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America's Cemeteries - Hauntings and Ghosts

Updated on January 1, 2018
Mist in Greenwood Cemetery
Mist in Greenwood Cemetery | Source

The mystery of death: everyone at some point in time has thought about this topic or subject matter. Everyone has thought about what might happen to them when they pass on from this world no matter what their faith is or what they believe.Some people will tell you when you pass, everything ends. Life in this world is the only time we exist. Others will say we are born again – the old soul enters a new body – reincarnation. Still others say one's spirit goes to another place – or stays behind as a ghost.

Since most people at some point in time in their life have thought about death and what happens next, this may explain why there seems to be so many rituals and practices concerning death. Death has been feared as well as celebrated since time began. Death has been immortalized with cemeteries and grave markers as well as legends and lore. Some of these legends and lore have been dark and frightening.

A common belief of experts about the occult is that cemeteries are not the best places to find ghosts. Although mist covered and abandoned graveyards can be a perfect setting for ghost stories, these types of stories are not as common as you might think. A cemetery is meant as a final stop on one's journey from this world to the next. The question is: Is it always that way?

Most ghost enthusiasts would agree a place becomes haunted after a traumatic event or unexpected death happens at a location. History tells of many a story of houses being haunted after a murder occurred there. Sometimes a horrible event occurs that echos over years as a haunting.

But what about cemeteries being haunted? Do these things really exist? I'm sure they do exist. Something tells me that ghosts in a cemetery are not quite the same as a ghost you might find hanging out in someone's house. A cemetery ghost seems to be more connected to that cemetery that doesn't include lifetime events. Spirits have been reported to linger due to unfinished business in life. If that's the case, seems to me that would exclude a cemetery where business would not be finished or completed.

Graveyard ghosts have a few things in common. The spirits found in a cemeteries seem to be connected to the burial grounds from the events that happened after death rather than before death. In some cases the ghost seems to be looking for eternal rest that they can't find at the exact spot where the physical body is cuurently located. These cemeteries have gained a reputatuion for being haunted for reasons like desecration of the dead and grave robbing, unmarked or forgotten burials, natural disasters that disturb the resting place, or some other event because the deceased was properly buried at all!

In researching for this article I did not find one region of America that has been spared when it comes to haunted graveyards. What follows is a list of some of these graveyards in the United States that are haunted. This list just scratches the surface of what's out there.

Here is my list of cemeteries:

Western Burial Ground, Baltimore, Maryland: This burial ground is located beneath Westminster Hall. Westminster Hall is a historic building located in downtown Baltimore. The cemetery itself is located at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Marlyand. This place is known for its ghostly tales, one of which is the following: Apparently, this cemetery is home to the screaming skull. The legend surrounding this cemetery states the following: a minister was murdered on the grounds. Every night at the same time his skull would start screaming. After a while the locals had enough of this. The body was dug up and the skull was gagged. The body – with the gagged skull – was then encased in a concrete block that now stands by his gravestone. The locals claim it's still possible to hear muffled screaming on still nights.

An additional note: The famous poet Edgar Allan Poe is buried here in this cemetery. Thankfully for him and the locals as well, Poe seems to resting peacefully! Although resting quietly, it is said there is an unexplained mystery about Poe. Wonder what that's all about?

El Campo Santo Cemetery, San Diego, California: Want a good glimpse of the past along with some scary stuff? Well, El Campo Santo Cemetery is a great place to start, it began its story in 1849. The total number of bodies buried here is 477 ad unfortunately not all of them have remained in their tomb. Take a look at the sidewalks and street outside, see if you find any gravemarkers. Oh yeah, by the way, some of these graves are literally in the street! Now, if that doesn't make the spirits mad, let's add in some injustice and grave robbers! Yikes!

A little history here: As the old town started to fall, the cemetery was abandoned and its brick chapel was destroyed by fire. A streetcar line was literally built through the graveyard two years after the last body was buried there. This is the reasonwhy some of the tombstones were removed. Numerous petitions were put forth to acknowledge that these bodies were buried there beneath the street and sidewalk. Finally, white crosses were painted in their place. At a later date and time the crosses were replaced with gravemarkers. A grandson of the Workmans, Walter P. Temple, successfully filed a lawsuit, stopping any further descaration of the cemetery. Temple purchased the cemetery and the 75 acres that surrounded it in 1917, then began restoration.

