Showing posts with label haunted. Show all posts
Showing posts with label haunted. Show all posts

Friday, August 11, 2017

Haunted New Harmony - Worth a Trip

New Harmony, Indiana is a quaint town with bustling businesses surrounded by two hundred years of history, and some spritely spirits. In fact, most of the buildings in the town are haunted. What could cause so much paranormal activity? A myriad of things, apparently.

Johann Georg Rapp
The first settlers to the area were members of the Harmonie Society, more than 800 German Lutheran immigrants who were followers of  Father Johann Georg Rapp. Also known as Rappites, the religious group believed in a literally interpertation of the Bible and sought Christian perfection by practicing celibacy while living highly ordered and productive lives. 

Rapp-Owen Granary
These men and women built more than 160 buildings including a church and graveyard,  school, cotton mill, grain mills, sawmills, tanneries, winery, brewery and other businesses. The Harmonists lived here from 1814 to 1824 when they returned to Pennsylvania to form another community.

Robert Owen

Then came another utopian group called the Owenites. This group was the polar opposite of the Harmonists. Founder Robert Owens wanted to establish a new moral social utopia, one that stressed education and the equality of men and women while shunning marriage and religion. Members of his movement, more than 700 people, came to live here along the banks of the Wabash River. Although the community lasted only a couple of years,  it established the first free school system in America including something known as kindergarten. The group completely disbanded in 1829 due to a lack of funds.

Wabash River
Two groups so radically different in their beliefs could make for an interesting paranormal situation. Then factor in the influence of the river and the beliefs of the Native Americans, and you have an interesting mix of beliefs and cultures. 

Destruction of Griffin, Indiana - nine miles away
Then there was the Tri-State tornado of 1925 . The mile-wide twister ripped through Missouri, Southern Illinois and Southern Indiana killing 695 people during its three hours on the ground. New Harmony was in its path and 52 people died here. Their bodies were taken to the Ribeyre Gymnasium so next of kin could identify them. That’s another spot with lots of paranormal activity.

The Harmonist or Rappite Cemetery
Native Americans seemed to know that the area was a hotspot of activity. The Harmonists didn’t mention it, but the Owenites, with their interest in science, would have been curious as to what was causing all the incidents.

Fauntleroy House
The first reported haunting was in 1848 in the Fauntleroy Home when a guest reported passing “the resident ghost” on the stairs as she was retiring for bed. The home was renovated a few years ago and paranormal activity has picked up. In fact, it's the most haunted house in town. One reason may be the adjacent cemetery. 

More than 200 Rappites are buried in the Harmonist Cemetery, all in unmarked graves due to the sect's belief in equality for all of its members. A wall constructed of bricks from the old Harmonist church surrounds the graveyard. Also located here are several burial mounds of Native Americans from the Middle Woodland period, about 2,000 years ago. 

Outside the Cemetery Wall
New Harmony, Indiana is worth a trip just to soak up the ambience, but don’t be surprised if you catch a shadow person pass by – it's a town where some residents never leave.

Friday, June 23, 2017

I Thought I Saw a ...Ghost?

Most people, if they're honest with you, will admit that they believe they've seen a ghost. Some of us have photos that show something in them that’s just “not quite right.” A ghost? An apparition? A shadow? There are times we know for sure there’s no other explanation and others when we are left wondering.

Here are 23 slides that will make you want to take another look at those recently snapped photos, because as you’ll see, you don’t have to be in a cemetery, an abandoned building or anywhere spooky – you just have to be observant to see a ghost.

Have a ghost photo you’ve taken? Share it at AGraveInterest on Facebook and let us know where you were when you took it.



Friday, October 21, 2016

Mausoleums - Haunted "Homes" of the Dead

By Joy Neighbors

Haunted cemeteries are especially in vogue this time of year, but haunted mausoleums seem to be a major attraction any time. There’s something about this “house-type" structure that intrigues us, and then throw in a ghost or two, and we're hooked.

