Believing In Bachelor's Grove: The Investigation Of A Local Graveyard

Believing In Bachelor's Grove: The Investigation Of A Local Graveyard
© 2009 Kassi Armstrong - my.hsj.org
October 30, 2009

ARTICLE CORRECTION/NOTATION: The Forest Preserve District of Cook County did not apply changes to any rules or hours pertaining to the cemetery. Also, the Grove Restoration Project was not created by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Wearing a long sleeve flannel shirt with a camera tightly gripped in hand and my best friend at my side, conquering the walk ahead did not seem too difficult. Sure, the path was extremely muddy, the rain was freezing, and frostbitten fingers were a consequence, but junior Ana Rodriguez and I focused on the not-so-distant objective: Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery.

Having heard of its misfortune and spooky nature, we decided to pay the grounds a visit to see if any of the haunted rumors were true. We would rather search in the large Midlothian Forest preserve for the hidden cemetery than spend $35 at Statesville Prison haunted house.

“I don’t believe that cemeteries are haunted,” Rodriguez said, pushing past a face full of branches. “So I don’t expect to find or see something out of the ordinary.”

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, which was founded in the late 1800s, currently houses the bodies of pioneers, housewives, and mafia members. It was once a serene, peaceful place to mourn loved ones and have a picnic in the wooded area. Now, it is known for its late night vandalism and arrests by local police.

After searching for more than 30 minutes and almost losing hope, we came upon a caged fence entrance. The only access to the graveyard was a gaping hole in the middle of the wire, so we invited ourselves in. As soon as we entered, we lost cell-phone connection.

Being one of the oldest cemeteries located in Cook County, this forgotten graveyard had obviously gone from bad to worse. Chipped tombstones laid on the ground, having been knocked down from rowdy parties and careless visitors. Leaves, trash, and dead grass layered the uneven floor.

A nearby tombstone laying face up on the ground belonged to a Miss Caroline S. Foskett, who was born August 14, 1880, and had died only 54 years later. Another was left alone beside a gaping hole in the ground, where family members had moved their loved one to a safer resting place.

In recent years, reports of numerous paranormal encounters have left guests horrified. Sightings of unidentified glowing lights, ghosts, and unrecognizable voices are what to look out for while visiting.
Even with horrific characteristics, people tend to visit hoping to find the perfect thrill.

“I went with a group of guy friends [to Bachelor’s Grove] who were all about it,” H-F alum Annie Detrick said. “I typically wouldn’t go because I’m a wimp who scares easily, but they managed to talk me into it.”
Detrick experienced a “regular” paranormal sighting when at the cemetery.

“While we were parking at the cemetery’s entrance, a pair of headlights came flying towards our car, almost causing an accident,” Detrick said. “We swerved to a stop, but once the headlights passed, there was no car attached to them.”

Adjacent to the graveyard, blocked off once again by a wire fence, is a small pond. Before the cemetery was abandoned, families would come to have picnics and swim in the water after memorial services. Now, the murky waters are thickly covered in algae and trash.

There are several legends that tie in with the cemetery’s pond, including the rumor that 1920s gangsters would throw the bodies of their murder victims to the depths. Stepping calf length in the water, Rodriguez could sense an “eerie feeling.”

Unlike those who are content to merely visit, others have taken advantage of the inactive burial ground. Late night parties, vandalism, and grave robberies have all been consequences for public view of the cemetery. It is most likely that the missing pieces of tombstone chipped away have been thrown into the quarry pond.

According to bachelorsgrove.com, Cook County Forest Preserve is trying to change the destruction by applying stricter rules to visiting hours and creating the Grove Restoration Project. You can get involved by attending the cemetery clean-up this October 31 and see if you can find anything out of the ordinary.

As for Rodriguez and I, nothing seemed too frightening after our up-close encounter with Bachelor’s Grove. If you are looking for a scare, I recommend catching a scary flick instead.

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