Can strange activity in abandoned places truly be ghosts, or is our universe proving to be just that much stranger?
First you see it, then you don’t, as we head north to Chicago for a visit Bachelors Grove Cemetery.
Haunted graveyards are the grizzled old veterans of the ghost story and urban legend world. Many a tale of ghostly women and phantom lights persist, stemming from cemeteries often abandoned save for those visitors drawn by the historical significance of such places. (I wrote once before on one cemetery in particular, to pass along an experience from a reader, in this post. In addition, I’ve expressed my beliefs and hesitations on “haunted” places here and here. I believe providing this information to you, the readers, gets things out in the open and lets you know that this site isn’t only dedicated to ghost stories.
So why write about a haunted cemetery?
Cemeteries are places that are, by nature, quiet. And they should be. Cemeteries are meant to be places where people might feel comfortable laying loved ones to rest. Places where one can return to visit for peaceful reflection, maybe to remember the times when a family member or friend was still among the living. But often, as family lines fade away, or generations forget the wearing names carved into granite, the greenery encroaches, and drooping headstones become little more than scenery.
In a place so quiet, stories can spawn from anything less than silent, anything that seems out of the ordinary. The shadow from a branch waving in the sun might evolve into a woman who wanders in mourning, a hundred years past the point at which she should have stopped. Another brave soul, just hidden from view by a thicket of trees and the shadow of night and the fact that both parties are trespassing might be mistaken as some ghostly visitor.
Wikipedia’s page for Bachelor’s Grove (for the sake of quickness) has the following to say:
Besides orbs and phantom vehicles, there have been additional reports of supernatural events at the cemetery, including:
The white lady (or “white madonna”); she walks the grounds during a full moon while carrying an infant.
Phantom farmhouse; a ghostly farmhouse which is purported to shimmer, float, and then vanish, mostly reported during the 1950s. There are also reports by witnesses of the house shrinking as they approach it, then disappearing altogether.
A Farmer and his plow-horse; both victims of a plowing accident—having been dragged to their deaths into the nearby slough.
A two-headed ghost; near the same slough.
Religious monks; as late as 1984 witnesses reported seeing multiple figures dressed in monk’s robes emerging throughout the cemetery.
A black dog; witnesses in the 1990s reported seeing this manifestation at the cemetery’s entrance. It would disappear when they approached it.
The “Woman sitting on the Grave;” a notable photograph which ran in the Chicago Sun-Times, purportedly showing a transparent woman sitting on a tombstone; the apparition was not apparent at the time the photograph was shot.
Women in white, unfinished business, and mysterious photographs. While intriguing, tales of this sort aren’t unique to Bachelor’s Grove.
The house, however, seems to be, somewhat. In fact, though I was able to find other tales of disappearing buildings (here, for example) it’s truly not something I’d heard of before, other than in the story of Seven Bridges Road. Read the comments on that one, though. It seems to have a rational explanation.
Not featured among what I’ve copied above is another feature of this odd dwelling. The house, in fact, may be a trap for anyone who is able to reach it, open the door, and enter. Beware, for you may end up trapped forever.
Don’t worry, though. No one’s actually ever reached the house. It always vanishes, unfindable and unreachable for anyone who’s trying.
Funny thing is, my personal beliefs lead me to the conclusion that the phantom house of Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery has a logical explanation, because our universe is not a logical place as we see it. Something is obviously going on here, but what? And what about the dog, which no longer appears, or the monks, treading on ground that has never featured a church or monestery? Are they truly phantoms, or just the rules of the universe being broken? What’s going on that we can’t see?
I find myself quite unsatisfied, once again, because Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and the ground it inhabits doesn’t appear to be abiding by the normal rules of how a universe should operate.
Find out more on Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery by starting at this link.
Screams echo, distant memories etched in time, voices left behind by speakers long-dead…or are they something else?
Man first stepped on the moon on July 20, 1969. We would only go a handful more times before keeping ourselves fully grounded on Earth.
As with most great accomplishments, we tend to see the results as a much bigger thing than the work put in before. The guts, blood, sweat, and sacrifice.
January 27, Launch Complex 34, Cape Canaveral. The crew of Apollo 1 were engaged in a test for the mission, not due to launch until February 21. In a tragic moment, something (and they really don’t know what) ignited inside the cabin. The craft was quickly and violently consumed in flame. Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White were unable to escape, and died inside. Launch Complex 34 was used until 1968 and then decommissioned.
Today, you can visit LC-34 on one of the tours and see the part of the structure that’s still there. It serves as a memorial to the men who were lost as the human race pushed to stand on other worlds.
