Ashmore Estates Asylum
Coles County Poor Farm was located in Charleston Township near the small town of Loxa, Illinois.
Between 1870 and 1879, there were recorded 32 deaths out of the roughly 250 inmates who had stayed at the farm between.
The building was condemned in 1911, and in 1916 construction of a new building began. Ashmore Estates Asylum was what it is now call went bankrupt and the building was abandoned 1990.
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery
The existing cemetery was said to have been set-aside in 1864, when Edward Everden sold this land to Frederick Schmidt but set aside one acre of land to be used as a graveyard. It is unknown how many people are buried in this cemetery because many of the tombstones are missing and historical records are incomplete. Some local historians have said that the cemetery is actually called Batchelor Grove Cemetery because of the Batchelor family who settled here.
The ghost stories probably began in the late 1950’s. This area was well known to the local gangsters of the 1920’s and 1930’s because a number of bodies were found in the small lagoon bordering the cemetery that was thought to be victims of the mob and organized crime.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s the cemetery was the target of grave desecration. Some graves were dug up to the wooden coffins while others had the remains of the dead looted. Every Halloween, police try to keep Halloween pranksters and vandals from further destroying this old graveyard.
In the mid 1960’s there was cult activity and animal remains found in the cemetery. Many believe that a group was involved in satanic worship responsible for the animal sacrifices.
The ghost stories started when glowing blue balls of light were seen amongst the tombstones. A Joliet man named Jack Hermanski chased them on a number of occasions in the early 1970’s. The light was baseball size and floated through the cemetery just out of his reach. He reported that the ghost light blinked at fifteen to twenty-second intervals and just when he thought he had overtaken it; the light disappeared then reappeared behind him.
In December of 1971, Denise Travers claimed that she was able to pass her hand through the light after a close encounter. She felt no heat or sensation at all, it was like putting your hand into a void she said. Skeptics claimed that the blue lights were actually the methane gas given off by rotting bodies.
The most interesting story is of the old house seen on either side of the main trail leading back into the woods. Witnesses have also reported the house as appearing as a white farm-style house with white wooden columns, a porch swing and even a lantern burning dimly in one window. This house is a true phantom house. As witnesses walk towards it, the house seems to shrink, getting smaller and smaller before disappearing into the dark woods.
The house has been seen near the turnpike, along the dirt trail and even within the cemetery itself. Arlene McComb saw the house with a group of friends in 1975 and watched as the house began to shrink in size until it was entirely gone from view. Grace Nortman saw the phantom house in the winter of 1966 and 1967 while another witness, Marianne Kerbs, claims she experienced the ghostly abode in 1966.
On the Midlothian Turnpike there have been numerous tales of disappearing cars which one moment are there, the next they’re gone. The first report was in June of 1977 and again in 1978 when a passing motorist saw a car parked on the side of the road near the creek that flows near the cemetery. He was driving past the cemetery when he saw a car backing across the road into the Rubio Woods area. Upon inspection he saw that the chain was still up over the entrance to the picnic area but the vehicle was gone. Others have passed by cars parked on the shoulder across from the cemetery. After they pass the automobiles and look in their rearview mirror, the cars have vanished. Others have made a U-turn only to find no car gone.
A man 1975 took several pictures of a strange white mist. Some of the mists had an almost human-like form to them. Since that time he has returned and had some similar images show up on the film.
In the late 1970’s two Cook County Forest Rangers on late night patrol came across a farmer and his horse pulling a old-fashioned plow suddenly materializing in the middle of the road and quickly disappear into nearby Rubio Woods. While they both had seen the same thing, neither one made an official report of the incident.
Research indicated that in the 1870’s a farmer and his horse did in fact drown in the lagoon while clearing some land for crops. The horse was spooked and suddenly reared up and galloped headlong into the lagoon. The farmer was quickly pulled into the waters and both drowned by being yanked down by the plow.
In the cemetery itself an apparition of a lady dressed in white and holding an infant in her arms has appeared on moonlit nights. She has been called “The Madonna” of Bachelor’s Grove.
Electronic devices such as cameras, tape recorders and camcorders malfunction while in or near the cemetery. Battery drains are common even though fully charged before entering and cars would mysteriously stall while near the cemetery entrance.
During a visit in August of 1991, the Ghost Research Society members conducted a full investigation with their scientific equipment, cameras, tape recorders and camcorders. All members had maps of the cemetery and instructed to walk through and note any changes in electronic, electromagnetic and ion readings as well as their own psychic experiences. Later the maps were compared, and several investigators had indicated one or two areas where unusual readings or sensory experiences were encountered. After returning to those areas, the team attempted additional tests and photographic experiments with both black and white infrared and other types of film. Nothing was seen at the time of the picture taking.
Later when the film was developed it was discovered that on one frame there was the unmistakable image of a woman sitting on a checkerboard tombstone in a turn-of-the-century dress. On closer examination, parts of her body are semi-transparent, especially her head and legs. Everyone on the team was stunned with this revelation as it seemed to coincide with the electromagnetic deviations team members were experiencing at the time.
It was taken by Jude Huff-Felz.
27 Apr, 2016
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