Friday, September 29, 2017

HGB Ep. 224 - Haunted Cemeteries 4

Moment in Oddity -Viking Leader Killed by Tooth in Severed Head

Sigurd Eysteinsson was a prominent Viking leader who ruled Scotland's Orkney Islands in the late 800s. He was the second Viking Earl of Orkney and had succeeded his brother Rognvald. He was a fierce warrior and led the Viking conquest of what is now northern Scotland. Though he agreed to a peace meeting with Maelbrigt Earl of Scots, the meeting soon devolved into a fight and the two men battled each other fiercely. Eysteinsson finally defeated Maelbrigt and with a final swing of his sword, he decapitated his rival. He grabbed the severed head and attached it to his saddle as he road away. He wanted it prominently displayed and wanted to be able to see his handy work. There was just one problem with the placement of the head. It was positioned in such a way that Maelbrigt's long teeth were able to dig into Eysteinsson's leg as his horse galloped. This caused a wound on his leg that later became infected. That infection eventually killed the Viking and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - First Multi-page American Newspaper Published

In the month of September, on the 25th, in 1690, the first multi-page American newspaper was published. That paper was called Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick and there was only one edition printed. It appeared in Boston, Massachusetts and was edited by Benjamin Harris and printed by Richard Pierce. The paper was intended to be pulished monthly, but British authorities declared the paper offensive and ordered its immediate suppression. The order read, "Whereas some have lately presumed to Print and Disperse a Pamphlet, Entitled, Publick Occurrences, both Forreign and Domestick: Boston, Thursday, Septemb. 25th, 1690. Without the least Privity and Countenace of Authority. The Governour and Council having had the perusal of said Pamphlet, and finding that therein contained Reflections of a very high nature: As also sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports, do hereby manifest and declare their high Resentment and Disallowance of said Pamphlet, and Order that the same be Suppressed and called in; strickly forbidden any person or persons for the future to Set forth any thing in Print without License first obtained from those that are or shall be appointed by the Government to grant the same." Did any of you understand that? Yeah, me neither.

Haunted Cemeteries 4

Many cemeteries have been designed to serve as parks. They have many features that we would find in large public parks like statuary, stone architecture, large trees, lush landscaping and beautiful flowers. For taphophiles, cemeteries offer a place of adventure and discovery, whether it is seeking out a specific burial plot or figuring out the meaning of the symbology we find there. For geneologists, cemeteries offer a way to track down ancestors and trace their movements. For historians, cemeteries are a giant story and record of an area. On this episode we are going to discuss cemeteries in general, including the architecture found there, the meaning of the symbols, the materials used and why we love them so much. We also will share the history and hauntings of a couple of cemeteries in Windham, Maine: Chute Road and Anderson, and Hookman's Cemetery in Connecticut. Joining us on this episode is author and historian Annette Student. Listener Suzanne Silk suggested the topic of cemetery symbology and designed our Cemetery Bingo Cards.

Graveyard Symbology

We had members of the Spooktacular Crew share some of their favorite headstone symbols that they have captured in pictures.

Heather Williams - Jamaica
The Egyptian symbolism found in several cemeteries harkens back to a time when Egyptian styles were all the rage.
Heather Williams - St. Louis

Kathy Webb-Thomas - Highgate
Kathy Webb-Thomas - Highgate

Kathy Webb-Thomas - Savannah
 A modern day interpretation of St. Francis:
Lorelie Mitchell - Naperville, IL.

