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Really Haunted Cemeteries

Updated on June 5, 2017

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is an abandoned graveyard located on the southwest side of Chicago, Illinois on 143rd St. in Midlothian. Many of the early records have been lost but it is believed that the first burials occurred in the mid-1840s. The cemetery was within the confines of the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve and only had one winding road leading into it. The road was closed down at some point and the woods would have reclaimed the cemetery had local teenagers not started hanging out there. By the 1960s the cemetery had fallen victim to vandals.

This cemetery is often described as one of the most haunted places in the world. Besides the usual ghostly people, there have been reports of ghost horses, cars, and a house. The surrounding woods are pretty haunted themselves. There is a pond close by where the bodies of Mafia victims were supposedly dumped and their ghosts haunt the entire area.

Because the graveyard is technically part of the Forest Preserve, it is not open to the public at night. Naturally, that is just when ghost hunters want to get inside. The area is patrolled by the Forest Reserve officers and the local police. If you get caught there you will be ticketed without exception.

Many different people and groups have attempted to get permission to investigate the alleged ghosts but the answer is always a resounding, “No!” Local authorities insist there's nothing to see here and everyone should just move along.

143rd St., Midlothian, IL

Boot Hill Cemetery

Boot Hill Graveyard, just north of Tombstone, Arizona is probably the most famous cemetery in the history of the wild west. It is known for being the final resting place of some of history's most famous gunslingers.

The Boot Hill Graveyard supposedly got its name because most of the people interred there died with their boots on. It was primarily used for seven years from 1878 to 1884 and has around 250 graves.

Visitors to the graveyard claim to see strange lights and to hear voices they cannot identify. Visitors have also claimed to see spirits dressed as cowboys and with their pistols drawn, moving around as though engaged in a shootout. The strange thing is that more ghosts are seen in photographs, which is rare, if not unknown, in other haunted places.

408 Arizona 80, Tombstone, AZ

Gettysburg National Cemetery

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought between June 3 and July 24, 1863, was the deadliest battle of the Civil War. There was a total of 7,863 soldiers killed in that seven-week period. The battlefield became the graveyard for thousands of combatants. The Gettysburg Cemetery has been well known for shadowy figures, dressed in both Confederate and Union uniforms, pacing the cemetery and battlefield.

There is one ghost who is seen on a regular basis. He wears a black hat with a star on it. That was the symbol of one of the Texas regiments on the Confederate side. He tries to talk to visitors and he has even posed for photos with families. Unfortunately, the man doesn't appear in the developed photographs, nor does he show up on the screen of digital cameras.

The Farnsworth House Inn is nearby and is haunted by Confederate snipers who hid there during the battle.

In 2016 the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary. The park rangers of the Gettysburg National Military Park took that opportunity to remind people not to remove stones from the park. Why? Because they are cursed.

According to park ranger Maria Brady, they sometimes receive packages with rocks in them. The rocks were taken from the park, which carries a $130 fine, but people take them anyway. Some of them are getting mailed back, many with a letter explaining why.

One man admitted that he and his wife took three stones on a visit to the park and at the time he didn't know the rocks were cursed. What happened to make him think they were cursed? He lost his wife and son, his job and he ended up in prison. Another person returned the rocks saying he'd had nothing but bad luck since taking them, from physical injuries to relationship failures.

So keep in mind if you want to visit the ghosts of the Gettysburg Cemetery, leave the rocks where they are.

Taneytown Rd., Gettysburg, PA

Greenwood Cemetery

Greenwood Cemetery, located in Decatur, Illinois was originally the burial grounds of Native Americans hundreds of years ago. Settlers in the area buried their dead there also and in 1857 it was named Greenwood Cemetery. In the 1920s the graveyard fell into decay. By the 1950s gangs were known to hang out there at night and various cults used it for their nefarious purposes.

Greenwood Cemetery has had many different types of hauntings. One is a woman who can be seen standing at the top of a series of steps leading to the grave markers of the Barrackman family. She is crying with her head bowed. The woman appears close to sunset and disappears as the sun goes down.

