Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery



In a quiet wooded area, nestled in Cook County, Illinois, in the southwest Chicago suburbs, lies what’s been called the most haunted cemetery in America. Visitors to Bachelor’s Grove cemetery report an unusually heavy feeling of despair and isolation while there, despite it being only about an acre in size. Questions about why this tiny, almost forgotten burial ground has such a lofty reputation among paranormal experts and supernatural aficionados, are plentiful. So are theories about what first triggered the start of the many strange events people have reported over the years. First established in 1840, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery has had more than one hundred documented reports of extreme paranormal phenomena. These incidents include bright balls of white light which either bounce from toppled tombstone to tombstone or meander through the woods seemingly without direction as well as the appearance of full form apparitions.


The haunted burial ground has eighty-two plots, many of which were unused. The last actual burial of a human body took place in 1865. If we look at the history, it begins in 1833, when the area adjacent to the cemetery was settled by homesteaders from Europe, looking to create a better life for themselves and their families. The local settlement never grew as expected and the property changed hands many times. It became so small that even consider calling it a town, seemed strange. Finally, the local post office closed 1858, the few occupants moved away, and the area was abandoned to nature. The forest quickly eliminated almost all traces of the settlement, with the cemetery still being tended by a lone caretaker for decades afterward.

grave marker

From Local Cemetery to Paranormal Hotspot

During the 1920s and 1930s Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery was rumored to have been a dumping ground for the bodies of enemies of Chicago’s organized crime families. The isolated lagoon near the back of the abandoned cemetery is said to be the final resting place of snitches, rogue bagmen, and those who borrowed from the mob but couldn’t repay.

Bachelor's Grove Lagoon

Yet despite the rumors of sunken corpses, up until the 1960s the surrounding area was a popular family picnic spot, and children frolicked in the nearby pond. Additionally, the long gravel entrance road was a popular place for young lovers to park since it was so secluded. Unfortunately, the seclusion attracted an unsavory crowd at night; one less interested in recreation but instead focused on destruction. Graves were unearthed, caskets stolen, tombstones toppled, and acts of desecration were committed. Human skeletons were torn from their resting places and scattered haphazardly across the open area. This action is often cited as one of the reason for the hauntings. To make matter’s worse, the nighttime visitors to Bachelor’s Grove began a gruesome practice of violently killing small animals, leaving their remains as a sickening calling card. Furthermore, evidence of black magic ceremonies and occultist rituals were identified. These included elaborate symbols carved in trees, strange writings on headstones, and evidence of fire rituals were found by both visitors and patrolling police officers. The combination of events led to the road being blocked and a fence erected around Bachelor’s Grove.


Over the years, many reports of strange sightings in the surrounding area, brought the site to the attention of researchers. To date Bachelor’s Grove has been investigated by numerous paranormal investigator teams, it has featured on several television programs, and still remains as one of the most haunted places in the Midwest. Certain incidents have grown to almost legendary status. They include “The White Lady,” which is a ghost of a woman who wanders the cemetery at night, seemingly searching for something. Also multiple accounts of moving orbs of light were seen over the years. There have been multiple sightings, documented with photographic and video evidence. Also the appearance of an entire ghost house has been a favorite. Some say it is a Victorian-style farmhouse, surrounded by a neat white fence, suddenly appears in the mist and subsequently fades away if anyone attempts to get close to it. Several Forest Rangers reported seeing a ghostly horse emerge from the pond pulling a plow. Some say it was the spirit of a farmer and his horse from the 1800s who both drown in the pond in a freakish farm accident. Still others report ghostly vehicles on the roads around the cemetery crossing their path so abruptly that its almost led to several accidents.

Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove

Bachelors GroveOf all the photographic evidence gathered from Bachelor’s Grove, the most famous is a picture taken in 1991 by the Ghost Research Society. It shows a woman in a long dress sitting on one of the gravestones. The phot was dubbed the “Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove,” and has been published in both the Chicago Sun-Times and the National Examiner. 



Regardless of whether you are a believer in ghosts, orbs, or the supernatural, the evidence at Bachelor’s Grove is so compelling and in such great volume that you must, at least, take notice. Many of the original tombstones are now missing, as souvenir hunters have absconded with them. The area is cluttered, overgrown, and ramshackle, but still draws attention. Some groups cite the seclusion and heavy overgrowth help give the cemetery even more credibility as being haunted. It’s so scary that no one will even dare trying to clean it up. There are still a few graves intact, and too many unexplained events to count, so unless you are of the daring type, I’d recommend you stay away from Bachelor’s Grove, especially at night.

If You Must See Bachelor’s Grove For Yourself

The site is in Midlothian, Illinois, off of 143rd Street (the Midlothian Turnpike), east of Ridgeland Avenue
The Rubio Woods Forest Preserve is on the south side of the street, look slightly west and you’ll find the long path that cuts through the woods, leading to the graveyard, which will be on your right.

Other Strange Haunted Places

Naples Fontanelle Cemetery

The Winchester House

This article was updated March 15th, 2023, from the original publishing date of May 27th, 2016, by the original author

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