Category Archives: paranormal

Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country

Ghost Hunting San AntonioGhosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country by Michael O. Varhola is the latest addition to the popular haunted travel guides series and will be in a book store near you as of September 15. 

Clerisy Press is excited to celebrate this new addition to America’s Haunted Road Trip series with a GIVEAWAY, but first more about this new hands-on guide.

Local author Michael O. Varhola drew upon his training and experiences as a historian, journalist, and paranormal investigator while compiling this colorful and useful guide to publicly accessible haunted places in San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country. This guide fits every visitor’s needs with coverage of the paranormal, traveling the area, and Texas history.

Settled by Spanish explorers more than three centuries ago, San Antonio has a rich haunted history that includes conquistadores, the local Apache and Comanche Indian tribes, ancient monasteries, lost gold mines, battlefields, and elegant hotels. Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country covers 30 haunted locations in or around the cities of San Antonio and Austin and throughout the region known as Texas Hill Country, collectively one of the most haunted places in the country. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

Michael VarholaAbout the author: Michael Varhola is a writer who has authored or coauthored 34 books and games — including the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis, and two fantasy writers guides. He has also published more than 120 games and related publications. He is the founder of game company Skirmisher Publishing LLC, editor in chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of ghosthunting travel guides. He has edited, published, or written for numerous publications, including The New York Times. He also has an active online presence, notably through Facebook and a variety of other blogs, forums, and sites. He lives in Texas Hill Country.

About the series: America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles more than 30 haunted places open to the public. From inns and museums to cemeteries and theaters, the author visits each place interviewing people who live and work there. Also includes travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.

And now, as promised, the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win one copy of Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country
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My Favorite Haunted Road Trip Project

Michael O. Varholla shares with us thoughts about his favorite haunted trip project
The author at Ye Kendall Inn
The author at Ye Kendall Inn, the historic Texas Hill Country Hotel

Periodically, someone will ask me what my most- and least-favorite book projects have been, and the answer to both questions is the same: my latest one. That is, after all, what I have been most excited about and engaged with recently, and any exciting fieldwork I did for the latest book is the most memorable. It is also, however, what has inflicted the most recent physical and emotional stress, and other things have suffered because of my disproportionate use of time and other resources on it.

Of all the projects I have worked on for the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of travel guides, however, Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country has definitely been my overall favorite for a variety of reasons.

One is my love for the American Southwest. Its unique, violent, and colorful history makes it a fun subject for research, writing, and road trips, as well as a likely locale for haunted places.

Another is the almost iconic distinctness of the places I selected for inclusion in this book, which include everything from wilderness areas that have existed for time immemorial to ancient missions, grand hotels, and great public buildings.

In addition, we changed the format of this book, so it’s even more useful to people using it as a guide on their own haunted road trips. Foremost among these improvements is a robust section of Additional Haunted Sites, which contains entries on 60 locations, effectively tripling the number of places covered in earlier AHRT books.

Suffice it to say, I hope that my love for the subject matter covered in this book and the effort I have put into it will make it a valued resource for readers, and make it one of their favorite volumes in the series as well.

Ghost Hunting San AntonioAbout the author: Michael O. Varhola is a writer who has authored or coauthored 34 books and games — including the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis, and two fantasy writers guides. Michael is the editor-in-chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of ghosthunting travel guides. He lives in Hill Country, TX.

Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country is the latest of Michael O. Varhola’s books. The guide covers 30 haunted locations in or around the cities of San Antonio and Austin and throughout the region known as Texas Hill Country, collectively one of the most haunted places in the country. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

 

The Ghost of Punderson Lake

Mysterious Blue Lady haunts Punderson Lake

A blog by John Kachuba, based on the “Punderson State Park” chapter of his book Ghosthunting Ohio: On The Road Again

Punderson Lake is a deep, cold lake at Punderson State Park in Newbury, Ohio. Formed by glaciers eons ago, the lake is 72 feet deep although some people swear that it is bottomless. A source of summer recreation, the lake has been the scene of numerous drownings over the years, including that of a young woman who drowned in a boating accident in the 1970s.

For several years, a band of Romanian gypsies used to make Punderson State Park their home during the summer months. Led by a man named Peaches Frank, they arrived and set up their camp, living peacefully by the lake.

