The most haunted cemetery: Bachelors Grove

Over the decades as a long-time Chicago girl, I was there; as teenager, young adult and mature woman trying to see and feel but I had no luck. My friends didn’t either but I thought it was fun just to try searching for the paranormal. Close to home, Bachelor’s Grove is one of the most haunted places in the Chicago area and mainly eerie discoveries took place in the 1970’s and 1980’s. People have seen orbs, flying vehicles as well as a disappearing farmhouse. In 1984, someone saw monks in robes and in the 1990s, a ghost dog. 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.

An historic cemetery filled with ghosts, the area has suffered abuse and neglect from those looking for that one sound or light from beyond. The earliest burial being about 1838 and the last burial took place in 1965 and 1989. One of the most well-known graves in Bachelor’s Grove is that of a baby girl who died mysteriously in the early 1900’s. Visitors to the cemetery often leave trinkets and small toys on her headstone. Photographs of her grave often include orbs captured by Haunted Illinois. Some legends say a baby can be heard crying in the cemetery in the early morning hours, just before dawn.

According to Wikipedia, The Ghost Research Society has conducted numerous investigations into the reported phenomenon, and their results have included images which contain light resembling ectoplasm as well as orbs. One photograph, taken by Judy Huff Felz in 1991, includes a “supposed” full image of a ghostly figure.

After the film was processed, according to the Ghost Research Society, it was discovered that on one frame there was the image of a strange woman sitting on a checkerboard tombstone in an old-fashioned turn-of-the-century, full-length dress. She had long brown hair and was staring off in the distance in profile. Studying the detail, parts of her body are semi-transparent, especially her head and legs.  Everyone on the team was shocked with this revelation as it seemed to happen while a team member experienced electromagnetic deviations at the same time.  It is one of the clearest images this author has ever seen to date!  Researchers have reported electronic voice phenomena in the area.

They suggest a a documentary shot in 2009 by Cody Kats for your enjoyment. Visit his page on YouTube, Bachelor’s Grove. In 2012, the cemetery was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures. Ursula Beilski, a Chicago legend in discovering paranormal activity, has written a book that concentrates on Bachelor’s Grove. Ursula is the founder of Chicago Hauntings and has appeared on many television shows with her spiritual discoveries.

Self guided tours are available on the Path to Bachelors Grove site since many struggle to find it. If you are planning visits, please take a look at the site and directions which is updated all the time. The Path website offers a great quote “You cannot reach a destination if you don’t know it exists,”. Maybe I need to be more confidant about meeting spirits and go back to the cemetery soon.

Chicago’s haunted cemeteries

Graceland Cemetery: On Chicago’s North Side, Inez Clarke is suppose to haunt the cemetery and has for several decades. A little girl that has been seen wandering the cemetery grounds. As the stories were told, it was the ghost of a little girl who had died in a lightening storm, while spending time outside at a family picnic, when she was six years old. However, according to Prairie Ghosts and a cemetery expert, no Inez Clarke has ever been buried at Graceland. He also looked up US Census records and found that no child existed at all.  Other supernatural stories exist at Graceland that include the Statue of Death where it has been said that if you look into the scary face of the statue, you may see what your own death in the future will be!

Rosehill Cemetery: Beginning in 1859, Rosehill is the largest and oldest cemetery in Chicago occupying over 330 acres of land and located at 5800 North Ravenswood Avenune. According to the Ghost Research Society, the most recent sighting of an apparition occurred in October of 1995 when a grounds keeper burst into the administration building around eight o’clock in the evening swearing that he had seen a strange figure of a woman on the grounds. She had been standing by a tree near the Peterson Avenue wall. As he began to walk towards her to find out what was wrong, he suddenly froze in his tracks. The apparition seemed to be floating wearing a vintage dress! The ghost disappeared into a mist and it was only then that he was able to move; hurrying to the administration building. Here, he made a report of what he saw. The very next day a phone call was received by the Rosehill office from a woman calling from Des Plaines who said that her deceased aunt had made a nocturnal visit. Her aunt was complaining to her that she had not been properly remembered and that no grave marker adorned her burial plot. She ordered a monument for her aunt, Carrie Kalbas, and since that day, no ghostly sightings have been reported. The Ghost Research Society has electronically visited many haunted sites in the cemetery but have found nothing so far.

