I SEE DEAD PEOPLE The Tale of the Tombstones

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By Doug Deuchler

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Perhaps you remember the 1999 psychological horror film, "The Sixth Sense," in which a troubled, isolated child says, "I see dead people."  I always think of that line of dialogue when it's time for the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest's annual Cemetery Walk, "The Tale of the Tombstones."  If you've never participated, this weekend is your chance.  The award-winning tour in which costumed interpreters portray assorted "residents" of the 140-year-old Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park at their grave sites has been a very popular event for two decades.

The 2-hour walking tour begins at 1 p. m. this Sunday, October 17.  Guided tour groups leaver every 10 minutes.  Tickets are $10 for Historical Society members and $15 for others.  There are special rates for groups of 10 or more. 

Forest Home Cemetery is located at 863 Desplaines Avenue, just south of the Eisenhower Expressway, on the west side of the street.  Tickets can be purchased just inside the cemetery gates. (I'd suggest wearing comfortable shoes.)

Each year there is a different theme and new characters, all of whom are buried at Forest Home.  Over the years we have met everyone from Hemingway's grandmother to anarchist Emma Goldman, from a lady serial killer to Reverend Billy Sunday.  This year's theme focuses on the "Heroes of Forest Home," so visitors will be meeting "dead folks" that include several police officers killed in the line of duty, a young college student who saved many victims of the tragic Iroquois Theater fire of 1903 but then died of his burns, a pioneer "lady journalist," a suffragist and women's rights advocate, and two brothers who were both killed in 1944 in World War II.   Each of their stories are very inspiring.  These inspiring characters each exhibit great heroic passion and dedication.    

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