One evening, three old gypsy women were taking a stroll along the lake. One of them noticed a disturbance in the water and pointed it out to her companions. As the women watched, a figure slowly rose from the lake and started toward shore. As she drew closer, the women could see that the dripping wet figure was that of a teen-aged girl. Gypsy women, especially old gypsy women, recognize a ghost when they see one and they quickly identified the figure as a ghost. The women did not panic but as the spectral figure drew nearer, they ordered it to return to the cold depths of the lake from which it had emerged.

And the ghost did return to its watery grave. Peaches and his band of gypsies broke camp the next day and never returned to Punderson State Park.

The gypsies are gone but the ghost? Some people have seen the Blue Lady, as she has been named, floating above the dark waters of the lake, apparently still seeking her eternal rest.

Punderson State Park is also home to the Punderson Manor. The manor too is haunted. To read all about the Punderson Manor ghost and 26 other haunted places in the Buckeye State check out John Kachuba’s book Ghosthunting Ohio: On The Road Again

John KachubaAbout the author: John Kachuba is the award-winning author of twelve books and numerous articles, short stories and poems. Among his awards are the Thurber Treat Prize for humor writing awarded by The Thurber House and First Place in the Dogwood Fiction Contest. John teaches Creative Writing at Ohio University, Antioch University Midwest and the Gotham Writers Workshop.

He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Horror Writers Association, and the American Library Association’s Authors for Libraries. John frequently speaks on paranormal and metaphysical topics and is a regular speaker at conferences, universities and libraries and on podcasts, radio and TV.

Haunted Cemeteries

There are plenty of haunted cemeteries in and around Cincinnati, here are the ghost stories for three of them.

Hopewell Cemetery
6471 Camden College Corner Road, College Corner, OH 45003

Haunted Cemeteries
Hopewell Cemetery

This creepy cemetery in the middle of nowhere is reputed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the southwestern part of Ohio. Through the years many strange stories have been told about this graveyard. Some of the more common and harmless ghost stories involve strange lights. People who visit at night will sometimes see what appears to be a light from a lantern bouncing along throughout the cemetery. Other reports simply involve a floating ball of light that weaves its way through the headstones.

Another somewhat harmless phenomenon involves voices that seem to come from all around the cemetery. These voices are so clear that the witnesses are certain there is someone else nearby. The strange thing, though, is that this place is so isolated there is almost no feasible way that someone could be way out in the middle of nowhere without a car. If anyone drove up, the car would be easy to see in the surrounding area.

Other stories about the cemetery are not quite so harmless. According to legend, if you visit this place at night, you will be plagued by bad luck. Another story says that if you leave your car and walk through the cemetery, when you return to your car there will be a surprise waiting for you inside. Unfortunately, anyone who has received this surprise refuses to reveal what it is, saying only that it startled them so much when they saw it that they almost ran their car off the road.

Millville Cemetery
2289 Millville Avenue, Hamilton, OH 45013

Millville Cemetery seems to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. Perhaps this activity is due to the clash between the spirits of the older graves and the new burials that happen every year. Perhaps the older spirits are concerned that they will be forgotten, so they make themselves known.

People will often see full apparitions in the cemetery. While the encounters most often happen at night, they have been known to happen at dawn or dusk or during cloudy or rainy days. Two apparitions are seen most often. The first one is an old man that people will see walking aimlessly around the cemetery. The old man will roam around for a while, seemingly looking for something and then will vanish. The second apparition is that of a young girl, who is seen standing near one of the trees near the front of the cemetery. She always stares out toward the field to the west of the cemetery. Visitors also talk of seeing strange balls of light that seem to float through the cemetery, and of feeling cold spots on warm days.

Price Hill Potter’s Field
4700 Guerley Road, Cincinnati, OH 45238

This cemetery is quite haunted. People will hear strange voices and sobbing coming from the grounds at night. When people walk through during the day or night, they feel that they are being followed or watched. Sometimes people will actually see ghostly figures, which vanish when they are approached.

Cincinnati Haunted Handbook
Cincinnati Haunted Handbook

Perhaps the spirits of all those unfortunate souls who are buried here are upset about the shabby condition of the cemetery or about having been buried in a potter’s field. The ghosts here always seem to give off an angry and menacing vibe.

Cemeteries are often haunted, as if the dead have a hard time leaving their physical bodies behind. Much of their world seems to consist of wandering aimlessly through cemeteries or repeating trivial gestures that they often did in life. While many of these actions may seem meaningless, we need to make sure that when the dead do have something important to say…we’re listening.

