Remember when I used to write a bunch of reviews for my blog? When I first started up Tales of Unspeakable Taste I thought it would be funny to do cemetery reviews. Who the fuck does cemetery reviews? I did a few before I got bored with the idea. One of them was on Bachelors Grove. If you want to read it, here it is. It might help you understand where I'm going with this GF tonight.
I was thinking about Bachelors Grove because a friend mentioned it earlier today. I realized that there was one thing I left out of my review. Let's rewind 17 years.
In 1999 I won an honorable mention at a State of Illinois journalism competition sponsored by the Trib. It was for feature story. When I worked for the Elmhurst College Leader it was suggested to me, because I was the fuckin' weirdo on staff, that I should write a feature piece on local haunts. So I did. I'd heard about Bachelors Grove a few times over the years, but I'd never gone down there.
I decided to make the trip for the story. I was floored by how spooky that place is. If you read the review in the link above you'll see a double grave that someone had slightly dug up. Years after my first visit a friend of mine took a picture of that grave. When he developed the film he'd captured what looked like two ghosts. I've seen the picture. I'm an incredibly skeptical guy when it comes to things like this, but I'll be damned if it didn't look like two ghosts. It was hazy, but they had human form, and I could see their eyes. One was obviously male, the other female, which matches up because a man and woman are buried there. I don't know what to make of it. I'm just going to say it's something I don't understand.
And no, the picture no longer exists. My friend lives the life of a transient (he is currently in prison and will not have a home when he's released), and he lost the picture and the negatives. Sorry.
If there is any place that is truly haunted, it's Bachelors Grove. But that's not what I'm here to talk about. There is something I left out of my review, and I only remembered it this morning during the IM conversation with my friend.
On several graves someone had left identical copies of the same letter. I know I kept one, but I can't for the life of me find it now. The gist of it was that the writer was a very lonely woman in her late twenties, a Wiccan, and she was looking for fellow cemetery appreciators to talk with. It wasn't a sexual thing. She just wanted to find a friend because she didn't have any. It was one of the saddest things I'd ever read.
Back then I still had a shell around me. I was anti-social. I wanted to separate myself from the world. The only people I wanted to talk with were people I was already familiar with. I later discovered the joys of alcohol, which cured me of this horrible malady. I never wrote to her email address. Only two years later I would have, and that's a thing I regret to this day. Out of mere curiosity I would have contacted her. I'm sure she's an okay person, so there probably would have been a great friendship in that.
Being lonely and wanting to be lonely is one thing. That's what I wanted back then. But this person was lonely and didn't want to be lonely. That's something else entirely.
We didn't have social media back then. I wonder how she's doing now. I hope she's found friends online. Friends online almost always leads to real life friends. There are about two dozen people I was online friends with before I met them in person this year alone. Social media can be a terrible place (Reddit, I'm looking specifically at you; I've never seen a more merciless pit of vipers). But it can also be wonderful. A radio personality I used to listen to back in the early 2000's was fond of saying that he was a high touch guy, not high tech. He blamed the internet for distancing people from each other. I disagree. While there is an element to that, I find that it's brought me closer to humanity. I wouldn't know a majority of the people I know today without the internet.
I hope that lonely Bachelors Grove woman has discovered that truth, and I hope she has tons of friends. I hope she's no longer lonely.
Our solar system is a big place. Only this planet is inhabited. As far as we can see into the rest of the universe is unpopulated. But the math is against us being alone in existence. Still, that's a lot of space, and that's a lot of loneliness.
Tell your loved ones that you love them. In the end that is all we truly have.