Down a broken path through a mysterious wood south of Chicago lies one of the world’s most legendary burying grounds: the melancholy and crumbling graveyard called Bachelors Grove. Walking by moonlight beneath a shroud of trees and folklore, the ghosts of the Grove are legion, drawing thousands of lost souls, wanderers and wonderers, and those in search of the mysteries of the Afterlife. Evoke a magical night in this storied place when you open this unique scent laced with notes of earth, hickory, river rock, sage, cedar, forget-me-not and patchouli.
50 ml (1.7 oz) flint glass bottle of highest quality, 33 percent niche perfume fragrance. Atomizer.
Also available as part of our Build-a-Box custom sampler under the Samplers tab.
I first visited Bachelors Grove cemetery in 1988 as a research assistant to parapsychologist Jim Houran (then an undergraduate in psychology), who was performing fieldwork in so-called spontaneous phenomena—the world of experiences including ghosts, hauntings and other anomalous “out of the laboratory” happenings. Over the course of about a decade, we conducted a series of photography experiments at Bachelors Grove, and it was here that I began my proper study of the paranormal and its often complex relationships with human history.
It was a sublime place to start. The isolated, one-acre enclosure had been famous for generations, and with good reason. Since at least the 1960s, whisperings had abounded of what went on at this worn, old ossuary, which lay down a broken path through the woods of a south-side forest preserve, in present-day Bremen Township, southwest of the Chicago city limits. Legends were told of a phantom farmhouse here, seen glimmering through the trees, and of ghost lights flashing blue, yellow and white, which would sometimes chase visitors through the woods. Visitors shared stories of a diaphanous woman in white—the mysterious “Madonna of Bachelors Grove”—who was seen wandering through the woods on moonlit nights, reportedly in search of her baby.
I knew these stories and knew, too, the shadowy half-history of the place. There was the abandonment by its settlers—a first wave of English-born people; a second wave of those of German stock who farmed here well into the twentieth century; the usurpation by the Forest Preserves; the eventual desecration and destruction; the theft of the crumbling stones; rumors of ritual activity, murder and madness.
As I grew in my studies, history and psychical research meshed ever further, and at some point I became a professional paranormal researcher and historian of the Unknown. The way that I wrote history—interpreted through accounts of the wondrous—gained its own name: “ghostlore.”
Thirty-three years after I first visited Bachelors Grove, I’ve written 13 books of ghostlore, founded a company that takes visitors to some of the region’s most infamously haunted sites, and continue to explore new avenues by which I might teach the dramatic history of ordinary—and extraordinary—people through tales of their brushes with the supernatural.
Along the way, inexplicable things happen to me, too. Of course, I’ve seen, heard, felt and even smelled countless phantoms as I’ve pursued my work, and I’ve heard thousands of stories of the encounters of others. But it is something deeper than these thrilling (but, in the end, limited) experiences that has proven to me, suddenly and without question, that this is all real.
That something deeper came out of the forest at Bachelors Grove Cemetery again four years ago, shook me hard and gave me a mission: to find and tell the stories of those buried there, and to find out what secrets the land really held. In essence, to drag the history of the cemetery “out of the woods,” where it has been lost for so long.
It was a dangerous quest, at best. Bachelors Grove is known among ghost hunters to have a strange relationship with its fans. Like a best friend, it can welcome one with warm sunshine and camaraderie, as with new friends met on a long Sunday among the broken stones, talking about the supernatural, about the fragments of history to be found there, or about nothing at all. It can make you think you’ve found some sort of home. And then, it can turn on you in an instant, rendering everything as fleeting as mist on the Grove’s quarry pond or as twisted as the panels of its chain-link fence.
People change at Bachelors Grove; or perhaps their masks come off there. Whichever it is, the ones close to the Grove know that it is not a place where one should stay long, or come often. To do so is to risk losing oneself to its infamous “pull.”
In June 2012, after more than two decades of occasionally returning to research Bachelors Grove, I found myself there one muggy night with a steward of the forest preserve, gazing across the quarry pond just before midnight, the unbroken surface lit up only by moonlight. It was perfectly still, and we were totally alone, but I felt the unmistakable presence of others with us. It was one of those moments in life, those instants when you feel to your core the great unseen universe just beyond an invisible curtain and realize that, one day, you’ll step through and not just feel it but know it, too.
Following a brief stay there, after the moment had left us, we set off again through the woods to our cars. But we became disoriented and, at last, quite lost.
Bachelors Grove is known for disorienting visitors. Even my companion, a steward of the woods for some ten or more years, could not find the way out, though we searched for hours for the trails he himself had marked. We had no light, and even the compass and GPS readings on our mobile phones failed. It was late—or early; the “wee hours” had come. I was wearing a cotton dress, and as we trudged on that hot night, the thorny vines that covered the ground seemed to reach around my ankles, trying to keep me there. It was after some time of this blind searching that we began to see the lights of houses in the distance and to hear the whoosh of cars passing on the road.
Grateful, we routed our path toward the noise, only to have the lights and sounds swallowed up, again and again, as if by a huge vacuum. We were dumbfounded. Somewhere between our cars and this place, we had fallen through an unseen doorway. We were living in a world we couldn’t fathom, seeing things that weren’t there. The air was close, and time was still going by. But none of it was real.
It was then that we realized we were standing in the heart of Bachelors Grove: a place without direction or landmarks, a place [I”ve deleted “made”; does this more concise construction read better?]of visions and of memories. It is a place that is sometimes on the map, but other times—and quite suddenly—un-findable and un-leave-able.
Bachelors Grove has put me through a lot since I returned there that June night. I’ve had the most sublime and most harrowing moments of my life in its clutches—and they are clutches; there is no other word for it. I have met both the kindest people I’ve known as well as the only people I have ever honestly described as “evil”: people who turn the truth on its head, without conscience and with impressive will.
It could be said that Bachelors Grove brings out the best and the worst in people. I have heard it said by more than one person—and have come to say myself—that Bachelors Grove eats people.
A lot of people stay away from the Grove because of this strange pull. A few people give in to it, with really bad results.
I do not spend a lot of time in the physical space of Bachelors Grove anymore. For a time, I did. For a time, I felt perhaps more at home there than anywhere else. At some time, however, you realize that you are living in a place meant for the dead.
It begins to show in the living you do.
Like so many others before me, though, I still wanted to “do” something about Bachelors Grove. Fix it, help it, do something to make things better in some way. But those before me—smarter, more connected, younger, stronger than—had failed to secure the prize we all long for: a restoration, historic designation, honor for the dead and the lives they lived. So, as a practitioner of history who has had bad luck or no luck toward physical change there, I have determined that what I could do would be to take some of Bachelors Grove’s negative power away. If I could document the lives of those buried there and bring honor to the dead whose physical space had fallen to desecration; if I could, too, find the real stories behind the looming horror stories that had long been told there, then, maybe, in this way, I could quietly wrest some of the power from the darkness and give it back to those who deserved it: the strong, brave men and women who lived “ordinary” lives of great drama in this enchanted place.
It is my heartfelt hope that, in the book I wrote ("Haunted Bachelors Grove") and the fragrance I created, you might learn something about the people of Bachelors Grove and the remarkable mystery and beauty it holds. I hope that, one day, you come to visit them, down that ancient path through the woods, as so many have done through generations. I hope you come away from it all knowing that there is much more to Bachelors Grove than mere ghost stories. And I hope things get better for the place we call “The Grove.”