Showing posts with label ghosts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghosts. Show all posts

Friday, October 27, 2017

Eastern Cemetery – Haunted by the Past


Gateway to Eastern Cemetery
From the moment you arrive, you can feel that things are a bit off kilter. Of course, the look of the place does nothing to dispel this thought.
Welcome to Eastern Cemetery, 28-acres located next to the famous and well-groomed Cave Hill Cemetery where Colonel Sanders and Muhammad Ali are laid to rest. But across the concertina wire, Eastern Cemetery lies in tatters, abused by the elements, and vandals, for over thirty years.

The Wake House
Eastern Cemetery was founded in the 1844 by two Methodist churches. At that time, it was known as The Methodist Cemetery and was one of the earliest burial grounds in the city to allow people of different races and religions to be interred together. The cemetery is home to some of the movers and shakers of early Louisville along with regular citizens. This includes state officials, mayors, soldiers, slaves, and musicians. Charles Clarke and Arthur Lommis designed the original Richardsonian Romanesque wake house in 1891. And Eastern was also the first cemetery in Kentucky to have a crematorium. 

But Eastern Cemetery has a decidedly dark past. Records from as early as the late 1850s indicate that bodies were being buried in graves already occupied. The New York Times did an article on the cemetery back in 1989 describing how the graves were being resold after the remains and headstones had been removed – at least most of the time. There were also indications that bodies were stacked on top of one another – some buried only a foot or so deep – in order to maximize that burial space, and make more money. In a cemetery with room for 16,000 burials, experts estimated close to 50,000 people have been “laid to rest” here.

Records shows that of the four grave maps made of the cemetery, covering the years 1880, 1907, 1962 and 1984 – all are inconsistent in grave placement from time period to time period. Sections have been redivided and renamed, all in keeping with the reburial of bodies.

 About ten years ago, an unlocked building was discovered to contain dozens of cremated remains And state investigators reported that more than 90% of infant burials were done in a foot or less of soil.
Today, the graveyard is a tangle of weeds, downed trees and toppled stones. Vandalism is apparent but not as rampant as might be expected. Maybe the negative vibe of the place is off-putting even to those miscreants. 

When you enter the cemetery, the air is oppressive and you feel watched from every corner. This is not a cemetery that encourages wandering, or even loitering. This is an in-and-out cemetery: in for photos and out as fast as possible. Rumor has it that a nineteenth century lady wanders the cemetery trying to care for the infants graves. Footsteps and voices can be heard, and ghostly figures have been seen in the chapel, and wandering the grounds. But knowing the story, is it any wonder that this City of the Dead is restless?

Today, a non-profit organization made up of a caring group of volunteers are working to take back the cemetery. Friends of Eastern Cemetery do what they can to keep the cemetery grass cut, downed trees cut up, and stones repaired. But it seems to be a never-ending job. If you’d like to volunteer, visit their web page for more information.
~ Joy


My new book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide is now available at bookstores across the country. Click here for book information.

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Haunted Hoosier Cemetery - Oak Grove



Oak Grove Cemetery
On a wind-swept hill in broad daylight, the sounds of children laughing could be heard. But in the middle of this 23-acre cemetery, there are no children to be seen. Welcome to Oak Grove Cemetery in Washington, Indiana.

Arthur Greenwood
Oak Grove was once the burial place of the movers and shaker of the community. Congressman Arthur Herbert Greenwood served as Indiana’s representative for the 2nd District from 1923-1933, and represented Indiana’s 7th District from 1933-1939 in the US Congress. He was also House Majority Whip during the 73rd Congress. Greenwood began his foray into politics in Washington Indiana when he served as a member of the Board of Education in Daviess County from 1911-1915. He died in 1963 in Maryland and was buried in Oak Grove.

William Bynum
Another US Representative from Indiana buried here is William Dallas Bynum who served as Washington Indiana’s first City Clerk. Bynum was also City Attorney and Mayor. He was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1881 – 1885, and was elected to the 49th and four succeeding Congresses, serving from 1885- 1895 during which time he was House Minority Whip. Bynum died in 1927.

A stone is hidden by growth
Oak Grove Cemetery began to fall into disrepair at the beginning of the 21st century. With no perpetual care money left to maintain the cemetery, the grass and weeds were left to grow in the older sections. These are the sections where unrest has been felt – and experienced.


