Moment in Oddity - Hercules Statue Found in Sewer (Suggested by Jenny Lynn Raines)
Recently, archaeologists in Rome found an ancient statue of a Roman emperor who was dressed to look like the Greco-Roman demi-god, Hercules. It is assumed that the emperor chose this look for his statue to proclaim his personal beliefs during a time when Christianity was spreading throughout the empire. The emperor in question, Emperor Decius, only ruled for two years between 249 and 251 A.D. which is when he was killed by the Goths during the Battle of Abritus. It's said that the statue was found near the Via Appia and had most likely been placed in the trench sewers at some point in the last 100 years. The statue features Decius wearing the skin of a Nemean lion which is an animal that was killed by Hercules as part of the 12 labors that he was to carry out. When the archaeologists examined the statue they determined that the facial features were not that of Hercules, but had the features of Emperor Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius, and by cloaking his statue in such a manner, represented his religious beliefs, stressing the importance of Rome's relationship with the traditional worship of the gods. One thing is for sure however, finding a statue of a Roman Emperor from almost 1,775 years ago in a sewer, certainly is odd.
This Month in History - Artist Grant Wood Birth and Death
In the month of February, on the 13th, in 1891, American artist Grant Wood was born in Anamosa, Iowa. Ironically, Wood passed on February 12th in 1942, just one day shy of his 51st birthday. His most well known piece of art is American Gothic, featuring an aged farmer and his daughter. Grant's dentist, Carl E Smith portrays the father and his sister, Nan Wood Graham stands in as the daughter. The farmhouse in the background was known as the Dibble House at the time. Grant Wood was a trained craftsman, designer and painter. He studied for a year at the Academie Julian in Paris, France and then returned to Iowa. Once back in Iowa, Wood was commissioned to create a stained glass window and with little knowledge of the creation of stained glass, he traveled to Germany for assistance. His artistic works continued to evolve and in 1930 his American Gothic piece cause a sensation when it was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. This was a new direction for American art, featuring an honest, direct and earthy quality of subjects. Grant Wood's musings on the interpretation of the painting have not been straight forward leading to ambiguity of it's meaning. The piece of art has led to tropes and parodies in popular culture including advertisements, television shows and even the political arena.
Haunted Cemeteries 25
The final destination for most on this earthly plane is a graveyard. As a society, we have given this final end in the cemetery a variety of slang terms like "taking a dirt nap," "six feet under," "pushing up daisies," "bought the farm," "permanent address," "deep sixed" and the list goes on. While some of our language may downplay death, cemeteries can be more sobering while putting on display the many traditions connected to burial practices and our efforts to remember and memorialize the dead. So we have fun and we have serious, but we also have spooky connected to some cemeteries. On this haunted cemeteries episode, we will feature cemeteries in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Michigan and Illinois.
Before jumping into these haunted cemeteries, let's talk about some great news out of Ivy Hill Cemetery near Philadelphia. The mystery of the Boy in the Box has been solved after 65 years and the greatest part of this story is that he has now been given a proper headstone with his real name. He had been known as "America's Unknown Child" and was buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in East Mount Airy near Philadelphia under a headstone that held that statement. This story goes back to 1957 when a man who was checking muskrat traps stumbled across a cardboard box that held the body of a naked boy who appeared to be between four and six-years old. He had signs of malnutrition and abuse and his hair was crudely cut close to his scalp. The Philly Police opened an investigation and took the boy's fingerprints. The body was dressed and postmortem pictures were taken and the images were distributed on 400,000 flyers. But the boy was not identified and so he was buried in a potter's field.
In 1998, he was exhumed and DNA was extracted from a tooth and he was given the headstone that read "America’s Unknown Child" at that time. In March 2016, his DNA was added to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a forensic facial reconstruction was done. More DNA was collected in 2019 during a second exhumation. Finally, on November 30, 2022, the Philadelphia Police Department announced that they had an identity, which was developed via forensic genetic genealogy. The boy was connected to a cousin’s DNA and investigators identified the boy's parents through his birth records. They announced his identity as four-year-old Joseph Augustus Zarelli. Joseph would have been seventy-years-old on January 13, 2023 and on that date he was given the gift of a new headstone with his name and image.
