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Tales from the Grave | Classic Chicago Magazine

By Adrian Naves

The month of October is the time of costumes, candy, and scary stories. A good old-fashioned ghost story will help us get into the spirit (pun intended). The search for a ghost story led me to the Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, one of the most haunted cemeteries in the country. The sheer luck of finding one of the most haunted places in the country was too good to pass up…so onwards I went.

Upon arrival, there was a walking trail that leads right towards the cemetery entrance. According to bachelorsgrove.com, “The original Grove Restoration Project sign that would greet visitors is now in storage at the Tinley Park Historical Society,” but no one should have trouble finding the cemetery. Given that I avoided visiting during the night, it did not lessen the spooky atmosphere, the surrounding nature gently reminds visitors they’re not alone. The headstones were covered with leaves and soil. Some of the headstones were on the ground by way of force. When observing the gravesite, it became evident with each passing glance that other visitors have left their mark. There were items near the headstones such as glasses, toys, coins, and bits of trash.

According to bachelorsgrove.com, the cemetery was usually a favorite hangout for the young for drinking parties and as a make out spot. As the cemetery gained popularity during the 1960s-1970s, reports of vandalism increased, grave openings and robbing, and satanic rituals. These occurrences are common when there are tales of ghosts, and everyone wants to see one for themselves. A popular apparition that has been spotted is that of a lady sitting on a headstone, some say watching over the grave of her infant daughter. It’s one of the headstones that has been showered with gifts of toys and respect.

Provided by Kevin Watson of Illinois. Photographer now resides at the Tinley Park Historical Society, Tinley Park, IL.

There are also tales of horror that have occurred at the cemetery, ghost hunters have reported strange stories about ghosts themselves, a floating blue light, a mysterious ghost house, phantom cars that appear and disappear. Some say it’s a way for the spirits above to keep wandering away. One of the more famous ghost stories is the legend of the Caretaker. The Caretaker is said to have gone mad and slaughtered his family. They say there’s a house located near the cemetery that was home to the Caretaker, it’s said to be near the roped-off entrance. After the Caretaker killed his own family, he took his own life afterwards, with one variation of the story saying that the house was burned down with all of them inside of it. Some visitor stories have detailed about encountering the Caretaker himself in the cemetery, telling visitors to leave the area while carrying an oil lantern on one hand and at times carrying a shotgun on the other.

Although the cemetery is inactive, it’s also one of the oldest cemeteries in south Cook County. Bachelor’s Grove is located at 5900 West Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian, Illinois 60445. It’s part of a section of the Cook County Forest Preserve, the main path leads to the cemetery off of 143rd Street, across from the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve parking lot. This is a must visit if you’re looking to unlock more ghost stories, it’s strongly recommended to go during daylight.

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