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(March 15–21, 2006)

James Edge

Walhalla Cemetry

Richard C. Drew

Border Apparitions - The Most Haunted Place in America

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, Illinois, USA

March 22, 2006

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© 2006 Richard C. Drew, All Rights Reserved.

The south Suburbs of Chicago are home to some of the most famous ghosts in America. Imagine driving along a road in the evening and picking up a young woman hitch-hiking. You talk to her for a while, then look over at her, only to have her disappear in front of your eyes. You just gave Resurrection Mary a ride. A short drive from the area of Resurrection Cemetery is Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, long abandoned, vandalized, but not forgotten. It’s the destination of many a Ghost hunter in America, curious locals, and partying teens.

Hidden away in the woods, and surrounded by a rusting, torn and collapsing chain-link fence, it’s an area anybody with common sense would avoid. It's off the beaten path - literally. Partially visible from the main road (if the trees are not too full,) it's easy to miss. A surprisingly clear, small lagoon separates the cemetery from the main road. Bachelor’s Grove is in everyone’s top 5 list of haunted places, but many people consider it number one.

As Rod Serling used to say: “Now picture this…” an abandoned cemetery, hidden from sight, headstones toppled and broken. Enclose it with a collapsing, rusting fence. Surround this with deep, dark woods. Drop a stagnant, slime covered lagoon (as it often is in late summer) on one end. Just add a Wolf howl, a few Owl hoots, and you’re all set.

The cemetery was in use from 1844 up until 1965 (although there was “burial” in 1989, when a local resident had his ashes spread on the ground.) Why is this considered by many to be the most haunted place in America? Numerous hauntings, apparitions and ghosties: a Phantom farm house that appears at random, even in daylight - when no such structure existed in the area.

A farmer and his plow-horse drowned in the adjoining lagoon in the 1870’s. People still report seeing the ghost of the farmer and his horse, digging ghostly furrows in the ground. Resurrection Mary is nearby. All this before you even enter the graveyard!

The cemetery’s family of ghosts includes a glowing yellow man, a man dressed in Monk’s robes, a woman seated on a tombstone, and the Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove: a woman who walks the cemetery with a baby in her arms. And that lagoon? It’s reported that it was a favorite body dump used by Al Capone and his cronies. Get your SCUBA gear!

Oh, when you arrive and leave the area, be careful – phantom cars have been reported zooming along the road……..

A really good review can be found here: http://www.prairieghosts.com/bachgrov.html

The graveyard recently had some landscape cleanup - many small trees that had taken root were removed and a lot of deadwood was carted away. When I was there in March 2006, there was a huge wood pile outside the gates, just awaiting a truck (or a match?) Removing these small trees (some with trunks 4" thick) opened up the area quite a bit. However, the main damage caused by two fallen trees remains. Both landed on the fence, crushing portions. One also landed on the largest monument, sending it crashing to the soil.

When viewing the panorama, take a close look at the large dead tree in the middle of the cemetery – it’s in the initial view. This looks like a prop from any haunted woods movie. You can make out what appears to be a ghostly face and arms protruding.

Do you believe in Ghosts? Look closely at the image . . . you just may see one. Consider this. While shooting these images, EVERY initial westward pointing image was black, no matter where I was in the graveyard – I had to reshoot them. After I copied all the images to my laptop, the hard drive crashed. Unrecoverable. I still had the originals on my CF cards, so the stitching went on.

However - I did intend on using my multi-row shots (112 images) and not the fisheye images. But for some reason many of the photos I took for the multi-row were unusable. Exposures were off, saturation was poor, alignment was off – what could go wrong did go wrong. I’ve taken around 75 multi-row panos, and this is the first time I could not use one of them!

I selected this area for “Borders” for many reasons: It’s the border between….

…life and death…
…fantasy and reality…
…those remembered and those forgotten…
…the past and the present…
...what is abandoned and what is cared for…
…the metaphysical and the physical.



USA-Canada / USA-Illinois

Lat: 41° 37' 51.6" N
Long: 88° 47' 15.8" W

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: Medium. Nearby, but not to the last decimal.

Camera: Nikon Coolpix 8700
Fisheye: Nikon FC-E9
Tripod Head: Agnos MrotatorB
Tripod: Bogen

Stitched with PTgui
Edited in PhotoShop CS2
Also used PanoCube Plus to extract Nadir for editing.

The only processing the image underwent was the Unsharp Mask to remove some of the "softness" inherent with the FC-E9.

Well, I may have added a ghost....

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