Monday, June 13, 2016

HGB Ep. 130 - Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum

Moment in Oddity - Little Sleeping Beauty
Suggested by listener Michael Rogers

The Capuchin Catacombs are located in Palermo, Italy and they are the final resting place of little sleeping beauty. Her real name was Rosalia Lombardo and she was only two when she passed away from pneumonia in 1920. The local mortician was Alfredo Salafia and he was very skilled. He embalmed little Rosalia and she is so perfectly perserved that her internal organs are intact and she looks as if she is only sleeping. Salafia used a secret technique to obtain this result  and only recently was his technique rediscovered. This would be strange enough, but there is more to this story and that is that Rosalia appears to open and close her eyes on occasion. Her eyes are perfectly preserved and glisten when the eyelids open. This has been caught by time lapse video. It is quite unsettling, but scientists believe that there is an explanation other than a restless spirit causing eyes to open and close. The humidity changes in the catacombs throughout the day and they believe this causes the eyelids to pull back a bit, so that it only appears that her eyes have opened. Whatever the reason may be, this little sleeping beauty certainly is odd!

This Day in History - Miranda Rights Established

On this day, June 13th, in 1966, the Supreme Court issues their landmark decision that establishes Miranda Rights. The decision made clear that any statements made by a defendent while in police custody would only be admissible in a trial if that defendant had been made aware of their full rights before giving any statements. The case came before the Supreme Court because a man named Ernesto Miranda claimed he had not known his rights before admitting to a couple of crimes. He had been arrested for stealing $8 from a bank employee and during his interrogation he admitted to the theft and also to raping a woman a week earlier. He was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years. At the top of his confession he wrote that he was aware of his rights, but during an appeal trial he said he actually didn't know what his rights were because no one had told him what they were. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court and they agreed with Miranda's attorneys and dismissed his confession. Without that, there was no case and Miranda was a free man. He was retried later based on other evidence and sentenced to 11 years. Irony or karma would have the last laugh here. Miranda would later end up stabbed to death in a knife fight and the decision that got him off the first time, would help the murderer. The man who handed the killer the knife was arrested, but because of Miranda Rights he knew he was under no obligation to say anything and he kept his mouth shut long enough for the murderer to run away to Mexico. The killer was never seen again.

Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum (Suggested by listener Angie Lucente, Research Assistant April Rogers-Krick)

Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum is one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States and it is themed around the idea that cemeteries make great places for gardens. It was founded in the center of the Gem City - Dayton, Ohio - in the 1800s. The graveyard is the final resting place for some well known individuals and the 200 acres are dotted with beautiful and unique monuments featuring Greek themed statues and temples. The cemetery is more like a park, but it is not entirely peaceful here. There are spirits are at unrest among the headstones. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum!

Dayton, Ohio is considered to be a central hub for the United States and this fact makes it attractive to manufacturing and shipping. In 1796, it brought a small party of settlers known as "The Thompson Party" here and they founded their settlement on April 1st. Two other groups arrived later and the following year the Mad River Road was laid out connecting Cincinnati to the future Dayton. The city was incorporated in 1803 and named for Jonathan Dayton. Jonathan had been born in 1760 and was a classmate of Alexander Hamilton. He quit the university during the Revolutionary War, so that he could fight and rose to the rank of Captain. He was only fifteen when he took up arms. He served under Washington at Valley Forge. After the war, he became the New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress. This would lead to him becoming the youngest person to sign the Constitution. Jonathan invested in Ohio and he owned a lot of land in Dayton, thus the city was named in honor of him. *Fun fact: The cash register was invented in Dayton and our listener Angie who suggested this location works at the old National Cash Register Company Building and NCR also helped develop the US Navy Bombe that helped crack the Enigma Code during WWII. Alan Turing visited NCR and advised on the production.* (The Imitation Game - great movie!)

