St. James-Sag

Download this issue!St. James-Sag – Lemont, IL
By Michael Kleen

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

St. James of the Sag Church and Cemetery, abbreviated as St. James-Sag, sits on a bluff overlooking the juncture of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Calumet Sag Channel.  Two roads, Archer Avenue (Rt. 171) and 107th Street also converge at this point.  It is the tip of a heavily forested triangle in between Palos Hills to the east and Lemont to the southwest.

The area has a long history.  According to Richard T. Crowe, there is evidence that French explorers used the bluff as an observation post as early as the 1690s, and before that, Amerindians camped there and may have lived nearby (Chicago’s Street Guide to the Supernatural, pg. 239).

The church and cemetery also have distant origins.  One burial can be traced to 1818, but the graveyard began to be heavily used in the 1830s when Father St. Cyr built a log chapel to accommodate the spiritual needs of the Irish canal workers.  St. James-Sag was in fact the second Catholic house of worship founded in the Chicagoland area.  The limestone building that exists today was built in 1850.

As the geographic focal point of the area, St. James-Sag also happens to be the supernatural focal point, if you believe the stories…

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Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 1 Digital Edition

Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2007 in a special digital edition for your favorite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 1: Bachelor’s Grove, Greenwood Cemetery, Devil’s Gate, Chesterville Cemetery, Dug Hill Road, Resurrection Cemetery, “Cemetery X,” Shoe Factory Road, Ridge Cemetery, Cuba Road, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, and St. James-Sag! Plus, read bonus “personal experiences” and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues from the archives of the Legends and Lore of Illinois.

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  1. Shannon says:

    i’ve been to st james many times and have captured several orbs. One that was most interesting happened on night that me and a friend were in there at night. For some reason the caretaker or whoever is responsible never closed the gate.

    I was using an old film camera that night and took a bunch of pictures. When i was on the side of the chirch, where the ground starts to slope i saw shot a picture. When i put my camera down i saw a green light in front of me but it disappeared. I began to ask my friend if she saw it and as i was talking i loked behind me and there it was again. Then it flew off.

    When i developed the pictures the next day the orb was there as was several more throughout the cemetery.


  2. dtfangrrrl says:

    St. James at Sag Bridge is my parish and I have family buried there. The cemetery has been vandalized many times in the past – please, if anyone plans to visit, be respectful and only come during proper visiting hours. It’s a truly beautiful place… peaceful and holy. 🙂


  3. Susan says:

    People should never vandalize in a cemetery or anywhere else. When visiting they should show respect to all that are laid to rest there. I would love to visit this location in the near future , it looks like a beautiful place.


  4. Villa Park Paranormal Society says:

    To those who vandalize these places be warned they are haunted. Which means you are violating they’re home and they have no laws to keep them in check. I too love this place it can be a sense of peace but I too have been they’re after hours and felt both the anger and sadness of this place. It is haunted and those that are there they are not at rest and it’s a shame that no one will listen to they’re stories.
    VP Paranormal Society


  5. Debra says:

    I recently visited St James and it is truly a beautiful and spiritual place. I took several photgraphs and to my surprise captured a ghostly monk.


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