True Tales Of The Unknown: The Uninvited
- Out of Print -
Credit to Dale Kaczmarek of the Ghost Research Society for updating this material.
Pages 51 to 75
CHICAGO'S MOST HAUNTED CEMETERY
Dale Kaczmarek is head of the Ghost Research Society and editor of the Ghost Trackers newsletter. he has been actively investigating paranormal phenomena since 1975 and he personally conducts tours of legendary haunted areas in and around Chicago. he works with psychics, not only in Illinois but out-of-state as well, in investigating "ghost lights," haunted houses, battlefields and cemeteries.
His activities have been written up in magazines and newspapers and he has appeared on television and radio shows from California to Vancouver. Though his case files are stuffed with unusual stories, one of his favorites is about a century-old cemetery, long abandoned, which has been the site of incredibly diverse supernatural activity--all of it terrifying...
Near Chicago's Rubio Woods is a haunted and long-forgotten cemetery called bachelor's Grove. Generally, graveyards are not the best places in the world to look for ghosts, since they prefer to haunt the place where they met their deaths. Still, the dead do not rest easy here and, as a result, there are many old legends about the cemetery.
One such tale concerns a strange ghost known as the "Hooked Spirit" because on one arm he has a hook instead of a hand. It is said that he likes to sneak up on couples in parked cars. he is sometimes reported to be carrying a double-barreled shotgun and chases these lovers from the property which once belonged to him.
In one version of this story, a young man parks in the bachelor's Grove area and tells the story of the Hooked Spirit to his girlfriend., hoping she will melt in his strong arms for protection. Instead, she is frightened and asks to be driven home.
When they arrive at the girl's house, the young man gets out of the car and walks around to the girl's side to open the door for her. He gets the shock of his life when he finds a hook still swinging on the door handle. Apparently they left the area at the right time, because the Hooked Spirit was just about to open the car door when they pulled away, ripping the hook from his arm!
In another old and well-known legend, a couple is parked near the area, again engaged in amorous activities, when suddenly they hear a frightening report over the radio. A mass murderer has escaped from a nearby psychiatric hospital and was last seen heading in their general direction.
The girl is scared and demands to be driven home immediately. However, on this occasion the car will not start. The young man tells the girl to stay in the car and lock the doors and windows while he goes to a nearby service station for help.
He is gone for quite a long time, and during his absence she hears a strange scratching sound coming from the roof of the car. She just shrugs it off as the branches of nearby trees.
Finally she sees the blinking red and blue lights of the local police as they pull up to the disabled car. She is quite relieved and opens the door to greet the friendly and most welcome faces. A policeman orders her to continue walking toward him and not look back under any circumstances. She finds that a bit strange, but obeys his command. As more and more squad cars arrive and begin shining their spotlights in the direction of her car, curiosity gets the better of her and she turns around.
She shrieks in sheer terror as she sees the bloody body of her boyfriend hanging upside down from a tree directly above the roof of the car. His throat has been slit from ear to ear and it was his fingernails making the scratching sound on the roof.
It's not known how or why these legends began, but as horrifying as they are, they are like comic-book versions of what really happens at Bachelor's Grove.
The cemetery's uneasy history begins in the nineteenth century, when the area was originally settled about 1830 by a group of predominantly German immigrants. They helped dig the old Illinois-Michigan Canal and later built small homesteads in the huge groves of virgin timber, while perfecting their titles to tracts of land they purchased at $1.25 per acre. Each man had a five-acre woodlot in the grove, and the settlement was known as Bachelor's Grove because of the large number of unmarried men. The Grove was on the northwest corner of the township, on 143rd Street, just east of Ridgeland Avenue.
The immigrants also set aside a graveyard for their dead. The first legal title on record was in 1864, when Edward Everden sold his land to Frederick Schmidt; one acre was set aside for the graveyard, which remains to this day. Burials continued until 1965, which is the last official grave marker. After that, the site was abandoned as a graveyard because of increased vandalism and grave desecrations. Gravestones were defaced with graffiti and spray paint. Sometimes tombstones were stolen, only to be returned later. In 1964 and 1975, graves were dug up, the caskets broken open, and the gruesome contents strew about. Not even the presence of Cook County forest rangers deters the vandals.
Near a lagoon, in one corner of the cemetery, the remains of small animals and chickens have been found, all decapitated and totally drained of blood. In 1974 and 1975, forest rangers who patrolled the woods at night would come across this gruesome evidence of voodoo rites and devil worship. Around them, the rangers saw inscriptions on the trees and rocks: strange occult symbols that were spray-painted in red. Some of the symbols can still be seen today.
Once, the cemetery was easily reached by 143rd Street, which runs directly in front of it, but the road was later abandoned when the Midlothian Turnpike was built nearby. So not only did the decades pass it by, but so did modern technology. Now the cemetery is overgrown with weeds, and although it is surrounded by an eight-foot-high Cyclone fence, entrance is gained by slipping through one of the holes cut into the fence by vandals or through the broken main gates.
Upon entering the cemetery, one of the first things