Sunday, October 14, 2012

Headless Horseman of Lakey’s Creek - McLeansboro, Illinois

A legend has grown around a small crossing of Lakey's Creek near what is now the town of McLeansboro, located in the southern part of Illinois.  A legend that is based on a settler who was known as Lakey. 

Headless Horseman
The Headless Horseman of Lakey's Creek haunts a bridge near McLeansboro, Illinois

As the story goes, Lakey came westward and chose a spot along a creek that was next to a place where it was shallow enough for the wagons to ford. He was very friendly and would chat with any passerby who was willing to stop. It seems he was in the process of building his cabin in this spot when one morning he was found dead.  His body was propped against a tree and his head had been lobbed off with the axe Lakey was using to fell trees for his home. They buried the body, head with it, right there on the spot near the half finished cabin.

It was soon after this that travelers crossing the ford would hear heavy horse hoofs clapping behind them only to turn and see nothing.  There have been numerous accounts however, where witnesses claim they turned to see a man on a very large black horse pursuing them.  What was odd... was that the man had no head.  He would always appear on the same side of the creek, downstream from the rider, emerging from the forest where Lakey met his end.  The headless rider would never completely cross the creek.  It would turn and head back downstream.

A Lake near McLeansboro, Illinois

These sightings have continued on over the centuries, always with a similar pattern and has become folklore of the area.  The old ford on what is now called Lakey's Creek, has long since been abandoned and a bridge spans the creek today.  The headless horseman of Lakey's Creek has been spotted on the bridge on numerous occasions.  Many travelers pass over this bridge in the area on their way to and from the many great outdoor spots in the area, not knowing the legend behind it.

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