J.C.'s Story

This event happened when I was about 17 yrs old, with my friend and her sister.

We had learned of an abandoned family cemetery near our homes and decided to check it out. We didn't go because we heard it was haunted or anything along that line. It was just a 100yr old cemetery that had been found by a strip mining company working in the woods. They found the family plots with a wrought iron fence around it - really old tombstones - and it sounded historically cool to us, so we went.

It was early evening on a sunny summer day. The sun was still shining brightly through the tree branches as we walked through the woods to cemetery. It wasn't dark. It wasn't stormy. There was nothing about this time of day that was the least bit frightening.

We walked the short distance through the trees from our car and easily found the little cemetery. I don't know how it had survived all these decades with no one knowing it was there. It was only maybe 200 yards from the road and the woods weren't all that thick. Maybe hunters had seen it and just didn't realize no one else knew it was there.

The iron fence was intact in that it had no gaps or sections of fencing missing. It was well rusted and corroded though. The gate was so badly rusted that we had a very difficult time getting it opened enough for us to pass through. It was obviously that no one had been inside the fence for a number of years. The weeds and brush had grown up on both sides of the fence and gate. We barely got the gate open enough for us to pass before it became wedged on the brush. Between the weeds,the rust and the strength all three of us pulling together to get it open, we just left it open figuring we'd figure out how to get it closed again when it was time for us to leave.

We spent a few minutes walking around the old tombstones - reading the names of the deceased, noting the years they lived and died. I don't remember the specifics now, but it seems to me it was a couple generations of the same family name and there was at least one small child buried there. Nothing remarkable happened while we were looking at the tombstones until we had already decided it was time to go.

After the three of us had made the rounds to all the stones, we agreed there wasn't any more to do there and time to go home. Suddenly the wind picked up. The forest trees seemed to come alive with their branches groaning as they moved in the wind. We figured a storm was coming but nothing more than that. Just as we were about to reach the gate, the wind stopped - dead (pardon the pun). It was like God's giant wind switch had been shut off suddenly. And then the gate slammed shut in our faces.

Now had we not spent nearly as much time trying to get that gate open as we did actually looking at the tombstones, I would say the wind shut it. But the wind was NOT blowing when the gate shut. And, once we got the gate open alittle, we couldn't get it to budge in EITHER direction any more. My friend's sister barely fit through, but we couldn't get it to open or move in any direction any more. The gate had become wedged on some brambles that were growing there. To be honest, I didn't think we'd ever get it shut again. And then suddenly it slammed shut on its own. There was no one else in the woods with us. It was only the 3 of us in the car and no houses nearby. It was a weekend and the coal mining company employees were gone. And besides, it was sunny and beautiful out. While we were under that shade of the tree canopy, there was plenty of light and there was no one around to have shut that gate.

Once the gate slammed shut, we could hear voices. I don't know what they were saying - it was a jumble of whispery voices - male, female - far to jumbled to hear clearly.

That's when we got spooked.

My friend's sister tried to get the gate back open, but couldn't. If it had freely blown shut, it should have been easy to open again, but it wasn't. It was back to being rusted and looking like no one had been through it for years.

We got out by climbing over the 5 foot tall wrought iron fence. We climbed out, ran to our car and didn't look back. We went home and told our parents - who, naturally, didn't believe us.

I've not been back since. But as both of my parents have an interest in genealogy, they've talked to other people who have gone to that cemetery researching their own ancestors. This same incident has happened to others as well. It has gotten to the point that the property owners have declared it private ground and are no longer permitting visitors.

I respect the final resting places of these individuals. Perhaps they were upset that more people hadn't come to visit them in the 100yrs since their deaths, and that's why they wanted us to stay - so they could "chat". Who knows......

Submitted by J.C. Rausch

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