Burial Hill Cemetery
Burial Hill Cemetery is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts and had once had a fort atop it dating back to 1622. The fort doubled as a meeting house and the First Parish Church until 1677. The first mention of this spot as a cemetery was in 1698. This old burying ground is a veritable history of the area with early settlers of Plymouth Colony - including William Bradford and William and Mary Brewster - veterans of the Revolutionary War and sea captains. Pierpont wrote of the cemetery, "The Pilgrim Fathers are at rest: When Summer's throned on high, And the world's warm breast is in verdure dressed, Go, stand on the hill where they lie. The earliest ray of the golden day, On that hallowed spot is cast, And the evening sun, as he leaves the world, Looks kindly on that spot last." The earliest burial that still remains is for Edward Gray in 1681, who was the wealthiest merchant in the colony, but there were more than likely earlier burials. Many early plots would have been marked with wood. Considering the age of this cemetery, it is surprising how many elaborate memorials are here. Remember that ship we talked about that was captained by Brigadier General Arnold and a bunch of the crew froze to death right off of Duxbury? Those crew members are buried here together under an obelisk. The last burial was in 1957. The original Pilgrims are buried in the first cemetery here at Cole Hill, although no headstones mark any of the graves. It's believed many were dug up and put in a sarcophagus and reburied on the hill. Those disquieted spirits had haunted a wax museum that was once on Cole Hill.
Thomas Southward Howland is buried here and according to a legend, he got in a scuffle with a woman thought to be a witch named Mother Crewe. She was squatting on his property without permission and when he kicked her off, she cursed him saying, "Make your peace, because you will not live to see another sunset. They’ll dig your grave on Burial Hill." The next day, he fell from his horse and died. Many of the early settlers buried at Burial Hill are said to haunt the cemetery. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions wearing clothing from the 1700s and 1800s. They have heard disembodied voices, whispers and footsteps and EMF detectors go crazy. Batteries drain quickly and electronic devices turn on and off by themselves. Captain James Magee had been on the ill-fated ship where so many crew froze to death, but he actually survived. He had always requested that when he died, he would be buried with the rest of the crew on Burial Hill. It is thought that that didn't happen and today his apparition roams the cemetery, probably looking for his fellow crew members. The John Carver Inn is just off the cemetery and used to have a house where medical students were staying. It is alleged that they did the occasional grave robbing for bodies to practice on and possibly that's why some spirits are at unrest. And needless to say, the Inn also has some haunts related to this activity. Apparently, watch out for Room 309.
Sagamore Cemetery is located at Bourne in Barnstable County in Massachusetts where Sandwich Road and Ben Abbey Road meet. The first burial here took place in 1803 for Tempe Bourne. She was the daughter of Jonathan and Hannah Bourne and was only two-years-old when she passed. The cemetery was officially incorporated in 1889. There are burials for Civil War soldiers and twenty-nine former sea captains, as well as early settlers in the area like the Keith family, Ellis Family and the Bourne family, for whom the town is named. People have claimed for many years that the cemetery is haunted including a former sextant named Donald Ellis. There are several spirits here because in 1909, seventeen bodies were moved here from the Collins Farm Cemetery and 45 bodies from the Ellis Cemetery due to the construction of the Cape Cod Canal. The caskets were all marked with chalk so that the burials could be identified, but a storm came through and washed away the markings. So officials had to guess who was who and we can imagine that many bodies are under the wrong markers. Thus, these spirits are restless until the situation is rectified.
Sextant Ellis felt that Isaac Keith was the main haunt. Keith founded the Keith Car & Manufacturing Company, which was a former railroad car manufacturing company that operated between 1846 and 1928 and employed up to 1,400 people. Keith died in 1900 and his casket is one of those that was moved. Ellis claims that once when he was working in the cemetery in 1998, he felt something he couldn't see push against his chest. There was then the strong scent of cigar smoke and despite it being a hot July afternoon, Ellis broke out in goosebumps. He ran away to his truck and the eerie feeling he had went away. Apparently Isaac Keith liked a good cigar. Other people have smelled cigar smoke in the cemetery and felt cold spots and psychics claim that Keith claims to represent all the displaced people in the cemetery. There are some who claim the cigar smoke actually comes from the spirit of William Burgess who was a sea captain and a heavy cigar smoker. People have also claimed to see the ghost of an 11-year-old girl hovering over her tombstone. The legend with her is that she was forced into an arranged marriage with a man nine years her senior and that she eventually murdered him and then killed herself sometime in the 1850s.