Here are four mausoleums that house more "spirit" than most.

Spring Grove Cemetery – Cincinnati, OH
Dexter Mausoleum
Edmund Dexter
This mausoleum was built in 1869 for whiskey baron, Edmund Dexter, one of Cincinnati’s wealthiest residents in the mid-1800s. When Dexter died, he was laid to rest in this Gothic Revival mausoleum, which contains 12 marble crypts where four generations of the Dexter family are buried. Besides it’s claim of being haunted, it also boasts the only two flying buttresses in Cincinnati.

It has been rumored that two large white dogs protect the mausoleum, although it isn’t known if they were once pets of the Dexter’s. Legend has it that if you sit on the steps of the mausoleum, the dogs will appear. If they believe you to be good, they will run past. If they are not sure of your intentions, they will stop and watch you. If they sense you are up to no-good, they will growl and advance. (Best to be up to only good when you visit.)

Greenwood Cemetery – Decatur, IL
Public Mausoleum
The Public Mausoleum was built in 1908 but soon ran into trouble when leaks developed due to shoddy construction. The cemetery association soon ran out of money and ghost stories began to circulate as the grounds fell into disrepair. By the 1950’s, what had once been a beautiful, rural garden-style cemetery became a magnet for negativity. People reported hearing disembodied voices, crying and screaming coming from the mausoleum. By 1957, the building was declared unsafe and was closed. Family members were notified to relocate their loved ones. One hundred bodies were never claimed – some were never identified. Eventually the cemetery association buried them in common graves across from where the mausoleum had been.

Former Location of Mausoleum
It was 1967 when the mausoleum was finally razed. Today that site is still vacant. No burials have ever been made here, and there are still reports of voices along with lights seen wandering near the common graves – perhaps a lost soul searching for their remains?

Highland Lawn Cemetery – Terre Haute, IN
Sheets Mausoleum

Martin Sheets was born in 1853 and lived into his early 70s. He saw many technological changes during that time, and one of the new-fangled inventions he found an odd use for was the telephone. Martin had one installed in the family mausoleum, just in case he was buried unconscious, but alive, and needed to summon help. It was stipulated in his will that a phone line be run from his crypt to the cemetery office. He then set up an account with Indiana Bell Telephone that kept the line paid for and active, just in case he ever needed it.

When Martin died, he was placed in the family mausoleum with his infant daughter. Several years later his wife Susan passed away. When family members found her, she was in the kitchen with the phone in her hand. They assumed she had been attempting to summon help.  But according to legend, when the mausoleum was unlocked to place Susan’s casket next to her husband, cemetery workers discovered the phone in the crypt was off the hook! Coincidence … or a call to "come home?"

Highland Lawn Cemetery – Terre Haute, IN
Heinl Mausoleum

John Heinl
And then there’s my favorite haunted mausoleum tale - that of Stiffy Green.

Terre Haute businessman John Heinl and his dog, Stiffy Green would stroll through town, visiting with the folks. Stiffy had received his name because of his stiff walking gait and green eyes, and everyone knew the pair.

On December 31, 1920, John Heinl passed away. Stiffy was inconsolable. He sat be the coffin at the funeral and followed the family to the graveyard where he took up post at the mausoleum doors, and there he remained, guarding his master in death as he had guarded him in life. Family and friends made many trips to the cemetery that winter to retrieve Stiffy and take him home, only for him to return to his master’s crypt doors.

Stiffy Green
Stiffy slowly mourned himself to death. Heinl’s wife was so touched that she paid tribute to his unwavering love and devotion by having him stuffed in the sitting position he had assumed for so long on those cold mausoleum steps.  Stiffy was then placed inside the tomb, reunited at last with his master.

But it wasn’t long before cemetery workers noticed that Stiffy mysteriously moved from one side of the tomb to the other, and back. Sightseers began to visit after dark and vandals would not leave the site alone, damaging doors and windows. Then, in 1985, thugs shot out Stiffy’s right glass eye. The family decided it was time for Stiffy be moved and the Vigo County Historical Society Museum agreed to take him. There, the Terre Haute Lions Club built a replica of the Heinl mausoleum so that Stiffy could still be “on guard.” 