One of the saddest stories is that of a young couple who planned to elope because their parents did not approve of their union. The man was a bootlegger and on the night they had planned to run away he was killed by a rival bootlegger and his body dumped in the Sangamon River. His body was found and buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. His fiance was so distraught she threw herself into the same river and also drowned. She was buried in her wedding gown. People still see her today, crying and moving from headstone to headstone, constantly searching for her true love.

Many cemeteries have “mourning chairs.” These are chairs made of stone placed near a loved one's grave so visitors will have a place to sit when they come to pay respects to their loved one. There is a mourning chair in Greenwood Cemetery called “The Devil's Chair.” The story is that if you sit in the chair at a particular time you can make a “deal with the devil.” For seven years you can get anything you want, but at the end of the seven years, the devil gets your soul.

There was a mausoleum built in 1908. Over the years the burial chamber began to crumble and reports began to arise of screams and crying coming from inside. In 1957, it was deemed unsafe and closed. Family members were asked to move their loved ones but over a hundred were never claimed. Some were never even identified. The remaining bodies were buried in several mass graves across the street from the mausoleum. To this day screams and voices can be heard coming from this area.

The most haunted part of the cemetery is where the Civil War burials occurred. Troop trains on the way to confederate prisons would stop and unload the bodies of prisoners who had died of yellow fever on the trip north. The bodies were taken to the cemetery and buried in a huge unmarked grave on the side of a hill. There were rumors that not all the soldiers who were buried were dead yet. Years later the Sangamon River flooded and many of the remains were washed away. The ones that were found were buried and marked as “Unknown U.S. Soldier.” After the flood, cries and screams were heard and ghostly soldiers and lights were seen moving around on the hill.

The staff and visitors to the cemetery have also claimed to see ghostly funerals taking place in spots all over the cemetery. Today the cemetery is open from dawn to dusk and is well taken care of by a caretaker who lives on site.

606 S. Church St., Decatur, IL

Old Western Burial Ground

The Old Western Burial Ground of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland has a very famous ghost. Edgar Allan Poe was buried in 1849 in an unmarked grave. Over many years people who had known Poe worked to see he had a proper monument which was dedicated on November 17, 1875.

The famous author died mysteriously in Baltimore when he made a stop there while on a trip from his home in Richmond, Virginia to New York to get his first mother-in-law. His first wife had died of tuberculosis years before but he had remained close to his mother-in-law. He was going to be married to his childhood sweetheart and he wanted his mother-in-law to be present.

The cemetery was also the final resting place of the son of Francis Scott Key, five mayors of Boston, the grandfather of James Buchanan, and fifteen generals from the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War.

The cemetery existed long before the church did and when the church was built part of it was put on top of the graveyard. The part beneath the church is accessible via catacombs under the building. This is where many of the ghosts of the Old Western Burial Ground are seen and felt.

There is a story of a man who has been seen once a year for over 50 years. On Poe's birthday, January 19, a man dressed totally in black with a scarf over his face and wearing a fedora comes to Poe's gravesite. Every time he has left a bottle of cognac and three red roses. One year he left a note that said, “Edgar, I haven't forgotten you.” It has been theorized that more than one man has been doing this because it has gone on for so many years. Many people have reported seeing Edgar himself near his grave and in the catacombs.

There have been other ghosts seen in the catacombs. One is a little girl that has been seen over the years. The skull of a murdered minister also is interred there. The legend says his skull was encased in concrete in order to silence his screams that could be heard coming from his grave. The resident of an asylum is buried here, still wearing her straight jacket. Her crazy laughter is sometimes heard and cemetery visitors feel like they are being followed. The ghosts of gravediggers appear routinely and if visitors are disrespectful they are chased away with shovels.

