Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is a cemetery in Bremen Township, Cook County, Illinois, in Chicago's southwest suburbs, known for its alleged ghost sightings. The cemetery has also been called Bachelor Grove, Batchelor Grove, Batchelder's Grove, and Everden (or Everdon).
Bachelors Grove Cemetery is just northwest of Midlothian and Oak Forest, near the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve on the Midlothian Turnpike (near its intersection with Central Avenue), in the southwest Chicago suburbs.
The land surrounding Bachelors Grove Cemetery was originally settled by English homesteaders who relocated to the area from New England, including Stephen Rexford, arguably the most well known of the first wave of Anglo settlers, around 1833. Ursula Bielski, author of "Chicago Haunts," asserts the actual cemetery was originally named the Everden Cemetery after the original holder of the property title, Corintha Everden who purchased the land at the first Illinois public land sales in 1835. The site saw its first known burials around 1836 and contains 82 lots and 200 graves, some of which were never sold or used. Burials, however, possibly go back as far as 1834, when German immigrant workers killed while working on the Illinois and Michigan Canal were reportedly laid to rest at the site. The site is often reported to have been a dumping ground for victims of Chicago's organized crime families of the 1920s and 1930s (including Al Capone), but no evidence of this has been proven.
Specific manifestations reported
Besides orbs and phantom vehicles, there have been additional reports of supernatural events at the cemetery, including:
- The white lady (or "white madonna")– she walks the grounds carrying an infant during a full moon.
- Phantom farmhouse– a ghostly farmhouse which is purported to shimmer, float, and then vanish; this was most often reported during the 1950s. There are also reports by witnesses of the house shrinking as they approach it, then disappearing altogether.
- A farmer and his plow-horse– both victims of a plowing accident, dragged to their deaths into the nearby slough.
- A two-headed ghost– near the same slough.
- Religious monks– as late as 1984, witnesses reported seeing numerous figures dressed in monk's robes throughout the cemetery.
- A black dog– witnesses in the 1990s reported seeing this manifestation at the cemetery's entrance; it would disappear when they approached it.
- The "woman sitting on the grave"– a notable photograph which ran in the Chicago Sun-Times, purportedly showing a transparent woman sitting on a tombstone; the apparition was not visible when the photograph was taken.
Claims of hauntings peaked in the 1970s and 1980s.
Paranormal researchers James Houran, Timothy Harte, Michael Hollinshead and Ursula Bielski conducted a series of experiments at Bachelors Grove Cemetery in the 1980s and 1990s. One of these, a photography experiment, was published in the Journal of Perceptual and Motor Skills (1997) and found that, while no anomalous images were obtained from Bachelors Grove Cemetery, approximately half of the frames on both infrared and black and white films were unexposed. The results are discussed in terms of ambiguous events being interpreted as meaningful due to paranormal contexts.
In 2012, the cemetery was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures.
- Note: plat: section 8 of Bremen Township, Cook County, Illinois.
- Bachelor's Grove; "Graveyards of Chicago;" article; Graveyards.com; accessed November 2013
- Bettenhausen, Brad (n.d.). "The History of Batchelors Grove". Bachelors Grove Cemetery & Settlement Research Center. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- Bielski, Ursula (2016). Haunted Bachelors Grove. New Jersey: History Press. ISBN 9781540200563.
- Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is the most haunted graveyard in America; article; Roadtrippers; accessed 25 May 2018
- "Bachelor's Grove Cemetery". The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World. Harper Element. 2006. pp. 57–58.
- "Visit Dead for a Halloween Treat". The Boston Herald. October 30, 2005.
- Houran and Lange, "Predicting anomalous effects on film: an empirical test," Journal of Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1997
- Bachelor's Grove; GRS.org; accessed November 2013
- Alex T. Paschal (October 31, 2008). "Dixon Shutterbug Boasts a Supernatural Snapshot". Daily Gazette (Sterling, Illinois).