Weird News, Ghosts and the Paranormal.

Bachelor’s Grove: (History/Pics/Videos)

By Thomas Spychalski

Bachelor’s Grove has become one of those haunted locations that has become infamous, along with places like Waverly Hills Sanitarium, Gettysburg, The Queen Mary and the Amityville Horror House.

Fortunately, I had the privilege of living very close to Bachelors Grove cemetery for many years and have visited it quite a few times. In fact, the first time I was there is the only time in my life that I might have had a ‘paranormal’ experience that I could not chalk up to circumstance or something logical and simple.

Bachelors Grove is also a tale of neglect and being forgotten, swept away by the constant march of time. It as much an ‘abandoned place’ as a haunted location.

Early History of the Grove:

Although it has been recorded that people started settling near Bachelors Grove in the 1820’s, although it got busier in the 1830’s when Stephen H. Rexford claimed that he and two other single men were the reason for the Grove’s odd name:

“About 1834 or 1833 several bachelors, among whom was Stephan {sic} H. Rexford, Eli B. Williams and possibly one or more of the Bartons settled there to perfect their titles for government land, as they were all single men and kept bachelors’ hall the place became known as Bachelors Grove. It is about four miles southwest of Blue Island.”

Rexford also notes that during those two years, about sixty or so people had settled in the grove.

However, the first record of the cemetery’s existence comes in 1864, when Edward M. Everden bought the land the cemetery stands on from Frederick Schmidt and decided that one acre of the land he purchased would be used as a burial place.

Decadence & Decay:

After that the cemetery thrived for some time, not showing any of it’s spooky associated history until the 1960’s and the 1970’s when the location was used by teenagers as a lover’s lane of sorts. This is also the period where the paranormal gets mixed into the story with reports of both grave robbing and satanic rituals being performed at the Grove.

This was also about when the Midlothian Turnpike was closed, essentially closing the Grove off from the rest of the surrounding area. There were plans to open a new path to existing roads so the cemetery would still be accessible, but due to any issue with construction on Illinois Forest Preserve property, this was never realized and the cemetery started to fade away…

For years the place was known only to vandals, and some of the bodies buried in the cemetery got moved by their families to better locations, especially as most of the headstones were getting knocked over and  dumped into the small pond on the premises.

Ghosts:

The Madonna Picture 1991

As for ghostly activity, the Grove has many stories, from different color orbs floating in the air, a mysterious house that vanishes, a coach and buggy that drives straight into the pond and of course, that infamous photograph that partially made the grove what it is today in paranormal circles.

The Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove.

Taken on August, 10th, 1991 by the Ghost Research Society (GRS), where GRS member Mike Huff was taking shots of the Grove with a high speed infra red camera in a section of the cemetery where the team’s equipment had showed signs of strange activity. When the photo was developed, an image of a woman in a white dress can be seen sitting on a distinctive tombstone. Parts of the woman even appear to be transparent.

The Madonna Gravestone in July 2011.

Of course, all that activity and history has also made Bachelor’s Grove one of the hottest paranormal places in the world as well as an interesting abandoned piece of history right out in the open.

My First Visit To The Grove (Paranormal Experience?):

My friend had convinced me to come with him to see Bachelor’s Grove with him, and although skeptical I was curious as I have always had a love for the strange and the unusual. The friend who accompanied me had told me that he had seen all kinds of odd things at the Grove, but to be fair, he most likely made most of it up or passed on other peoples stories about the cemetery.

All of this had to be in the mid or late nineties.

However, as we approached the area, I started to get a strange feeling inside, like I had suddenly became more aware and felt awake and alert. I passed this on to my friend who felt it might be the Grove itself reaching out to me.

Parking his car in the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve lot and making our way carefully across the busy road, we found our way to a path that was mostly hidden by trees and a lot of foliage.

When we reached the cemetery proper, I still felt strange and odd and it seemed as if I was in a very magical place, as if I was high or slightly tipsy.

Grave of the Infant Daughter

This feeling persisted till we got back to my friend’s house in Chicago, where I recall that everything also seemed very three dimensional and real, where things that might have felt flat before seemed to ‘pop’.

Eventually after I returned home the feeling faded, but I always have held that incident in my mind when asking myself do I believe in ghosts and the paranormal. I was not on ANY kind of substance at all besides the fact I used to smoke cigarettes back then and had yet to take my first drink or smoke marijuana.

I returned to Bachelor’s Grove many times, and although that first experience was never really duplicated, I was fascinated by the place, especially the grave of the Infant Daughter and the sadness at all the vandalism and littering that went on there.

After visiting pretty regularly, I stopped coming to Bachelor’s Grove for the next thirteen years.

Return to the Grove (2011):

I returned to the Grove in July of 2011 and made a couple videos, snapped some pictures and generally tried not to get eaten alive by bugs.

The pathways that lead around the cemetery were much more overgrown then I recall and it seemed that for the most Part there were no funny feelings besides being scared by the movement of one of the tiny frogs I saw by the pond.

However it did give me the chance to record some video of the location, including this one, which is the path you must walk down to get to the graveyard across from the Rubio Woods parking lot (I am not giving exact directions on how to enter for various reasons):

There is also this one, where we visit the cemetery area a bit:

I also took an abundance of photos, including shots of the entrance path, the Grave of the Infant Daughter, and various other things inside the Grove:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was also this video, which is kind of silly, but hey, whats the fun of visiting supposedly haunted locations if you are not trying to creep yourself out a bit?

All in all, whether you believe in the ghost stories or not, Bachelor’s Grove is a very historic area with a rich history and does not deserve the neglect it has had thrust on it.

If you do plan to visit the Grove please keep in mind not too litter or damage the place anymore then others already have.

 

 

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3 responses

  1. Pingback: Weird Wednesday « Elle's Musings

  2. Pingback: Weird Wednesday « Elle's Musings

  3. Pingback: News From The Spirit World with Thomas Spychalski | The Big Séance

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