Surrounded by the departed 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 remains in these haunted US graveyards, offering proof that those buried are 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 a person draws their last breath. Perhaps the end is more than the proverbial dirt nap. These lively cemeteries certainly seem to suggest so.
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Glenwood Cemetery In Mississippi
Located in Yazoo City, this cemetery was created around 1856. It is the burial site of the famed Witch of Yazoo. Legend tells of an old woman who lived near the Yazoo River who was found tormenting fishermen. A sheriff chased her through the swamp and caught up with her just in time to watch her sink into quicksand and drown. 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 did indeed burn down. A total of 324 buildings were wiped out. When the townspeople approached the grave of the famed witch, the chains that normally surrounded the grave were apparently broken in two.
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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 in this area south of Chicago was first settled in the 1820s, and the graveyard was set aside in 1864. It is reportedly home to a large amount of paranormal phenomena, including a phantom house, spirit orbs, disappearing cars, and full-bodied apparitions. According to legend, during the Prohibition era, the remains of those slain by gangsters were found in the cemetery's adjacent lagoon, along with some illicit firearms.
The most famous apparition is known as the "Madonna of Bachelor's Grove." She is a lady dressed in white who 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, one investigator managed to capture an image of a woman who appeared to be sitting on a tombstone. The apparition was not present during the investigation and only appeared later when they developed the film.
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Chestnut Hill Cemetery In Rhode Island
During the late 1800s, disease ravaged a family in Exeter, RI. After a farmer's wife and two daughters passed from the same mysterious illness, he and the townsfolk began suspecting vampirism was at work. They exhumed the bodies of his wife Mary and daughters Mary and Mercy. While the remains of both Marys were decomposing normally, Mercy's remains looked strangely well-preserved, leading them to believe she was a vampire. In one story, they desecrated her grave, cut out her heart, and burned it. They mixed the ashes with water and served it to the farmer's son Edwin, but that failed to cure his disease, which we now know was tuberculosis.
After Mercy's passing and exhumation, people have reported seeing her ghost rise from the grave and wander through the graveyard. Others have seen orbs and heard strange sounds near her grave. Though the vampire myth persists, most now believe that the ghost is a result of the grave desecration.
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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 one of the legends about this ghost, Mary was attending a dance at the Oh Henry Ballroom one night in the 1930s. After getting into an argument with her boyfriend, she decided to walk home. She never made it, instead becoming the target of a hit-and-run somewhere near the cemetery. In another version of the story, based on the real passing of Mary Bregovy in 1934, Mary was slain in a car accident and haunts Resurrection Cemetery because she is interred there.
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 laid to rest in the Resurrection Cemetery. After the car stops in front of the graveyard, she gets out and disappears.
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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 the oldest existing cemetery in New Orleans and is considered one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world. The cemetery is composed mostly of above-ground mausoleums like most cemeteries in the area because of New Orleans' high water table level. Notable residents of St. Louis No. 1 include Homer Plessy of Plessy v. Ferguson fame and Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
Laveau is said to haunt the graveyard, wandering the alleys chanting audible Voodoo curses 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.
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Greenwood Cemetery In Illinois
According to legend, this cemetery was originally a Native American burial ground before white settlers started burying their deceased there in the 1830s. The graveyard was officially established in 1857.
A variety of supernatural manifestations have been reported at Greenwood. The ghosts of Confederate soldiers whose bodies supposedly were dumped in a hillside have been seen, appearing near what is now a war memorial. Another often reported ghost is that of the "Greenwood Bride," a woman in a wedding dress whose fiance was slain.