Friday, August 18, 2017

HGB Ep. 217 - Haunted Cemeteries 3

Moment in Oddity - Ghost Cemetery Guide
(Story shared by listener Chelsea Bishop)

Our listener Chelsea shared this odd experience at the Los Angeles National Cemetery:

"To be honest, I am not completely sure if this cemetery is haunted. Although there are many soldiers buried here (my grandfather and great grandfather are one of the many). We have visited this cemetery once a year (mostly on Memorial day), but one year my mom had this strong feeling that she needed to go back and visit her dad's grave stone again. Oddly enough the day that she went with my dad was Mother's day and the place was packed. It is a pretty large cemetery and unless you have done research ahead of time, you can easily get lost looking for a certain head stone. This is exactly what had happened to my mom and dad. They had to park and were about to looking for the row number of my grandfather's head stone when they realized... the paper was left back at home, an hour away. Not wanting to leave after taking so long to arrive, my parents decided they would separate and search (then call each when one of them found it). Just when my mom was completely frustrated, she heard someone call her. She looked up to see an elderly woman with a cane walk over to her. The woman asked if she could help my mom. My mom told her that she was lost looking for her father, the woman responded, "ask God to help you." Now my mom believes that there is a greater power but not that much. She rolled her eyes and then glanced on the ground. Sure enough my mom was standing right next to her dad's grave stone. When she looked up to thanked the elderly woman... the woman was gone. Immediately my mom called my dad, he wanted to explain away the situation with, "well the place is packed, maybe you misplaced her?" But whoever the woman was, she did not seem to be the type to easily take off and start running away. Maybe there is a helpful guide at this cemetery? I'm not sure, but whoever helped, my family is truly grateful." A ghost cemetery guide, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Jamaica's Second Maroon War

In the month of August, in 1795, Jamaica's Second Maroon War began. The Maroons of Jamaica were escaped slaves who ran away from the Spanish-owned plantations that they worked on when the British wrested control of Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655. Maroon means mountain and that is where the slaves ran and hid: to the mountains of Jamaica. The government felt that the Maroons were a threat and the two sides began the first Maroon War in 1728. They made peace in 1739, but it did not last, at least not with all of the Maroons. A new governor decided to forget about the treaty that had been signed and arrested two leaders of the Maroons of Trelawny Parish. This started the Second Maroon War. The Maroons held off the British soldiers, which had 4500 men to their 300. The Governor offered a new peace treaty if the Maroons laid down their arms. They did, but the offer was a trick. The Maroons were arrested and sent to Nova Scotia. In 1800, many of them would be shipped to Sierra Leone. Trelawny is now known as Maroon Town even though there are no longer any Maroons there.

Haunted Cemeteries 3

We love to visit cemeteries. They are so peaceful and many of the older ones are like parks. We will be talking about a couple of these park-like cemeteries today. We'll be in New York to check out a graveyard that inspired Central Park, Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. Then there is Spring Hill Cemetery in West Virginia that is home to victims of epidemics and a plane crash. Indiana's Clark County has several old cemeteries with unique legends and finally our listener Dannah Jones joins us to discuss Maple Hill Cemetery and its creepy legend that will make you think twice about the swings at the playground. All of these places of rest have several spirits at unrest!

Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery (Suggested by Margo Donohue of Book vs. Movie Podcast)

Green-Wood Cemetery is located in Brooklyn, New York. The graveyard is spread out over 478 acres and was established in 1838. The cemetery was the idea of Henry Evelyn Pierrepont. The architect of the cemetery was David Bates Douglass. The gorgeous gates were designed by Richard M. Upjohn. He also designed the Pierrepont Family Memorial, the Receiving Tomb and several shelters that are long gone. The gates he created are in the Gothic Revival style and feature biblical scenes of death and resurrection from the New Testament including Lazarus, The Widow's Son, and Jesus' Resurrection crafted by sculptor John M. Moffitt on Nova Scotia limestone panels. The cemetery chapel was designed by the architects Warren & Wetmore. And finally, the Weir Greenhouse was designed by G. Curtis Gillespie. The grounds were beautiful and attracted people from all over the world to come visit and picnic on its grounds. By the 1860s, it had 500,000 visitors coming a year, which was second only to Niagara Falls as the nation’s greatest tourist attraction. The cemetery inspired the creation of both Prospect and Central Parks. The grounds feature one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th and 20th century statuary and mausoleums.

