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A Doorway to Hell: Forest Park Cemetery
Outside the upstate New York city of Troy lies a place full of mystery, a place that isn’t even on the maps: Forest Park Cemetery.
The Forest Park Cemetery, or also known as Pinewoods Cemetery, was first used as far back as 1856. In 1897 a group of business men from the city of Troy founded the Forest Park Cemetery Corporation to sell plots for burials. There were originally two hundred acres that were bought in order to use for the cemetery, it was designed by Garnet Baltimore. Baltimore was the first African American graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his main goal was to grow Forest Park Cemetery even larger than its sister cemetery, Oakwood cemetery. Oakwood Cemetery is still in use, unfortunately the same cannot be said of Forest Park Cemetery.
In 1914 the corporation’s goals were halted as they fell upon financial struggles and went bankrupt. The plans to expand the cemetery was not completed. Baltimore’s goals were only partially complete, pathways were constructed, statues were erected, and a large mausoleum was built in the center of the cemetery.
The mausoleum was once beautiful, the ceiling made of copper and had over one hundred marble catacombs. The purpose of the mausoleum was not to bury the dead but to store them during the winter months when the ground was too frozen to dig.
In 1914 when the Forest Park Cemetery Corporation went out of business it was sold to a corporation made up of New York City residents, but they too went bankrupt and sold the cemetery to the country club nearby.
In 1918 a man by the name of William Christian volunteered to be the caretaker of the cemetery and did so until 1961, the year in which he passed away.
The last known burial at the cemetery occurred in 2005, and since then the cemetery has become the basis for many urban legends.
People claim that the cemetery is one of the gateways to hell and others claim that LIFE magazine wrote an article on the place claiming it to be one of the top ten most haunted places in the United States. After heavy research I found no such article and the town historian has also stated that she too hasn’t found such article. One person went as far as contacting LIFE magazine and they denied these rumors: they never wrote an article.
The front entrance is often referred to the gates of hell.
"Gateway to Hell"
The Tragedy of 1916
Unfortunately, the history has a few disturbing stories. In 1916 a man by the name of Harold Hubbard Horne, a man from Buffalo, was visiting with his girlfriend. Not much is known about what happened, all that is sure is for some reason he was deeply depressed. Within the cemetery he decided to end his life, shooting himself in the head. Unfortunately, this story is in fact true, however, the other stories are unknown. Some say that his girlfriend and him parked the car at the entrance and spent the night talking. When she fell asleep and woke up she had found that he had killed himself. Others say that she fell asleep and woke up to him hanging from the tree, this story is untrue because he died by gunshot to the head. Disturbingly enough the chances of the first story being true is very high. Many claim that if you drive by at nighttime and investigate the graveyard you can see the troubled man roaming the cemetery. Others say if you call his name three times he will appear. His aura is explained to be a “warm feeling” not cold unlike most spirits. His spirit is described as giving off warm feelings of comfort especially to those who are depressed because he does not want them to have the same fate as he did.
I have been to the cemetery a few times (hence why I am writing the article) and I did not feel any warm sensations or even cold sensations for that matter, however, upon entering the gates of the cemetery my phone died right after. It was on a high percentage of battery and I am still confused and weirded out by it. According to many others the same thing happened to them.
Another thing I noticed was an odd photo I took. A friend stood on the ruble in the mausoleum and I snapped a photo. After looking at it closely I could see a distinct figure in the background. It was not photoshopped and no one else was over there besides it so what was it?
When walking in the dark I found the pathway spoken of by the founder. The pathway leads so far into the woods that at one point I almost decided to turn around and head back. I heard there were statues, but I was so far into the forest it didn’t make sense to continue. I decided to continue and that is where I found them: headless angel statues in the middle of the woods. Eerily enough there were fresh flowers put right besides them, it was not a grave and the cemetery is deemed abandoned so for someone to put flowers besides a statue for no apparent reason doesn’t make any sense. Rumor has it that the angel statues bleed from the neck. The real questions are: why were the heads removed? Who did it? Where are the angels’ heads?
The cemetery is also a place in which an odd and unsettling crime occurred. In the late 1980’s two teens found a partially dug up grave. At the scene of the crime there were several instruments used to dig up the grave (picks and shovels). This happening adds to the list of unusual and flat out creepy things that have happened at the cemetery. The alleged haunted graveyard is allegedly haunted for a reason…
Opinio: Is it haunted?
Is the cemetery really haunted?
© 2018 Elijah DeVivo