One of the mayors of Dayton was John Van Cleve. He served in the 1830s. His father Benjamin was a pioneer settler of Dayton. John loved this city and when it became apparent that the original cemetery was not large enough and that a new location needed to be found, John led a group of trustees in choosing 40 acres of wooded area on a hilltop. The location was perfect for setting up a garden cemetery. The name Woodland was chosen because of the beauty of the graveyard and the variety of trees adds the Arboretum to the name. Some of the trees here are more than a century old. It was founded in 1843 and at that time it was away from the center of the city. Eventually, the city of Dayton would surround it. July 9th would mark the first internment at the new graveyard.

Woodland Cemetery is one of the nation's oldest garden-like cemeteries. Because Woodland was so park-like, it was quite normal for families to take picnics to the graveyard to spend time with deceased loved ones. A receiving vault large enough to contain 12 crypts was built in 1847 by Joseph Wuichert, who was said to be Dayton’s premier stonemason.  Throughout the 19th century it was used for temporary storage when burials were delayed due to bad weather or for other reasons.  Located near the main entrance to the cemetery and across from the mausoleum, it is constructed of giant limestone slabs and was designed as a replica of the Egyptian-style temple of Thebes and Karnak.  It was unused for nearly 100 years but the exterior was restored in 2008 to its original condition.  The cemetery was quickly filling with victims of epidemics and women who died in childbirth. In 1848, a cholera outbreak killed 225. In 1889, the Romanesque styled chapel, office and gateway were completed. One of the finest Tiffany windows in the country can be found in the chapel. Monuments are varied throughout the graveyard and number over 100,000. The Woodland Mausoleum features a stone and bronze face and twenty-two varieties of imported marble. Famous literary works inspired the twelve windows gracing the mausoleum.

Adolph Strauch was a landscape architect and he designed Woodland Cemetery. There are over 3000 trees and 165 specimen of native Midwestern woody plants. Many of the trees are over 100 years old.  Nine have been designated “Ohio Champions” by the Ohio Forestry Association. In 1908, the cemetery bought 35 acres from the University of Dayton and a tunnel was built to connect the properties. The cemetery continued to purchase land through the years and eventually grew to 200 acres. In 1991, the Woodland Arboretum Foundation was established and a $1.2 million restoration project was completed. With over 107,000 burials memorialized there is still sufficient undeveloped land available to accommodate more than 50,000 more burials.  This equates to more than 100 years of remaining active operation.  Woodland is endowed permanently as a historic site, passive cemetery and green area and park for all who seek its serenity, beauty, history and human heritage. 

Daniel C. Cooper was a founder of Dayton and buried at Woodland in 1818. He led a surveying party to the mouth of the Mad River and laid out the original streets of Dayton making them "four poles wide" and built most of its early mills. He served as Dayton's first justice of the peace and also served in the state legislature. He donated some of his land for school and churches to be built upon. In 1818, he was moving a church bell and strained himself in such a way that he eventually died.

Beneath a willow tree sits the headstone of  Paul Laurence Dunbar, a famous black poet who was born in 1872. His father had been a slave who escaped to freedom in Canada and his mother had been a slave in Kentucky before the Civil War. His father died when he was 10 and he would spend evenings reading to his mother. He was classmates with Orville Wright and was the only black in his Central High School graduating class in Dayton. He was one of the first black writers at that time to get national attention. In 1883, he published his first book of verse. His life's work included 25 books, 15 essays, over 100 poems, 35 song lyrics, 24 short stories, nine musical shows, and four plays. He died in 1906 after succumbing to tuberculosis. The first verse of his poem "A Death Song" is inscribed on his headstone.

