What is it about a cemetery that is so alluringly mystical, yet so incredibly terrifying at the same time? It’s hard not to be attracted to their eerie presence, and something about the way they feel makes you somehow drawn to their peculiar presence.
While graveyards aren’t notoriously places that are haunted (apparently ghosts prefer to spook you somewhere that their body wasn’t buried), there are definitely cemeteries where this certainly isn’t the case. The following 10 cemeteries scattered throughout the US, are some of the most frightening you can find. Enter if you dare.
1. Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Massachusetts
Salem, famous home of the Salem Witch Trials, could possibly be one of the most haunted places in America, Howard Street Cemetery or not. As the oldest cemetery in the area, Howard Street Cemetery has lived with a curse since the late 1600s. Giles Corey of the famous Giles Corey Curse was not only buried at Howard Street Cemetery but died there as well. By torture.
It was during the Salem Witch Trials that Corey refused to admit to accusations that he practiced witchcraft because either way he answered; officials would still take his property. For this refusal, he was made to lie in a whole in the middle of a field where stones were added to a board placed across his chest. The longer he refused to admit to witchcraft, the more and more stones were slowly added until he was eventually crushed to death two days after his trial began.
The ghost of Giles Corey is now supposedly seen just before tragedy strikes the town. The Great Fire of 1914 is his most famous sighting where it has been reported that he showed up just days before.
2. Western Burial Ground, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland
Is it coincidence that one of the most haunted cemeteries on the east coast is home to the great Edgar Allan Poe? Not likely, and there have been reports of many creepy encounters at this cemetery that holds the remains of the grandfather of President James Buchanan, five former mayors of Baltimore, and fifteen generals from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. There is deep history here, and no history is complete without a harrowing haunt.
While it only makes sense that the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe has been sighted, another twisted tale has to do with the Cambridge Skull. The skull comes from a murdered minister who was murdered. The thing is his head never stopped screaming, even after he died. The story goes that the murderers gagged the head and buried it in a block of cement, yet this did no good.
That haunting scream can still be heard today, and if you’re one of the ones that just so happen to hear it, beware. Those that have heard the scream reportedly never get it out of their head and are eventually driven insane.
3. Union Cemetery, Easton, Connecticut
It seems that some of the oldest cemeteries are most often the creepiest. Dating back to the 1600s, Union Cemetery in Easton, Connecticut definitely has the creep factor covered. There is a lady who haunts these parts, and she apparently likes to make herself well seen.
It’s been called “one of the most haunted places around” and the story of the White Lady that haunts Union Cemetery has been around for decades. It is said she is the ghost of Harriet B. Seeley, a woman buried in the cemetery who lost her son in 1853. It is assumed that the White Lady is Seeley, and she is roaming to find her missing son.
One of the scariest accounts of her sightings includes a man who was driving his truck just past the cemetery, when a lady in white stepped out in front of his truck. He hit the woman, but when he stopped to see if she was okay there was no one around. Spooky indeed and not the only incidence where she’s been sighted.
4. St. Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans, Louisiana
This scary cemetery in New Orleans was built in 1789 to replace St. Peter Cemetery that burned down in 1788. This definitely stirred up some souls, as there are now over 100,000 people buried in the space that’s about as big as a city block.
Marie Laveau is perhaps the most famous of the many souls that crowed this space. This well-known voodoo queen has been haunting this small cemetery for years, and visitors to her tomb are known to mark three X’s. These three X’s are said to grant one wish. Whether they come true is something you’ll have to brave for yourself.
5. Resurrection Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
Of all the tales of ghost sightings in cemeteries across the country, the one of “Resurrection Mary” could possibly be one of the most famous ever told…and witnessed. This scary story tells of a girl who haunts these parts, one perpetually trapped forever inside the iron gates of Resurrection Cemetery in Chicago.
Most agree that Resurrection Mary is a girl who was walking home one night in the early 1930s after a dance. This girl was struck by a car and left there to die. Sightings of this wandering girl began shortly after her death and have been reported for over seventy years.
One creepy encounter tells of a man named Jerry Palus who attended a town dance and met a beautiful girl with long blond hair and blue eyes. The two danced the night away and at the end of the evening, she asked him to drive her home. It was near Resurrection Cemetery where the girl started to become extremely anxious and insisted that he drop her off in front of it. As he slowed the car, she jumped out, ran for the gate, and disappeared into thin air right in front of his eyes.
There was another account of a taxi driver who was giving a young woman a ride down the same road as Resurrection Cemetery is on. As the approached the graveyard, the girl ordered the driver to stop. When he stopped the cab to ask her what was the matter, she was gone. The doors hadn’t opened, yet there was no sign of her anywhere.
Apparently, Resurrection Mary likes to make a scene. In 1978, there was a report from a couple that was driving by the cemetery when a woman came into view right in the middle of the road. The driver quickly hit the brakes, but couldn’t stop fast enough. Instead of hitting a solid figure and killing the woman, the car went right through her, and then she disappeared into a fine mist.
