Unrest In Pieces: Bachelors Grove Cemetery


by Tony Harrington

Several years ago I visited a friend of mine who lives in Chicago, IL.  I spent a portion of the trip doing the tourist thing. Going to the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium and eating deep dish pizza and Italian Beef sandwiches seemed to fill the bulk of my trip.

One day my friend, who knew I was preoccupied with the paranormal, asked if I had ever heard of Bachelors Grove Cemetery. Surprisingly, this little bit of haunted Americana was never on my radar. He described the history, albeit a bastardized version.

His story involved one of tragedy and loss and was befitting of a haunted location. The truth of the matter is; real life was a bit more mundane than fiction. There was no known tragedy as it turns out. Unless you count the fact that when bachelors Grove was originally settled in 1833 (or 1834, depending upon whom you ask), the name of the town was already taken. Shocking, isn’t it? Bachelors Grove went on to be called Batchelors Grove and on some early topography it is listed as Batchelders Grove.

The graveyard itself was established in 1864, 30 years after the community was settled. Its location is directly across a busy highway (143rd) and sits adjacent to the Rubio woods Forest Preserve, near Midlothian, IL.

There is no direct road access to the cemetery; the roads leading to and from have been removed with the passing of time. Visitors to the preserve must park their vehicles at the Rubio woods parking lot and take a footpath through the winding woods.

Located at the end of the footpath on the right-hand side is a gated fence that leads into the cemetery. To this day, and we are talking almost 8 years ago, I still recall the distinct drop in temperature I felt the moment I crossed the threshold into the cemetery proper.

Immediately my eyes took in the abysmal condition of this once sacred place. Tombstones lay in ruin, monuments toppled over, the ground sinking in and the grass dry and overgrown. This final resting spot for many souls was terribly neglected.

Traversing the hidden footpath that encircled the cemetery grounds was an obstacle in itself. The remnants of fallen trees, jutting rock that used to be headstones, sinkholes and pits litter the path along with trash left behind from disrespectful visitors.

There is a pond in the back of the cemetery that once may have been a peaceful place to sit and reflect but was now green with mold and stagnant. The cemetery was officially abandoned in 1965 which accounts for its state of disrepair.

Over the years since its abandonment there have been many startling claims of paranormal activity. The obligatory woman in white who is said to seen sitting at the marker of a loved one (or her very own grave) as she looks into her lap apparently reading or praying.  Some say she has a baby in her arms and spends eternity searching for the grave, long since destroyed.

Other apparitions include a two-headed man, a farmer, and several ghostly bodies floating in the pond. Ghost lights and orbs can be seen with the naked eye with a majority of the activity seemingly focused on the far north end of the cemetery by the stagnant pond where it is said the bodies of mob-hit victims were dumped back in the day.

To me at least, the cemetery had a very strong “otherworldly” feeling and my mind was buzzing the entire time I was there. It felt like there were hundreds of people talking at once and the urge to flee became overwhelming.

As I was leaving the cemetery (and the two people I had arrived with) in haste, I saw in the distance an old white farmhouse. I could barely make out any details other than the color and it appeared to be Victorian design.  I lit a cigarette by the front gate and took a few drags to calm myself.  Something within the cemetery was deeply unsettling; to me at least. My partners in curiosity seemed to take their good old-time seemingly oblivious to the feelings of sorrow, dread and panic that had overcome me.

I turned back to look at the old farmhouse, curious as to if anyone lived there and if so, how they managed to get back and forth from their house with no known road access. I looked around but couldn’t find the house.  I paced back and forth eyeing the tree line in search of the white farmhouse that I had seen moments ago as I exited the cemetery.

Unable to find the house again I simply wrote it off as me imagining things.  I tucked that memory away for a long time, convinced that what I had seen was an illusion or it was a real house that I had caught a glimpse of but was not as close as I had thought it was.

Eventually my friends returned, they had grown tired of walking the graveyard and the arrival of a group of rather cliché looking “bad boys” had put us on edge.  Stories of Satanists and occultists performing rituals in the cemetery were not unheard of. Satanic imagery had been spray-painted on several markers in the graveyard, so with the appearance of these gruff looking individuals we graciously bowed out and let them have the run of the place.

