Haunted Cemeteries in Alaska
Birch Hill Cemetery
After the closing of the Clay Street Cemetery in 1938, the Birch Hill Cemetery was started on a hillside that overlooked the city of Fairbanks. The cemetery was divided into different sections for various groups. Fraternal organizations such as the Eagles and the Masons had their own space as did different religious denominations and Native Alaskans. It has a little over 4,200 interments.
Paranormal phenomena expert Stephen Wagner investigated the Birch Hill Cemetery in July 2011. He managed to capture a “strange white, misty mass” in a photograph. Just a few minutes before the picture was taken, an EMF (electromagnetic field) monitor had produced some strange readings.
This cemetery has at least four ghosts. One is a little girl who is just walking around as though she is lost. She’s wearing a white dress in an early 1900s style. There’s also a little boy, about seven or eight years old, also dressed in early 1900s clothing. A third ghost just appears as a black floating figure. One theory as to who these children are is that they died during the influenza epidemic in 1918.
The most famous and frequently seen ghost at Birch Hill Cemetery is simply known as “The White Lady.” In May 2012 paranormal investigator Jessie Diamond and two members of IOPIA (Investigators of the Paranormal in Alaska), Tony Hernandez and Neelie Lythgoe, investigated the graveyard.
While there they made several EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) recordings. They would walk around asking the question, to no one in particular, “Who is the lady in white?” When they played the recordings back they heard one word spoken in a man’s voice, “Helen.” This happened near the grave of Helen Findley. Her maiden name was Helen Maureen McLaughlin.
It took quite a big of digging (metaphorically speaking) for the trio to unearth who Helen Findley was, but they were finally rewarded for their efforts. Helen was only 33 when she died on February 22, 1956. She died at St. Joseph’s Hospital where she had been since February 12. The causes of death listed on the death certificate were nephritic syndrome, hymolitic reaction, and subdural hemotoma. The first two causes can be explained by the tumor that was growing on her kidney. The puzzle is: how did she get a subdural hematoma (head injury)? Did she have a fall in the hospital or was she possibly hit in the head? We will probably never know, but whatever the truth is it might explain why she is haunting the Birch Hill Cemetery.
Fort Richardson National Cemetery
Fort Richardson National Cemetery sits on 39 acres and has almost 5,000 interments. It is inaccessible for most of the year because of snow. It was created in World War II to bury soldiers who died in Alaska, regardless of their nationality.
There were 235 Japanese soldiers who died during the Battle of the Aleutian Islands buried here. The Aleutian Islands Campaign lasted from June 3, 1942 to August 15, 1943. In 1953 they were exhumed and cremated in Buddhist and Shinto ceremonies which were supervised by representatives of the Japanese government. It became a National Cemetery in 1984.
The site is haunted by Japanese soldiers. As you enter the cemetery you may heard a loud “Banzai!” and see many World War II Japanese soldiers running toward you. Just turn and run the other way!
The spirits have shown themselves less since 2002 when a monument to the fallen Japanese soldiers was placed there.
Kenai City Cemetery
Kenai Municipal Cemetery is located at the corner of 1st Avenue and Coral Street. It has approximately 650 interments.
The cemetery has several ghosts hanging out there. One is Marie, an older woman who is a bit on the portly side. There’s also an older man named Arthur Johnson who spends his time tending to his gravesite and some of the others. His gravesite does not have birth or death dates listed.
In the very back of the cemetery are several unmarked graves. These are said to be the remains of slaves who were brought here to dig for gold. Eventually the gold ran out and their “owners” just killed them rather than feeding them.
Eklutna Village Cemetery
The Eklunta Village Cemetery is also known as Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church Cemetery. It is in a native Alaskan village 24 miles northeast of Anchorage. The population is 70, as estimated by the Tribal Council.
The last interment as of this writing was in July 2016 which brought the total number of documented interments to 36. The earliest death date shown is 1958.
The Eklutna Spirit Houses are structures built on top of the graves. The Eklutna religion is a combination of Russian Orthodox and Eskimo beliefs. They believe spirits will wander for 40 days after their death looking for their personal belongings so items belonging to the deceased are placed inside the houses to keep their spirits from wandering. The houses are build of wood and are painted in bright colors. They are about the size of large dollhouses and the family of a deceased person will put personal objects that belonged to the person such as smoking pipes or utensils inside them. The houses are left there, allowing them to deteriorate, rot and go back into the ground.
Eklutna Spirit Houses
Ketchikan City Cemetery
The Ketchikan City Cemetery has five graves. Three are from the same family, a mother and two sons. The oldest is 1913 and the most recent is 2014.
If you drive to the graveyard at night a headless woman appears but only for a moment. As you make the turn around a curve there is a head lying in the road There is only one ghost here and only one of the five graves is a woman, Alice Marie Olin Shaw. She didn’t die until 2007 and the spirit has been here much longer than that so it’s not known who the ghost could be.
Anchorage Memorial Park
President Woodrow Wilson established the Anchorage Memorial Park in 1915. It is Anchorage’s oldest cemetery and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. It has over 11,000 graves.
One ghost who is seen here often is Mrs. Tone. She was murdered by her husband. She leaves her grave every night and stomps on her murderous husband’s grave.
While the Dimond Center is not technically a cemetery it was built on top of one and has been appropriately haunted for it. It is the largest enclosed mall in the state of Alaska.
The land where the Dimond Center was to be built contained sacred burial grounds dating back thousands of years to the very first natives. When they actually started digging they only came across a few small graves and they decided to keep on digging.
Today the ghosts appear inside the mall and only to lone people, never in front of groups. Bathrooms and small hallways are their favorite places to make their presences known.
People also claim to see wolves roaming the hallways and sometimes they hear flute music.
There is one store that has the feeling of an “evil presence” that particularly scares people. If they don’t leave once they get that feeling they may hear a hissing sound or even get pinched.
Alaska's Haunted Cemeteries
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