Mt Carmel: Currently an active cemetery, Mt Carmel is a Roman Catholic cemetery located in the Chicago suburb of Hillside, Illinois. The most recent famous interment was the body of Cardinal Joseph Bernardine after his death in 1996 from liver and pancreatic cancer.  Mt Carmel is also the final resting place of gangster, Al Capone and many have claimed to see his ghost by his gravestone. Julie Petta, who died in childbirth, is also a famous ghost to walk the lawns of Mt Carmel also known as the Italian bride. Julia, it is said, died either in childbirth or on her wedding night. As legend has it, her mother was abused with nightmares from Julia that her grave be opened. After six years, Mother finally had her body exhumed and surprisingly, she was in great condition. The Mother was allowed to to build her a massive monument. According to The order of the good death, the monument to Julia was financed by her brother in 1927, six years after her death to celebrate her unusual death.

Holy Sepulchre: My aunt and uncle were buried at Holy Sepulchre, a beautiful Catholic Cemetery in Alsip. But the cemetery is also home to the legend of Mary Alice Quinn, known as Chicago’s Miracle Child. Mary died when she was 14 and was buried in the Reilly family plot but prior to her death, she was a natural healer. Those that visited her grave saw apparitions and smelt roses even in the winter time according to sources. The late Mayor Richard J. Daley is buried in Section 19, near the cemetery entrance on 111th Street.  The same section also contains the burial place of Dan Ryan, long time Cook County Board President after whom the Dan Ryan Expressway is named.  Helen Morgan, famous blues singer is interred in Section 14 and more than 500 priests, brothers and sisters are also interred according to the Ghost Research Society. A number of car accidents have occurred on the 111th side of the cemetery but most have been explained.

Resurrection Cemetery: Check out this article that I published last year about Mary  https://karlasullivandotcom.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/chicagos-most-popular-ghost-resurrection-mary/

Bachelors Grove: Check out this article also published last year https://karlasullivandotcom.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/chicagos-most-haunted-bachelors-grove/

Chicago’s Most Haunted: Bachelors Grove

Another trip many ghost hunters of Chicago made back in the day and still do, was to Midlothian, Il on the edge of Rubio Woods forest preserve, the infamous Bachelors Grove Cemetery. The cemetery sign is long gone and the small burial ground is surrounded by a high link fence. Many throughout the US believe this is the most haunted cemetery in the country. And the road outside of the cemetery has also seen its share of ghosts.

Over the years, after trips, once again, to catch a ghost I think the area is a great place for vandals more than ghosts though ghost experts claim that vandalism is the reason for so many hauntings. I have taken pictures and found nothing unusual after developing my different types of film,video but those that have visited Bachelors Grove feel that using an infrared camera is the best way to see apparitions.The latest haunting took place in 2016.

The Midlothian Turnpike, the road outside of the cemetary, folks claim to have seen ghostly cars causing accidents. The pond, located outside of the cemetary in late 1970’s, was reported by the Cook County Forest Preserve officers to have had apparitions of a horse emerging from the waters. The animal appeared to be steering a plow driven by an old man and the rangers did not know that this was actually a legend connected to the pond according to Living History of Illinois

You tube offers many videos providing images of shadows, possible ghostly figures and white streams of light after taking pictures. You can judge for yourself if these have been photo shopped or the real thing.

According to Prairie Ghosts.com, the vandals first discovered Bachelor’s Grove in the 1960s and, probably because of its secluded location, began to wreak havoc on the place. Gravestones were knocked over and destroyed, sprayed with paint, broken apart and even stolen. Graves were opened and caskets removed. Bones were sometimes found to be strewn about the cemetery. Maybe ghosts rose to fight destruction.

The site saw its first official burials around 1840 and contains 82 plots, many of which were never sold or used. The site is often reported to have been a dumping ground for victims of Chicago’s organized crime families of the 1920s and 1930s, but no evidence of this has been proven.

Hauntings escalated in the 1970’s and 1980’s including a woman sitting on a graveyard that I remember which ran in the Sun-times taken by Jude Felz, which has been the most famous,a phantom farmhouse, the black dog, and the lady who carries an infant during the full moon.

The Ghost Research Society has conducted many investigations and does claim activity. The greatest number of claims include orbs of light. Bachelors Grove has been featured in a program called Ghost Adventures.

If you are planning a trip to Bachelors Grove, make sure you follow the Forest Preserve hours which are generally from sun up to sundown.  It is best to park at Rubio’s Woods, and on foot, cross 143rd Street South towards the power substation, head east a few feet to the closed sign, go around that and follow the path back a couple blocks.

Take a lot of pictures…..many continue to find a weird haze or fog after they have captured shots of the cemetery, pond and road.