We had not experienced any of the fantastic claims that many people have reported. Such as:

  • Faces in the mist
  • Blue lights darting about the graveyard
  • Ghost automobiles appearing on what used to be the road to the graveyard
  • A two-headed man
  • Apparitions of bodies floating in water
  • Apparition of a farmer with a horse and plow
  • Lights, mists, disembodied voices, the sounds of horses, and extreme temperature shifts have all been reported frequently near this site. (We did experience the drastic drop in temperature as soon as we set foot in the cemetery.)
  • The white Lady (Apparently she only appears when the moon is full)

 The above list of phenomenon was borrowed from www.mysticablaze.com/ghostsillinois/html.

A couple years back I was asked if I would write a piece for a now defunct group back home in Baltimore, MD about my experience at the cemetery.  I had left a comment on their forums at the time indicating that their description of the cemetery as they had it was backwards. They had listed the pond as being in the front of the cemetery to the right of the main gate instead of back and to the left.

I agreed and decided I would do some research and provide a historical background. It was much more in-depth than what I have provided here but I figured if you really want to know the history of the graveyard you can do it yourself.  Google is a wonderful thing.

Researching the history of the area ultimately led to the discussion of the paranormal and I began reading claims of other people’s encounters within the cemetery. It was the usual laundry list of claims:  Lights, cries of despair, horses, cars, women in white, etc.

Amidst the barrage traditional lore one particular post stood out.  It was from a 24-year-old woman who mentioned that while she was waiting for her friends to come out of the graveyard, (she was too scared to go in), she saw a Victorian style farmhouse in the distance but when she walked toward it to get a closer look, it disappeared.

My jaw hit the desk.  I was absolutely flabbergasted as the memory of my experience with seeing a house out in the middle of the woods came flooding back to me. I entered several search terms into my browser search bar and soon found that there have been hundreds of reports of a strange white farmhouse in the area of the cemetery that does not exist.

Of course, there is some sort of legend surrounding this, what shall I call it? Ghost house? Some say that any person who actually has made it to the house and successfully entered has become lost from this world.

I don’t know how much of this is true; I am willing to bet there is no documented case of people simply vanishing after having entered the white farmhouse that doesn’t exist. It would be kind of hard to prove. But still, other people had seen the house and that was an important validation to me that I had seen something that was there one moment then gone the next.

Is Bachelors Grove Cemetery haunted? Keep in mind; I did not do an investigation of the famous paranormal hotspot. I went in as a tourist and left rattled and confused. I was not completely aware anything paranormal had transpired until years later when a fluke article revealed that I had seen the apparition of a home that others had seen but does not exist.

I will tell you this, that one particular incident left me shaken enough that I have not entered another cemetery since.  It was this one incident that put me back on the path of paranormal investigations and ultimately led me to the Spirit Seekers.

One day I would like to face my fears so to speak and head back to the very cemetery that ruined me for all others. I would like to perform an authentic paranormal investigation and see what comes up as far as evidentiary support. Until then I can not say for certain that the cemetery is haunted. I will just have to take the word of other groups that have deemed it so and simply trust in the fact that there is something unexplained happening at this place of unrest. And let’s face it, no one knows exactly what the dead do when they think no one is looking.

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Spirit Seekers is a Paranormal Research Team located in Arkansas, dedicated to investigating and documenting the spirit world around us. Our Team is committed to the research, documentation, education, and investigation of ghostly phenomena recorded through EVP, digital, film and video photography. Spirit Seekers consists of professional people who believe there is far more to the world around us than meets the eye. We believe that our spirits enter into another plane of existence upon physical death. For any number of reasons, some have elected to stay here or have been anchored here, unable to move on. We, as a whole, desire the knowledge and understanding of life after death. One of our main goals is to assist those who are experiencing paranormal phenomenon. We will look for authentic evidence of the paranormal and try to determine if the location is haunted. We do not charge a fee for our services. Please feel free to contact us if you need our assistance.

