Thursday, September 6, 2018
Ep. 273 - Haunted Cemeteries 11
Moment in Oddity - Dungeon Rock
There is a legend dating back to the early 1600s about some pirates who were seen rowing a boat up the Saugus River in Lynn, MA, landing the craft and carrying a chest ashore. Several locals had seen this and they went to investigate. They did not find the chest, but they found a note that stated if a quantity of digging tools, chains and other supplies were brought and left in the woods, some silver would be left as payment. The men returned the next day with the tools and the following day, they found some silver waiting for them. The place was called Pirate Glen after this exchange. Authorities eventually raided the area where the pirates were hiding and they got three out of the four that were there. Thomas Veale was the fourth pirate and he hid himself in a cave. He lived there, only venturing to town for food on occasion. An earthquake hit in 1638 and split the cave and part collapsed in, trapping Veale. This cave came to be known as Dungeon Rock. People assumed that Veale still had the pirate treasure and that it had been buried with him. They tried for 200 years to find it. In 1852, a man named Hiram Marble bought the land and he became obsessed with finding the treasure. For 30 years he searched with the help of his son. They funded their efforts by offering tours through the cave for a small fee. They also enticed investors, promising a share of the treasure when it was found. The Marbles never found the treasure and eventually the City of Lynn bought the property and it is today known as Lynn Woods. Dungeon Rock can still be seen today, but as for people spending a lifetime looking for a treasure that is just part of a legend, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Empress Elisabeth of Austria Assassinated
In the month of September, on the 10th, in 1898, the Empress of Austria-Hungary, Elisabeth, was assassinated in Geneva by an anarchist. That anarchist was Italian Luigi Lucheni who was a poor man full of rage. Empress Elisabeth of Austria spent a night in disguise at the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Geneva, Switzerland because the Rothschild family had invited her on holiday. The next morning, she and her lady-in-waiting walked the short distance from the hotel to the pier to board the steamship “Genève.” She usually traveled with an entourage, but this time, it was just the two ladies and they were easily rushed by Lucheni as they walked on the promenade. He stabbed Elisabeth in the heart with a small sharp file. The empress and her lady-in-waiting did not realize that the Empress had been stabbed. They boarded the ship and a few minutes later, Elisabeth lost consciousness and died. Her body was brought back to Vienna and she was put in the tomb of the Capuchins. Her assassin Lucheni was caught and confessed immediately. He spent the rest of his life in prison and always claimed that he had not planned to kill the Empress specifically. He had made the decision to “murder the first high-born person” that he would meet in Geneva and it just happened to be Elisabeth.
Haunted Cemeteries 11
Cemeteries are not really a place I would seek to investigate when looking for ghosts. After years of hearing stories of paranormal experiences in graveyards, it would seem that a fraction of the cemeteries located around the world, really may harbor more than just the bones of the dead. Perhaps some do stay there in spirit. Is it because they are trapped by some kind of energy? Are these spirits just really attached to their bodies? Could they be waiting for a loved one to die and be buried in the plot,so that they can move on together? Whatever the reason, the swirl of leaves blowing across the graveyard grounds may be more than just the wind. A wandering soul could very well be taking a stroll among the tombstones. On this episode we will look at the history and hauntings of two cemeteries in North Dakota, Dartford Cemetery in Wisconsin, Logan City Cemetery in Utah and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans.
North Dakota Cemeteries - Tagus Lutheran Cemetery & Cass County Cemetery #2
Tagus Lutheran Cemetery is located on Old Hwy. 2 in the ghost town of Tagus in Mountrail County, North Dakota. Tagus had always been a small town with only around 140 residents in 1940. By 1976 there was no one left and Tagus became a ghost town. The only people left here are buried in the cemetery and they number around 30. The first dates back to 1908 and the most recent was in 1927. The church that once stood where the graveyard is located was supposedly taken over by satanists who claimed to be drawn there by a mysterious energy. Either they or some vandals led to the chapel catching fire and burning to the ground, leaving behind only a stairway that is covered over by earth. There are those that claim that this is the gateway to Hell.
