We paid a visit to the Bachelor's Grove Cemetery in the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve while in Chicago last fall and were astonished at the derelict condition of the cemetery itself. I had never seen such a blatant sign of disrespect. I am not familiar with how cemeteries are run in the state of Illinois, however I would have thought that some church or similar organization would at least cut the weeds and grass.
I can fully understand why it would strike someone as being haunted even if it did not have the reputation of being haunted. There were several dead trees looming over the entry gate and the gravestones were mostly hidden under a high growth of weeds and brush. We had to literally pull away and part the high grass to find the remaining markers. We found graves there as recent as 1989 but no sign of anyone either visiting these recent graves nor looking after them.
There were that graves dated back to the 1800's. Some gravestones had been spray painted and knocked over or broken. The gate to the cemetery was damaged with a big gaping hole in the middle of it and it was obvious from the debris that this location has been used for late night parties in the woods. It is, however, a lovely location and a bit of a walk to access, but well worth it.
The area that the cemetery is situated in became known as Bachelor's Grove back in the 1800's when the location became a settlement for many of the unmarried immigrant men that had traveled there to work on the Illinois-Michigan Canal. The cemetery itself originated in November 1844 and was known as "Everdon Cemetery". The cemetery became a 'lover's lane' in the 1960's ,when the turnpike was built, because of its remoteness and eventually became a party spot for teens. It was these teens that first started to report stories of balls of light and ghostly images. Stories of hauntings began to sore with each and every telling. The remote location and the surrounding woods fueled further stories of a two-headed man and an escaped inmate of an insane asylum who would make lover's of the day his latest victims, hence an urbane legend was born. Although authentic reports have been proven that rowdy groups did come into the cemetery in the 1970's digging up graves and knocking over and even stealing gravestones, there is no proof that the people responsible were satanic worshippers, as is now rumoured.
There have been reports and stories of many of ghosts in the cemetery including a farmer who was dragged into the pond by his horse while still attached to the plow, which in turn caused the drowning of both the farmer and the horse. It is further rumoured that two forest rangers witnessed the ghost of the farmer operating his plow in the mid 1970's. Again I cannot substantiate the story. There is also the ghost of a woman known as the "White Lady" who at times is looking for her child and at other times is seen carrying the child in her arms.
The strangest and most intriguing story however, is of the Victorian house that appears in full view of witnesses near the cemetery. The story goes that the house is not ghost like but very solid in its appearance and that a light will often be seen shining from the window. No one however has ever been able to approach the house before it fads into the woods and completely disappears. One must also note that there are no actual witnesses by name that can be contacted to verify such a sighting and hence the legend grows.
The site of the cemetery and pond also invoke stories of 1930's Chicago gangsters dumping bodies here after various 'hits'. It has also been reported that the turnpike, which is just on the other side of the pond, is haunted as well by phantom cars. Although I can't actually find any first hand accounts of paranormal occurrences, the cemetery may indeed be haunted although we found no evidence of such during our visit.
The cemetery is available to view during the day but closes at sunset and is well patrolled by local police and rangers in order to avoid further vandalism. To reach the cemetery, take the Midlothian Turnpike just west of Cicero Avenue to the Rubio Forest Reserve Park on the right of the highway. Parking is available near the road in the park. On the other side of the highway, one will notice a path that is sided by two posts and a chain. The path will lead you directly to the cemetery gates. Even though the cemetery is derelict and neglected, please have respect for those still buried there.
This pond which rests between the cemetery and the highway is also purported to be haunted. It is rumoured that the Chicago gangs of the 1930's dumped bodies here. It is also the site attributed to the ghostly farmer and his horse.
The path leading from the turnpike to the cemetery. A pleasant and pretty walk through the woods.