“I am dead. Only vengeance can restore me! Only victory can return my life to me!” – Terry Goodkind
This ghost/witch story has been altered/embellished/exaggerated over the years. My personal theory is that it is used as a tool for keeping young Amish girls in line when they begin to rebel, however, there are some interesting details that make me think there are shreds of truth woven through the story.
About a hundred or so years ago (again, vague details) there was a young Amish girl living in Chesterfield, Illinois with her family. With the story being passed down through the generations, her name has been forgotten. We’ll call her Kate. Kate is described as being outspoken, rebellious, disrespectful… you know, typical 15 year old stuff. Her small village branded her as a Witch after several incidents of Kate talking to herself and challenging authority. They had her banished from the village, even her own family was forced to turn their back and shun her.
A few days later, her body was found in a nearby field. Her parents begged the village elders to give her a proper burial, but they refused. It was also stipulated that the witch be buried at night and a large tree be planted to trap her soul in the ground so that she could not come back and seek vengeance.
There are many conflicting stories- some say she invoked a violent storm on the village, others report seeing her ghost standing by the grave. Needless to say, someone is buried under the tree in Chesterfield (which is not on any map- but still there) and a wrought iron fence surrounds the tree to keep the curious back. There is a very strong belief that if the tree should die or be removed, Kate’s wrath will be, well, epic.