Eternal Silence – Chicago, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

Eternal Silence

Graceland Cemetery

A haunting statue called "Eternal Silence" has quite the reputation among visitors with active imaginations. 


Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery, renowned for its many well-known inhabitants including Allan Pinkerton, John Root, and George Pullman, is also home to several intriguing monuments, including the Inez Clark Monument and this one, Eternal Silence – also known as The Statue of Death.

Designed by famous sculptor Lorado Taft in 1909, it was commisioned by the descendants of Dexter Graves, an original Chicago patriarch who in 1831 led a group of settlers from Ohio to the land that two years later would become Chicago.

Today, the statue is an internationally recognized allegorical representation of “death and silence” and referred to by Graceland Cemetery as one of her most “unforgettable monuments” attracting tourists and purveyors of the supernatural throughout the year.

There are many legends surrounding the eerie obelisk, arguably the most famous being that upon looking into its eyes a person could see the nature of their own death.

Visitors have also reported a rising or lowering of the statue’s uplifted arm at various times during the day, and until the 1970s it was even believed by many that Eternal Silence could not be photographed (stemming from amateur photographers reporting malfunctioning of normally cooperative cameras, or inexplicable destruction of camera film). None of these rumours can be substantiated by this field reporter.

In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web