For more haunted cemeteries check out Cincinnati Haunted Handbook by Jeff and Michael Morris.

Saint Expedite

Saint Expedite brings swift relief to those who ask

Saint Expedite
Our Lady of Guadalupe

It is said that offerings to the saints, just like Voodoo gods, are expected when asking for a favor or wish to be granted. Saint Expedite, a saint whose statue is inside Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in New Orleans, is no exception.

Locals claim, that Saint Expedite prefers wine, rum, and sweet cakes, with a special penchant for pound cake. Offerings are not allowed at the chapel, so many people slip a small piece of paper with their prayer under the statue and then visit the gravesite of Marie Laveau with their offering, asking her to deliver it to Saint Expedite.

If you would like to ask Saint Expedite for a favor to be granted, consider printing out his photo and placing it on your alter while lightning a red candle and saying this prayer that was given to Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans:

Oh Mighty Saint Expedite,
Bring Swift Relief to My Problem At Hand.”

Saint Expedite
Saint Expedite

Then explain your situation and problem. Say the prayer three times and don’t forget to offer a piece of cake and rum in offering. The luckiest day of the week to say this prayer is Wednesday, which is associated with the planet Mercury, the messenger, and on his Feast Day, which is April 19. Many practitioners state that once Saint Expedite answers your prayer, it is very important that you do a good deed or make a donation in his name.

If you visit the church to slip a small paper with your prayer under the Statue of Saint Expedite, please consider making a donation to the church, for they have to look after his statue and care for the surroundings, making it possible for you to visit.

Saint Expedite is perhaps the most photographed statue of any saint in the city of New Orleans, as many believe that his photograph helps one intercede directly to him in prayer.

Read all about the story of Saint Expedite and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends, and Cities of the Dead by Kala Ambrose.

Kala Ambrose
Kala Ambrose

About the author: Award winning author, national columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show, Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.

Kala shares her love of history, travel and the spirit world in her books Spirits of New Orleans and Ghosthunting North Carolina. Her books are designed to explore the history of cities in an entertaining manner while sharing haunted stories and offering travel tips on how to best see the cities to shop, dine, stay, and visit the haunted sites.

 

 

Laurel Grove Cemetery

Last week L’Aura Hladik shared with us her story about the White Lady of Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ. This week enjoy her tale about the second White Lady roaming the Garden State: Annie of Riverview Drive in Totowa.

The Laurel Grove Cemetery at Totowa’s Dead Man’s Curve

Laurel Grove Cemetery
The author with her son Trent in Laurel Grove Cemetery

The road runs between the Passaic River and Laurel Grove Cemetery and features a sharp bend in the road, affectionately called “Dead Man’s Curve,” where people say Annie was hit by a truck while walking home from the prom and dragged for fifty feet near the guardrail.

I first went to Laurel Grove Cemetery in 2000 as part of a New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society cemetery hunt. I had permission for our group to be in the cemetery. I can’t stress that enough to readers who want to jump in their cars and head out to a cemetery at midnight to get permission first. Even better, explore the area during the day, and then get permission from the caretaker or, if it’s a Catholic cemetery, monsignor. It’s also a good idea to check in with the local police department beforehand to apprise them of what you’ll be doing. If there are houses around the cemetery that you’re investigating, homeowners may call the police to report flashing lights and seeing vehicles and people in the cemetery after hours.

Our Totowa group was small and manageable. I reviewed the protocols for paranormal investigating while everyone signed the waiver sheet. We synchronized our watches and agreed to search for Annie’s grave and meet back at the front gate in one hour. A couple people came with me, and the others went off on their own. We covered a lot of ground within that hour. I remember taking one orb picture at a mausoleum. Other people captured some orb shots at various locations in the cemetery, but nothing stellar. EMF and temperature readings were normal. No one reported collecting any EVPs, and Annie’s grave eluded us.

After an hour we convened with the other part of the group, and I took attendance to make sure everyone was accounted for. One gentleman suggested we drive the length of Riverview Drive to see if Annie would appear. I agreed since our cars were all facing in that direction anyway. I knew the street would bend down to the right to follow the Passaic River, make a sharp turn and continue back out to the main road. I stressed to the team that we were only going to make the trip once. It was a residential area, and I didn’t want our caravan to be a nuisance.  We got in our cars and made our funeral-procession-paced drive down Riverview. As we were passing the cemetery on our right and the Passaic River on our left, I put my passenger window down and hung out a little to take pictures. I call this method “drive-by shooting.” I didn’t capture anything of a paranormal nature, but I have to say that it is a creepy road to drive along.