This wasn't always a peaceful spot. The Battle of Long Island was fought here in 1776. Battle Hill is in fact, the highest point in Brooklyn. Frederick Ruckstull made a Revolutionary War monument named Altar to Liberty: Minerva, which was erected in 1920 and faces towards the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The Battle of Long Island or Brooklyn, as it is sometimes called, was fought on August 27, 1776. This was the first battle of the American Revolution after the Declaration of Independence was issued and it was the largest battle of the war. The Americans saw Battle Hill in the distance and saw the strategic importance so 300 soldiers went to grab the hill, but the British beat them to it and fired upon them. The Americans pressed forward and eventually took the hill even though they were outnumbered. The British lost 400 men, but the Americans suffered over 1,000 casualties and the battle was considered a loss for the Americans and the British eventually took New York City.

There are 560,000 people buried here. Some of the notable people buried here include Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, several Civil War generals, baseball legends, inventors, entertainers, politicians and artists. Boss Tweed should not have been buried here because he died in the Ludlow Street Jail and at the time there was a regulation in place at Green-Wood that no one could be buried there if they executed for a crime or died in jail. Somehow his family circumvented the rule. Another criminal who found his way here was John Torrio, a notorious gangster who mentored Al Capone. Roland Burnham Molineux was a chemist in Brooklyn who was angry with Harry Cornish, the director of his local athletic club, and he decided to poison the man. He mailed him a bottle of Bromo-seltzer laced with cyanide. Unfortunely, the woman providing lodging to Cornish took the Bromo-seltzer to relieve a headache and she died. Molineux was arrested and convicted, but was later acquited. He is buried here at Green-Wood. And important to our audience is the grave of Margaret Fox, the mother of the Fox Sisters, who helped make Spiritualism so popular. An obelisk near the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street marks the burial site of 103 unidentified victims of the 1876 Brooklyn Theater Fire. On September 27, 2006, Green-Wood was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior.

The cemetery made news in 2014 when a man dressed as a creepy clown was seen holding a fistful of pink balloons clambering through the graveyard. He wore a polka-dotted outfit and multi-colored shoes. He was captured on a couple of YouTube videos, but not arrested. There are more than just pranksters making this cemetery a creepy place at times. Green-Wood is reputedly haunted. A photo was taken by a visitor named Mark and it seems to reveal a misty apparition that looks like a skeletal female. He said of the experience, "While visiting the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY today, I was peeking into a crypt and trying to see in. It was too dark to see anything. The only opening was this cross in the door so I tried using the camera flash to light up the inside. The flash went off but it didn’t seem to do anything but bounce off the stone. Then when I got home I uploaded the photo and saw this smoke-like image inside the tomb. I don’t know whose tomb it is, I didn’t even think to look when I was there. I will have to go back and see if I can find it. This cemetery is massive."

Many visitors to the cemetery claim to capture weird, ghost-like images in their pictures. The ghost of  Mabel Douglass is seen roaming the graveyard. She disappeared on Lake Placid and her body was found at the bottom of the lake, petrified and perfectly intact 30 years later. She was buried at Green-wood. Revolutionary-era soldiers have been seen in the cemetery from both sides of the war. One ghost story is connected to someone buried at Green-Wood, John Anderson. He was a wealthy tobacconist who was suspected of killing Mary Rogers, a young woman found dead in the Hudson. She had been hired by Anderson to attract customers to his store. It is said that he cut a backroom deal and thus never faced prosecution. He claimed to be haunted by the ghost of Mary Rogers. An interesting aside to this is the events were covered by a young writer named Edgar Allan Poe in his story, “The Mystery of Marie Roget.”

Link to a fun video tour taken by ABC News:

Spring Hill Cemetery (Suggested by listener Victoria Brooke)

Spring Hill Cemetery is located in Huntington, West Virginia. Holderby's Landing was the first permanent settlement in the area of the future Huntington. It was founded in 1775. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway came to town and this became a major hub for the railway when it was completed in 1873. Collis P. Huntington was one of four men who established western railroading and he built the Central Pacific Railroad. He wanted this hub to be the western terminus for the line and established a city with Delos W. Emmons and they named it for Huntington. The C&O eventually merged with other lines and is today known as CSX Transportation. Huntington was incorporated in 1871 and was the second American city to feature electric street cars after San Francisco. The first major tragedy for the city came with the Great Flood of 1937, which killed five people.

The second tragedy came in 1970 when a plane crash took the lives of 37 football players, five coaches, two athletic trainers, the athletic director, 25 boosters from the Marshall University Thundering Herd team. Five crew members were also killed. The Marshall team was returning home from a loss to the East Carolina Pirates and were flying aboard Southern Airways Flight 932 from North Carolina bound for Huntington Tri-State Airport in West Virginia. The plane collided with the tops of trees on a hillside during final descent into the airport and the plane burst into flames. The investigation was never able to figure out the cause, but many believe water seeped into the plane's altimeter and gave improper altitude readings leading the pilots to believe they were higher than they were. It was night and they were unable to see the danger that they were in leading this to become the deadliest tragedy to affect any sports team in US history. The movie "We are Marshall" was based on this event. Many of the dead were buried at Spring Hill Cemetery.