We've heard this same story about several cemeteries: that a stairway leading down is some sort of gate to Hell. This legend goes a bit further in claiming that if one stands in just the right spot, they can hear the screams of the tortured souls in Hell. And that is the haunting that is here. Those disembodied cries.
Another supposedly haunted cemetery in North Dakota is located on Elm Street North in Fargo. This graveyard is known by the boring name Cass County Cemetery #2. It is a fairly small graveyard with around 315 burials and none of them are marked. Cemetery #2 is one of three cemeteries that are located within Trollwood Park and this area was once home to the Cass County Hospital and Poor Farm. This eventually became a nursing home starting in 1947, with a name change in 1962 to Golden Acres Haven. The nursing home closed in 1973 and the property was taken over by the Fargo Park District. To find the marker for this cemetery, park by the playground and take the path north towards the river.
The earliest burial I could find was from 1911 and they went through the 1940s, so I think it is safe to assume that these people buried here, died on the poor farm and this is basically a potter's field. Rumors of multiple hauntings here would not be surprising then. People claim to have seen multiple apparitions to hear disembodied footsteps. There are those that swear they have heard their name being called. One of the more frequently seen spirits is that of a woman who is wearing a dark blue 19th-century style dress. She is seen walking in the cemetery, but never ventures out into the park. She seems to enjoy music and will more readily appear if there is music playing nearby. She loves to dance beneath a willow tree that is the graveyard.
Dartford Cemetery is an old pioneer cemetery that takes its name from the original village of Dartford, which became Green Lake, WI. No one is sure when the cemetery was founded, but graves date back to the 1800’s. Many of the early pioneers of the area are buried here. A recent burial is for Adrian Kennedy Karsten who was a sports journalist. He was employed for over 20-years with ESPN and covered The Great Outdoor Games, The Tour de France, The America’s Cup and was a sideline reporter for NCAA Football. He was known for wearing his trademark suspenders. He was fired from ESPN and sentenced to jail for tax evasion in 2005 and he committed suicide just before he was to report to jail. There is a mausoleum with several soldiers buried nearby and children regularly visit to lay flowers on the soldiers' graves.
Dartford Cemetery gained some notoriety after being featured on the TV show "A Haunting." The episode was titled "Legend Trippers" and featured three teenagers who wanted to test out a legend that they had heard about the cemetery and a mausoleum found there. The legend claims that if you sit on the roof of the mausoleum, a ghost will push you off. Corbin VanBuren of Berlin was one of the teens. He claimed to have been pushed off and all three teens said they saw s shadowy figure of a woman. One of the other teens said that he never even made it to the top of the mausoleum because he felt as though something were holding him down, preventing him from climbing up. Others have reported the same kind of experiences, but many residents said they had never heard of any such legend until the episode aired.
There is more than just a legend about the mausoleum here though. People claim to see dark shadowy figures, to hear strange noises, feel the sensation of being followed or watched and even more weird are the claims that grave stones change or vanish altogether. There is a legend about the Native American Chief Highknocker who once ruled and lived in the Green Lake/Princeton area. He was the last Winnebago Chief to rule in the area before the tribe was forced onto a reservation. Even though the tribe had to leave, it expected that every Winnebago would return to Green Lake at least once in their lifetime to worship the Water Spirit. This area was said to be its home. The group left behind mounds and other burial sites. Chief Highknocker was called by this name because he wore a stovepipe hat. He had been born in 1820 as the son of Big Shoulder, a chief who was said to have lived to the ripe old age of 106. Highknocker stayed behind in Green Lake and got along with the whites in the area, making bows for the kids. On August 12, 1911, Highknocker was returning from the town of Berlin. He needed to cross the Fox River, but he had no canoe, so he decided to swim. He was drunk and ended up drowning. He was buried at Dartford Cemetery and donations paid for the boulder that marks his grave. Chief Highknocker is not at rest though and many have claimed to see him walking down by the river near his burial.
