Classic Ghost Stories: Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

Classic Ghost Stories: Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
© 2010 Denise Cross -

Anyone who was raised in”Chicagoland” and has even a passing interest in the paranormal, has heard of Bachelors Grove cemetery. Located in south suburban Midlothian, Bachelors Grove has been called one of the most haunted cemeteries in the country.

South suburban Chicago is fraught with stories of apparitions, ghost lights, disappearing hitch hikers and the like but the place with the highest concentration of paranormal activity is Bachelors Grove Cemetery. Just the mention of Bachelors Grove can cause peoples eyes to widen and the hairs on the back of their necks to bristle.

The Bachelors Grove settlement started out in the late 1820’s as one of the many settlements located in the woodlands dotting the northern Illinois prairie. According to a historical piece written by Brad L. Bettenhausen, for The Bachelors Grove Cemetery and Settlement Research Center, the early settlement was spelled Batchelors Grove after one of the settlement families. Later, the name was changed to its current Bachelors Grove spelling which was just one of the several incarnations the name has gone through. Bachelors Grove Cemetery could be just another quiet, pioneer burial ground that hasn't added any new graves in many years. It is that, but it's so much more.

It's unclear when things started going wrong for Bachelors Grove Cemetery but sometime in the middle of the last century, the cemetery began to fall into disrepair. Around the same time, teens began using the area as a hangout and some occultists began frequenting Bachelors Grove to practice their dark arts. Signs of satanic rituals have been found along with defaced or missing headstones, as well as missing bodies. Surely, if the dead aren't restful, the lack of respect being shown them and their final resting place would certainly be a valid reason. Whatever the reason, Bachelors Grove is the backdrop for a multitude of strange happenings. There have even been grizzly reports of beheadings occurring at Bachelors Grove. Are these stories of human happenings enough to rouse the dead from their graves? You be the judge.

Stories of a disappearing white house have been reported since the 1960’s. Visitors have said that the house is unreachable and while trying to get close to the house it seems to get farther away, eventually disappearing altogether.

Then there is the ghost car. When you visit Bachelors Grove Cemetery you have to park in the Rubio Woods parking lot and cross the street where you find a gravel road that runs about ½ mile before you get to the cemetery. This is the road where people claim to experience a ghost car. The car has been known to race down the gravel road nearly hitting people and then disappearing into the night. The car has been reported to be an older model, black car. Oddly, this road is not accessible to cars; due to the concrete blocks in the roadway. The theory is that Bachelors Grove was a dumping ground for mob killings at one time.

Another report of the undead is that of an old fashioned horse drawn plow, the kind that would have originally been used to break the prairie soil in the 19th century. The plow, driven by a man, comes out of the algae covered pond near the grounds to tear around the cemetery before disappearing. There is a legend about a man plowing in the area. The horse was spooked and pulled man and plow into the depths of the pond, where they drowned and are apparently repeating their last act while alive, over and over again.

Then we have the story of the lady in white, whose image sitting on a grave marker, is captured in a fairly famous local photograph. She is often seen near a grave that includes the headstone of an infant. The lady in white has been seen walking the cemetery, in old fashioned dress, sometimes holding a baby, sometimes just wandering, but often on the night of a full moon.

Some of the oddest occurrences at Bachelors Grove Cemetery are of the sightings of ghost lights. Ghost lights are usually blue or red and appear in an isolated area, without an obvious source. Ghost lights have been reported in the Chicago area before, in fact there is one that shines its otherworldly glow over Maple Lake in Willow Springs, Illinois. This light has been seen many times by people in the parking lot near the lake. The Maple Lake ghost light seems to hang over the center of the lake before disappearing into the woods, on the other side of the lake. The ghost lights in Bachelors Grove are much more personal. These mischievous lights like to fly around chasing people, sideswiping them and even trying to knock them over.

There have also been many sightings of ghostly human-like shapes that move through the cemetery as though visiting the graves. Cold spots are felt at Bachelors Grove on a regular basis and ghost investigators attribute this to the spirits draining energy from that spot so they can manifest themselves physically.

If you decide to visit Bachelors Grove, don't forget your camera. Cameras, particularly digital cameras, are a great tool for picking up ghostly souvenirs. Many pictures taken at Bachelors Grove contain strange phenomena. Pictures of orbs (perfectly round small balls of light that are attributed to spirit energy) can be seen in many photographs taken at Bachelors Grove. Video taken of orbs records them moving around people or graves. Many photos show a mist or milky looking haze that is said to be ectoplasm (the physical manifestation of a spirit) sometimes faces or shapes will appear within the ectoplasm. Now, as rational people, we realize these phenomena might just be a glitch with the camera, the weather, the photographer etc. but it seems that a very high percentage of photos taken at Bachelors Grove contain something odd.

Do you believe? Ask anyone who has visited Bachelors Grove Cemetery. It doesn't feel quite right. There's an eeriness, a creepiness about the place that's unexplainable. Whether it's the restless spirit of a drowned plowman, a woman in white looking for her child or the countless souls of those who lost their lives during the heyday of the Chicago mob scene, if you visit Bachelors Grove, remember to pay your respects to those who's final resting place, lies in this hallowed ground.