Once we were back on the main drag, we made the traditional stop at the first diner we saw. With digital cameras we were able to review and compare our cemetery hunt pictures over coffee and fries with melted mozzarella cheese and gravy. There were some interesting orb shots, but no full-body apparitions and certainly no Annie appearance. I asked whether anyone saw the blood-red paint on the guardrail that supposedly marks where Annie was hit and killed the night of her prom. Everyone admitted it was too dark to see any paint, if it was there. The eerie red paint is part of the legend that Annie’s father returns here on the eve of the anniversary of her death to repaint the guardrail.

A few months later, on a Sunday afternoon, my then-husband and I were in Totowa with our hearse, Baby, to attend a Cadillac car show at the Brogan Cadillac dealership. There were many classic Cadillacs, but ours was the only hearse. After the show, we headed for Riverview Drive and noticed some splattered red paint on the road, but did not see any on the guardrail. I figured this was the act of a teenager wanting to spook his girlfriend on their midnight ride home. Of course, I think we spooked the oncoming car even more as our twenty-two-foot-long hearse came around the corner of “Dead Man’s Curve.” In May 2008 I went up to Laurel Grove Cemetery to take a daytime picture of the entrance sign. Afterward, my sons and I hopped back in my car to make the drive down Riverview and look for the red paint on the guardrail. Sadly, the road was closed for construction. The site looked like an additional bridge was being built across the Passaic River. Oddly enough, this new bridge appears to start where Annie ended. Who knows? This may be the beginning of another legendary ghost-girl-on-the-bridge story.

L'Aura Hladik
L’Aura Hladik

About the author: L’Aura Hladik, is the author of Ghosthunting: New Jersey and Ghosthunting: New York City. L’Aura has been officially ghost hunting since 1993 and founded the NJ Ghost Hunters Society in 1998, which to date is the largest paranormal investigating organization in New Jersey.

As a paranormal investigator, L’Aura has stayed at the famously haunted Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA. Other ghost hunting explorations have taken her to Chicago, Savannah, and New Orleans. Internationally, she’s investigated several Irish haunted castles, most notably Leap Castle (County Offaly, Ireland).

 

The Lady in White

While we are sure that every state has a ghost story about a lady in white, New Jersey boasts two lady spirits clad in white: one in Branch Brook Park and the other on Riverview Drive in Totowa.

Today L’Aura Hladik, author of Ghosthunting New Jersey tells us about the Lady in White of Branch Brook Park.

Lady in White
Branch Brook Park Lion

Branch Brook Park in Newark is 360 acres of beautifully designed gardens and more than 2,000 cherry blossom trees. One can take a leisurely walk along the four miles of park. There are two three-ton stone lions, once affixed to the headquarters building of Prudential Insurance Company in downtown Newark, that stand watch over the trout-stocked lake.

Several stories surround Branch Brook’s Lady in White. The first is that she and her new husband were on their way to the park to have wedding photos taken when their limo hit a patch of ice and skidded into a tree, killing the bride instantly. A variation of that story says that in 1976 a bride and groom were on their way home from their wedding reception and the chauffeur decided to take them through Branch Brook Park. He lost control of the car on the sharp turn and the car slammed into the tree. The bride was killed, but the groom and chauffeur survived. Weeks after this crash, two other crashes took place at this same location. Another popular story has the white lady on her way to the prom with a date in the park. He lost control of his car in heavy rain and hit the same tree. The impact killed the girl, but her date escaped with minor cuts. Regardless of the discrepancies, each story says that the Lady in White lingers near the tree that caused her death. Some feel that she is warning drivers of the dangerous curve in the road. Others think she waits for her prom date to come back for her.

Lady in White
Branch Brook Park Tree

On a gorgeous spring day, I took a ride to Newark to search cherry blossoms, I couldn’t find the tree of the Lady in White. I did see a couple trees with strange markings on them that could have been there to serve as an indicator of her tree, or simply a tag by the county park’s official for pruning. At the south end of the park, I saw a tree with a rather odd indentation on its trunk consistent with being hit by a car. This tree, however, is no longer near the road because the county rerouted the road due to a dangerous curve near the tree. I photographed another tree, one close to the road, as an example of how the Lady in White’s tree would have appeared prior to the road’s rerouting.