Market St., Lynn, MA

Silver Cliff Cemetery

Silver Cliff Cemetery is actually two cemeteries near the towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, Colorado, one for the Protestants and one for the Catholics. The Protestant cemetery is called the Cross of The Assumption Cemetery.

Writer Patty Quinn tells the story of a trip she took with her sister, a friend, and his wife, to see if the stories they had heard about the “ghost lights” in the Protestant cemetery were true.

On a night in July, the party arrived at the cemetery around 8:00 p.m. They started wandering around and exploring. They saw the first lights about an hour after their arrival. The lights were very small and different colors: blue, green, white, yellow, and combinations of those colors. The lights grew larger and more active as time went on. Their numbers were multiplying, too. Some of the lights darted continuously, while others hovered slowly, occasionally landing on tombstones or in the grass.

A lot of the lights were three to four inches in diameter and glowing brightly by 10:00. At about this time they noticed an orange glow at the edge of the cemetery. As they watched ,it grew larger and brighter. It was about the size of a football and glowed and flickered like fire.

The lights they had been watching for the last hour started moving toward the glow. When the group started to approach the light it dimmed, but when they moved away it glowed brightly again.

By 11:00 the lights seemed to have gotten used to the group's presence and did not dim or move away when approached. They were able to get close enough to verify that they were not any kind of fireflies or bugs.

These “ghost hunters” spent over four hours with the lights, moving slowly and talking softly. Before they left they were actually able to the touch the lights and reported that the lights just felt like air. When they left, the lights followed them to their car and surrounded it until they got inside and drove away.

Mill St., Silver Cliff, CO

St. Louis Cemetery #1

St. Louis Cemetery #1 was established in the late 1700s and is the oldest existing cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana. In just one square block there are over 700 tombs with over 100,000 dead. It is an active cemetery and some entombments still occur there.

The most famous ghost that people have claimed to see is Marie Laveau. Born in 1801, she was known as the Voodoo Queen and was the most revered and feared practitioner of voodoo in the history of New Orleans. The ghost of Marie Laveau has been seen all over the French Quarter. She is recognized by a red and white turban and brightly colored clothes. If someone tries to follow her she vanishes right before their eyes. Marie is not regarded as a particularly friendly spirit as she tends to pinch, scratch and shove people who disregard her or her beliefs.

Another spirit of the St. Louis Cemetery #1 is a sailor named Henry Vignes. He had no real home and traveled a lot. When he was in New Orleans he stayed at a local boarding house. He was always worrying about his important papers so he asked the owner to keep his papers if he died. The owner promised she would. These papers included the ownership papers to his family tomb. While he was at sea she sold Henry's family tomb. He discovered what she had done when he returned and was unable to rectify the situation before he died from a sudden illness. Because of the boarding house owner's greed, he was buried in an unmarked grave in the pauper's section of the cemetery.

His ghost is still seen wandering the cemetery, looking so real that some visitors have spoken to him. People who claim to have seen him say he is tall with blue eyes. Henry asks visitors if they know where the Vignes tomb is located because he can't find it. He has been caught on camera, and so has a man's voice on an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) saying, “I need to rest!”

Another ghost haunting this cemetery is named Alphonse. Similar to Henry he appears to simply be looking for a place to rest his soul. He smiles at visitors and asks them to take him home. No one knows where home is. Whenever someone comes near the tomb of the Pinead family, Alphonse seems to warn them away. No one knows why. Maybe someone in the Pinead family wronged him during his lifetime and he has not forgotten.

300 N. Claiborne Ave., New Orleans, LA

Stull Cemetery

Stull Cemetery in Stull, Kansas, an unincorporated community in Douglas County, is known as one of the seven gateways to hell. Stull is a very tiny town with only a few buildings and residents. Douglas County covers 457 square miles but only has a little over 100,000 living souls there. On the surface it appears to be a peaceful, sleepy little town.

The legend states that somewhere in the little, dilapidated Stull Cemetery is a stairway that goes straight to Hell. Of course, the stairs are incredibly hard to find and the hidden seal that covers them only opens twice a year: Halloween and the Spring Equinox.

