Did We Just Learn Why the Gate in Libertyville is Haunted?

Speaking to a tour group with co-host Tony Szabelski. You can see The Gate out the bus window to the right.

If you clicked on this article, it’s probably because you already have heard of the infamously haunted location in Lake County, IL known as ‘The Gate.’  You’ve probably also heard of at least one of the many legends that the site was a (pick your poison) sleep away camp, orphanage, or all-boys or all-girls school.  And on one tragic night a mad man who was an (again, choose you own adventure) escaped madman from an asylum, deranged principal, or murderer on the run stumbles across this location and decided to murder a number of the children, even severing their heads and mounting them on the spikes along the top of the wrought iron gate, which is one of the only remaining artifacts to indicate that these woods had a life prior to being the Independence Grove Forest Preserve that it is today.

One side of The Gate in Libertyville pictured, looking from the woods, towards the road, with our tour bus waiting. Photos on this page by Wendy Lynn Markus

The only (predictable) problem here is that the mass murder certainly did not happen.

But the location IS haunted.  I first covered this location for my book, “Voices from the Chicago Grave” as an example of how a location can become known as haunted and spawn a number of legends without the benefit of it actually being haunted.  It would just be a good exploration of folklore and urban legends, I thought.

However, as I wrote the book, some of the most amazing and vivid personal experiences were related to me.  Despite not having an experience at this location myself, now believe the location is haunted, but it’s definitely not the result of a mass murder.

I do want to note that this location actually was a number of the locations mentioned in the urban legends, including an orphanage and a camp.

I’ve developed a few theories of my own, but something impressive happened recently, when I took a bus tour to the location in July 2022.  We are heading back to The Gate this weekend too, to follow up with a group & there is some availability left.

The group walked down the patch, to where the main trail becomes a T-intersection and the faint sign of the Upper Loop Trail is barely visible through the weeds.  There have been some terrifying ghost stories associated with this area.  Some of the members of our group were holding K2 meters as I spoke.

Me talking shortly before the K2 meters started alarming.

I stated, “Sometimes dark stories get exaggerated over time.  Now, the legends are about a mass murder, but maybe something else negative actually did happen here and as people passed along stories, year after year, generation after generation, things took on a life of their own.  Maybe this was a site of ongoing child abuse and that is more than enough reason for a location to be marred with strong negative energy.”

As I said the word “abuse,” the K2 meters lit up.  They were held by people scattered throughout the group (pictured) and we are in a wooded area without overhead or underground power lines that could’ve triggered these devices.

An example of a K2 meter, thanks to GhostStop. When there is no recorded EMF fields, all lights are off. The more energy detected, the more lights illuminate.

I noticed this and asked, “Did those light up when I said the word ‘abuse?’”

Again, at the word “abuse,” the devices lit up.

Now, I decided to address whatever consciousness may have been observing us and I requested, “If you are here and can tell us that abuse happened at this location, can you please put as much energy into this device (the K2 meter) and make all the lights light up?  Make it light up all the way to the red light.”

Amazingly, the lights started coming on!  This is a location I’ve been to dozens of times, but never had an experience here.  However, now something or someone seemed to be happy to have ongoing communication with us.  The lights did not fully illuminate, but four of the five lights did come on, reaching the color orange.  Still, absolutely amazing in my opinion.

The difficulty, of course, is that concealed child abuse will be difficult to impossible to ever prove.  However, this is part of the promise of paranormal investigating.  Capturing ‘evidence’ of the paranormal has its own value, but I would love to use paranormal investigation to start answering questions, filling in gaps of history.  Maybe with this lightning strike moment that unfolded live on a tour, future investigators can return to this site and learn more about possible abuses that may have happened here at one point.

We will be returning to the Gate this weekend with another tour.  If you’d like to be a part of this group, checking out The Gate and possibly getting a final look at the endangered Mineola Resort in Fox Lake, check this link for tickets and availability.

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