One man, a Spring Lake resident since 1961, hasn't forgotten his experience with the “lost gateway.”
Around 1979, he and his two sons were on a bike ride through Lake Forest Cemetery and they exited through a gate that doesn’t exist.
“At least, not in the ‘normal’ world,” he said.
The man and two of his sons, ages 10 and 12 at the time, went on a bicycle trip to the Port Sheldon power plant. On the way back they came to Duncan Woods and made a detour, eventually passing close to the cemetery, which they could view through the trees.
“We were somewhat familiar with the cemetery,” the man said. He had taken his 12-year-old son there in his car on occasion. “I’d let him sit on my lap and steer around, getting him used to handling a car.”
After traversing the cemetery roads for a while, the man decided the group should move on. Orienting himself to familiar landmarks, he pedaled to find an exit.
“I didn’t know exactly where I was,” he recalled.
So, he followed along the boundary fence that encloses the burial grounds.
The path sloped up to a house behind the fence on the right, then more houses appeared. The ground sloped slightly to the left and the party arrived at a stop at Lake Avenue.
“It was two or three blocks from the point [of entry] I thought I recognized,” he recalled. “I was a bit surprised.”
They departed the cemetery through that gate.
“We turned right, and proceeded on our bike trip,” the man said, recalling feeling uneasy. “For some reason, it bothered me.”
The next time he took his 12-year-old son in the car to Lake Forest “to practice steering,” they traveled all roads within the cemetery looking for the mystery entrance.
“I didn’t find the same entrance which we had exited on our bike trip, We didn’t find it,” the man explained. “I went back myself several times searching every possible road, both within the cemetery and from without. There was no such entrance, or road, as we had used leaving the cemetery.”
The closest exit onto Lake Avenue was “at least a mile” from where he and his boys had exited.
One day at work, the man was telling the tale to several coworkers in the cafeteria. The person seated opposite him struck a very peculiar expression.
“He had had the same experience,” he reported.
His coworker had even revisited the cemetery several times as well, searching for the lost gateway.
“As did I, he concluded it didn’t exist,” the man said. “At least not in the ‘normal world.’”
The man and his coworker are not the only ones who have experienced the missing gateway at the cemetery. As fantastic as it seems, letters to this column over the years have posed the question often, “Do you know anything about a missing entrance (or exit) at Lake Forest?”
Lake Forest Cemetery's origin dates back to 1872 with the first burial taking place the following year. Paranormal investigators claim the area is rife with activity — everything from apparitions to eerie glowing emitted from cracks in monuments.
One cemetery enthusiast explained the lost gateway phenomenon likely occurs when visitors at the cemetery become disoriented once inside and confused when it comes to exiting.
“A familiar entrance may appear to be different when exiting,” he explained, “even though it is the same gate.”
But for the Spring Lake man, he has never forgotten his experience.
“I have no explanation for what happened,” the man said.
He, along with some other area residents, have little doubt that they experienced something seemingly impossible — a phantom gateway at Lake Forest Cemetery.