Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is a small, abandoned cemetery in section 8 of Bremen Township, Cook County, Illinois. The location is just northwest of Midlothian and Oak Forest, and near the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve on the Midlothian Turnpike, in the Chicago metropolitan area. It is well known for its haunted reputation and supposed ghost sightings. There are countless reports of glowing balls, apparitions, squeaks, moans, groans and unexplained noises. Its adjacent pond is also known for unsubstantiated mafia affiliation with Al Capone.

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery was chosen to be a burial ground in 1844, settled by "Yankee farmers" as Clarence Fulton, the now deceased caretaker of the cemetery claimed in a 1977 newspaper article. However, at least a few tombstones note death dates before 1844. The earliest death date noticed on a tombstone was that of William Nobles who died in 1838, per an article in the Blue Island Sun-Standard from 1935. Currently, the cemetery is inactive, but it was used for burials until the last recorded burial in 1989. Due to the isolated location of the cemetery along an old, small, chained-off road, vandalism and Satanic rituals have been reported.

The small entrance road was once a branch of the Midlothian Turnpike until the early 1960s, when the smaller branch was left in favor of letting traffic go onto 143rd street. The closing of the road engendered the "racer's lane" era of Bachelor's Grove, making it the perfect spot for teenagers looking for a clandestine spot to drag race and become amorous with their cars. It was around this time that many ghost stories about Bachelor's Grove came into being. In the early 1970s, vandalism developed from scattered littering to full on destruction of tombstones and trees. Of the estimated 200 tombstones that once were in the cemetery, only 20 remain: the ones that are too heavy to be moved. In addition to that, several graves were dug up, forcing those in charge to set the tombs in concrete for protection.

The first claims of hauntings peaked in the 1970s and 1980s. The reported phenomenon ranges from orbs to phantom vehicles. There is even said to be a ghostly farmhouse which is purported to float and then vanish. So-called witnesses have reported the house shrinking as they approach it before disappearing altogether.

As late as 1984 witnesses were also reporting seeing multiple figures emerging throughout the cemetery dressed in monk's robes. In the 1990s witnesses reported seeing a black dog at the cemetery's entrance which also disappeared when they attempted to approach it. These statements however remain unsubstantiated.

The Ghost Research Society has conducted numerous investigations into the reported phenomenon and their results have included images which contain light resembling ectoplasm as well as orbs. One photograph, taken by Mari Huff in 1991, includes a "supposed" full image of a ghostly figure. Researchers have also reported electronic voice phenomenon in the area. These investigations, writings, and violations of the cemetery have led to countless acts of vandalism and destruction of the cemetery proper, by legend trippers and teens of the area. Although the legends and stories of The Grove persist even today, true scientific evidence of paranormal activity at the site has yet to surface.

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