Rehoboth Village Cemetery
Rehoboth Village Cemetery is located in Rehoboth, Massachusetts on Bay State Road. The cemetery had been the churchyard of the second meeting-house and was established in 1773. The first burial was for the infant son of Samuel and Lydia Carpenter on August 22, 1774. In 1840, the meeting house was moved. This is a well maintained cemetery, but despite its tranquil appearance, it seems to be home to some kind of weird and nasty entity. Charles Turek Robinson writes about this haunting in his 1997 book "True New England Mysteries, Ghosts, Crimes and Oddities." He interviewed several witnesses to this entity and vetted then thoroughly. And we want to point that out because this is weird.
The first witnesses to report this entity were a couple under the pseudonyms Daniel and Barbara. They were visiting a relative's grave in the the center of the cemetery when they noticed a person in the southwest rear of the graveyard. This appeared to be an elderly man who had a prominent hooked nose and there was a sneer on his face. He appeared to be praying and then he would start sobbing and then he would switch to laughing. The man unnerved them and that was bad enough, but then he suddenly disappeared and the couple made their way quickly out of the cemetery. Barbara had nightmares after the incident in 1994 and they have never returned.
Sisters Lisa and Karen Mackey were visiting the cemetery in August of 1995 to lay flowers at their mother's grave. They were there around four in the afternoon and the cemetery was empty. They were the only ones there, at least at first. They paid their respects for twenty minutes and then started heading out of the cemetery when they heard a strange noise that sounded like whistling that was erratic and aggressive. They looked in the direction of the sound and saw an elderly man staring at them. Then he started making inappropriate gestures with his hands. It was then that the ladies noticed that this was no human being. He moved in a strange floating way and his eyes were black and hollow like black empty sockets. The entity was there for about thirty seconds and then disappeared. They also left the cemetery in haste and as of several years later, had been unable to return to the cemetery for fear of seeing the phantom again.
A woman named Sarah saw this thing in 1996. She was a teacher and visiting the cemetery alone, merely out for a nice walk. She saw an elderly man in the southwestern rear part of the cemetery, kneeling and doing his praying and sobbing thing. She decided to offer the man some comfort and headed in his direction. As she got closer, he quickly sprang to his feet in what she described as a liquid motion. He then burst into strange laughter and then cursed her. Susan quickly turned around and headed for her car as the thing followed her yelling, "Catherine, Catherine, you [bleep]." Sarah then started running and when she got to her car, she turned around to see where the strange man had gone and she saw that he was back at his spot in the rear of the cemetery. She knew there was no way he could have returned to that spot that quickly, especially since she heard him right behind her almost all the way to her car. She looked over again as she pulled away in her car and it appeared to her that there was another ghost with the man and terrifyingly, this was under him as he straddled her and appeared to be beating her. Both vanished right after she saw them.
Robinson told the Taunton Daily Gazette of another set of sisters that experienced this apparition that manifested in front of the grave of William S. Reynolds. He said, "What they saw [was] a man standing right where I am now, before this gravestone. They saw a man praying in front of this grave, alternately sobbing and laughing. That was pretty bizarre, and they couldn’t figure out why this guy was crying, laughing, muttering and, again, he was in the position of prayer.” They then noticed that his clothing was antiquated and Robinson said, "At a certain point, this purported alleged entity perceived their presence. He stood up and looked at them, and he spoke in a voice that sounded unnatural, tinny, like it was coming from some other place. He began cursing them. So they think, ‘OK, this guy is potentially dangerous, we’re going to leave’ — and as they go to leave, he slowly dissipates and vanishes."
Old Biloxi Cemetery
Old Biloxi Cemetery is also known as Biloxi City Cemetery and is located at 1166 Irish Hill Drive with over 12,000 burials. The beach and Gulf of Mexico are right off of the cemetery. The oldest existing tombstone here dates to 1811 and has a French-inscription because the occupant was Frenchman Michel Batet. The headstone is partially embedded in a tree stump. The cemetery wasn't deeded to the city until 1844. This is a glorious southern cemetery dripping with Spanish moss and filled with 19th-century above-ground monuments and barrel-vaulted crypts. This cemetery has been around for over 300 years and holds many interesting characters. One of these people is Juan de Cuevas who was known as the "Hero of Cat Island War of 1812." Juan lived on Cat Island with his family and they defended their home against the British during the War of 1812. He fired shots at the British fleet in the decisive Battle of New Orleans. There are many other veterans here from various other wars including Brigadier General Joseph Robert Davis who was the nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
James Parks Caldwell was born in Monroe, Ohio and became a founding member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity at the University of Illinois. He was only fourteen at the time. He went off to Miami University in Ohio and graduated there at sixteen and then pursued a law degree and moved to Mississippi to teach. He joined the Confederacy during the Civil War and ended up a prisoner of war. After the war he was admitted to the bar. He died in 1912 and was buried here. Jean Guilhot was known as the "Hermit of Deer Island" and Jean ended up a hermit on the island after a hurricane destroyed his home in 1947. He was quite the character. The Frenchman was a former barber and oysterman who reputedly had eight wives before becoming a hermit and he liked to row out to passing boats and serenade them with French folk songs. People would throw him money, which he used to buy the occasional groceries. He died at 81 in 1959.
