Phantom Dog

Last updated October 11, 2011

The following was written by Pete Crapia, founder of the Bachelors Grove Cemetery & Settlement Research Center. A great appreciation goes out to all of those that have and continue to contribute to the research efforts!

The legend of the Phantom Dog can be traced as far back as the late 1980s. The first sighting is said to have occurred while two young men were visiting the cemetery. As one of them was walking around inside he witnessed strange flickering lights within the flora. According to the witness, he could not find an explanation for the lights and that there was no object in the area that could have caused a reflection of some sort. Upon turning around, he then witnessed the backside of a black dog and it faded away into what is being described as "nothingness."

The first written record of the above sighting can be found within the 1989 book True Tales of the Unknown: The Uninvited. Nearly a decade later within the 1999 book Haunted Illinois by Troy Taylor, it states that around 1998 Taylor had received several reports of "some sort of supernatural animal along the road to Bachelor's Grove."He also went on to state that all of the witnesses "claims to have seen a very large, black dog near the entrance to the road. This dog always vanishes when approached, normally right before the eyes of the witness."

In June of 1998 a black dog was witnessed walking out of the roped entrance to the path leading to the cemetery off of 143rd Street. Of the two people in the report, only one of them was able to see the dog despite "being able to see it perfectly clear in the nearby light of the street lamp." Upon a second trip to the cemetery one week later, the same person who was able to see the dog was visiting the area with a group of friends when he saw the same dog in the same location. During this particular sighting two out of five people were able to see it. Without any movement, before the dog "faded little by little until it was completely gone" it looked to them as possibly being a black Doberman.

Found within the 2003 book Voices from the Chicago Grave by Scott Markus, in reference to phantom dogs on page 100 the author states, "Bob Jensen was one such witness who had no knowledge of the phantom animals until he encountered one in the path near the cemetery entrance." There was no description of the dog itself, date and time of the sighting, or any other information.

During the Summer of 2003 a first-hand report was made describing a small group of boys witnessing a dog come from behind a tree and running toward them. Out of fear, the boys rode their bicycles out of the cemetery and as they looked back they found that the dog had disappeared. There was no descripton given to the size, color or breed of dog.

Afterwards, within the 2006 book A Field Guide to Chicago Hauntings by Jim Graczyk, it gives a description of a black and tan rottweiler that can be seen on the trail that leads to the cemetery and that it simply watches and never barks.

Author Jim Graczyk then goes on to reveal his own encounters with a phantom dog in the late 1980s within his 2008 book Chicago Hauntings for Teens. He describes a black and brown rottweiler that came out of the woods as they exited the cemetery and it proceeded to follow him and his associates along the main path that leads to the cemetery.

During a 2009 interview with Graczyk, he described walking down the path toward the Rubio Woods parking lot as the dog kept pace with him and the others he was visiting with. Everyone became concerned and made a pact to defend each other against the dog. He mentioned that the dog looked very real and that they all found it strange that it never barked nor growled.

After exiting the roped entrance to the main path off of 143rd Street, the dog continued to follow them and stopped near the concrete curb. It continued to watch them as they crossed 143rd Street and once making it back to the car Graczyk turned around to find that the dog had disappeared. Graczyk stated that he did not know the story of the Phantom Dog and strongly believes that the dog he witnessed was one and the same. For the sake of clarity, it should be noted that the reference of "tan" and "brown" in the separate color descriptions are supposed to represent the same thing.