Shaking hands - symbol of matrimony. Can tell gender by looking at the sleeves. Historically general neutral sleeves represent a welcome into heaven or goodbye from loved ones:
Kathy Webb-Thomas - St. Augustine
Jeanne Nauerz

There are a couple of symbols here. The draped urn and wreath of flowers:
Nicole McFadden
Jules Havlicek - Germany

Jules Havlicek - New Mexico

Jules Havlicek - Whidbey Island

Jules Havlicek

Jules Havlicek

Jules Havlicek
 Woodman symbology
Jules Havlicek - Nebraska
HollyAnne Prater - Wyandot, Ohio

 Skull symbology
Kathy Webb-Thomas - Gloucestershire UK

Katrina Ray-Saulis - Salem

Katrina Ray-Saulis - Salem

Tammie McCaroll-Burroughs - Spring Grove in Cincinnati
April Barber - Virginia
Anna Prado-Frias - Riverside (nursery)

Tammy McCarroll-Burroughs - Richmond

Tammie McCaroll-Burroughs - Atlanta
Anna Prado-Frias - Riverside

Wrought-iron designs:
Tammie McCarroll-Burroughs - Selma
Masonic symbology:
Ronda Borgen - Virginia City

Lisa Linderman - Grandmother

Lisa Linderman - Grandfather
Patrick Keller - Natchez

Ronda Borgen - Prague

Ronda Borgen - Salzburg

Ruth Schulte - South Dakota
April Barber - Virginia
 Gypsy Queen graves:
HollyAnne Prater - Marion, Ohio
Katrina Ray-Saulis - York, Maine
Tavia Theresa-Zaldivar - Key West
Denise Moormeier - Gracie at Bonaventure

Denise Moormeier - Bonaventure

Denise Moormeier - Bonaventure

Denise Moormeier - Bonaventure
Denise Moormeier - Sleepy Hollow
 Anchor symbology:
Denise Moormeier - Mount Feake

Love the name on this headstone from Matawan, New Jersey:
Jeanne Nauerz
Emblems available for military headstones:

Hookman's Cemetery (Suggested by listener Joe Costa)

Hookman's Cemetery is located in Seymour, Connecticut, just off Cemetery Road. The town of Seymour is in New Haven County and was named for Governor Thomas H. Seymour. It was incorporated in 1850. This is a relatively small cemetery with burials dating back to the 1800s. What makes this graveyard haunted is the legend that is told about the man for whom it is named. The man's last name was Hookman and he was accused of a crime that he claimed he did not commit. The locals took justice into their own hands and decided to hang him. It is said that he was hanged on one of the large trees at the back of the cemetery. From that time forward, he has haunted the land here and his apparition has been seen roaming the cemetery. People who see or feel him, claim that he is an angry spirit. Locals claim that if you are driving on the road next to the cemetery at night, that your car willstall and you will hear faint scratching sounds on the outside of the car.

Amanda posted on the Ghost Towns website, "I went with a few of my friends and took some pictures there and out of a 24 exposure roll, I had 11 pictures with very distinct human forms. This was my first time ever doing anything like this. My pictures were extremely close up to the form. In some of them you can actually see a human form. There are some distinct ones of faces and in one of the shots, I had my three friends stand in a group and although it was a clear night, the picture features a thick cloud over their heads. I took a picture of one of the grave stones and there was a large cloud of what looked like fog around it. I think this one was an evil spirit because the fog had a purple tint to it and the others were grey." Now we're not sure what the color purple had to do with evil, but we found a similar story and an actual picture on the Ghostwatcherz website of a white mist. The author of the blog post claimed that it was a clear night as well and that he was not a smoker, so he has no idea where the mist came from.

Windham, Maine Cemeteries

The township of New Marblehead, which was the original name of Windham, was granted in 1734 by the Massachusetts General Court to Abraham Howard, Joseph Blaney and 58 other men from Marblehead, Massachusetts. A fort was built here in 1744 by order of the Massachusetts General Court. This was during the King George's War. The fort was a 50-foot square blockhouse constructed of 12-inch thick hewn hemlock. Water power was plentiful and many mills were built. The Cumberland and Oxford Canal brought the ability for exporting and importing. By 1859, Windham had 8 sawmills, a corn and flour mill, 2 shingle mills, a fulling mill, 2 carding mills, a woolen textile factory, a barrel factory, a chair stuff factory, the gunpowder factory and 2 tanneries. Later, a railroad brought more industry. The town is still fairly small today with a population under 20,000.