But rumors spread that just at twilight on autumn evenings, you can see an elderly man and his small dog walking near the Heinl crypt, the smell the rich pipe smoke wafts though the air, and a low voice can be heard talking to his devoted companion who answers him with a happy bark as they take another stroll together.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Haunted Towns in the Midwest - Alton, Illinois

Haunted Alton, Illinois and the Mineral Springs Hotel

Once again, the month of October is upon us…. a time for hauntings, Halloween - and all things spooky.  This month, A Grave Interest is traveling around the Midwest, taking ghost tours and getting a look at some ‘lively’ places, and, maybe, the spirits who make them so…

I decided early on that it would be smart to get some guides for these haunted jaunts. And who better to seek out than the local experts on all things paranormal in their towns.

On a cool, rainy night about 30 people milled around in the foyer of what was once a grand hotel in Alton, Illinois. First, let me preface by saying that Alton has the reputation (well earned, I might add) of being one of the most haunted towns in America.

The building we were in was, at one time, the Mineral Springs Hotel; given the name because of the mineral springs that flow below the building. At the turn of the century sulfur springs were thought to have healing properties. Here the water was pumped up inside the building to be bottled and used as cures for a variety of aliments. The hotel opened in 1914 and thrived for several decades before finally closing in 1971.

Mineral Springs Hotel Building
The building was reopened in the late 1970s as an antique mall and has had a rocky time since then. Today it is home to a few shops, the Torture Museum, and Mineral Springs Haunted Tours, which is where we began this night with tour owner, Janet Kolar.

Alton Cemetery
After “checking in” we proceed to our vehicles and followed the Mineral Springs Haunted Tour hearse "Pearl" to the Alton Cemetery. There we were told about several prominent Alton residents from the past as we visited their graves.

Sarah Bell's Stone
Tour in Cemetery
At the plot of the Bell Family, our guide told of a young girl, Sarah Bell, who died when she was around 10 years old. A small limestone marker was placed in the family plot to mark her grave, but it soon disappeared. Her mother was inconsolable and continued to search for the stone until her death some years later. After she died, an apparition of a lady in black was seen walking in this area of the cemetery, apparently searching for something.

Alton to Edwardsville
The story could end there but circumstances added a final chapter. A few years ago, a man in Edwardsville, Illinois (18 miles from Alton) contacted the cemetery wanting to return a tombstone he had found buried in his backyard. He had unearthed it while digging a foundation. The stone was that of Sarah Bell, missing for over 100 years. Since it has been returned to the family plot, the lady in black has not been seen…

Lovejoy's Grave
The grave of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy is also located here, inside a small iron fence. Lovejoy began printing an abolitionist newspaper called The Alton Observer in 1837. But one year later a pro-slavery throng attacked his printing store in an attempt to destroy his press. During the melee, Lovejoy was fatally shot. Orbs and lights can sometimes be seen streaking past his grave, as if he is still trying to run his presses.

Cemetery Seance
Cemetery at Night
About midway through the tour, a séance was held down a dark cemetery road. Several took part, although participation was optional. Orbs and streaks of light were reportedly seen in the cemetery at that time.

Lobby Area Today
We then headed back to the warmth and light of the old Mineral Springs Hotel where refreshments were served in the Crystal Room. Then we began a tour of the old hotel, which has been called the most haunted building in Alton – and in this town, that is claiming a lot!

Using Rods
Things have gone “bump in the night” here for years. And tales of murder, suicide, and vengeance are abundant. Former employees, shop owners, and guests report phantom footsteps, cold spots, and an eerie feeling of being watched throughout the hotel.

Basement Pool Area
In the basement is a swimming pool; said to be haunted by several sprits including a young girl, a man, and a woman. Wet footprints have been seen near the pool, which has been without water for years. Splashing sounds have been heard in the basement but when investigated there are no sounds, and again, there is no water.

