Forest Park, IL: Flapper Ghost

During the late 90’s, a time of independently owned coffee shops and indie music, my friend and I were driving back from a coffe shop in Worth, IL. Instead of taking the expressway, we took Harlem all the way up to Cermak. A little West of that intersection, there was some sort of collection of buildings with fence surrounding them. Across the street from the buildings were small brick houses. It was a warm spring night around 10 PM, so while it was very dark out, the area was still super busy with people and cars.

Out of nowhere a woman in her twenties in a dark dress, her skin illuminated under the streetlights, ran from the fenced in buildings and darted in front of our car and into the street. She was frantic and looked like she was crying.

I slammed on my breaks and hit the horn. No other drivers reacted. None of the other cars slowed down. I followed her with my eyes, terrified that we would be witnesses to a horrid, gruesome scene. But, before the woman even reached the curb on the other side of Cermak, she disappeared – almost as if her being melted into the night sky.

“Did you see that?” I turned to my friend, short of breath from fear, in complete disbelief.

“Yeah.” His eyes were wide and the color had drained from his face. He was trembling slightly.

We drove home in contemplative silence.

© Alison Callaghan

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