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Friday, October 26, 2007

Haunting Found Wanting

The story goes that 6-year-old Inez Clarke was locked out of her house by her parents on the night of Aug. 1, 1880, for being a naughty girl. She was promptly struck by lightning. Her guilt-ridden parents claimed she had died of tuberculosis, and had her buried in Chicago's Graceland Cemetery beneath a lifelike marble statue. Little Inez has been haunting the cemetery ever since.

A great story, if only Inez Clarke had existed.

"Based on cemetery records there's no such person buried in that grave," Al [Walavich] says.

He's even looked up U.S. Census records from the 1800s and found "no indication that such a child ever existed."

There's even an affidavit from Inez's "supposed mother" issued in 1910 -- 30 years after the child's death -- that claims the Clarkes had two daughters, both of whom were still living at the time. The document also stated neither parent had any other children, Walavich says.

"And the most telling fact was that one of the Clarke family [relatives] had been in touch with cemetery about statue and grave. When asked who Inez was, she said, 'I have no idea, but isn't it a lovely statue,'" he says. "It's kind of hard to have a haunting when the supposed person never really existed." [Link]
An 8-year-old boy, Amos Briggs, is actually buried beneath the statue. Walavich suspects that the intricately carved statue was an advertisement for its maker, Andrew Gage.
[Photo credit: Inez Clark in Her Plexiglass Case by Richie Diesterheft]

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