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OutdoorIllinois November 2010 Cave-In-Rock State Park

OutdoorIllinois November 2010 Cave-In-Rock State Park

OutdoorIllinois November 2010 Cave-In-Rock State

Cave-in-Rock State Park attracts chill-seeking history buffs.But did river pirates really hide out here?TheHolein theRiverStory and Photos ByJoe McFarland2 / OutdoorIllinois November 2010When it comes toold-fashionedpirate stories inIllinois, no destinationis betterknown for its dark history than theshadowy underworld at Cave-in-RockState Park in extreme southeast Illinois.Pirates lived here. Or so the stories go.Real river pirates. Thieves and murderouscon men. According to local legend, duringthe late 1700s and early 1800s, whenthe Ohio and Mississippi rivers of the Midwestwere still rough frontiers, bloodthirstypirates living at this massive, naturallimestone cave on the Ohio were saidto rule the region with fear. Operatingwith Cave-in-Rock as their hideout, they’dambush river flat boats, or pretend to behelpless travelers in need, then lure victimsto a dark, terrible fate.It all happened right here at Cave-in-Rock. Pirates galore. Or so the storiesgo. Of course, as with all great stories,verifiable facts don’t always matter.Today, historical scholars have deepskepticism about the many tales attributedto Cave-in-Rock, citing court testimoniesand original documents fromthe era that mention only one outlaw—the pirate Samuel Mason—who visited

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