The funny thing is, it was Mom that brought it up. You'd be as surprised by this as me if you knew my mother, but since you don't, you'll have to take my word for it. She knew we had nothing to do that night, and mentioned the cemetery as though making casual conversation. Said something about it being the most haunted place in Chicago and among the most haunted grave sights in the country. The smirk on her face said that she knew we wouldn't be able to resist. We knew exactly where it was, and she knew that. It wasn't more than a twenty minute drive away, and pretty soon we were off. Never mind that it was located on a protected forest reserve regularly patrolled by cops. Never mind that it was supposedly the site of occultist and Satanic rituals in the 60s and 70s. We wanted to see ghosts, dammit!
We parked in the general lot for the forest preserve. The small gravel road leading up the the cemetery was just across 143rd St. With nothing but a couple flashlights, the surrounding woods were already creepy as hell. Growing up in Chicago, it was never really "dark". But here, here it was pitch black. The trees seemed to swallow up the light from our flashlights. But the cemetery was up ahead somewhere, so on we pressed.
We had only walked perhaps a thousand feet when the lights came up behind us. Turning around, we found ourselves starring into headlights. We were frozen like deer for a few seconds, but the vehicle was quickly approaching. Cops regularly patrolled these roads, and at this distance, they must have seen us. Off go the flashlights. I'm not really sure what we were thinking, but we ran off into the woods flanking the road. We couldn't have been more than twenty feet in when we heard the car come to a stop behind us on the road. We dropped to the muddy earth and waited, silent.
A spotlight passes over our heads once, twice, three times. I hear a twig crack not ten feet away. My heart is pounding like a jackhammer, but somehow I stay silent. We don't hear another noise or see another light. Silently we lay like this for at least five minutes. I reach out and touch my companion's hand... it's shaking. And then I stand up.
The car was gone. Neither of us heard it leave. When we walked back to the road with our flashlights, there was no sign a car had been there to begin with. No recent tracks, no gravel dust in the air. Pointing our flashlights up and down the road we saw nothing. It's a gravel road, for God's sake, we should have heard the car leave! It was too much; we didn't go on to the cemetery. We just headed back to the car without saying a word.
The preceding story of supernatural encounter was related to me by a friend, reproduced here with only minor artistic interpretations. It took place near (never quite within) Bachelor's Grove Cemetery near the Chicago suburb of Midlothian. All that business of the most haunted place in Chicago, one of the most haunted graveyards, and Satanic rituals is true. For that matter, yes, the part about the ghost car is true, too.
After she told me this story, I went and looked up some information about Bachelor's Grove. As it turns out, the ghost car is a common occurrence along the gravel road and nearby turnpike. Although my friend couldn't tell what kind of car it was, it is usually depicted as a early 20th century gangster car. One couple even claims to have been in an accident with such a vehicle. Although the ghost car vanished, leaving the couple's car without a scratch, sounds of twisting metal and breaking glass were heard. There is a small lagoon just beyond the cemetery grounds which, supposedly, was popular with Chicago mobsters of the Prohibition era as a dumping grounds for bodies. And apparently the cars have kept driving along that gravel road for the past eighty years, dumping more and more bodies...
My friend claims that she didn't know about this particular story before visiting the cemetery, and I'm inclined to believe her. However, this is not the only story of strange phenomena at Bachelor's Grove. There have been more than a hundred reported unusual sightings and occurrences. Perhaps the most famous "evidence" is this photograph (external link) from the Ghost Research Society which appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times and the National Examiner. It was taken on August 10, 1991 with an infrared camera of a supposedly empty tombstone. What showed up on film was an image of a young woman in an outdated dress seated on the stone with parts of her lower body appearing semi-transparent.
There have been numerous other sightings at Bachelor's Grove. A phantom farmhouse has been seen, always appearing the same but always in a different location. A woman in white robes appears on full moons, (perhaps the woman in the above photo), sometimes carrying an infant child. This "White Lady" is supposedly buried in the cemetery next to her young son. A farmer, pulled into the above mentioned lagoon by his plow horse in the 1870's, was seen plowing land over a hundred years later. There has even been a mysterious two-headed creature spotted.
The cemetery has been treated poorly by time and vandals. The gravel road leading to it was a popular "lover's lane" in the 1960s. As a result, the secluded site was discovered by rambunctious teenagers. Since then, most of the tombstones have been stolen or destroyed, and several graves have actually been tampered with. It has also been a popular locale for occult rituals, with remains of disturbing ceremonies being left behind. All this has lead to regular patrols by local authorities.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery was officially closed in 1965. The most recent burial was the spreading of a local resident's ashes in 1989.