Wilbur Wright was buried here in 1912. Wilbur was born in 1867 and his brother Orville was born in 1871. Their father was a traveling preacher and he brought home a toy after one trip that would inspire his young boys and put them on the path of a love of aeronautics. It was a small model helicopter made from cork, rubber bands, bamboo and paper. The brothers ran a bicycle shop in the 1890s while they followed news of the flying exploits of German aviator Otto Lilienthal. After Lilienthal died in an accident, the brothers decided to pursue flight. They had heard that Kitty Hawk, North Carolina had strong winds and so they headed there to conduct experiments. They designed their wings like the wings of birds and added a moveable rudder. On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers were successful in flying the first free, controlled flight of a power driven airplane and that flight lasted 59 seconds and traveled 852 feet. The brothers became the Fathers of Aviation that day. Wilbur died of Typhoid Fever in Dayton on May, 30, 1912. Orville was buried in Woodland in 1948.

Erma Bombeck is an humorist who initially became popular through a newspaper column she penned and she was buried at Woodland in 1996. She was born in Dayton in 1927. She found her life as a suburban housewife to be funny and she shared her observations through her column, through several books and on TV. She was well loved and was an advocate for children with cancer. She later had her own battle with cancer and then kidney disease forced her to have to get a kidney transplant. Complications from that transplant killed her. She has one of the more unique grave markers. It is a 29,000 pound boulder from Arizona. Her husband wanted to bring a piece of Arizona to her to honor their 25 years in Arizona.

Matilda Stanley was buried under an elaborate monument at Woodland in 1878. A procession of 1,000 carriages traveled from downtown to the cemetery in her honor. They were not allowed to come inside the cemetery, which already had 25,000 people in attendance for the memorial service. It was so crowded that a wooden plank was placed over the open grave and the preacher spoke from that in the pouring rain. Matilda was Queen of the Gypsies in the US. Gypsies were a group of nomadic people from Eastern Europe. They have a hierarchy that includes a King and a Queen. When her husband Levi died, he was buried near her and a granite monument marks their graves. Their slabs are called ledgers and there are messages and verses written on them.

Other people of note buried here are: George Huffman, founder of Huffy Bicycle Company; Agnes Morehead, actress; Jordan Anderson, freed slave and letter writer; John H Balsley, inventor of the folding step-ladder; Loren M. Berry, inventor of the Yellow Pages; Mrs. Leslie Carter, actress; William Charch, DuPont Chemist, inventor of moisture proof cellophane for food packaging; James M. Cox, newspaper publisher, Governor of Ohio and Presidential candidate; Edward A. Deeds, engineer, inventor and industrialist; John Glossinger, popularized the Oh Henry! Candy bar; Andrew Iddings, inventor of the stereopitc (3-D) camera; Charles F Kettering, inventor; Earl Kiser, bicyclist and auto racer, “Little Dayton Demon”; L.L. Langstroth, father of American beekeeping; George Mead, industrialist (Mead Paper); John H. Patterson, industrialist (NCR); James Ritty, inventor of the cash register; James Findlay Schenck, rear Admiral, United States Navy; Robery Cumming Schenck, Civil War General, member of US Congress and Ambassador to Brazil and United Kingdom; John W. Stoddard, built the Stoddard-Dayton automobile; Stephen W. Thompson, World War I aviator; Clement Vallandigham, Congressman and Copperhead leader; David A. Zieglar, first mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio and Milton Wright, father of aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright and a Bishop of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.

Woodland Cemetery is home to some bodies that were removed from a smaller cemetery, but it would seem that not all the bodies made it to this new location. That cemetery was located at Fifth and Ludlow Streets. Many graves did not have headstones any longer and it was impossible to locate all the bodies for removal to Woodland. Disembodied spirits have been witnessed by many people at this street corner. But it's the spirits said to be haunting Woodland that we are interested in sharing. Many spirits are at unrest here.

One of the other unique monuments at Woodland is Johnny Morehouse's memorial. It features a large dog watching over a little boy and there is a story here. Little Johnny was five years old when he was playing by the Miami & Erie Canal that ran by his house. The boy accidentally fell into the canal. His dog was nearby and it jumped in to save the boy. It managed to grab him and pull him out of the water, but it was too late. Johnny was buried at Woodland in the 1860s. His dog came to the grave a few days later and never left. The dog watched over the grave day and night until it finally passed away. The gravestone almost seems to come to life because people report seeing a boy playing with his dog in the cemetery and then they simply disappear. Disembodied barks and shouts of joy are often heard. Their story may just be legend, but people leave small tokens at the grave to this day.