A small girl ghost has also been seen in the cemetery as well. There are children buried here who died from polio and other ailments.
Logan City Cemetery (Suggested by Jennifer Jones in her book, "Ghosts of Ogden, Brigham City and Logan.")
Logan City Cemetery is located in the middle of the campus at Utah State University. There are over 17,000 burials and the first one took place in 1865. One of the better known burials here is for Leora Thatcher. Leora Thatcher was an actress who was the daughter of prominent Salt Lake Theater Company owner Moses Thatcher, Jr. Leora was born in 1894 and she performed on stage, particularly Broadway, on the radio and on television. She appeared in 3,180 performances of "Tobacco Road" in the role of Ada Lester. Her grandfather owned an opera house in Logan, Utah that burned down in 1912 and she rebuilt the building in 1921 and it became known as the Capitol Theater. She died in 1984 in Salt Lake City. The Thatcher Mansion still stands in Logan.
A burial located in the very center of this graveyard is reportedly where our haunting here comes from and this spirit is known as The Weeping Woman. The monument itself depicts a weeping woman who is crouching and holding her head. The statue was made for a woman named Julia Emelia Cronquist. She had been the wife of one of the first city commissioners in Cache County named Olif Cronquist. He had been a prominent farmer as well. Several family members contracted Scarlet Fever, with two of the children succumbing to the disease. Julia suffered from heart problems all her life more than likely from contracting Scarlet Fever too. She died in 1914 at the age of 52. Many people claim that the statue was inspired by the many visits Julia made to her children's graves at the cemetery, where she wept over them. Her husband had it made in 1917 out of Barrie granite.
And this is where our ghost story for this cemetery comes in. It is said that during the full moon, the statue appears to cry. The sounds of a woman weeping have been reported as well. Jennifer wrote that people have reported seeing the water for themselves, running from the face of the statue on nights when there had been no rain. Others who have heard the disembodied weeping will not go by the cemetery at night anymore. Could this be residual or the mother still crying for her children in the afterlife?
St. Louis Cemetery #1
The last haunted cemetery episode featured Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans, but it is not the only haunted cemetery in the city. That's a no-brainer, of course. Probably the cemetery that comes up as the most haunted in the city is St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. The most obvious reason is because it is the final resting place of Voodoo priestess Marie Leveau. We covered Leveau in episode 75, so we will only touch on her briefly here, but she is said to be one of the spirits roaming about the graveyard.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is one of three Roman Catholic cemeteries which make up Saint Louis Cemetery. The cemetery was founded in 1789 to take the place of Saint Peters Cemetery, which was too close to the main city. The city of New Orleans had just been ravaged by a huge fire in 1788 and the city took the opportunity to move burials to a healthier spot away from the people. The graveyard was laid out much like a city and a tall wall was built around it. The property only stretches out over one square block, but it is full of bodies. Around 100,000 it is estimated. One might wonder how it is possible to bury that many people in a small graveyard. The burial customs in New Orleans make this possible.
Most burials in the city are above ground in crypts or vaults because of the water table. As we all know from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is below sea level and this means that anybody buried in the ground has a high chance of being disinterred when there is flooding. So families would buy a vault together and as one strolls through these cities of the dead, they will notice that some are very simple and others are grand. When someone died they were placed in a wooden coffin and this was placed in the above ground rectangular slot in the vault. It would be kept there for a year and a day. The coffin was then removed, the bones were put in a bag that was labeled and the bag was shoved to the back of the vault. I've also heard that there were slots in some vaults and that the remains were swept back into that slot, which dropped down to a lower level. If multiple members of a family died in the same year, another vault space would be rented until the remains were ready to be removed.