7 Responses to Unrest In Pieces: Bachelors Grove Cemetery

  1. Pingback: Ghosts, Bachelors Grove Cemetery

  2. Pingback: Bachelors Grove Cemetery – Midlothian, Illinois

  3. Tejashree says:

    Hi..
    Last night i had a dream in which I saw a place called ‘Bachelor’s Cemetery’..i then searched it on google and it led me to this piece.
    I have never been to the US (am from India) and have never even heard of this.I was totally flabbergasted when i saw the results of the google search…..that a place like this even existed.
    I dont know what to do….as i cant think of nything that links me to this place.
    The place I saw wasnt exactly like the one given in the pics..it was a small open ground ,there was a small domelike white concrete structure near the gate which had a cross on top….and it didnt disappear the next time i saw it….i didnt enter the place as it was already dark..but i was peering inside in my dream…..

    • Tejashree:

      That is very fascinating to me.

      I am not sure what the significance of dreaming of Bachelor’s Cemetery is. Whatever the case may be it had to be odd/scary enough to make you research it.

      I am not sure of any structures that once stood in the cemetery, by the time I saw it the graveyard was already in bad shape with most of the monuments broken down. It was sad to know that people were still buried there and their final resting place had been disturbed so horribly.

      The cemetery is a bad spot especially at night with vandals and alleged satanists hanging around.

      There are several other sites that delve further into the history of Bachelor’s grove. There is even an official site http://www.bachelorsgrove.com

      I hope you are able to figure out this strange dream and what, if any connection, you may have to it. Perhaps a past life experience. :)

      Thank you for reading the article and for stopping by our site.

  4. Joy says:

    My 8 year old is a HUGE fan of time anomaly theories. Mr. Harrington, you are not alone in your confusion; however, I sincerely believe there is a logical explanation for everything. The definition of “logical” is what is in question. Having seen two examples of ghosts up close and personal, I know “something” is real; I’m just not sure what that is yet!

    Energy released in situations has to go somewhere, remain somewhere, or be manifested in ways we do not understand completely. We also have much to learn regarding time. Our lack of, and search for, knowledge is what makes life fun!

    • Joy:

      sorry it took so long to add your comment, I started a new job recently and it has consumed a majority of my time. I am glad that I found your comment and was able to respond.

      Like you, I am not sure what “logical” is. I prefer the term “rational” but even then, that is up for debate.

      I agree wholeheartedly that energy has to go somewhere and it is not out of the realm of the possible for an imprint to be left on our world by such energy.

      I will keep researching, any input from my fellow enthusiasts is greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and to comment on it. Sorry again for the length of time it took to post your comment.

      -Tony Harrington

  5. Cynthia Kanz says:

    I live in the western suburbs of Chicago and first I’d like to say that you ate well when you where here.:) glad you got to enjoy it. I recently have visited Bachelors Grove three times, the first in Aug. of 2012 during the first full moon of the month. By the way it wasn’t planned that way. I have to say my first impression was neglect beyond belief. It looked like something out of a Hollywood horror movie set. So for those seeking the visual fright it’s there. I also felt a great sense of sadness and grief. I never felt watched as some have said or creeped out. We ran into two young men with evp’s and other devices. They were very respectable and not there out of disrespect. We stayed with them for a few hours and during that time they took pictures that had orbs and one by the Fulton Grave was a large white orb that appeared in three layers. I believe in that area is a Civil War Veteran is buried. They also picked up voices on there very clearly. Ones said “go away”. I returned with a friend again during the day and the cemetary has a less “chilling” effect that one would have at night. We were there to smudge and see it better. We ran into a gentleman from the preservation assoc. and he showed us where the house foundations are outside of the cemetary. There is also an Indian Village. Well the old Midlothian turnpike now closed is a documented Indian Trail from the early 1800′s. This area is rich with spirit and history. Many report hearing drums beating in a constant beat as well as male chanting.
    The third time I returned was Sept. 29, 2012. My niece was in from out of town and wanted to go as well as a male friend of my daughter thst lives in the city and had no knowledge of the Grove.
    We went into the woods outside the cemetary to see the house foundations and wells left in the grounds and on our way out after we crossed the creek the young man that was with us said he saw a little boy. Around 8-9 years old. I never told him that there was a young boy spirit seen there by many. He told me a week later he will not go back. I on the other hand plan to again soon. I never took one picture when I’ve been there. I am not there for that reason. I knew there was spirit, long before my visit to Bachelors Grove. These people deserve to rest in peace and dignty.

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