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Ursula Bielski, Local Historian and Author
Ursula Bielski grew up in a haunted house on Chicagos north side. At an early age she became a believer in paranormal experiences, from the curse of the Chicago Cubs at nearby Wrigley Field to the hauntings at local Graceland Cemetery by a 19th century ghost girl. Underscoring these neighborhood folk tales were accounts by her police officer father of personal encounters with Big Foot and no less than the Devil himself.
As an undergraduate at Benedictine University, Bielski was able to explore the interplay of belief and experience, focusing her coursework on the relationship between science and religion. Outside the classroom she tagged along with psychology students investigating reported cases of haunting phenomena which took her to such notorious sites as the Country House Restaurant in suburban Clarendon Hills; Chicagos Red Lion Pub; and the Oshkosh Opera House (Wisconsin). Her fascination with the methodology and philosophy of psi research led her to more structured work in the field of parapsychology.
As a graduate student at Northeastern Illinois University, Bielski explored related aspects of American intellectual and cultural history, particularly the spiritualist movement of the 19th century and its transformation into psychical research and parapsychology. As a student affiliate of the Parapsychological Association, an international body dedicated to psi research, Bielski was a frequent contributor to the group's bulletin.
Intrigued by the apparent relationship between folklore and paranormal experience, Bielski eventually turned her interests toward her hometown, penning her acclaimed and widely successful book, Chicago Haunts. After several printings of the book and the release of a second edition, Bielski now lectures regularly on the subject, having emerged as an expert on Chicagos spiritual netherworld.
Bielski is editor of PA News, the quarterly bulletin of the Parapsychology Association. She is currently at work on a childrens cookbook inspired by the gothic novels of John Bellairs as well as a second volume about Chicago ghostlore: More Chicago Haunts. She lives in Chicago with her husband, author David Cowan, and their daughter.
Matt Hucke, Cemetery Connoisseur and Photographer
Matt Hucke, a native of southern Illinois, has resided in Chicago since 1993 and has been exploring its fascinating graveyards since 1995. His first expedition to Graceland Cemetery on the citys north side was prompted by a city guidebook describing some of the incredible mausoleums to be found there. This was followed by an expedition to the abandoned and allegedly haunted Bachelors Grove Cemetery in the southwest suburbs, and a lengthly exploration of Rosehill Cemetery on the far north side. Such trips soon became a weekly event, and Matt has now visited over 120 Chicagoland cemeteries, the vast majority of them in Cook County.
In August 1996, Hucke created the Web site that inspired this book, Graveyards of Chicago. The site has received several awards, including the "4 Stone" award for superior cemetery-related Web sites. It has grown to include over 600 photographs of an expanding list of area cemeteries.
Matts graveyard images have appeared in the Washington Post, the American Girls News, and both editions of Ursula Bielski's Chicago Haunts, and have been used online by the Chicago Historical Society and the San Diego Union-Tribune. His photographs will also appear in upcoming books by Davis Cecil and Dr. Elmar Buck.
Hucke now lives in Rogers Park, north of his favorite Chicago graveyard, Rosehill. He works as an independent Unix programmer and consultant, specializing in electronic commerce.
Lots of interesting history of lesser known people in Chicago history as well as the notorious. I also was interested enough in many of the stories that I googled them to find out... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Bagaholic
I am a Chicago native and many of my family members are here in these cemeteries. I picked up this book while I was visiting a relative and found it to be so interesting so I... Read morePublished on April 11, 2013 by Mary Litviak
i grew up in chicago's suburbs and found the information in this book to be very accurate as pertains to the areas i was familiar with.. Read morePublished on April 9, 2013 by judythbow
It is amazing how much these authors know. The book is a tour guide for 70 Chicago area cemeteries and 7 other burial sites (includes animal cemeteries), with addresses, phone... Read morePublished on March 16, 2010 by ubalu
This was the second book I ordered in relation to cemeteries in Chicago the other book was the one on Mt. Carmel & Queen of Heaven... Read morePublished on October 9, 2008 by Joshua Perry
We have walked through countless cemeteries in Paris and Londno and never once thought to explore those closer to home. This book is a real gem. Read morePublished on August 31, 2008 by Arlene Borbely