MIDLOTHIAN, ILHISTORY Bachelor's Grove in Cook County was first settled by English, Irish and Scottish immigrants who moved there from the Northeast in the 1820s. The next individuals to populate the area were of German descent some 20 years later and theirs became the dominant presence there for the remainder of the 18th century. There was an abundance of lumber in the immediate area which was used to construct the first homes there. The existence of this woodland locale is reflected in the names given to the various settlements there along with the families who established them: Gooding's Grove, Cooper's Grove, Walker's Grove, et al. This may also have factored in to the naming of this particular area as a family named Batchelder were among the earliest populace, but there are conflicting claims that it was in fact named for a group of single men who lived there around 1833 although the facts don't seem to support that assertion. It is located across from the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve and is located along a trail that once was a part of the Midlothian Turnpike as late as the 1960s and is one of the oldest cemeteries in Cook County. The first recorded burial at the site was that of William B. Nobles who died in 1838. The last burials that took place there were those of Laura M. McGhee in 1965 and Robert E. Shields in 1989 (below) whose cremated remains were placed in his family's plot in 1989. In 1864 Mr. Edward Everden sold a parcel of land to one Frederick Schmidt, but reserved one acre of that property to establish a cemetery. (The cemetery at one point was called "Everdon's".) Mr. Schmidt may or may not have have expanded that acre to enlarge the cemetery boundaries - records are spotty in that regard. Historical maps of the cemetery were donated by the Fulton family (plot stone below), of whom many members are buried there, to the Tinley Park Historical Society. There is a similar map that was found in the Cook County Real estate Management Office and both date back to the 1870s. There was also another drawing that came to light that included plans to expand the cemetery after the Midlothian Turnpike was closed, but an easement through the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve would not be granted. The cemetery would become a popular hangout for teens who used it for parties and make-out sessions. When the turnpike was officially closed and the cemetery became more and more isolated from view, more destructive behavior took place especially in the form of vandalism. In the 1960s and 1970s, more sinister activities came to light as it was discovered that Satanic rituals were being performed there as well as escalated desecration of graves including actual grave robbery. Bizarre writings on trees and headstones and small animals displaying signs of mutilation have been discovered through the years adding credence to these claims. It has been reported that headstones that weren't broken or spray-painted over were sometimes found in various locations (including police stations) miles away. This was a far cry from the "garden-style" cemetery that once existed there, where families and individuals could picnic, walk and even fish the quarry pond located there. There are actually many cases where families have had the remains of loved ones removed from Bachelor's Grove lest their final resting place suffer the same fate as many others had. Today the cemetery falls under the stewardship of the Cook County Board who were solicited to take control by Clarence Fulton in 1975 after he was turned down by Bremen Township in 1967. While the Board conditionally agreed, it took an exhaustive search to procure the title, which was thought to still be in the hands of the Everden family and then to determine property boundaries which alarmingly, did not seem to include the one acre of land that was their main focal point. Eventually, the CCB took ownership of the property in 1976 by reason of its decrepit, decaying and unsafe condition by condemnation procedures and maintenance duties are currently shared with the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Another matter of contention is the correct spelling of the cemetery's name. While the family who settled there was named "Batchelder", variations such as, "Bachelder", "Bachlor" and "Bachellor" among others have been used. The name on the cemetery plat map clearly reads "Bachelor", so this may be the most proper spelling.HAUNTED HISTORY OF BACHELOR'S GROVEThere have been a vast multitude and array of hauntings reported at Bachelor's Grove Cemetery. Many of these are no doubt products of overactive imaginations and oral legend, but some have escaped rational explanation and remain a mystery. The lagoon or quarry pond (below) is a spot of some interest. At one time in the heyday of the Chicago mob, it became a favorite dumping spot for bodies of those who had crossed the mob. Many people claim the spirits of many of these men still roam the grounds. Tales of a ghostly mobster-type car screaming around a sharp curve outside the gravel path to the cemetery have been related over the years. The car has been said to hit drivers on the turnpike head-on but upon getting over the initial shock, the motorist feels no pain, sees no damage or the other car. There have been other reports of drivers passing cars which seem to disappear in the rear-view mirrors or take a quick turn ahead of a motorist and then vanish from sight. Another time-honored story dating back to 1870 is that of the farmer who, while plowing his fields, got too close to the edge of the pond. His horse fell into the water and dragged both plow and farmer down with it. In the 1970s, two Cook County forest rangers driving through the cemetery reported seeing the farmer and horse emerge from the pond and pass in front of their vehicle as though again plowing the land at the same spot where they met misfortune. The lagoon is also said to be home to a two-headed ghost. This apparition appears in full view near the lagoon, but no reason for its existence is known. The most famous resident of the cemetery is no doubt the White Lady. During a full moon she is said to walk the grounds, sometimes holding an infant son in her arms whom she was buried next to. One of the most compelling and amazing photos of a ghost ever taken is the one pictured below at Bachelor's Grove in 1991 by Judith Huff-Felz with infrared film on a 35mm camera. This picture has come to be known as "The Madonna of Bachelor's Grove" and is one of the best examples of spirit photography ever taken. It has defied numerous attempts to debunk it. To the right is the marker on which the lady was pictured sitting A common sight around the cemetery are red colored lights and orbs that appear to dart around the entire location. Many of these materialize over some of the graves and the pathway with a comet-like trail behind them. The have been numerous sightings of a phantom farmhouse that appears on the path leading into the cemetery. It is a rather charming and lovely building, with a front porch and a light on in the window, except that it seems to disappear before one's very eyes as quickly as it appeared. Most of the sightings of this structural apparition came in the 1950s, but they continue to this day.