Of course, because of the deaths, it’s not without its ghost stories.
The stories are much the same as any other. Screams of the dying. Weird happenings, and the rumor that NASA closed it because of strange things going on, horrors too great for the general public. The last bit seems to be unfounded, and I couldn’t find any reason for it to have been closed other than the recent government shutdown.
But suppose there are screams at Launch Complex 34, just not from the dying. Not echoes, but a real true sound with a mysterious source. A source as real as you and me, as physical as we are, but not something we can see so obviously. Like the Seneca Guns, there aren’t many answers.
If we could find where the noises are coming from, look through a gap, imagine what we’d find there. Who we’d find there, staring back at us.
What might be hiding at Launch Complex 34?
Is the creaking of the floor a haunting by a mournful soul, or is our universe just something much more odd?
With the exception of one of my early posts about the USS North Carolina, you may have noticed that this blog doesn’t cover hauntings very much. It’s not that North Carolina has a lack of spooky ghost stories; quite the opposite. You know all those “mysterious hitchhiking girl” stories? The ones where the guy takes her home, she’s suddenly gone, and he walks up to the door, only to find that she died ten years earlier? North Carolina has one, and the girl’s name is Lydia.
We have plenty of ghost stories, but I am not one to believe that mysterious noises from abandoned homes mean that there are ghosts hanging around. My upbringing leads me to believe that the world, the universe, is a much stranger place than we can imagine, and that there are reasons for the weirdness that are much more complex than a ghost.
Maybe there are other dimensions. Books have these, with the multiple worlds that brush against each other. Maybe there’s a wood somewhere, with little pools that lead other universes. C.S. Lewis wrote this version of a multiverse into his Narnia series.
It could be that the universe as we understand it is not terribly understandable at all. Science is constantly being surprised. Imagination is the key to investigation into our universe. Calling this blog Weirdly Awesome has little to do with the paranormal and everything to do with how our world is full of secrets that are only secrets because we haven’t discovered them yet.
I’m not interested in ghosts. I’m just interested in answers.
Gah, it’s been far too long! I’ve been so busy that I’ve not been able to stop and do a little research, so today I’m just featuring an e-mail from Amanda at Southern Fried Fantasy. After a gracious thanks for a link to her Acid Park post, she shared a tale from her visit to Beaufort, NC. Please enjoy this weirdly true story.
Now, I’d like to share with you an experience that I had happen about four years ago. I was home from college for about a week (self-made spring break), and my family and I had gone down to Beaufort for the day. Beaufort’s a pretty old town, as you probably know, and the cemetery there is, at the risk of sounding morbid, a beautiful place to visit, despite the bees (which I hate.) That day, there wasn’t anything in particular that happened while we were in the actual cemetery, but we did experience a very weird occurrence right as we were entering the old gates. Here’s some background. My dog Minnie, who loved to travel, was in the backseat of the car, as usual. She’d come with us because the weather was fairly cool that day, and cracking the windows kept the car very comfortable. Minnie was very used to staying in the car when we went in anywhere, because to her, the car was a secure, familiar place. What happened next is not something I’ve been able to explain very well.
As we walked toward the gates of the cemetery and opened them to go in, Minnie started freaking out. You know, how dogs do, whining and barking. Because the windows were open, it was pretty loud, and she kept it up. It wasn’t something that ever happened before in the car, and never once happened again after that for the rest of Minnie’s life. I do have my theories. We were in a cemetery, and I know that things can and do happen there that may invite spiritual disturbances, so it’s likely Minnie sensed something that never bothered us. I’ve also heard another reason for dog’s panicking in places that appear to be spooky. Sometimes, depending on the structure of a place, environmental factors can come together to produce frequencies that are too low to audibly register in the human ear. Dogs will hear the sounds, but the only thing that humans experience is a feeling of dread or foreboding brought on, of course, by these low frequencies. If the latter is the case, then the iron fence might at least partly explain this particular happening. The next time I visited that cemetery, Minnie had stayed at home because of the summer heat. I never experienced any dread myself (except of the bees, lol.) In one of your posts you mentioned the people of Roanoke Colony and how some people think they were swallowed up into the earth. Maybe there’s one of those weird doors in the Beaufort cemetery? That might make a weird frequency. I wonder if anyone else has had something similar happen.
Anyway, thanks again!
Whoa. When I read this email…just wow.
I love that my Roanoke Island post did bring some attention to an unpopular but very interesting theory, that of what appear to be wormholes or something. But where would they go?