Bachelors Grove Cemetery is an abandoned graveyard in the Chicago area. It is well known as a location for paranormal experiences.
The area was settled in the early 1800’s. People who first settled in this area were of English, Irish and Scottish descent and came from the Eastern United States, primarily New York, Connecticut and Vermont.
The cemetery is shrouded in mystery, and even the origin of the name of the cemetery is uncertain. It either came from the fact that several bachelors were part of the group that first settled this area or from the fact that wooded areas were often named for the families that settled certain areas. Research shows that there was actually a family with the name Batchelder that settled near this area around 1845.
The cemetery is one of the oldest in Cook County. There is an abandoned road that lines the cemetery and crosses a creek bed back in the woods. This road has been closed to traffic since the 1960’s.
Details of the first burial in Bachelors Grove Cemetery are in question with some records stating that Eliza Scott was buried in 1844 and others mentioning William Nobles who died in 1838. Some of the last burials include Laura McGhee in 1965 and Robert Shields in 1989.
Unfortunately, the cemetery has been vandalized for many years. There are not many headstones left and those remaining have been spray painted, turned over, and even stolen. Many families have removed their family members from Bachelor’s Grove. They have been moved for various reasons, some because families wanted their loved ones closer to where the family now lived, others wanted the deceased located in cemeteries with more space for future family members. And some of the dead were relocated because families had concerns about the vandalism.
There have been many paranormal claims for Bachelors Grove Cemetery and the area near to it and it is probably one of best documented haunted places in Illinois. Many of the big-name in the paranormal field have written about it, including Ursula Bielski, Troy Taylor, Dale Kaczmarek, and Michael Kleen. Television shows have visited the cemetery as well.
Richard Crowe was really one of the first in Illinois to start visiting this area. He stated that the famous “hook” story actually happened on the road that runs alongside the cemetery.
There are many claims of paranormal experiences in the whole area. One of the most common is the vanishing house. Many people have claimed to see a two-story farm house with a porch swing and a small lamp in the window that gave off a welcoming glow. The house supposedly seems to shimmer and floats if one approaches it. Many have combed records searching for the house. While there were houses in the area, no one has ever figured out if there was an actual house in the exact location this particular house is seen.
There are also reports of different colored lights in the woods surrounding the cemetery. Most of the reports state red or blue lights. They come at all times of day and night and seem to blink, glow brightly, and weave around the tombstones. One couple even claimed they were pushed over by the light when it rushed at them.
A small pond is located on the back side of the cemetery. It is a stagnant, murky, green-colored body of water. It is said that in the early days of the cemetery, people came to picnic among the tombstones and they would fish and swim in this pond. In the prohibition years, stories began to circulate that the mob was using this same pond as a dumping place for the bodies of the men they killed. Some people theorize that the mysterious colored lights are the souls of the murdered men.
The same pond also plays a pivotal role in another story. Two Cook County Forest Patrol officers were riding on Midlothian Road in the 1970’s when they were astonished to see a horse climbing out of the pond. The horse was not the only thing that emerged from the murky depths. There was a plow attached to the horse and an old farmer driving the plow. They saw such detail that they could see that the man was old and had a ghastly look on his face. The horse and plow passed right in front of them and disappeared in the woods on the opposite side of the road.
The origins of this story claim that there was an old farmer who owned the land and while out plowing one day, his horse became startled and bolted. While trying to control the horse, the old man became tangled in the reins and was helpless when the horse plunged into the pond. The horse and the man both struggled to escape but were unsuccessful. Apparently, they are still trying to free themselves of the dark and murky water.
Other visitors to the cemetery have reported seeing a woman dressed in a full length gown wandering through the cemetery as though searching for something or someone. Some people claim she is looking for a lost child.
There has been a lot of research done on Bachelors Grove Cemetery by groups in the area, including a high school class that researched the burials records. One website, “Bachelors Grove Cemetery and Research Center” has done an excellent job of gathering the research and making it available in one place. The site has names, dates, and even pictures of the some people who were buried in the cemetery. Trail maps are also available.
For more information, visit the website at www.bachelorsgrove.com
Copyright © 2014 Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford Events