When Huntington was first established, the city set aside 30 acres for use as a public cemetery.  The cemetery derives its name from the  nearby Old Spring House. The first burial was in 1838 and is the grave of Elizabeth Prosser. Josephine Webb who was buried in 1873 is considered the first official burial.Three hundred Civil War soldiers are here. There is a small potter's field and many of those buried here are from the 1903 smallpox and the 1918 flu epidemics. It is from the burial of one of these 1903 smallpox victims that we have our first story connected to Spring Hill. William Alfred Bias was set to be buried in a mass grave and no funeral service was allowed due to contagion concerns. His sons showed up and watched from outside of the fence. The boys said a few prayers as he was put in the ground and then they noticed a ball of light hovering over his grave. It slowly rose and floated away. The boys followed it and it led them back home, where it went through the front door of the house with a thud.

Most of the ghostly apparitions are attributed to victims of the epidemics because of improper burial. The Huntington Paranormal Research Society conducted an investigation and have several videos on YouTube with their evidence. They got several EMF hits, particularly after asking for the unseen thing to touch the device. They also captured EVPs, one of which asked the investigators their names and said the word "Congress." They also captured a glowing blue orb in several consecutive pictures that were interesting.

Cemeteries of Clark County in Indiana (Encyclopedia of Haunted Indiana)

Sellersburg is named after one of the men who founded the town, Moses W. Sellers. He and a man named John Hill originally platted out the village in 1846 and they did it in a very irregular way. None of the forty-two lots have a right angle. The Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis railroad passes by the east side of the village. Sellers opened the first store and cement mills employed many of the village residents. The Essroc Cement Plant is about five miles from Brick Church Road Cemetery.

- Brick Church Road Cemetery is located in Sellersburg on Brick Church Road east of Tom Combs Rd. There is reputedly a tombstone that glows green sometimes, but no one can pinpoint which tombstone this is and it seems to change. The creepier haunting here features transparent cloaked figures walking in the cemetery and inside the church at the cemetery. People claim these are Druids.

- St. Joe Road Cemetery is located in Sellersburg on SR 111 east on St. Joe Road. This cemetery is part of St. Joseph Hill Catholic Church. There is a tree in the middle of the cemetery that had once been used for public hangings. Visitors to the cemetery claim that they have seen one or more men hanging from the tree on certain nights.

Henryville, Indiana's claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The village was founded in 1850 and was originally named Morristown. Pennsylvania militia colonel Henry Ferguson purchased the land upon which Morristown was established and he convinced the Pennsylvania Railroad to bring a line to Clark County. For his efforts, the village was named in his honor in 1853.

- Mount Zion Cemetery is in Henryville and located at the east end of Blue Lick Rd. and Mt. Zion Rd. The haunting at this cemetery is connected to a woman who was killed on the road just outside the cemetery on Blue Lick Road. She manifests as a full-bodied apparition enveloped usually in a green haze and she walks through the cemetery. She seems to enjoy jumping on cars and drivers who have experienced this, claim that she leaves behind a sticky residue.

- Mountain Grove Cemetery is also known as Cemetery Hill in Henryville. It's located at the corner of Pixley Knob Rd. and Mountian Grove Rd. Daniel Guthrie was murdered and his body was buried at this cemetery. But it was not buried in a ceremony. The murderer buried the body here to hide it and it was not discovered for a year. When he was found, Daniel was buried at the Mount Zion Cemetery. Dan's spirit is not at rest probably because his murder was never solved. People who live near the cemetery, claim to hear disembodied footsteps and see the spectre of a young man with a handlebar moustache. Some of them even claim to see his footprints in mud outside of their windows. Investigators have captured EVPs in the cemetery of a male voice crying for help and screaming. One group even captured what sounds like the actual stabbing. They likened the sound to a knife going in and out of a pumpkin. A shadowy figure has been seen in the cemetery and on the nearby roadway.

Maple Hill Cemetery (Suggested by listener Dannah Jones)

Maple Hill Cemetery is one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in Alabama and was founded in 1822, but records indicate that it was a place of burial for some time before that. LeRoy Pope was a planter who owned the land and he sold it to the city of Huntsville for use as the cemetery.  Inside the cemetery is Drost Park, which has some legends connected to it. There are several unexplained occurrences there and the cemetery itself is home to many hauntings. Our listener Dannah Jones joins us to share the history and hauntings of Maple Hill.

Cemeteries are meant to be places of rest. And many of them are completely peaceful. But every so often, we run across one with shadows lurking among the headstones. These cemeteries harbor some fascinating and creepy stories of hauntings. Are these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!

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