This is an extended version of our interview with John Stephenson that we featured in the September 2010 issue of the Legends and Lore of Illinois. Download the entire issue by clicking here.
John Stephenson is a small business professional with a decade worth of experience in IT and high end security surveillance systems. For the last four years, he has moderated the website Bachelors-Grove.com and employed a technical and scientific approach to paranormal research with an emphasis on infra-red digital imagery and photographic analysis. He was born and raised in Orland Park, just minutes from Bachelors Grove.
When did you become interested in Bachelors Grove? What sparked your fascination?
Coming from a family whose environment is rich in stories and first-hand account of unworldly encounters and ghostly apparitions, it was only natural and just a matter of time that I would have stumbled upon the legendary Bachelors Grove. Sure, it wasn’t long after first hearing about this notoriously haunted and abandoned cemetery in my early teens that I decided to give it a visit along with some friends. This little jaunt would end up being one of hundreds. My first step of what would be a journey from fascination to serious investigation.
What does your website, Bachelors-Grove.com, offer its patrons that make it standout among other sites focused on that cemetery?
Besides being one of the largest in content and possibly one of the most viewed Bachelors Grove websites, we have logged over a 1.5 million individual hits from dozens of countries. Members exceed 1,600 worldwide and we are ever expanding the array of subjects. As a matter of personal pride many a member has complimented that this is one of the friendliest and active forums on this genera. Though the focus of the site is on Bachelors Grove? we welcome a wide range of both information and inquiry on any aspect of the paranormal.
What has been your strangest experience at Bachelors Grove?
Clearly one of my strangest encounters was the apparition known as the disappearing farmhouse. It was this very spectacle that appeared before three others and I. What we witness could only be described as a farm house some five hundred feet into the woods that mysterious and instantaneously vanished. This was long before the internet and without any prior knowledge of such an apparition to any of us.
Has any criticism or competition accompanied the success of your website?
I built this site for others to share information and to truly enjoy. If someone has an issue with that… well fine but I’m not going to go through my life dodging raindrops. Competition is always welcomed and encouraged though I have never looked at it that way apparently other have.
Why do you think Bachelors Grove is so alluring to so many people?
A cemetery being near a major metropolitan area usually allows for many a wild story to take hold. This location has the added notoriety of the many stories spun about it ties to being a drop point for the Chicagoland Mob’s infamous one way rides. Steep this in rumors of demonic rituals, grave robbers, an assortment of mayhem and mischief… well, you may not need to know the cold hard facts that put its residence into the Grove in the first place.
Be it lost gangster treasure or ghost, there has never been a shortage of stories about Bachelors Grove in this life or the next. Every old graveyard may get you thinking of ghosts, but Bachelors Grove, on the other hand, may make you certain of them.
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