Then they were gone
I have visited this cemetery three times in the past few years with different people. Each time we’ve come away with otherworldly stories to tell. My first time there I discovered a large black dog roams the cemetery. I heard a large dog running up behind me with the tags rattling on his collar but when I turned, there was nothing there. When I looked over at the woods that borders the property, a man, dressed in black, stood there with his black dog. They looked at me for a moment, took one step back and they were gone.

An encounter was experienced down this lane
A friend who had never had any paranormal experiences was given quite a scare when we decided to roam the grounds to photograph graves. Meeting up later, we discussed the condition of the cemetery. At that time, it was privately owned and was not being properly taken care of. The grass in the older section where we stood was knee high. After chatting a few minutes, we each headed out in different directions. Half an hour later she came rushing over the hill. Tossing her camera into the car she asked if I had slipped up behind her and called her name in an attempt to scare her. But I and our other cemetery buddy had already packed it up and were sitting in the car talking. The fact that the spirit had mimicked my voice frightened her the most. When we drove to the location where the incident occurred, there was nothing: no sounds, no odd feelings, no one we could see.

The boy who watches
There is a lifelike statue of a small boy who died in the 1800s. He sits on his stool as if unsure what to do, but his eyes seem to follow you around the cemetery. The truly weird part is when you approach the stone - the eyes appear to go flat and are covered in lichens.

I have also encountered a portal of some sort in the middle of the cemetery, which opened with an odd sound and a quick blast of air, and closed the same way – similar to an elevator. Voices can be heard talking, but the words are undistinguishable.

An untended area of the cemetery
Apparently, some “residents” are not pleased that their burial sites have been ignored. The cemetery had not been adequately cared for in over half a dozen years, and since it was privately owned, little could be done about it. But earlier this year a group called the Oak Grove Caretakers took over the cemetery promising better maintenance and upkeep for the more than 12,000 graves.

Where children play
Several people have heard the children playing high on the hill. Their laughter floats through the air as they go about their ethereal play. Let’s hope the remainder of the spirits will be appeased once their graves are giving the care and respect that is deserved.

~ Joy

My new book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide is now available at bookstores across the country. Click here for book information.




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.
Joy

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.

Enjoy!

Joy

Friday, October 4, 2013

Haunted Towns in the Midwest - Miamitown, Ohio


Walking Haunted Miamitown Ohio with the Miamitown Ghost Tours


Once again, the month of October is upon us…. a time for hauntings, Halloween - and all things spooky.  This month, A Grave Interest will travel 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 town.

Matt Hopkins & Garett Merk
On this cloudy night I met with Garett Merk and Matt Hopkins for a private preseason tour. Both men are ghost hunters by trade and more skeptical of sightings and stories than you would expect. Garett is an author of several haunted books and the founder of the Tri-State Paranormal and Oddities Observation Practitioners. Matt is the lead investigator for Cincinnati Area Paranormal Existence Research.


Miamitown Historical Society
The stories told on the 90-minute tour have come from first-hand accounts. History is a passion for this group and it shows. They research the stories and information they are told using newspapers, the local historical society, and by holding their own investigations.
Map of Miamitown, OH

Miamitown is a river town with a rich history. Located on the banks of the Great Miami River, just southwest of Cincinnati, the land was once sacred Shawnee hunting grounds. Then settlers began arriving in the early 1800’s, pushing the Indians westward. Miamitown was incorporated in 1834.





Once the Miamitown Methodist Church
Our tour began at what was once the first church in town, the Miamitown Methodist Church. Founded in 1834, this was the only church in the village for years and it became the heart of the community.

Marker About Event
Tragedy struck on New Year’s Eve morning 1939. On this Sunday fire swept through the church. The children's Sunday school class in the basement did not escape.


Church and Graveyard
Over the years the church has housed an antique store, and is currently home to an art studio. Several specters have been seen wandering the aisles of the antique store, but one seems very poignant. The owner reported it was usually little things like the bell above the entry door ringing, but no one had entered or left. Or items moving around from one place to another. Then one day, while in the basement, she was approached by a little girl dressed in white. When the owner asked if she needed help, the child replied that she was looking for her mother. The owner went upstairs to find the parent but instead discovered that there was no one in the store. When she returned to the basement, the little girl was gone. (But she has been seen from time to time darting among the tombstones late at night.)


