Few graveyards in America can fill the visitor with the same sense of foreboding and expectation as the Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery near Chicago.
Abandoned and left to decay in the latter half of the twentieth century, this once beautiful parkland now lays claim to being one of the most haunted spots in America.
A bold claim you may think and you would probably be right if it wasn’t for the plethora of evidence to back it up.
In the past fifty years over 100 paranormal events have been witnessed and recorded in this bone-chilling spot.
Included in this evidence is one, now very famous, photograph. Recorded on an infra- red camera by a group of paranormal investigators it is one of the clearest images of an apparition ever captured.
If it is to be believed then it is truly amazing.
Sitting forlornly on a small square gravestone the Bachelor Grove Cemetery ghost stares into the distance completely unaware that her image will spark the attention of the world and reserve her a very special place in the history of paranormal investigation.
A Brief History of Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
Situated near the township of Bremen near Chicago, a cemetery has been recorded on the spot of Bachelor’s Grove since 1840.
Named after the small settlement nearby, it is unclear whether its title was intended to honor the 4 unmarried men responsible for founding the town or the Batchelder family who once owned much of the land in the area.
What is certain is that a family called Everden began to bury their dead on this spot in the 1840’s and when they sold much of their land in 1864 they retained ownership of 1 acre to be used as a cemetery.
Over the next century almost up to eighty people were buried in the graveyard, the last official burial taking place in 1965.
Built on a beautiful spot surrounded by forest, local people can recall when a visit to the cemetery was treated as a day out by families who took picnics and swam in the large pond on the site.
The cemetery itself was reached by a track road which also led to the township nearby. When a new road was built bypassing the cemetery, visitors dropped off and the cemetery fell into disrepair.
With the cemetery literally off the beaten track, it began to attract vandals and those who wished to indulge in occult practices without interruption.
The graveyard was soon vandalized and desecrated, bodies were dug up and tombstones smashed. Those who could, re-interred their relatives elsewhere.
Before long rumors of ghostly happenings began to circulate among the local people.
Today the graveyard at Bachelor’s Grove is a sad and desolate place. Reached by a long overgrown pathway it now mainly attracts ghost hunters and paranormal investigators keen to prove or disprove once and for all, that the spirit world exists.
The Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
For years the apparition of a woman in white has been witnessed by many people visiting the cemetery. Usually seen on moonlit nights, sometimes carrying her infant child, she wanders between the gravestones as if she is searching for something lost.
On August 10th 1991, the Ghost Research Society gained access to the cemetery for the purpose of a paranormal investigation.
By this time the cemetery was surrounded by a large metal fence and could only be accessed with special permission.
The group carrying out the research swear that they were the only people present at the time and that nobody but themselves could gain access to the site.
When the group began to record a number of anomalies with their equipment, one member, Mari Huff, decided to take a black and white infra-red photograph of the area recording the most activity.
It is important to note that none of the group witnessed anything visually themselves.
When the photographs were developed, the results were astonishing. If genuine, then Mari recorded one of the most stunning images of a ghost, the world had ever seen.
Sitting on a small square gravestone, the image of a woman can be clearly seen staring into the distance. Identified as the Bachelor’s Grove Madonna seen on moonlit nights, the lady appears to be waiting for something.
Perhaps her baby’s grave is one of those desecrated or perhaps the tiny body has been re-interred elsewhere and the sad mother is looking for the child she has lost.
While the Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove is certainly the most famous spirit that haunts the cemetery, she is not alone.
Over 100 different paranormal events have been recorded in this small abandoned graveyard, many by very credible witnesses including skeptical paranormal investigators, psychics, and even police officers.
1) Blue Lights: Some of the first paranormal phenomenon recorded at Bachelor’s Grove were the blue lights witnessed by many people during the 1970’s in particular.
One investigator Jack Urmansky, reported that the blue lights appeared to have an intelligence and would dart about and play with investigators.
Another investigator, Denise Travers claimed that the lights hovered before her and she was able to put her hand through.
Any suggestion that the lights were from police cars was put to rest when it was revealed that police vehicles in this area at this time had red lights and that a number of police officers had themselves witnessed and followed the blue lights up to the cemetery.
2) The Phantom House: The phantom house has been witnessed by many local people in the area and is one of the most recorded paranormal events in the area.
The house itself is an unremarkable white wooden house with a porch. A lamp shines in one of its windows. There is nothing unusual about the house, indeed its type is common to the area.
What makes the house special is that it is never seen in the same spot on more than one occasion.
Those who witness it record the same experience. As the house is approached, it diminishes in size until it eventually disappears from sight.
3) The Murdering Caretaker: Those brave enough to venture up to the cemetery on dark moonless nights have often been met by an angry caretaker who blocks their way.
Often witnessed carrying a rifle and an old-fashioned oil lamp, he warns off visitors telling them there is nothing to see.
Clearly not a character you want to meet on a dark night, an encounter with this caretaker takes on an even more terrifying aspect when visitors are told that he has been dead for many years.
The caretaker is alleged to have murdered his family before setting fire to his house and turning his gun on himself, he now believes it is his role to stand guard over the specters of Bachelor’s Grove.
4) The Farmer: To the rear of the Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is a large pond or lagoon. Once an inviting place to bathe and swim it is now a pool of stagnant water filled with weeds and algae.
Rumored to be a favorite dumping ground for Chicago’s gangsters in the twenties and thirties, it is impossible to know how many bodies may now lie in its muddy depths.
Visitors to the cemetery late at night report strange mists and lights over the pond, some even report a two-headed monster.
One of the most shocking stories, however, came from two police officers on night duty near the cemetery. They claim to have witnessed a man and a horse plunging into the depths of the lagoon.
What they did not know at the time was that a farmer had died in exactly these circumstances many years earlier when his horse bolted and dragged him to a watery death.
5) Disappearing Cars: In recent years, a new phenomenon has been recorded around the cemetery. Increasingly people are reporting seeing and hearing phantom cars.
Driving along the nearby Turnpike Road drivers report slowing down behind vehicles that suddenly disappear in front of them.
Others see cars in their rear view mirror but when they glance again the cars have gone.
6) The Psychic: In 2006 a psychic detective Ken Melvain-Berg visited the cemetery with a reporter from The Chicago Tribune.
Arriving at the cemetery Ken claims to have heard the voice of a child crying. When he asked the ghostly child what was wrong, the little boy informed him he had lost his money in the lagoon.
Wading into the muddy pond, Ken, who the reporter said was in a trance during the whole experience, bent down and immediately retrieved a 1942 half-dollar coin exactly where the child had said.
The paranormal events that surround Bachelor Grove Cemetery began with the wilful desecration and vandalism of a once beautiful graveyard.
Today it is a restless and unhappy place.
Famous across the world because of a photograph of the Bachelor Grove Cemetery Ghost, the graveyard is in fact haunted by many spirits.
Now reputed to be one of the most haunted spots in America, it is hard to know what will appease the restless souls that wander through the cemetery, roused from their eternal slumber by the thoughtless actions of a few selfish vandals.