A woman told researcher David Weatherly, famously known for his work on Black Eyed Kids, the following story of an encounter she had at Woodland:
"...the incident that happened to me was on our third visit to Woodland.  We got over there late in the day on a Tuesday.  We didn't see anyone else around and we had kind of wandered in different directions, looking around, taking notes and checking on different names.  I had also started doing rubbings of some old gravestones and I was looking at some stones, thinking about taking a rubbing.  Maybe I was a bit too focused but I suddenly noticed that there was a little girl nearby.  She was sitting on a stone, swinging her feet.  She had blonde hair and was wearing white tennis shoes.  I looked at her and said hello.  She said hello back to me, then she jumped up, turned and ran away.  The most curious thing was that a blue light seemed to follow her, I've never seen anything like it.  When she got a short distance away from me, that blue light sort of went into her and she was just gone!  I was really spooked and was standing there with my mouth hanging open.  That was enough for me, I was out of that cemetery and it took a while before I was ready to go again.  My sister had been too far away to see the girl.  Later, I found out about the ghost of a girl who has been seen in Woodland, I believe that it was her ghost that I saw that day."
This female child's ghost is one of the more well known spirits here. She is usually seen as a full bodied apparition dressed in blue jeans and white sneakers. She sits on a boulder at times and that boulder is rumored to emit a blue glowing light. The girl seems to be an intelligent type of haunting because she occasionally speaks to people. And she's not the only one. Many people claim to have conversations with people they meet in the cemetery, only to watch that person disappear as they walk away. None of these spirits are recognized by anyone, so we don't know their stories or why they have remained here.

A Dayton resident named Ruby shared this story about an encounter she had:
"Back in 1984, in August a good friend and I were walking through Woodland Cemetery. I was attending college at the time, and didn't have a car. This was our shortcut to Kroger's. A prominent Daytonion by the name of Schantz is buried there. He was a business man and was quite famous near the end of the 19th century. We were walking past the family plot, and we saw a man tending to the grave of Old Man Schantz. He was dressed in the clothing of the time, very old-fashioned. I didn't think anything of it, because sometimes the local Historical Society gives tours of the cemetery dressed in period costumes. He looked to be about sixtyish. We both said hello to the gentleman and he just looked at us and smiled. I wanted to ask him about an upcoming tour of the place, when suddenly he just faded away. He was looking at us the whole time he was "tuning out". My friend and I took off and got the hell out of there. None of us ever spoke of the incident again. We also never cut through the cemetery again."
Another experience features a ghostly weeping woman:
"One dark night, two college boys were walking home. It was late, so they decided to take a shortcut. They climbed the tall gate to cut through the cemetery. The boys saw a woman crying on the steps in front of a stone tomb. 'Do you need help?' asked one boy. As they got closer, the boys noticed they could see right through the weeping woman. 'Are you okay?' asked the other boy. The ghostly shape looked up at the boys. She had very sad eyes. She stood up quickly and started to float backwards. She drifted up the steps, passed through the tomb's heavy stone doors, and disappeared. The boys looked at each other. 'Let's get out of here!' they shouted, as they ran away. When the two students told the cemetery's groundskeeper what they had seen, he nodded. He had heard the story many times before. 'Well,' the groundskeeper said, 'you're not the first people to meet the Weeping Woman of Woodland.'"
Many people assume cemeteries are haunted, but that is not usually the case. Is Woodland Cemetery one of the exceptions? Do the spirits of the dead walk among the tombstones? Is Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum haunted? That is for you to decide!


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  2. I think that all of these stories are so cool