Antique Shops on Main

The antique shops in the town are favorite haunts for the spirits of Miamitown. Several others have interesting stories connected to them.





Village Pump Antiques
Tombstone Walk
It’s no surprise that the Village Pump Antiques has had a resident ghost – it is located on what was once cemetery ground. The walkway up to the front porch is paved with old tombstones. In fact, most of the town is located on ground that at one time or another was used to bury their dead.

Stray Cat?
When the building was a private home three sisters lived there. But then one married and moved out and another moved away leaving the third sister, Margaret, content to remain in her family home with her cats.

The Upstairs of Margaret's House
Her home was sold after she died and odd occurrences began happening when the home became a store. A psychic told the owner that there was an older woman upstairs who used to live there. She was very friendly and would appreciate it if people would just say “Hi” to her. Soon everyone greeted Margaret when they entered the store. The psychic checked back about a year later, but Margaret had gone, apparently satisfied that her home was being visited by very friendly people.



Glass Creations
Side View
There is also a haunted glass shop where ghostly children laugh and play. During the Civil War it was home to a family with eight children. Three of them died there – and apparently never left.



Miamitown Elementary School
School Windows
And speaking of children, the local elementary school is said to be haunted by an early settler who has taken up residence in a utility closet. But again, it’s no wonder that spirits roam the hallways. When the town officials were preparing to build the school in the 1950’s they decided that the best location for it was the land that was Cemetery #2.


Matt Standing By Reburials
Miamitown Cemetery
Graves were dug up and the remains and stones moved across the highway to the current cemetery. But as workers began digging deeper they discovered another layer of bodies. These too were moved across the street and reburied near the front of the cemetery. But workers again discovered a third level of graves, probably remains from the cemetery site where the Village Pump Antiques is now located. These were also taken across the road and reburied in the cemetery, where, hopefully they will finally get to rest in peace.


Driving Toward Harrison Street Bridge
But some spirits continue to seek that chance to cross over. The Harrison Street Bridge has a sordid past. This bridge is the fourth structure to cross the Great Miami River here. The first was burned down in 1863 in order to stop Morgan’s Raiders from crossing it. A steel bridge was put up in 1894 and remained for many years, but several fatalities occurred on it. Then in 1989, a temporary bridge was built so that a new one could be constructed across the river.

It was a May day in 1989 when heavy flooding
Flooded Great Miami River
caused the river to swell and the foundation for the temporary bridge began to give way. The bridge was quickly closed, but unfortunately one car did not make it across to the other side before the bridge fell into the raging river. The two women in the car were killed. But those who witnessed the collapse said that there was also a pickup truck crossing behind the car, and it too had fallen into the churning waters.

Close Up of Harrison Street at Bridge
Although officials searched for months, no truck was ever found, nor were any other bodies. What did those on the riverbank see that day, following the car? No one knows for sure but a white appreciation has been seen starting across the bridge just as the car did, hurrying to get across, but it always vanishes before ever reaching the safety of the other side.




Garett and Matt
And there are so many more eerie stories that revolve around this quaint little town. The ghost walking tours lasts about 90 minutes and covers around ½ mile with 13 stops. Tours are suitable for adults and older children. Call (513) 846-0018 or visit their web page at http://www.miamitownghosttours.com, or their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/miamitownghosttours
for more information. Tours are available throughout the year.


Horse Drawn Ghost Tours
And, this Saturday, October 5th will be the annual Miamitown ParaFest http://miamitownparafest.com from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. This free event is family-friendly and includes well-known ghost hunters, paranormal authors, UFO researchers, psychics, and more. Over a dozen paranormal groups will be on hand to tell stories, answer questions and show off their ghost hunting gear. There’s also a Zombie Walk, horse drawn ghost tours, a ghost hunt for the kids, and you can register to win an opportunity to go on a ghost hunt at a Miamitown haunted site with the Tri-State Paranormal and Oddities Observation Practitioners.

And, did I mention, this event is FREE?!
 
Next Wednesday I’ll have more on a haunted lounge that serves spirits with their spirits on Joy’s JOY of Wine @ http://joysjoyofwine.blogspot.com



Michael Henry
And next Friday, a noted ghost author will take us on a spooky trip through another river town, searching for a missing grave yard, and a lost coven. This is a town which has more than its share of ghosts and spirits…

~ Joy

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* Had to share the very odd photo I took during this tour. This was in the cemetery - Any ideas?