A Brooklyn Daily Eagle article in 1927 was headlined "Women Have Guided Biloxi Light for Over Sixty Years" and reported, "A woman’s hand has guided the Biloxi light to storm-tossed sailors in the Gulf of Mexico for more than 60 years. Among old sailors, there is a superstition of good fortune radiating from Biloxi because the light has never faltered through the fiercest West Indian hurricane." Operations at the lighthouse began in 1848 and the first woman took over in 1854. This was Mary Reynolds and she was followed by Perry Younghans who died a year after starting, so his widow Maria Younghans took over and served for 53 years. Her daughter Miranda had been her assistant and now took over. Maria and Miranda Younghans are both buried here.
Walter White was a Circuit Court Judge and his wife Cora started the White House Hotel back in the 1890s. She started with boarders in their home and then started buying the houses around them as she expanded. This eventually grew to seven Victorian homes and in 1910, two of the homes were joined to create a lobby, dining room and ballroom. This is still open today as a boutique hotel. Walter and Cora White are buried here. Isle of Caprice opened in 1925 and was known as the "Monte Carlo of the South." This was the place to be in the Roaring Twenties. Walter "Skeet" Hunt was one of three men who built and operated this resort. He also founded the Biloxi Mardi Gras Parade. The resort slipped beneath the waves between Horn and Ship Islands south of Biloxi in 1931. Skeet passed away in 1961.
George Edgar Ohr was born in Biloxi in 1857 and was an American ceramic artist who never received the recognition he should have for his art. He was a precursor to the American Abstract-Expressionism movement and called himself the "Mad Potter of Biloxi." After his death, most of his work sat in a shed behind his son's gas station. This work is now considered ground-breaking with hard-to-replicate thin walls, unique metallic glazes and twisted shapes. He was an eccentric guy who wore his hair and beard in a way that made him look like he was in a wind storm with the hair blowing to the side. He died in 1918 at the age of sixty. And then there is the man we have to thank for Barq's Root Beer, Edward Barq. Barq was born in 1871 and traveled to France to study soft drink formulation. He built his Biloxi Artesian Bottle Works in 1898. He experimented with various formulas for soft drinks and eventually came up with his namesake root beer. The company remained in the same building until 1937 when it moved to a big building. By 1950, there were over two hundred franchise bottlers of the root beer and eventually in 1995, The Coca-Cola Company acquired Barq's Root Beer. Barq himself died in 1943 and he has a mausoleum in the cemetery.
Bud Steed wrote "Haunted Mississippi Gulf Coast" and in there he shares a story he was told in the 1980s when he was living in Biloxi. A young woman had a brother who was always getting into trouble while hanging with the wrong crowd. One evening, this group of thugs decided that they wanted to assault a young woman. They had noticed while they were hanging out on the beach several nights in a row, that a young woman cut through the graveyard on her way home. They decided she would be the perfect victim. They hid out behind some crypts and waited for the woman who did indeed, make her nightly trek. They grabbed her and pinned her against a crypt while one of them rifled through her purse. Then they threw her to the ground as she screamed and began to hit her and tear at her clothes. Suddenly, one of the thugs screamed. What had happened is that a very large man appeared and he thrust his arm straight through one of the thugs. That guy fainted when he saw the arm through his body. The other two jumped to their feet and pleaded with the man to leave them alone, but he lunged at them. He quickly bounced back and forth between the men, beating them. The large man helped the woman to her feet, whispered in her ear - she kicked one of the thugs in the crotch and hurried away - and then the man hurled French curses at the the three thugs on the ground. He then faded away before their very eyes.
There are other spirits at the cemetery as well. One has been nicknamed "The Preacher." This apparition is seen wearing a black suit and he carries a Bible. He appears out of nowhere and asks witnesses if they know the Lord. He sometimes breaks into a fire and brimstone sermon and then disappears. This happens only to people who are alone and usually at night. Bud had visited the cemetery with a friend named Dave and they were snapping pictures when Dave heard the sound of metal clinking right next to him and there was nothing metal around. Bud came over and said that he felt as though something were standing there. A little while later, Dave felt burning on his arms and looked down to discover red marks on his forearm. The men also could have sworn that they saw the figure of a man standing beside one of the crypts when some lightning flashed as they drove out of the cemetery.
