Cemeteries have gained the reputation of being haunted and with reason since this is the place where the remains of people are buried. Let us keep in mind that the skeletons will be found in the coffins here not the spirits and it is the spirits that for some reason have chosen to roam the cemeteries. Some may be troubled, some seeking someone or something and there are even spirits that find themselves lost between this world and the next.
At the Old Western Burial Ground, Westminster Presbyterian Churchyard in Baltimore, Maryland you’ll find the graves of people like famous author Edgar Allan Poe, the son of Francis Scott Key, the grandfather of former U.S. President James Buchanan, five former mayors of Baltimore and fifteen generals from the Revolutionary War and from the War of 1812.
Edgar Allan Poe
The catacombs of this cemetery are located underneath Haunted Westminster Hall and have always been the subject of a ghostly tale or two. Some of the stories include ghosts who have been buried alive and now are trying to tell the living of their plight. Then there is Edgar Allan Poe, who in his lifetime wrote quite a few horror stories himself and a haunting poem or two. There are those who say they’ve seen him, felt him and talked to him. Personally I would love to have a chance to speak to Poe as it could be very inspirational for my poetry. They say he is seen dressed in black with a black fedora and a black scarf in order to hide his face. He has a walking stick with a silver cat’s head and he is seen strolling in the cemetery every year on or around January 19, which is the date of his birth. As a believer of the paranormal I find this quite interesting and wouldn’t at all mind encountering the gentleman. He is rather dramatic I must say dressed in all that black.
There is a legend that says the ghost of Poe has been seen near his grave and in the church catacombs. It is known that he died mysteriously in Baltimore but apparently no one is really sure exactly how or of what he died and therefore was buried in the city. Perhaps his spirit is not at rest because of the unusual circumstances of his death. What is known is that he arrived in Baltimore and was at the time passing through on his way to visit his beloved mother-in-law in New York. Fate intervened and he met death unexpectedly. Apparently he was going to bring her back to Richmond, Virginia where Poe was going to marry his childhood sweetheart. Years before his first wife had succumbed to tuberculosis.
During the four days he spent in Baltimore he was discovered lying in a gutter on East Lombard Street barely conscious. After being rushed to the hospital he died a short while later. During the brief time he was at the hospital Poe was delirious, crying and trembling and at one time he screamed out the name “Reynolds”. Finally he met death on October 7, 1849 at the young age of 40. This then brings me to a question – if the circumstances of his death were so unusual and to this day no one knows exactly how or why he died then, if people say they have seen him and even spoken to him, you would think someone would have asked his spirit what happened. I know that I certainly would inquire.
Another cemetery story tells about a screaming skull known as the screaming skull of Cambridge, Maryland. Legend has it that this is the skull of a murdered minister. The skull started screaming night and day and was finally bound and gagged and buried in a block of cement. They say that to hear this skull scream will drive a person mad. I leave that for the unbelievers to discover. Wait it gets even better.
There is also the ghost of a wild, crazed lunatic known as Leona Wellesley, who was buried in a straight jacket right from the asylum to the cemetery. Residents of the area say that they can hear her mad laugh and get a feeling of being followed through the cemetery. At least it keeps her entertained.
Ghost with a shovel
We now come to old Valence a long dead Western Burial Ground Cemetery Keeper and Gravedigger who if he sees that you don’t respect the well-kept graves will chase you right out of the cemetery with a shovel in his hand. Well I’ll tell you that if I saw a ghost coming at me with a shovel I’d certainly get the heck out of the way. Valence’s ghost is said to be a drunken ghost and will cuss at you or even attempt to bury you alive. Friendly isn’t he? Therefore it is said that visitors to this cemetery should go there at their own risk. I personally think it would be a grand adventure, but then that is only my opinion.