Chute Road Cemetery  

Halfway down Chute Road in Windham, Maine is the Chute Road Cemetery. It's an old unkempt graveyard with different material like stone, wood and chicken wire creating fencing. This was originally meant to be the Chute family graveyard, but a few other families have been buried here as well. There are also the Cobb, Kingsbury and Swett families. The first man to settle New Marblehead was Captain Thomas Chute and he established the New Marblehead Plantation in 1737. He was born in London in 1690. He had been married with two daughters and was killed in Falmouth in 1767. He is not buried here though. There is a just a monument to his memory that was funded by his great-grandson, George Chute. There is a monument here for George as well. He is the one who bought the plot for his family to be buried. Josiah Chute is buried here. He received a Revolutionary War Land Grant after fighting in it as a teenager. He was shot in the shoulder with a musket during the war. He lived to the age of 75 and died in 1834 at age 75.

The tales of a haunting at this cemetery have nothing to do with the Chutes though. Apparently, two young girls who lived near the cemetery went missing. Some people believe that they fell into a well or mine shaft.They were never found. It was assumed that they had died and so two tombstones were erected here in their memory. No one knows why, since they are not actually buried here, but people claim to see the apparitions of two young girls playing in the cemetery and sometimes right outside of it.

Smith-Anderson Cemetery

The formal name for this cemetery is the Old Smith Burial Ground. This is one of the oldest graveyards in the town of Windham. It is found on a dirt road across from the Parson Smith Homestead on the River Road. Some of the areas earliest settlers are interred here. There is the Anderson Family crypt and something called the Stone Den. This den is said to be home to a male spirit. There are stories of full-bodied apparitions being seen, weird mists, various light phenomenon and shadow figures. People who visit the cemetery, return to their parked cars only to find that they have moved as much as 5 or 6 feet forward or backward. Sometimes the car doors are wide open. Maine Ghost Hunters has been out to the cemetery to investigate. The conducted Ghost Box sessions and other EVP sessions and it was clear when they were in the Stone Den that they were not welcome. They captured a picture of a red orb inside the den that did not look like other sunspots that they had captured in pictures. They said they were skeptical of orbs, but that this one was strange.

One of the investigators wrote, "At one point I asked the name of the spirit I was speaking with at the time.   Flash forward to a couple of days later when I was reviewing the evidence. For this particular batch of evidence I decided to review the audio evidence first and the visual evidence last. So I sifted through the different aspects of audio, wrote notes, and bookmarked the actual files, etc... In one particular spot, the point where I asked the spirit what it's name was, I thought I may have heard a response of 'Matthew.'  This was observed before I had looked at any of the video, or any of the photographs we had taken.  After I finished with the audio, almost all of which I found to be less than impressive, and less than persuasive, I sifted through the photos when lo' and behold I came across a somewhat recent headstone (within the last 40 years) that said "Matthew" on it. It struck me immediately.  Every now and again, as an investigator, you come across a piece of evidence, such as the EVP I thought may have been saying "Matthew" but wasn't sure, that seems insignificant until you find another separate piece of evidence that corroborates what you thought might have been "slightly possible".  When this happens to me it sometimes sends a shiver up my spine, lol.  I remember looking at this headstone thinking "I wonder why, of all the headstones, why is there a picture of this.... Matthew" and then it hit me.  There are those who believe that not much in this life happens by accident.  "There are no accidents"...  Maybe they're right?  I don't know.  It was just... very coincidental."

Learning about cemetery symbology is fascinating. The way that we as humans have memorialized our dead is one of the most fascinating pieces of history. These headstones remind us that this person once lived. And in some cases, that person's spirit is still hanging around the cemetery. Are these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous pictures to go with this very interesting podcast episode.