Surrounded by the dead and the last markers of their mortal remains, one is never alone. At least, that's the feeling you get when visiting one of these creepy American cemeteries. The tombstones have gathered moss for hundreds of years, and the buried have long since decayed beyond recognition. Yet something of the deceased remain in these haunted US graveyards, offering proof that dead and buried is still far from gone.
There are many tales of ghosts haunting cemeteries, and these are but a few. Scattered throughout the United States, these locations offer a glimpse into what awaits after the body draws its last breath. Perhaps death is more than the proverbial dirt nap. These lively cemeteries certainly seem to suggest so.
St. Louis Cemetery In New Orleans
This is actually three cemeteries, with the first and second being the oldest. Built in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is considered one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world. The primarily Catholic cemetery is composed mostly of above-ground mausoleums. Notable guests include Homer Plessy of the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court Case, the first mayor of New Orleans Etienne de Boré, and Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
Laveau is said to still haunt the graveyard, wandering the alleys chanting an audible voodoo curse on trespassers. She has also been said to take the form of a black cat with fiery red eyes. The ghost of her familiar, a giant black snake, also protects Laveau's grave from those who would mock her.
Vandalism in recent years (including an incident where Laveau's tomb was painted pink) has caused the archdiocese to ban public access to the cemetery. Only registered tour groups and the families of those buried are allowed to visit.
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery In Chicago
This small, abandoned cemetery is known for being one of the most haunted locations in the country. The land was first settled in 1835, and the graveyard was set aside in 1864. It is home to multiple recorded paranormal events, including a phantom house, spirit orbs, disappearing cars, and full bodied apparitions. During the prohibition era, the bodies of those killed by gangsters were found in the adjacent lagoon, along with some illegal firearms.
The most famous apparition is known as the Madonna of Bachelor's Grove. She is a lady dressed in white, and she often appears holding an infant on moonlit nights. In 1991, members of the Ghost Research Society conducted an investigation of the site. During the investigation, they managed to capture an image where a woman appeared to be sitting on a checkered tombstone. The full bodied apparition was not present during the investigation, and only appeared later when they developed the film.
Resurrection Cemetery In Chicago
This Roman Catholic cemetery was consecrated in 1904 and officially opened in 1912. It is also the alleged home of "Resurrection Mary." According to the legend, Mary was attending a dance at the O'Henry Ballroom one night in the 1930s. After getting into an argument with her boyfriend, she decided to walk home. She never made it, and became the victim of a hit-and-run somewhere near the cemetery.
Since then, there have been many sightings of Mary. She appears on the side of the road, or at a nearby dance hall. She asks for a ride home, her "home" being the place she was buried in the Resurrection Cemetery. After the car stops in front of the graveyard, she gets out and disappears.
Stull Cemetery In Kansas
This cemetery is purported to be one of the seven gateways to Hell. As the story goes, somewhere in or around the ruins of a small church is a stairway that leads directly into the underworld, hidden by a magic seal. On Halloween night the seal opens up, and Satan emerges from the darkness.
By most accounts, the gate is probably just an urban legend created by a professor at the University of Kansas. It was first published in a student newspaper in 1974. There is a lack of substantiated reports of paranormal activity in the cemetery, but plenty of vandalism and trespassing. Still, the cemetery was featured in the show Supernatural and is a pretty creepy looking place, even if it isn't really a gateway to Hell. Then again, you never know.
Chestnut Hill Cemetery In Rhode Island
During the late 1800s, a plague of tuberculosis ravaged Exter, Rhode Island. After the death by tuberculosis of her mother and sister, the townsfolk began suspecting Mercy Brown of vampirism and causing the plague. Suffering from tuberculosis herself, Mercy took on a pale, ghostlike appearance before succumbing to the disease.
After Mercy's death, the townsfolk reported seeing her rise from the grave to feast on blood. In a panic, they exhumed Mercy's body from its resting place in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, only to find that decomposition had not taken place and that she bled when pricked. They desecrated her grave, cut out her heart, and burnt it. They mixed the ashes with water and served it to Mercy's brother Edwin, but that failed to cure his tuberculosis.
The ghost of Mercy has been seen in the graveyard to this day. Though the vampire myth persists, most now believe that the ghost is a result of the grave desecration. She is also said to visit the terminally ill in town.
Glenwood Cemetery In Mississippi
Located in Yazoo City, this cemetery was created in 1856. It is also the burial site of the famed Witch of Yazoo. Legend tells of an old woman who lived near the Yazoo River. One day she was found torturing fisherman, so the sheriff chased her through the swamp and caught up with her just in time to watch her sinking into quicksand. With her last breath, she cursed the town, saying, "In 20 years, I will return and burn this town to the ground!"
On May 25, 1904, the town indeed did burn down. A total of 324 buildings were destroyed. When the townspeople approached the grave of the famed witch, the chains that normally surrounded the grave were apparently broken in two.
Bonaventure Cemetery In Savannah
This southern gothic cemetery was created in 1846. While it is not the oldest cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, it is allegedly the most haunted. It was originally part of the massive Bonaventure Plantation owned by Josiah Tattnall, Jr.
The sound of voices from Tattnall's parties can still be heard echoing through the graveyard. Additionally, the grave of Gracie Watson is said to be haunted. Many have heard the sounds of a female crying, and the statue has been reported to weep blood.
Old Western Burial Ground In Maryland
This Baltimore graveyard is the final resting place of Edgar Allen Poe. Established in 1787, it is also known as the Presbyterian Churchyard and is located next to Westminster Hall. Both the hall and cemetery are said to be haunted.
The apparition of Poe has been seen in the graveyard, lamenting that his untimely death prevented him from marrying. The ghosts of those allegedly buried alive in the cemetery have appeared, seeking out those responsible for their grisly fate. The notorious "Skull of Cambridge" is also buried here. Said to be the head of a murdered minister, the skull allegedly emits screams that drive people mad.