Within St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, there are also group vaults. These were sometimes purchased by a large family, but most of the time an organization would purchase the vault. Both these large group vaults and the smaller family vaults give the graveyard a real sense of being a miniature city with pathways and alleys. And like all cities that have their poor, this cemetery has a paupers field with unmarked graves near the back. Protestants and Jews were also buried in the back to make sure they were separated from the Catholics. One of the large group vaults was dedicated to the remains of the men who died in the Battle of New Orleans. Another pyramid shaped tomb was purchased by actor Nicholas Cage in 2010. As of 2015, the Roman Catholic Diocese of New Orleans, which owns and manages this cemetery, has closed it to the general public and charges tour companies for access ($4,500 per year, or lesser amounts for short periods). Families who own tombs can apply for a pass to visit.
The cemetery has many notable people buried within its walls. The family vault of Etienne de Boré is here. He was a Creole French planter, who produced the first granulated sugar in Louisiana. This made it profitable to raise sugar cane. de Bore owned a large plantation upriver from New Orleans. In 1803, the American governor of the territory appointed de Boré as the first mayor of New Orleans. there is also the family vault of Paul Morphy who was a world famous chess champion. He was the greatest chess master of his era. He only competed from 1857 to 1859, but he was the best. People begged him to return to playing after he retired, but he refused. He died young at the age of 47 from a stroke.
Bernard de Marigny was the great-grandson of one of the city's founders who is best known for his love of gambling and bringing the game of Hazard, otherwise known as craps, to New Orleans. He was also President of the Louisiana Senate. He owned a large plantation that he sub-divided and sold as lots for home development. Some say to pay off his debts, but this venture into real estate was good as New Orleans was bursting at the seams and people were looking for places to live. He purchased the Bonnabel Plantation and renamed it Fontainebleau. He ended up creating St. Tammany's first industrial park on this property by building a brick kiln, sugar mill, blacksmith's shop, saw mill and an infirmary. The Panic of 1837 did him in though and he had to sell Fontainebleau. The only thing left today is the ruin of the sugar mill. Marigny died in 1868 and it is said that he was penniless at the time
Barthelemy Lafon was a Creole architect, engineer, city planner, and surveyor in New Orleans. He was French and moved to Louisiana around 1790. The Lower Garden District follows some of his plans, although much of his grand plan for tree-lined canals, fountains, churches, markets, a grand classical school, and a coliseum were never realized.The grid pattern for the streets that he designed does exist and some of the street names he chose still remain as well. He had originally wanted to name the streets after the nine muses of Greek mythology: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Euterpe, Polymnia, and Urania. He designed parts of the Bywater and Bayou St. John neighborhoods and he recommended improvements to the fortifications of New Orleans during the War of 1812. It was after that battle that things went a bit south for Lafon. He decided to join the notorious Lafitte brothers and became a pirate and smuggler. He died from yellow fever in 1820.
Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial was the first African-American mayor of New Orleans. He served from 1978 to 1986. Morial was born in 1929 and grew up in the Seventh Ward. In 1954, he became the first African American to receive a law degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and he used that degree as he fought to dismantle segregation. He was limited to serving only two terms as mayor, but he tried to convince voters to give him a third term. His tenure as mayor had both its good points and bad with most of the bad coming in his second term. He had planned to run for mayor again in 1990, but he passed away in 1989 from complications due to his asthma.
Homer Plessy was the plaintiff from the landmark 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision on civil rights. He was born on March 17, 1862 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He worked as a shoemaker, but came to fame with one act of civil disobedience. He refused to move from a "whites only" railcar in 1896. He had purchased a first class ticket and announced to the conductor that he was 1/8th black. When he refused to leave the car, he was arrested. He protested the violation of his 13th and 14th amendment rights and the case came to be known as Plessy v. Ferguson. The Ferguson was Judge John Howard Ferguson who presided over the case. Plessy was found guilty, but the case went on to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896. During the proceedings, Justice William Billings Brown defined the separate but equal clause, which basically said it was okay as long as each race's public facilities were equal. Arguments from the case were used decades later in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. Plessy passed away March 1, 1925, at age 62.