Mural of Alton
Another spirit that seems to linger here is that of Charlie, a painter who could not pay his lodging bill in the 1930’s. Instead of running out on his tab, Charlie offered to paint a mural of Alton on one wall of the bar. The owner agreed and Charlie worked off his debt, while also working behind the bar at night. Legend has it that something made Charlie despondent and he took his life one night.

Staff and customers have reported smelling alcohol in this section of the building and of having the feeling of being watched. The guide on this tour said that Charlie has been known to follow some women from the tour back home, but once he’s told to go away, he returns to Mineral Springs.

Probably the best-known ghost is that of the Jasmine Lady. The story goes that a woman and her husband came to the hotel to enjoy the healing waters around 1925, but while staying here she became involved with another guest.

Jasmine Lady's Room
Down the Hallway
One evening, when her husband was gone, she entertained the man in her room. Her husband returned unexpectedly and found the two. Panicked and terrified, the woman ran from her room and plunged down the stairs in an attempt to reach the safety of the lobby. What really happened is not known; did she trip while running down the stairs, or did her husband push her?  Either way, the result was a broken neck during the fall. She died immediately.

Haunted Stairs
Several employees, staff and guests have witnessed the replay of the Jasmine Lady’s fall down the stairs. Some catch a whiff of jasmine perfume that seems to linger around the staircase. Others have reported feeling something brush past them on the stairs, and some have seen business signs in the hallway swing back and forth as if moved by a sudden gust of air.

Mineral Springs Haunted Tours offers several walking tour adventures, after dark, in the downtown area, and in the cemetery, which also includes a tour of the hotel. Or, if you’re feeling very spirited, you might consider an exclusive overnight camp-out in the pool area.

Tour Group
For more information about tours and times, visit their web page at and the Facebook page at

Haunted Lobby
This is one hotel, that as the song says, “You can check out anytime you like” - but at Mineral Springs Hotel it appears that there really are some former guests “who can never leave…”

~ Joy

Friday, October 26, 2012

One of America's Most Haunted Cemeteries...

Halloween is fast approaching.  This month, A Grave Interest has taken a look at several haunted cemeteries.  Get ready as we explore one of America's most haunted cemeteries.....

Greenwood Sign
Greenwood Cemetery
What is now Greenwood Cemetery, in Decatur, Illinois, was first used as sacred burial grounds by Native Americans, hundreds of years ago. Settlers to the area in the early 1800's continued burying their dead here, and in 1857, the cemetery was incorporated as Greenwood Cemetery.

Broken Window
Security Fence Cut
Greenwood is supposedly one of the ten most haunted cemeteries in the U.S.  Ghost stories began to circulate during the 1920’s when the cemetery fell into disrepair.  The cemetery association was financially broke; upkeep and repairs could no longer be made.  By the 1950’s, what had once been a beautiful, rural garden-style cemetery became a magnet for negativity.  Gangs roamed the cemetery at night, cults used the grounds, and paranormal activity surged. While some cemeteries have spook lights, others have devils chairs, still others have apparitions; Greenwood seems to have them all.

The legends of ghosts and mysterious occurrences are numerous for Greenwood Cemetery.  Here are just a few –

Barrackman Steps
Barrackman Graves
Barrackman Steps
Greenwood is made up of hills and valleys.  On a slight hill is a set of five stone steps, which leads up to four gravestones for the Barrackman family.  Many have reported seeing a woman standing at the top of the steps with her head bowed, crying.  But the phantom only appears in the evening, near sunset. Once the sun has disappeared, so does she.

Greenwood Bride
Local lore has it that in the early 1930’s, a young couple decided to elope because their families did not approve of their marrying.  The couple planned to leave at night after the man, who made his living as a bootlegger, dropped off his last order.  The girl waited for him, as planned, but he never arrived. 

