On season 6, episode 11 of the popular paranormal and reality television series Ghost Adventures, hosts Zak Bagan, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin investigated two of the most haunted spots in Chicago: Excalibur Nightclub and Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. The episode, titled “Excalibur Nightclub”, was aired on September 12, 2012. Viewers may view the full episode of “Excalibur Nightclub” on Amazon.
During the investigations at the cemetery, the crew captured evidences of paranormal happening including the manifestation of a ball of light bolting along the woods and a weird color mist. Several electronic voice phenomenas (EVP) were also recorded, including “I see it….light” and “He is coming”.
In Ghost Adventures: Aftershocks, the team reinvestigated former Ghost Adventures cases. On season 3, episode 1 of the series, Zak reopens the case on Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. The episode is titled “Bachelor’s Grove and Waverly” and aired on January 3, 2016. Viewers may view the full episode of “Bachelor’s Grove and Waverly” on Amazon.
History of Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
The Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery dates back to the early 1840 when it was part of a small settlement called Bachelor’s Grove. The origins of the name is said to have originated from the Batchlelor family who were one of the first settlers in the area. Others have suggested that it was due to the fact that the Bachelor’s Grove community was formed by a group of single men.
The history of the cemetery can be traced back to Edward M. Everden, the first owner of the land; it is believed that the original name of the cemetery was Everden Cemetery. According to Haunted Bachelors Grove (Haunted America), the first known burial occurred in 1838 when the land was carved out into multiple lots. However, the earliest headstone dates back to 1823, suggesting that the cemetery existed before its official founding. The cemetery, which was originally one acre large, expanded to its current size after a donation by the Fulton family—early settlers at Bremen Township. For the next 100 years, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery became the resting spot for about 200 people—mostly settlers and immigrants who have helped built Chicagoland area—who were laid to rest in this tiny graveyard.
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is also rumored to be the dumping ground for victims who have fallen into the hands of some of Chicago’s most notorious mafia. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim.
With the end of the burials in the 1950s, it became a popular hangout spot for the local teenagers who feared nothing but the undead. Many of the headstones would end up being vandalised or maliciously broken as part of the teenagers nightly activities; many of the missing stones are believed to have been thrown to the nearby quarry pond. Many families were prompted to exhume their ancestors and move the remains to other cemeteries in the vicinity that are safer.
With the closure of the Midlothian Turnpike in the 1970s, the cemetery became a desolate abandoned spot. This has however, escalated the activities to grave robberies and even satanic rituals. It did not take long before sightings of ghostly apparition surfaced at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, seemingly to scare off anyone who dare enter the sacred grounds.
Today, the cemetery is maintained by Cook County Forest Preserve, the Cook County Board, and a group of volunteers dedicated to the restoration of the burial site and the century-old headstones.
Hauntings at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
Sightings of paranormal activities and the stories that accompany date back to the 1950s when Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery was just a little-known burial site in Bremen Township. It has since joined the ranks of several haunted cemeteries such as Union Cemetery and Stull Cemetery to become one of the most haunted places in America.
One of the first reported sightings was the manifestation of a ghostly farmhouse that suspend just above the graves. Many have reported seeing the white two-story house shimmer in the air before vanishing. A variation of the reports is the sighting of a physical farmhouse just outside the cemetery, only to see an empty plot of land when leaving the vicinity. Some have also claimed to have seen the house “shrinking” as they approach it before disappearing from view. Maps from 1901 and 1904 have revealed that there were man-made structures built next to the cemetery, thought it cannot be confirmed if those were the ghostly farmhouse described by eye-witnesses.
Another notable sighting is the Phantom Dog. The story of the dog goes back to the 1980s when two men were visiting the haunted cemetery. After encountering some strange lights in the woods of the cemetery, the duo witness a black dog sitting on the paved road that leads to the cemetery. The black dog however, disappears into thin air upon being approached.
One of the most famous photograph ever taken in Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is non other than the infrared image of the lady sitting on a headstone. Photographed in 1991 by Judy Huff Felz of the Ghost Research Society, the photo when viral shortly after it was published on Chicago Sun-Times. Nicknamed “The Madonna” or “Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove”, the forlorn young woman was captured sitting on a checked headstone and staring out into the distance. Parts of her body were translucent while her dress appears to be in the early 20th century fashion. Several film and camera firms have authenticated the infrared image, making it one of the most hotly debated photograph ever taken in the cemetery.
Other paranormal sightings in the cemetery include the appearance of a blue light the size of a basketball, the apparition of a farmer and his horse who drown in the nearby quarry pond, and the ghost of a caretaker roaming the cemetery and telling visitors to leave.
White Lady and the Infant Daughter
It is a given that every haunted cemetery will be home to the ghost of a white lady, the most popular being the white lady at Union Cemetery. The haunted Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is no different.
In fact, the most famous apparition in Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is none other than the “White Lady”. Often appearing in a translucent form, the “White Lady” is often seen walking the cemetery grounds with an infant in her arms during full moon. When her daughter is not seen, the “White Lady” would appear sobbing, as if her precious baby is missing or lost. In spite of the apparition’s frequent appearance, little is known about the story of the her. Legend have suggested that she was a depressed mother who committed suicide after the loss of her baby daughter from a kidnap.
Directions to Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
To get to Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, drive along “W 143rd St” between Ridgeland Avenue and Central Avenue. Look out for a wooden signage showing “Rubio Woods” and turn in to Rubio Woods Preserve parking lot. The entrance to Bachelor’s Gove Cemetery is located right across the road, to the right of the two cell towers. Two wooden post roped by a cable gate marks the start of the trail to the haunted cemetery. From there, take a five minute walk along the trail to reach the cemetery gates.
Note that the “closed” sign found on the wooden post indicates that the path is closed to vehicle traffic, but remains open for visitors on foot.
Be aware that while the cemetery is open to the public for visitation, opening hours are restricted to hours after sunrise and before sunset. The rules are strictly enforced by the Forest Preserve who carries out regular patrol of the surrounding area. Anyone who is caught violating the regulations may risk being fine or getting arrested.