Marie Laveau learned what she did about Voodoo from a man named Doctor John. He taught her how to make gris gris bags, how to use Voodoo dolls and how to produce charms and curses. Laveau became a very powerful priestess. Laveau lived to the ripe old age of eighty-six and she died of natural causes in her home on June 15, 1881. Marie Laveau's tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is said to be the most haunted in New Orleans. People visit this final resting place from all over the world. Many come seeking to ask the Voodoo Queen for a favor despite the fact that she has been dead for decades. There are a couple of rituals involved with this practice. The first is for the seeker to knock three times on the tomb and then say the request out loud. After the request is fulfilled, the seeker is suppose to return to the tomb with a gift consisting of either coins, liquor, flowers or a Monkey or Cock Statue. In the past, people would mark the tomb with three Xs using paint or a chip of brick, but that practice is illegal now. The second ritual features the seeker drawing an X on the tomb, spinning three times, knocking on the tomb and yelling out their desire. When it is fulfilled, they are to come back and circle their X and leave an offering. Because of the vandalism the vault has suffered, no one can enter the cemetery without a guide. And when I say vandalism, I mean things like painting the entire vault pink. The Catholic Church was able to restore it.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is said to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world. Ghosts here are said to number in the hundreds and with 100,000 burials, that could be possible. Visitors have claimed to see phantom figures, particularly those resembling Civil War era soldiers. Identifying these ghosts is almost impossible, but there are a few that are more well known. Obviuosly, Marie Leveau the most famous spirit here. Leveau's apparition has been witnessed walking among the crypts and people say she is wearing her turban and can be heard uttering voodoo curses. And strangely, there are some who claim that Laveau appears as a phantom cat prowling the graveyard and that it eventually disappears into Laveau's crypt. The cat's eyes glow red.
The ghost of Henry Vignes is said to haunt the graveyard. He was a sailor during the nineteenth century and had no real home. He chose a local boarding house as his place to stay when he was not at sea. He was worried about bringing his important papers with him , so he asked the owner of the boarding house to keep his papers if he died. These papers included his family tombs. The owner told Henry not to worry, that she would look after everything. And she sure did. She sold Henry's family tomb, which he found out about as soon as he returned from a voyage. He was very upset, but got sick before he could do anything about it. He died from the illness and now had nowhere to be buried. His body was placed in an unmarked grave in the pauper's section of St. Louis Cemetery #1. And that is probably why his spirit is at unrest. That apparition is described as tall with blue eyes and wearing a white shirt. He looks so real that people think they are talking to an actual person. He sometimes will tap a visitor on the shoulder and ask, "Do you know anything about this Tomb here?" At other times he will ask if they know where his family's old vault is located. He walks away when no one seems to know and then suddenly disappears. During funerals, Henry has asked the mourners if there is any room in the vault for his remains. His apparition apparently has been caught on camera and EVP have recorded him saying, "I need to rest!"
Another lost soul here belongs to Alphonse. He has a tomb, but he seems to want to find a home. People not only see Alphonse, but he touches them, often grabbing their hands as he pulls them to a stop. He gives them a broad smile as he inquires as to whether he can go home with them. His spirit has been seen gathering flowers left at other burials and bringing them over to his vault. Now this is something I would get a real kick out of witnessing! Many think he has a connection to the Pinead Family that is not good. People standing near the Pinead Vault have been told by Alphonse to stay away from the tomb. Is this because he is afraid of them? He has been seen crying too and when someone notices his tears, he disappears.
These cemeteries are all very different from each other, but they all have two very important similarities. One is that the dead are honored in some small way and the other is that legends and restless spirits are connected to them. Could these graveyards be harboring the spirits of the long ago dead? Are these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!