Well here we are. My last blog about haunted cemeteries, burial grounds, and the like. This last one sparked my curiosity because of its name, the Western Burial Ground. You would think it was perhaps located in the Wild West areas of the United States but it isn’t. It is once again further to the east like so many of the cemeteries in previous posts. The Western Burial Ground is nestled in Baltimore.
Western Burial Ground:
The Western Burial Ground or sometimes referred to as the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground or the ‘Old’ Western Burial ground is an established cemetery dating back to the American Revolution. Many generals from the war and the war of 1812 are buried in this cemetery.
Much of the land and original resting places of the dead are difficult to locate because of the structures built on or around the original land. The Westminster Hall is one of these establishments. It was once a Presbyterian Church built for the purpose of city ordinances not allowing a burial site to not have a religious structure or be next to one. This ordinance, however, was not true through later investigation it was proved that it was an attempt to satisfy the growing population in the area where there were not enough churches.
The reason I saved this cemetery for last was because of one notable figure how is buried there. In some ways I was hoping that the way my blogs would cycle out would get me closer to his birthday to add to the eeriness of the post. But yet, here I find myself a month behind his birthday of January 19th.
This person is most notable for his gloomy macabre and eerie style of writing, often in the form of poetry that was not as popular until after his death. Many may never realize that his first book, or collection, titled Tamerlane and Other Poems even exists. Tales of his like “Hop-Frog,” and his only play “Politian” never truly ring a bell in one’s mind when we think of him.
However, the minute I say “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” or “Lenore,” everything starts sounding a little more clearly. Maybe it takes me having to mention that he wrote, “The Raven,” for everyone to finally know who I am talking about. If you haven’t guessed yet, I am talking about Edgar Allan Poe.
Now even though the cemetery is the final resting place to many other famous and infamous people I want to address Poe’s cemetery life, after his death.
Edgar Allan Poe:
One of the reasons Edgar Allan Poe’s story doesn’t end with his death is because of his writings and other arts that have carried on with us for almost two centuries now. His first released book, as mentioned, was released in 1827. However, at the cemetery every year since the 1940s there has been a mysterious visitor to Poe’s grave. Every year on his birthday this man leaves a bottle of Cognac, three Red Roses and tips his hat before walking slowly away using a cane.
Many eyewitnesses, who have still not identified the man, have contrasting reports about the description of Poe’s mysterious birthday quest. Yet, they still share the same story of the process in which the gentleman or perhaps even a woman, visits the grave.
It was always the same until one year when a note was left at the gravesite that read, “Edgar, I haven’t forgotten you.”
Through his life of personal and artistic struggles, Poe managed to capture a piece in many of us by not so much the stories themselves but by the way they were delivered. The mysteries that still surround his life and death and the inability to understand why he did or lived life the way he did, only adds to that eerie feeling many people get when they think of Poe. Yet, many of his works were works based of romanticism and broken hearts. But that is all up to how the readers interpret the works.
Besides Poe and his mysterious visitor there are other hauntings that are reported throughout the Western Burial Ground. Although Poe’s ghost is believed to be seen roaming around his own tombstone there are other haunts reported at the cemetery.
Many people believe that the cemetery is the resting place of spirits that were not dead when buried. Now that they have left their earthly forms and moved on into the spirit world they are wandering and looking for something. Perhaps the people or descendants of those who buried them alive so very long ago.
The Skull of Cambridge is a popular addition to Western Burial Grounds. This skull that once belonged to a minister is believed to be placed somewhere in the cemetery. Rumors say that the minister was murdered and the skull of the deceased body continued to scream after his death. In order to stop the horrendous screams and cries the skull was encapsulated in stone, or mortar, and then buried in an attempt to muffle the screams. Many believe that if you are walking through the cemetery and “think” you hear something it is the skull. Somehow it still manages to linger a few cries from its confines.
I had a lot of fun with this blog segment of Haunted Places with the focus on cemeteries and other form of resting places for the dead. I only hope that the next segment will be as interesting as this one was.
Thanks for Reading,
Joshua Crane Dowidat