If you’re really looking to catch eye witness of a ghost “in the flesh”, a trip to Resurrection Cemetery in Chicago should be your destination of choice.
6. Hollywood Forever, Los Angeles, California
Leave it to Hollywood to have some of its own famous ghost sightings and scary stories. Perfectly situated with Paramount Studios in the background, Hollywood Forever (originally named Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery) is home to such greats as Clifton Webb, Virginia Rappe, Rudolph Valentino, and “Bugsy” Siegel.
Accounts of seeing the transparent figure of Clifton Webb dressed in a suit have been reported, as well as hearing him whistle or call out a word, seemingly looking for attention. There are others that report feeling a cold draft when swirl around them and immediately catching a whiff of cologne.
Silent film star and troubled soul Virginia Rappe haunts Hollywood Forever to this day. The reason for her death remains a mystery to this day. Some claim she was murdered, while others account that she died from a botched abortion. Whatever the case may be, those that visit her grave feel a rush of cold air and hear sobbing that many belief is coming from her very grave itself.
7. Stull Cemetery, The Gates to Hell, Douglas County, Kansas
There are some cemeteries so scary that some say that the very Devil himself holds ground at these places, and Stull Cemetery in Kansas is one such place. Stull Cemetery sits pretty much in the middle of nowhere Kansas next to a dilapidated church that coincidently (?) fell to ruin on Good Friday.
Legends of the evil in this cemetery in an all but forgotten town date back for at least 100 years, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that people began to really take notice of the haunted happenings that were becoming all too common. Legends report that Stull Cemetery is one of two places on earth that the Devil appears in person twice a year, once on the night of the Spring Equinox, and once again on Halloween.
There have been numerous legends associated with Stull Cemetery and accounts so scary it really does seem like the place is steeped in black magic. One story tells of two men who were visiting the cemetery late one night when a fierce wind began to blow out of nowhere. When they tried to run back to their car, they found it on the other side of the road facing the opposite direction in which they had parked it.
Although mostly based on legends, no one in the small town of Stull is saying much that suggests these legends are in any way untrue. Legend or real, Stull Cemetery remains one of the most haunted cemeteries in all of America.
8. Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Bremen, Illinois
On the very edge of Rubio Woods Forest Preserve near Chicago lies a small cemetery that holds a big haunt. There are many that believe this old, run-down graveyard could be the most haunted place in the area and that it is literally crawling with more ghosts than one would ever care to imagine. There are over 100 documented cases over the years, from actual sightings of ghosts to reports of glowing balls of light hanging languidly in the air.
The history of the cemetery is not too clear, but reports of hauntings started in the 1960s after vandals came in and destroyed the place. They knocked over gravestones, opened graves, and removed caskets. There are even accounts of bones being scattered throughout the cemetery.
One story of a sighting in the late 70s comes from two rangers who were out patrolling the area. The claimed to see a horse come out of the waters of a pond pulling a plow with the ghost of a man driving it. They were not the only ones that saw the same thing, and the tale is actually connected to a legend about a farmer who was drowned with his horse and plow in the same pond in the 1870s.
There are also reported sightings of a “haunted farmhouse”, something that has been seen in all types of weather and in various different seasons. Descriptions of the house are usually the same and rarely vary from the white, two-story house with wooden posts and a front porch swing. There is even a welcome light that burns softly in the window. For those that try to approach the house, it is said that it gets smaller and smaller as you approach it.
Whether or not legends hold true, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery seems to be one of the most haunted places in the Midwest.
9. Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
The Battle of Gettysburg was one of the bloodiest on American soil, and it is at Cemetery Hill where a certain scent haunts the very air that hangs heavily around these graves. There were so many people that died in this famous battle that it was impossible to get them all buried before the stench of rotting death permeated the entire area.
The smells lasted so long that people could not walk near the cemetery and escape the smell of death so they would dip handkerchiefs in peppermint and vanilla and hold them over their noses as they walked by the cemetery. There are many that report smelling peppermint when they visit the cemetery to this day.
There are also stories of many people reporting seeing ghosts walking the hills of the cemetery. There are some that even say they have felt angry ghosts touching them as a warning to leave the area. It is likely to say that the ghosts of Gettysburg past would like to rest in peace.
10. Boot Hill, Tombstone, Arizona
Boot Hill in Tombstone, Arizona is one of the most famous graveyards in the West. While most haunted cemeteries have people who say they’ve witnessed ghosts, Boot Hill has the pictures to prove it. In this quietly eerie wild-western cemetery (that isn’t open after dark), there is actual photographic evidence of a ghost that isn’t so camera shy. Time and time again, with locals and tourists alike, there are stories of taking a picture at Boot Hill to find an unexpected ghost-guest sharing their shot. The Boot Hill ghost is certainly not camera-shy, with numerous pictures of someone sharing the screen