There was an abandoned church that eventually crumbled to the ground. The stories about the church itself are numerous. One story is that the church was used by witches and other occult groups. The church had no roof but it was protected by an unknown force that kept the rain from falling into it. The church was eventually bulldozed but no one seems to know who did it.

An amazingly tall pine tree grew in the cemetery straight up through a tombstone, cutting it in half. Legend has it that the tree was used to hang witches. The tree and the church were considered guideposts to finding the path to the mystical steps to Hell.

257 Stull Road, Stull, KS

Do you believe in ghosts?

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    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 11 months ago from Central Oklahoma

      Who knows? Coulda gone upstairs and roamed the hallways of the hotel. Remember, he looked "solid", not ghostly, so who knows how many people might've seen him and had no idea they were seeing a ghost! But that hotel was torn down about 10 years after this happened. First the site was an empty lot, then a small (one-story) office building was built on it. Last I checked, every business that's occupied it has failed, so one has to wonder if Wonder Man was still doing his thing on that site. But knowing that several structures that had previously been inhabited by one or more resident ghosts no longer exist, I've often wondered "Where do "homeless" ghosts go?". ???

    • Sarah Jewel profile image
      Author

      Lori Gross 11 months ago from Nashville

      Wow! That is a wonderful story! I wonder where he went. Did he finally move on to his final destination or did he find some other nice lady to pester?

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 11 months ago from Central Oklahoma

      Hi again, Sarah. I've only known one ghost to leave the place he'd been attached to (for at least 2 years that I know of). That's how long he'd been driving me nuts.

      One day I'd "had it" and yelled "Why don't you just LEAVE!", and wonder of wonders, he did! In a rather spectacular fashion.

      His place was a pub in the basement of a 100-yr-old small-town hotel, and I was the pub's manager. He made his exit during an early evening lull, so (thankfully) there were no customers to witness my meltdown.

      I'd only seen him "in the flesh" once, in the back hall when I was opening up. Tall, slim, short light-brown hair, clean-shaven, wearing generic black slacks and white long-sleeve shirt that could've been from any era after 1920. Age: anywhere from mid-twenties to early forties. Always appeared "solid", never transparent or "ghostly", which is why I didn't realize he was a ghost until it registered he'd just materialized through a door I hadn't yet unlocked.

      After that I either saw him reflected in the mirror that ran along the back bar, or knew he was around from the pranks he played, like turning off the light over the pool table by pulling the chain. (No doubt got a chuckle from watching me go all the way to the storeroom in the back for a new lightbulb, and then taking it back when I figured out the present bulb wasn't burnt out...)

      Anyway, the evening of his exit he'd been watching me longer than usual from the archway that separated the pub's two rooms while I set up the back bar. It'd been a busy week, plus it was a stifling summer evening and the AC was on the fritz again, so I had the front door wide open, hoping a stray breeze might find its way down from the street. As soon as I vented my frustration, I watched...in the mirror, of course...as Himself strolled from the archway, then past the bar, and then the front door slammed shut!

      After yelling "And a good riddance to you too!", I spent 20 minutes or so positioning that heavy door every which way, trying to get it to swing close on its own, but no matter where I put it, it didn't move.

      Never did learn the identity of Himself despite several possibilities I found in old newspapers and from talking to old timers. No idea where he went, either, and didn't care. He wasn't the only ghost in that pub. For 60+ years one of its rooms had been the hotel's barber shop, run by twin brothers. After one died and the other retired, my boss expanded the pub into that side. Early one morning during the remodeling, Boss watched the ghost of the dead twin suddenly descend from the ceiling down a staircase from the hotel lobby (stairs Boss & Crew had removed the previous week), unlock the shop's back door (removed same time as the stairs), walk across the room to where the cash register had sat on a stand beside the shop's front door, put something into the now-non-existent cash register (probably opening cash), then disappear! Poof!

