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© 2009 Unknown -
September 17, 2009

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

My husband is normally a very logical and skeptical person.

While I tend to believe in things like chakras, energy healing, and psychics, he finds those things kind-of funny and sometimes jokes with me about my believing in them.*

In fact, recently, when we were playing the game “Apples to Apples” at his aunt’s house, and he had to match the word “hilarious” with the card that he thought had the most hilarious thing on it, he picked the word “psychics.”

But when it comes to ghosts, he seems to have an odd fascination with them. That doesn’t mean he believes in ghosts—on the contrary, he does not believe in them in the least—but he finds ghost stories extremely interesting. He owns two Chicago ghost story books that he’s read from cover to cover, and he regularly Tivo’s and watches the show “Ghostly Encounters.” He also intently listens when his sisters talk about the ghosts that they’ve heard in the past. (Yes, both of his sisters claim to have heard ghosts. They’re a unique family.)

Anyway, a couple of months ago, Iwanski’s obsession with ghosts led to us going to Bachelors Grove Cemetery in Midlothian, Illinois.

Bachelor's Grove is a very old cemetery, founded in the mid-1800's, now part of the Cook County Forest Preserves. And although the cemetery is now abandoned and hasn’t actually been used for burials in a long time (the last burial there was 20 years ago—but most of the graves are from the early 1900’s), people regularly flock there to see if they can see any of the reported ghosts.

There have been many reported “sightings” at Bachelor’s Grove. People have claimed to have seen a ghostly woman dressed in all white, and some claim to have seen a horse pulling a plow behind it that is steered by the apparition of an old man. People also often claim to see “orbs”—floating balls of light—in the air.

Iwanski had been wanting to see Bachelor’s Grove for a long time…so finally, on a warm July day, we decided to check it out.

When we arrived at the Forest Preserves, we started on the half-mile walk to the cemetery. It was a beautiful day, and the trail leading to Bachelor’s Grove was lined with lovely trees, plants, and flowers.

We hiked a half-mile through the woods and found the cemetery.

It was surprising to me how overgrown all the graves were, and how far apart each of them was (they were not right next to each other, like in a “normal” cemetery). And it was interesting to see how old some of the gravestones were. But other than that, it honestly just seemed to me like a pretty little spot in the woods. We didn’t see any orbs, or a woman in white, or a horse and an old man. So much for the supernatural.

Or so I thought.

We came upon a gravestone labeled “Infant Daughter,” which was surrounded and covered by toys and trinkets that people had left for the baby girl.

“Wow,” we both said.

“I wonder how she died,” I said softly, imagining her poor parents that had to bury her. And I looked with amazement at the countless little gifts that people had left for her.

I wanted to leave something for her, too, but I didn’t really have anything on me for a baby girl. (I know it seems silly, but at that moment I felt like I really wanted to leave her something.)

The only thing I could think of to leave her was the ponytail holder in my hair…so that’s exactly what I did.

“Rest in peace, Baby Girl,” I said, placing it on her gravestone.

Iwanski and I looked around the cemetery some more, but my thoughts were still with the baby girl. How tragic it must be for parents to lose an infant daughter or son!

Finally, we had seen all the graves, and it was time to leave.

As we trekked through the forest back to our rental car in the 85-degree heat, I started to feel really warm from my hair not being in a ponytail.

“Damn, I wish I had another ponytail holder!” I said. And just at that moment, I looked down and saw a ponytail holder, sitting there on some rocks right in front of me.

“Oh my God, look!” I said and picked it up, showing it to Iwanski.

Iwanski looked at me. “That’s weird,” he said.

I looked up at the sky. “Thanks, Baby Girl!” I said, and put the ponytail holder in my hair. It fit perfectly.

Iwanski and I went about the rest of our day and the rest of our week, but I never forgot about the baby girl.

And over the next few weeks—and still today—I have noticed something strange happening.

Almost every single day, I see a ponytail holder lying on the sidewalk.

Even last night, as I was walking with my friend Jonathan, I saw one on the sidewalk right in front of us.

When I told Jonathan the story, he asked “Are ponytail holders easy to lose?”

“I don’t think so,” I said. “I’ve never lost one. Maybe kids might lose them, though?”

Maybe it is just a coincidence, but I would prefer to think of it as the baby girl’s spirit having fun with me.