As far as hauntings, they are said to occur here. The two apparitions reported the most in El Campo Santo Cemetery are: an Indian or Hispanic man dressed in 19th century clothing and a woman also dressed in period clothing. Other reports have stated cars parked upon the graves have their alarms go off. This will happen with no one in sight of the vehicle. Since lost burials and unmarked graves exist here, many believe that numerous ghosts roam the area around the cemetery.

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, Bremen, Illinois: Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is located in Bremen, Illinois and is considered to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in America. Some people will venture to say it's one of the most haunted places in the world. The cemetery is small and secluded, tucked away in the middle of a creepy forest. The looks alone of this place makes it spooky enough, just basing this on its appearance.

There have been over 150 documented reports of strange phenomena collected here. Once you hear the ghostly tales connected to this cemetery you will soon realize that there are more reasons why it creeps you out. The story states that gangsters used the land in the 1930s to dump their victims, some of which have been seen wandering the cemetery. Visitors have reported seeing unexplained things here such as: ghost lights, apparitions, odd photos, unexplained happenings, and more. The most famous ghost coming from this cemetery is the Lady in White. She has been spotted multiple times just sitting on a tombstone.

Union Cemetery, Easton, Connecticut: Since this cemetery dates back to the 1600s, there's no difficulty in understanding that it's haunted. The cemetery is known by the locals as White Lady Cemetery after its most prevalent ghost! The ghost lady is known to roam the cemetery at night. Sometimes she decides to venture past the gates and onto the road. Several drivers have claimed that they have actually hit her with their cars only to have her disappear promptly. Apparently she is not alone in haunting Union Cemetery. Reports have come in of glowing red eyes that stare at people from out of the darkest corners.

Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia: Savannah has many a ghost there and they are incredibly proud of them. Since this is the case, it's not surprising they have their own haunted cemetery, complete with a chilling tale to tell. The most famous ghost that is said to roam this cemetery is Gracie Watson. Gracie is a little girl who died at the tender age of six of pneumonia. People claim they have seen her playing between the tombstones. There is a statue of her by her grave that is said to cry tears of blood on occasion.

Resurrection Cemetery, Justice, Illinois: This cemetery is an incredibly creepy place to be in. The name alone brings about spooky ideas! The most famous haunting within this cemetery is the spirit of Resurrection Mary. Back in the 1930s, Mary was a young girl who was killed in a hit and run accident. Her parents were extremely upset over her untimely death and had her remains buried here in Resurrection Cemetery. Witnesses claim to have seen her walking down the same street, Archer Avenue, she was killed on back in the 1930s. Reports have come in that state young male drivers have picked her up as she hitches a ride back to the cemetery. The men are shocked when she vanishes from their car as they approach the cemetery gates!

Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Massachusetts: Salem is famous for one big thing – the Salem Witch trials. This occurred in the 1600s and speculation ran wild as to who was and wasn't a witch. Wealthy farmer Giles Corey was one of the unlucky people accused, but he was thought to be a warlock. He ended up being tortured to death. To this day it appears that Corey is still seeking revenge for his untimely and undeserving death. Reports have said that he haunts the Howard Street Cemetery and the surrounding area. This actually makes some sense: he is buried in this cemetery and also died there as a result of pressing. He seems to specifically target Sheriff officers, probably because they are the closest thing to witch finders that exist today. Another thing Corey's ghost likes to do is appear right before a tragedy. So, should you see him around the area, beware!

Hollywood Forever, Los Angeles, California: Hollywood Forever Cemetery is located in Los Angeles and is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery is also known as Hollywood Memorial Park. Plenty of deceased stars call this cemetery their final resting place. There's a wall that it shares with Paramount Studios. One of the famous faces that still roams the grounds here is Rudolph Valentino. His ghost wanders around the area here, looking as handsome as he did prior to his untimely and unexpected death in 1926. Here's a strange fact: a mysterious woman in black visits his grave every year on the anniversary of his death. She still visits to this day, only in the spirit form. Clifton Webb is another Hollywood star buried in this cemetery. Appearing in the Mr. Belvedere films when alive, he must still be enjoying the spotlight as he is seen frequently wandering around the graveyard. There is a report that states that Virginia Rappe haunts the cemetery as well. He death was said to be the supposed result of a night of doing sex, drugs, and alcohol with comedian Fatty Arbuckle. Some of these spirits are said to hang out by the gates of the adjoining Paramount Studio complex.

