Bachelor's Grove Earns Reputation As Chicago's Most Haunted Cemetery

Bachelor's Grove Earns Reputation As Chicago's Most Haunted Cemetery
© 2010 Rose Panieri -
June 17, 2010

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Midlothian is thought to be the most haunted cemetery in the Chicagoland area. Contrary to popular belief, the cemetery is not the final resting place of a bunch of unmarried men. Its name derived from “Batchelder” the surname of a family of early settlers to the area.

Hidden in the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve, the cemetery is an island of eerie tranquility smack dab in the center of the southbound sprawl of Chicago. The last official full burial was that of Laura McGhee in 1965 and the ashes of Robert Shields were inurned in 1989.

Charles Fulton, was the last cemetery caretaker who retired in the seventies. According to Fulton, the cemetery grounds were once a gathering place for family picnics. Families came to visit their loved ones and would spend the day fishing and swimming in the nearby pond. It was a tranquil place that exuded an air of peace.

Today, the pond is an algae filled quagmire and the cemetery is choked with weeds, tombstones are toppled and open holes where bodies have been removed create the illusion of a horror movie set. A high chain link fence surrounds the cemetery, but that doesn’t stop trespassers armed with wire cutters.

Folks who enjoy having the bejeezus scared out of them trespass on the land for an eyewitness glimpse of spooks. As vandals are trying to get into the cemetery, a bevy of ghouls and spirits are apparently trying to get out – the classic win-win situation.

The creep show begins outside the cemetery at the pond where picnickers of yore once frolicked. In the late seventies, two Cook County Forest Preserve rangers were patrolling the trail when the specter of a horse emerged from the stagnant waters and cantered toward the cemetery.

On foggy autumn nights, a phantom farm house is said to appear along the cemetery trail. Witnesses claim to see a two-story white house, complete with a porch and porch swing. A single light burns in the front window, beckoning the foolhardy. It has been said that he who enters the ghostly abode never return to the earthly realm.

Visitors who make it past the ghost horse and haunted house will get to meet a few of the denizens of the cemetery. Ghost lights tease visitors from afar, flying through the air. Some are red, others are white. The orbs bounce and flit as merrily as butterflies.

Lucky visitors may even get to meet the White Lady, allegedly the spirit of a woman buried next to the grave of her infant. With her child in her arms, she has been seen wandering aimlessly through the cemetery when the moon is full. Sometimes she perches forlornly on a tombstone, child clutched to her chest.

Reputed as a dumping ground by Chicago mobsters, there have been reports of staccato machine gun shots, cussing, screaming and the sound of running footsteps.

Bachelor’s Grove cemetery is located in Cook County approximately 20 miles southwest of Chicago, in Rubio Woods Forest Preserve on 143rd Street. The area can be visited during the day, but is not accessible at night because the forest preserve closes at dusk.