The next day she was told that a rival bootlegger had killed her fiancé and tossed his body into the Sangamon River, near the cemetery. His body was later found and buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Unable to bear the news, the young woman plunged into the river and drowned.

The Bride's Grave
Her parents buried her in her wedding gown.  It has been reported that a young woman in a white wedding gown walks through the cemetery, weeping and peering at headstones, searching for her lost love.

Devil’s Chair
Devil's Chair?
The legend of the Devil’s Chair, or haunted chair, as it is some times known, has been handed down through folklore. The chair is actually a mourning chair.  It was placed by a grave, so that family and friends would have a place to sit when they visited the deceased. Mourning chairs are considered to be funerary sculpture.  

According to various superstitions, when someone sits on the chair, they will incur bad luck, or die within a year. Other legends promise good luck, or riches. 

Greenwood's Devil's Chair
Seat of the Chair
According to the legend of the Devil's Chair in Greenwood Cemetery, if you sit on the chair at a certain time, you can make a pact with the Devil.  You will get anything you want for seven years.  At the end of the seven years, the devil comes to claim your soul.  Many cemeteries have removed their mourning chairs because of vandalism. Greenwood’s chair remains...

Greenwood Public Mausoleum
The Public Mausoleum was built in Greenwood Cemetery in 1908 and  problems developed soon after.  According to reports, the construction was shoddy, and the mausoleum leaked. Repairs were not made and the mausoleum began sliding into disrepair. Reports began to surface of voices, crying, and screams heard coming from the building.

Inside Mausoleum
Graves Related to Mausoleum
In 1957, the mausoleum was declared to be unsafe and was closed.  Families were notified and asked to relocate their loved ones.  Over one hundred bodies were never claimed; some were never identified.  The cemetery buried these remains in several common graves, located across the road from the mausoleum.  The building was demolished in 1967.  But, it seems, many do not rest in peace.

Former Mausoleum Location
Overlooking Where Mausoleum Was
The site of the former mausoleum is still vacant, almost 45 years later.  No burials have taken place on this stretch of empty, unclaimed ground. Across the road, several common graves hold the remains of over 100 unclaimed bodies.  Reports of voices and screams continue to be heard in this area, along with lights seen moving at night among the common graves, searching for.........

Civil War Burials
Civil War Burial Area
Civil War Train
This is said to be the most haunted area of the cemetery.  During the Civil War, troop trains, on their way to confederate prison camps near Chicago, would stop in Decatur.  One such train stopped to unload most of its cargo; the bodies of southern prisoners who had died of yellow fever on the way north.

Union War Memorial
Union Gravestones
Wagons carried the Confederate bodies to the cemetery for a mass burial in a huge unmarked grave, located on the side of a hill. It was rumored that not all of those buried had yet died. After the war, a memorial in honor of Illinois’ Union Troops was built on the top of the hill.

Unknown U.S. Soldiers Graves
Retaining Wall in Place After Flood
Several years later, the Sangamon River, located next to the hill, flooded. When the flood receded, it was apparent that many of the Confederate remains had been washed away.  Those that were found were reburied and marked as “Unknown U.S. Soldier.”

Hill Where Confederates Had Been Buried
It was soon after the flood that reports of ghostly soldiers began. Cries and wails of some very tormented spirits could be heard in this area. Unexplained lights have also been seen roaming the hill.  Many claim the lights belong to those lost Confederate soldiers, still searching for their missing remains.

Hill Where Phantoms Were Seen
And, along with phantom lights, comes phantom mourners.  Greenwood has been the site of many spectral funerals and mourners.  Staff, and those visiting, have witnessed phantom funerals occurring throughout the cemetery.

Greenwood Cemetery
Greenwood Cemetery certainly has a vibe all it's own, and stories continue to surface about the grounds being haunted.  The cemetery is well cared for now and definitely worth a visit any time of year.  Greenwood Cemetery is located at the end of South Church Street in Decatur.  The cemetery is open from daylight to dusk, and a caretaker lives on-site.  For more information, visit

~ Joy