Silver Cliff Cemetery, Silver Cliff, Colorado: This cemetery is said to be another one in America that is extremely haunted. The cemetery is a small miner's cemetery. The place is not really famous for a ghostly apparitions, but rather for the Silver Cliff Lights. These lights are described as looking like blue lantern lights or bright white spheres. The lights are seen over the gates of the cemetery at night. They float through the burial ground, bouncing off of the tombstones. Scientists and National Geographics magazine have studied and examined these lights many times. A cause for the lights has never been established. Many of the locals agree the lights are paranormal in nature. The cemetery is still in use today. The town owns and operates it.

Stull Cemetery, Stull, Kansas: This cemetery is considered by many to be a gateway to hell. Ghost stories have been linked to this place for hundreds of years. The abandoned church which sits right next to the graveyard is one of the focal points for the hauntings. People claim to have strange experiences when they enter the church, such as being grabbed by unseen hands. There was one occasion when the Pope was flying in this area. He insisted the pilot NOT fly over this section of land as he considered it “A demonic piece of land”! The local legend claims the land has always been an evil place. According to locals, the church was built in an attempt to cover the gateway. When the church was finally closed, witches and Satanists started using it as a meeting place to hold rituals. Rumors exist that state witches were hung in the trees within the church's grounds in the past. One tree in particular is now growing through a tombstone which is said to be a focal point for paranormal activity.

Saint Louis Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana: If you know anything about New Orleans, then you know you can barely go anywhere within the city without running into something with a paranormal twist to it. Saint Louis Cemetery is known for its incredible hauntings. There are 100,000 people buried here, one of which is the notorious Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Much of the activity here is attributed to her. Her spirit is said to roam the graveyard and sometimes the nearby streets. Hundreds of people visit her grave every year and leave offerings in hopes of having a wish granted and to be blessed by her supernatural powers.

A vanishing woman in white is known to haunt this spooky graveyard as well. She likes to flag down taxi drivers to get a ride home. She disappears before they arrive at her home, only for the driver to find out she died years ago. Since this has happened so many times and she is so well known, no taxi driver will stop to pick this woman in the white dress up if they spot her near the cemetery, or anywhere else for that matter!

Boot Hill, Tombstone, Arizona: This cemetery is located in Tombstone, Arizona and just goes by the name Boot Hill. No one really maintains the burial grounds and because of that it has a strange overgrown look. This 'look' adds to the already existing spooky reputation that it has. People who have explored Boot Hill describe seeing very unfriendly spirits all around the place. The belief here is that many of those buried in the cemetery have links to the gunfight at the O.K. Coral which involved the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Clanton Gang.

There are four additional cemeteries I would like to list here with just some extremely brief information on them. Just something else for you to think about the next time you might want to visit that cemetery you pass up in your travels.

Here are the other four cemeteries:

Christ Church Cemetery, Saint Simon's Island, Georgia: There is a legend associated with this cemetery that says it's haunted by a ghostly light. According to the legend, there is a woman buried here who was terrified of the dark when alive. She is said to emit a spectral light. Her husband had her buried here before he passed away. The light continues to be seen to this day.

Stepp Cemetery, Bloomington, Indiana: This cemetery is located in a remote section of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest in Indiana. For many, many years its has been considered to be haunted. Many legends do exist to explain the ghost that is seen walking around this graveyard. Most people will agree the ghost here is that of a woman in black that has been here for years.

Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio: A grave of a Confederate soldier who is buried here will mysteriously have fresh flowers appear on his grace. Legend has it the flowers are left by the famous Lady in Gray. This woman is a widow whose husband died in a terrible prisoner of war camp that was here during the Civil War. The Lady in Gray has been spotted walking among the tombstones in the graveyard many times.

Greenwood Cemetery, Decatur, Illinois: This cemetery is thought to be the most haunted spot in downstate Illinois, if not the entire Midwest. Legends and stories of ghosts and haunted places fill Greenwood Cemetery. Some of these stories or legends that have been told are as follows: a ghost of a young girl in a bridal gown that walks among the graves; a weeping woman in white; ghost lights said to be spirits of flood victims; Confederate soldiers, buried in unmarked graves after being taken from a prison train.

So, pretty interesting stuff here, right? I find these types of stories to be amazing and incredible. There are numerous books and websites that are dedicated to this kind of thing. So if you are in to this type of history and facts (or fiction, depending on what you believe), you can find many places to research and explore it. Thanks for reading!

Lady In White-Greenwood Cemetery
Lady In White-Greenwood Cemetery | Source


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