It was around midnight of Nov. 22, 1883 when four people were murdered on the Jacob Crouch farm: Jacob, his daughter Eunice (and her unborn child), her husband Henry White and a friend, Moses Polley. Ever since then, Eunice's spirit rises from her grave in St. John's Cemetery every November 22 and meets up with Jacob in the wee dark hours at his gravesite in Reynolds Cemetery, Spring Arbor Township.
To this day, thrill-seekers claim to have seen the spirits of Jacob and Eunice together in the cemetery and the faint sound of crying has been heard. Others say they've seen a ghostly mist float over the gravestones until it reaches the marker of Jacob, where it seems to disappear into the plot.
Read More: HAUNTED MICHIGAN: The Crouch Murders, Jackson | https://99wfmk.com/crouch-murders-2018/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral
The Crouch Cemetery is maintained by Spring Arbor Township in Michigan. This is at the corner of Reynolds and Horton Roads and the haunting connected to this cemetery dates back to a gruesome multi-murder. Jacob Crouch was born in New York in 1809 and moved to Michigan in 1830. In 1837, he purchased land and started a farm and married Anna Busch in 1838. They had six children: Susan, Ethel, Bryon, Dayton, Eunice and Judson. By the time Jacob had turned 74-years old, his property was worth a substantial amount of money. He also had several head of cattle and property in Texas. His wife Anna had died in 1859, just days after giving birth to the couple's son Judd. Daughter Susan was older and had married a man named Daniel Holcomb and so she offered to raise Judd.
On the night of November 22, 1883, Jacob Crouch, his daughter Eunice who was eight months pregnant, her husband Henry White and a Pennsylvania cattle buyer names Moses Polley were all murdered in their beds at the Crouch Homestead. All of them had been shot to death. By the time the sheriff arrived, the crime scene had been trampled. Two farm workers, Julia Reese and George Bolles, who lived on the property had not been shot and they were immediately looked at for the murders. Bolles had made the discovery of the murders. He told police he had heard shots and fighting, so he climbed in a trunk and hid. He was only sixteen. Reese had no idea anything had happened and was preparing breakfast when neighbors burst in after Bolles ran and told them what had happened. Bolles and Reese were arrested, but let go due to lack of evidence. Then the police started to look to the family.
Jacob was a gruff and ornery man and quite stingy. It was said that he was planning to write Susan, her husband Daniel and Judd out of his will. And they apparently knew that and took action before that happened. Judd and Daniel were charged with the murders on March 8, 1884, but not Susan because she was already dead. She had killed herself by eating rat poison on Jan, 2, 1884, so she wouldn't have to testify. At the end of Daniel Holcomb's trial, the jury found him not guilty. Judd was never brought to trial and the case remains unsolved to this day.
And perhaps that is why members of the Crouch family are at unrest. Jacob was buried at Crouch Cemetery, but his daughter Eunice was buried at St. John's Cemetery. It is said that she rises from her grave there and travels the few miles to Crouch Cemetery every November 22nd to meet up with Jacob at his grave site. People claim to hear the faint sound of crying and some have seen a ghostly mist float around the tombstones until it stops at Jacob's grave. Then it disappears into the plot. Perhaps Jacob returning from visiting his daughter?
St. Omer Cemetery Witch Grave
And then finally we have this really weird headstone in Illinois. This is located in the town of St. Omer, which is now a ghost town. This headstone is the Barnes Monument and it has a witch legend connected to it. The story goes that Caroline Barnes was a witch and had been hanged for her crimes. This bit of lore probably got started because of Caroline's death date on the monument: February 31, 1882. Now, of course, we know there never has been any such date because at most, February has 29 days. People say that this isn't some kind of error made by the sculptor, but rather on purpose because it was said that a witch could rise again on her death date. If that date doesn't happen, then there isn't an issue. There are other weird things about the monument, which not only marks Caroline's final resting place, but her husband Marcus and his parents Granville and Sarah. The monument is a ball atop a pyre and people claim the ball represents a crystal ball and it glows on moonless nights. The other graves in the cemetery are oriented east to west, but this one faces north and south. People claim that it is hard to take a picture of the monument and that photos don't turn out. And this has become a spot for secret rituals.
These were some interesting cemeteries with interesting burials and some creepy strange experiences. Are these six cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!