In the news has been the historic Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip IL, a cemetery outside of Chicago. It is the scene of a gruesome and unsettling series of cemetery crimes. Four cemetery workers allegedly dug up existing graves and dumped the bones in a mass grave to make space for others to be buried. This was grave robbing for profit. I know someone who has relatives buried there, I just talked with him. He told me that since the cemetery has been closed, he does not know the status of his relatives’ graves. I wished him good luck with this. What a terrible thing, who would have imagined such a thing could ever happen?
Here is a link to the complete story:
Here is a NBC news video summing up the event.
I will approach this ghoulish story from a different perspective. Can a cemetery’s desecration cause it to become haunted? There is a belief that by ruining a cemetery the spirits of the dead will become unsettled leading to a haunted environment. A prime example is the infamous Bachelor’s Grove, an old cemetery that has long been abandoned. It suffered terrible desecration over the decades and developed a reputation for multiple hauntings experienced by first-hand witnesses.
Will the dark deeds at Burr Oak Cemetery give it a similar dark reputation in the future? Shall it become the source of ghostly legends years from now? Will Burr Oak Cemetery become haunted?
I’d suggest that the idea of a haunted cemetery is misunderstood. A cemetery is actually the last place we’d expect to encounter the ghost of a deceased human. Ghosts behave as we would in life, but often act as if they are trapped in a dreamlike state, with varying levels of consciousness. A ghost is most likely to be present at the source of the trauma that resulted in their unwillingness to disconnect from the physical world. Ghosts frequent places they were intimately familiar with in life. Just like you or I would not want to roam a cemetery, neither would a ghost. Once a ghost truly “dies” and leaves this world, they leave it permanently and don’t come back. Outside of human criminals, Burr Oak Cemetery is safe.
However, there is another side to the concept of the haunted cemetery. A handful of cemeteries are actually haunted. What is going on with those? Bachelor’s Grove is a perfect example. In these situations, I believe we are not dealing with human ghosts, but with non-human negative entitles. Cemeteries that suffer from desecration are usually abandoned. What happens with these abandoned cemeteries is they attract the attention of those who wish to use the cemetery for their own purposes. This includes practices such as necromancy and the darker visions of sorcery. If an abandoned cemetery is frequently used as a location for the evocation of the demonic, it could eventually create something like a portal where negative entities will linger. The same idea could apply to some other locations like a “haunted” house where an imprint, a stain was left behind.
The state is taking over Burr Oak and it will not be abandoned. The authorities will make sure the cemetery is properly managed. The grave robbing crimes at Burr Oak are terrible and disturbing, but in themselves won’t awaken the dead, nor cause a gateway to lower spiritual entities. Unless the criminals responsible also practiced necromancy or even worse over the years. Then we might have a problem. I wonder if there is more to this story then meets the eye.
I talked with my friend Brad. His mom and other relations are buried in Burr Oak, and he has no idea what is going on. He is really disturbed. He is getting calls form his relatives from out-of-state asking, “What the hell is going on in Chicago?” He has no answer. He is watching the situation in the news, but the cemetery is closed now. Here is a video that someone took before the cemetery was closed. It shows how important we value our deceased loved ones.