Monday, July 4, 2011

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, in the Forest Preserve

Bachelor's Grove is a little hard to locate, so I have included some landmarks to help you know you are in the right place in case you decide to look for it. You have to find this sign.

You also have to run across a busy street.

Then find the beginning of the path here.

This is the only way you know for sure that you have arrived.

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is a small, abandoned cemetery in the Chicago metropolitan area. It is located near Midlothian and Oak Forest, Illinois in the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve on the Midlothian Turnpike. It is well-known for its haunted stories and ghost sightings. There are countless reports of glowing balls, apparitions, squeaks, moans, groans and unexplained noises. Its adjacent pond is also known for rumored mafia affiliation with Al Capone

The small entrance road was once a branch of the Midlothian Turnpike until the early 1960s, when the smaller branch was left in favor of letting traffic go onto 143rd street. The closing of the road engendered the "racer's lane" era of Bachelor's Grove, making it the perfect spot for teenagers looking for a clandestine spot to drag race and become amorous with their cars. It was around this time that many ghost stories about Bachelor's Grove came into being. In the early 1970s, vandalism developed from scattered littering to full on destruction of tombstones and trees. Of the estimated 200 tombstones that once were in the cemetery, only 20 remain: the ones that are too heavy to be moved. In addition to that, several graves were dug up, forcing those in charge to set the tombs in concrete for protection.

The largest remaining gravestone, marked with the Fulton family name, is scattered with trinkets visitors have left behind at the infant Fulton child's grave. Reports of satanic rituals have enhanced the legends of hauntings and ghosts, though to this day only anecdotal evidence as well as alleged pictures of "orbs" exist to prove such a haunting. 

A 1991 photograph taken using infrared film purports to show a spectral 'White Lady'-type ghost seated on a checkered plinth. Well-known to ghost enthusiasts, it is the most vivid claim to hauntings. Despite the fact that the cemetery is allegedly one of the most haunted gravesites in the country, it seems as if the human visitors' desecration of the site, in addition to the natural sounds and visual stimuli of a dark forest, combined with preconceived expectations, are more likely the cause of such reports. However, photographic evidence and first hand accounts of paranormal activity are cause for more extensive investigations into the enigma that persists about the cemetery proper.

The small, stagnant pond adjacent to the cemetery is also reportedly haunted, as it is rumored that Chicago mobster, Al Capone, used it as a dumping ground to dispose of bodies during the 1920s prohibition era, though these claims are unsubstantiated. Another legend about the pond exists involving the ghosts of a farmer and his plow horse who drowned in the pond in the 1870s. It is said that the horse went crazy for an unknown reason upon passing the pond and ran into it, taking with it the farmer.

The path back to the street

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