    • Sarah Jewel profile image
      Author

      Lori Gross 11 months ago from Nashville

      I think you're right about spirits not leaving the graveyard if that's where they're attached. I have known 2 ghosts. Many years ago I lived in an apartment and I kept seeing a man there. I would see him usually in the mirror standing behind me. I finally got up enough courage to ask my roommate if she'd seen him and she nonchalantly said, "Yes. He's wearing a plaid shirt isn't he?" Well yes he was wearing a plaid shirt. Months later a friend came to visit us and brought her boyfriend. He said he'd been to that apartment before because he'd had a friend who lived there. We told him about the ghost and he said that was his friend's roommate. He had committed suicide in the apartment.

      My other ghost was my aunt. She was two years younger than me and we were very close, more like sisters. When she was 21 she was hit and killed by a drunk driver. She had two small children, 9 months and 21 months old with her in the back seat. Her husband was driving. They were hit head on by a man who said he was headed home but he wasn't even going in the right direction. My aunt was killed instantly and her husband was in a coma for 3 weeks. The babies fortunately were in their car seats and one got a little cut on his head and that was it. I had a very hard time coping with it on top of the fact that I was going through a divorce at the time. My aunt visited me 4 times in the 2 months after she died and let me know (without words) that she was okay and that she was truly in a better place.

      So I definitely believe in ghosts but I think if they don't move on then they stay in one place. I agree that CYong74 doesn't have to worry about having someone follow him home.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 11 months ago from Central Oklahoma

      CYong74, I wouldn't worry about "bringing home an unwanted friend" from a haunted cemetery. It's been my experience that the "territory" of a Not-Quite-Departed-Soul is limited to the section of the cemetery in which his/her remains are buried, or to the boundaries if the cemetery itself.

      Only in extremely rare cases have "cemetery spirits" been documented as wandering outside those boundaries, the White Lady of Rochester Cemetery in Topeka, Kansas, being one that comes to mind. Even then she's not trying to harm or "latch on" to a cem visitor, only wandering around the nearby neighborhood where she lived, trying to find her children. In other words, if you had no connection whatsoever to a "cem spirit" during their lifetime, you would be of no interest to them now.

    • CYong74 profile image

      Cedric Yong 11 months ago from Singapore

      I'd like to visit some of these cemeteries, just to experience the atmosphere. But I'm worried about bring home an unwanted friend!

    • Emmanuel Udom profile image

      Emmanuel Udom 12 months ago from Lagos, Nigeria

      I do not think ghost exist. When a person dies, the soul leaves the body. It goes to the spiritual realm to await the next life.

    • profile image

      Janete 12 months ago

      love cemeteries -- genealogist at heart .. would you consider looking into the Portuguese-Jew cemeteries in Manhattan?

      loved your research !..

    • WinterRea profile image

      WinterRea 12 months ago

      I love stuff like this. There is a town near us called Elibethtown and the cemetry there is very scary. I remember one halloween my friends and I drove out there and let's just say it scared the day lights out of me to put it nicely,lol.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 12 months ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bravo! Well done! And that goes for your attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation, too! It's such a treat to read an entire hub without tripping over typos and such!

      That said, thank you sooooo much for making me wish I'd put off reading this hub until around noon on a sunny day. I really didn't need to sleep tonight. (See Joanna laugh weakly...)

      I'm particularly impressed that you included Stull Cem, and I can't tell you how I am to learn that the remains of the cem church are gone. Stull is located on Highway 40 between Topeka and Lawrence, the route I preferred over the KS Turnpike. The entire town of Stull is on the south side of 40 and the cem is on the north side. Even in broad daylight the skeleton of the church would give me the creeps. It took immense amounts of willpower not to "floor it" to get past the cem as quickly as possible, and I **always** took the Turnpike after dark! Oddly, the town itself isn't creepy at all even though the cem, being on a hill, can be seen from pretty much anywhere in town. But then I've never been there at night, and have no plans to change that.

      At any rate, great hub!