A little background research also revealed that in 1895, much of the park was originally a swamp called Old Blue Jay Swamp. Inhabitants of the surrounding tenements drank this impure swamp water, which contributed to Newark’s cholera epidemic in the 1800s. As a paranormal investigator, I suspect that the Lady in White was a product of former swamp gases and other atmospheric conditions like fog and humidity. However, the appearances of the Lady in White in Branch Brook Park seemed to subside once the road was redirected away from the fatal tree.

If you like this ghost story check back next week to find out about the the Lady in White at Totowa’s Dead Man’s Curve or pick up her book Ghosthunting New Jersey.

L'Aura Hladik
L’Aura Hladik

About the author: L’Aura Hladik, is the author of Ghosthunting: New Jersey and Ghosthunting: New York City. L’Aura has been officially ghost hunting since 1993 and founded the NJ Ghost Hunters Society in 1998, which to date is the largest paranormal investigating organization in New Jersey.

As a paranormal investigator, L’Aura has stayed at the famously haunted Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA. Other ghost hunting explorations have taken her to Chicago, Savannah, and New Orleans. Internationally, she’s investigated several Irish haunted castles, most notably Leap Castle (County Offaly, Ireland).

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

The mere utterance of the name Heceta Head Lighthouse has become synonymous with the words haunted and ghost. Rarely do you hear the name mentioned without the addition of one of the previous words attached. But this is a day and age when the word haunted will bring visitors across the country to check into this majestic bed-and-breakfast for the chance to witness a specter with their own eyes. And this is the case with Heceta Head Lighthouse.

Let Donna Stewart, the author of Ghosthunting Oregon take you to Heceta Head Lighthouse

Many readers may be familiar with Heceta Head Lighthouse without ever having been there, as it has been featured on numerous television shows and documentaries, including Legendary Lighthouses on PBS, another short documentary on Oregon Public Broadcasting called simply Heceta Head Lighthouse, and a number of paranormal reality television shows. It is also the subject of countless books focusing on either its historical or paranormal aspect and often a mix of both.

Strange and unexplained occurrences in the light keeper’s house at Heceta Head have led to it being called one of the 10 most haunted houses in the United States. For more than six decades, residents of the light keeper’s house and guests of the bed-and-breakfast have spoken of unusual incidents. But don’t let the ghosts scare you away. Rue, the most well-known spirit, is always pleasant and seems to have a penchant for cleaning. She does not evoke fear in guests, and they generally enjoy her company after the initial shock of realizing they are seeing a ghost.

After hearing of my team’s investigation of Heceta Head Lighthouse, I cannot count the number of times I have been asked if it is haunted. And Heceta Head is the one location where I do not use the word haunted—it is, rather, apparently occupied by the spirits of a lovely lady and a few outspoken men.

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Lighthouse Keeper’s House, now a Bead & Breakfast

Heceta Head is now a popular bed-and-breakfast that offers turn-of-the-century-style rooms at reasonable prices. So if you are of the adventurous state of mind and would like to take a brief step back in time, Heceta Head Lighthouse might well be the place to escape to on your next vacation. It is history, it is home, and you are treated like family. Even by the ghosts.

Read the complete research done on Heceta Head Lighthouse in Donna Stewart’s book Ghosthunting Oregon. The book covers over thirty haunted places throughout the Beaver State, all of them open to the public.

Visiting Heceta Head Lighthouse

The lighthouse is located in what is called the Devil’s Elbow, 13 miles north of Florence, Oregon, and 13 miles south of Yachats, Oregon, at Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. More information on visiting and staying at Heceta Head Lighthouse is found HERE.

Photo credits Heceta Head Lighthouse:

  • Picture of Heceta Head Lighthouse courtesy of Dan Hershman [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Picture of Lighthouse Keeper’s House courtesy of Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Cincinnati Prom Ghost

Blog by Keen intern Sarris Balcerzak based on a story from Cincinnati Haunted Handbook by Jeff and Michael Morris

Princeton Road and the Prom Ghost
Cincinnati Prom Ghost
Princeton Road

Ode to the Prom-day horror story…if we don’t have one ourselves, we know somebody who does. This story starts like you would expect: with a young woman excited to go to the school dance. She has her date and her dress, the two prom essentials, what could go wrong?

