tree right on top of her. A fence was added later to keep the curious from tampering with the grave and accidentally letting her loose.

Where is Chesterville?

You won’t find Chesterville, Illinois, on a map, but the village still exists. Located in Douglas County, the area is still populated by people of the Amish and Mennonite faiths, who avoid modern technology and have lived the same way for hundreds of years.

The community is very tight-knit and only a few dozen houses exist today. Since community members rely on the land and each other to survive, there are virtually no retail businesses and very few roads.

representing Chesterville cemetery

Does Chesterville Cemetery actually exist?

Traveling on Route 133 from Arcola, you’ll travel through Chesterville. Take a turn north and cross the Kaskaskia River on an old, wooden bridge just outside of town, and you’ll enter the nicely manicured Chesterville Cemetery.

On the edge of the graveyard still stands the same tree villagers planted long ago, which is obviously much bigger now. The iron fence still surrounds it. Just below the tree, but inside the fence, is an old stone marker without a name.

In a hushed voice, locals will tell you this century-old grave belongs to the Chesterville witch. Many fear the mere mention of the legend will stir her soul enough to bring evil again to the town

The ghost of the Chesterville witch

The name of the wayward woman has been lost to history, either by time or potentially on purpose. Town elders who know the story say the Chesterville witch is a folk tale that never happened. Yet, no one is willing to cut down the tree or even try to discover who the person is in the grave.

Despite the tree on the grave, some believe the Chesterville witch is roaming the earth, seeking revenge on those who wronged her. There have been numerous reports of strange occurrences near her grave site, including strange noises, lights, and even full-blown hauntings. Whether the story of the Chesterville witch is true or not, it’s sure to make for an interesting tale around the campfire.