The fortress contained walls eighteen feet tall, a sentry box, eight apertures for weapons and a Roman Catholic chapel. The spectral procession has been sighted coming from its direction.
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Haunted Fort de Chartres History
The fort was involved in the French and Indian War, part of a larger conflict between Great Britain and France, the Seven Years’ War. American involvement in the war started in 1754 when Virginian major of militia George Washington, ambushed a small detachment of French soldiers.
Both French and British imperialists wanted to extend their North American territories. In 1765, Colonel Louis St. Ange de Belleville surrendered the fort to the British army regiment that was commanded by Captain Thomas Stirling.
Britain won the war and the 1763 Treaty of Paris ceded the Illinois territory to the victor. In 1772, the British, found the fortress too expensive to maintain and destroyed the outpost. The site was abandoned until the mid 1900’s when historic restorations began.
Fort de Chartres Phantom Funeral Procession
On July 4, 1889 it’s said that Mrs. Chris and her neighbor were sitting on her porch around midnight. They saw a large group of people approaching them from the direction of the ruins of the fortress in the full moon’s light.
It was a funeral entourage of over forty wagons, thirteen troops of soldiers and a casket proceeding from the ruins of the fort on a road outside of Prairie du Rocher. Although dust clouds were seen, the procession made no sound.
The only noises were trees rustling in the breeze, frogs croaking and the continual barking of the Chris’ dog which awakened a neighbor who also witnessed the procession that disappeared in the direction of a nearby cemetery.
The women waited for the entourage to return to the fort, but it never did. Years later, they learned that the procession had been seen in the past and originated in legendary incidents that occurred long ago.
Haunted Fort de Chartres Legends
There are two versions of what happened in the fort. According to one, a prominent local merchant was engaged in a violent disagreement with one of the garrison’s French officers. The civilian was killed.
The fort’s commander sent a delegation to government offices in Kaskaskia for advice as to handle the incident. He was told to keep the incident quiet and bury the man at midnight in the small cemetery near Prairie du Rocher in the light of the full moon.
The other legend maintains that there was a quarrel about a young woman’s affections between a French and a British officers in 1765. They dueled with swords, the British soldier was killed and the Frenchman fled downriver. The dead officer was secretly buried to prevent any future conflicts between the countries.
Theories – Fort de Chartres Entourage
It’s been said that the phantom funeral procession is seen on July Fourth when the moon is full, it happens when the Fourth of July Fourth is on a Friday or when both happen.
Since 1889, accounts of the phantom entourage have been sketchy as to when or if its been sighted. On July 4, 1997, no one actually saw the procession, but a mysterious incident happened.
A staff member at the fort reported that on the stroke of midnight, all of the area coyotes began to howl together for a moment or two. Could they have sensed or seen an occurrence that humans couldn’t?
Some people maintain that the ghostly procession is a time-warp that opens a fleeting hole in the fourth dimension allowing witnesses to see, but not hear it. Others believe it’s a haunting, energy and emotions imprinted in time and space like a videotape. The compelling mystery of the entourage is that it didn’t happen in life.