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Does Cook County Neglect Dead People Too?

Does Cook County Neglect Dead People Too?
NBC 5 Local Beat
July 30, 2009
Steve Rhodes

While Cook County officials have (rightly) shown outrage at the grisly conditions uncovered at the Burr Oak Cemetery, it turns out the three county-owned cemeteries aren't exactly models for respecting the dead.

"At Mount Forest Cemetery, located in Thornton and abandoned in 1939, just two headstones could be seen through the waist-high weeds from a two-track gravel path," the SouthtownStar reports. "County records show 300 graves dotted this site at one point, however, village leaders say families exhumed and reburied many of the bodies in other locations throughout the years."

Thornton Mayor Jack Swan was less than reassuring, telling the paper: "I haven't found any femurs or tibias or anything laying around like in the ones you're hearing about. It's neglected and pretty overgrown, but no bones laying around."

The county also owns Bachelor's Grove near Midlothian and Glenview Cemetery.

"The overgrowth is ridiculous," said John Stephenson said of Bachelor's Grove. "It's been in bad shape forever."

Stephenson runs a website calling Bachelor's Grove the most haunted place in the world.

"For such a small out of the way cemetery, Bachelor's Grove is said to have more unexplained ghostly disturbances than any other cemetery," the site says.

Another site about the cemetery says "Many have seen it for themselves and many have heard its legends."

A clean-up effort at the cemetery last weekend filled 47 garbage bags.

In the wake of the Burr Oak scandal, the state received complaints about conditions at other cemeteries on the
South Side, including Mount Hope Cemetery, Oak Woods Cemetery and Homewood Memorial Gardens.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.