Well, for starters the weather was not cooperating. It was raining. Her date called to tell her he could no longer pick her up—but he would meet her there! It wasn’t an ideal situation for the young woman, but she decided to take him up on his offer and drive herself to the prom. She left her date waiting…because she never made it to the prom. A car hit her on the way, causing her to spin out of control. She died that night.

Now cars speeding down Princeton Road will encounter what appears to be a young hitchhiker girl dressed for the prom. This is where the story splits in two:

Some say the spirit of the girl walks Princeton warning passing drivers of the dangerous road ahead. Others say that the girl is indeed hitchhiking and goes as far as to get in the car, tell the driver where to go and then suddenly vanishes. But other cars who pass her by mysteriously get in a wreck.

Visiting: The best way to drive when attempting to encounter this phantom hitchhiker is

Cincinnati Haunted Handbook
Cincinnati Haunted Handbook

to begin your drive near the church on the western end of Princeton Road.  Drive east down Princeton Road past Rose Hill  Burial Park. According to the legends, the area just past the cemetery is where she was killed and where people encounter the apparition most frequently.

Warning: If you see a girl hitchhiking on the side of the road in her prom dress, it may be in your best interest to pick her up and take her wherever she wants to go. You would’t want to make her mad.

To discover other haunted locations in Cincinnati (including Eden Park, Kings Island, and St. Xavier Highschool) check out Cincinnati Haunted Handbook by Jeff and Michael Morris.

Dabbs Cemetery

Blog by Keen intern Sarris Balcerzak based on April Slaughter’s book Ghosthunting Texas

Dabbs Cemetery
African-American side of Dabbs Cemetery

As a young child, April Slaughter, author of Ghosthunting Texas, would request to go to local cemeteries rather than normative childhood venues…you know, like playgrounds. She claims they left her feeling tranquil and curious about their mysterious histories.

In truth, cemeteries have always held historical artifacts that anyone paying attention would find interesting. In certain places of the world, people spend full days touring graveyards. In Edinburgh, Scotland, for instance, you can find many of the names for the Harry Potter series on headstones. As a young girl, J.K. Rowling too would explore the cemeteries.

By nature people associate cemeteries with ghosts for the obvious reasons, says April, and it makes sense that the place with the most dead is a prime haunted spot. But Dabbs Cemetery in Frankston, Texas has a new story, one that isn’t as commonplace as death.

An east Texas historian and author, Bob Bowman, claimed that a man who was mistaken for dead was buried alive in this cemetery. This would be enough, but the story doesn’t stop there. The guy dug himself out…then on his way back home died.

Now, let’s stop to examine the realistic scenario here. What do you do when a man you thought was dead is found dug out and dead on the way home? (Wouldn’t that be a great Family Feud question?) Well, naturally the general public was a little bit spooked. In an effort to make sure this incident would not happen a second time, the locals “constructed a cage of wooden stakes directly above his burial site.”

Currently there are many accounts of shady activity at the graveyard: a woman in a white dress, fast inexplicable shadows, these things give people the scare they had hoped for and they leave in a hurry.

Dabbs Cemetery
Caucasian side of Dabbs Cemetery

So, April Slaughter and her husband ventured up the unpaved road to Dabbs to see for themselves. What they encountered was a segregated graveyard, with unmarked and unruly grass marking the African American side and nicer head stones and a trimmed lawn marking the Caucasian side.

April and Allen started on the unkept side of the yard where April felt a definitive presence. She pressed record on the digital recorder and asked, “Is anyone here with us that is willing to say hello?” The playback revealed a small girl and a heavily southern male voice, both of which sounded welcoming. April and Allen walked around the cemetery recording. They heard approaching footsteps that were not their own.

April suggests that not all graveyards are haunted simply because of dead people or in the case of the buried-alive man, traumatic stories. Sometimes people don’t stick around after death, clearly there were a few spirits hanging around Dabbs, but don’t be discouraged if every graveyard you encounter isn’t a mosh pit of ghosts. Take a voice recorder, ask some simply friendly questions, wait for the playback, and if all else fails enjoy the silence the cemetery has to offer.

For more stories, check out April Slaughter’s book Ghosthunting Texas.