[NH] Nashua – Gilson Road Cemetery, Nov 1999 – Page 1

This was my first, formal investigation report about Gilson Road Cemetery in Nashua, New Hampshire. It was the first time a ghost-related website mentioned Gilson Road Cemetery as a haunted location.

In 2016, over 15 years later, Gilson is still one of the richest, most reliable sites for ghost hunting.

Gilson Road Cemetery is one of New Hampshire’s most haunted locations. As one ghost researcher wrote to us late in 2007, “I am a Psychic and Medium and I have NEVER experienced so much paranormal activity.”

From the moment we first heard local legends about Gilson Road Cemetery, we were intrigued. That’s when it was still an isolated cemetery, far from streetlights and surrounded by dense trees on both sides of the road. The nearest house was at least 1/4 mile away.

Despite its isolation — and partly because of it — Gilson Road Cemetery became the focus of our research, and an ideal place to test new equipment and train new investigators.

In the years that followed, the road was lowered, a subdivision moved in across the street, and the surroundings were landscaped. Due to our online reports, Gilson Road Cemetery became a popular spot for visitors looking for a “good scare.”

Mist at Gilson

This page and those that follow describe what Gilson Road Cemetery was like during our early, formal investigations.

For privacy, I have changed the names of most of the people who visited the cemetery with me on 5 November 1999:

Alan, then a second-degree Black Belt karate instructor with a casual interest in ghosts. Ordinarily he has nerves of steel and a quick sense of humor. He’s the one who knew the most about this cemetery.

Jane, friend of Alan. At the time, she was a sophomore in college, and a skeptic who wanted to know more about the paranormal.

Nancy, professional photographer, 46-year-old mother of Alice. She was interested in the paranormal and intrigued by my “ghost photos,” but definitely not psychic. Or so she said, anyway.

Alice, a high school student who reminded us of a delighted “Alice in Wonderland.” She’s psychically gifted.

James, then a high school student. (He’s my son, and he’s relieved that I use a pen name.)  Mostly a skeptic, he notices “odd” things and seeks rational explanations for them.  Sometimes, that really irks me, but I’m sure he’d say that I annoy him even more often.  I love him more than words can say.

wall and headstone at Gilson Road cemetery

THE STORY

When Alan first told me about haunted Gilson Road Cemetery, it sounded intriguing. He’d been there one eerie Halloween night several years ago. Since then he’d heard stories about the haunted history of the site. Almost everyone loves a good “ghost story,” and this sounded like a great place to explore.

On the afternoon of November 5th, Alan drove Jane and me to the cemetery, about fifteen minutes from my house. The cemetery was small, a little too quiet, and–in 1999–it was in a very rural location. The oddest thing was, the stone wall surrounding the graveyard was far too large for the sparse number of stones in it.

Several gravestones at Gilson Rd Cemetery

I later learned that most of the graves in the cemetery aren’t marked.

Alan had heard that a home had been there in Colonial times, and murders had taken place in the home or at least nearby. Then the house had burned to the ground, and the local residents decided it was wisest to use the land as a cemetery rather than try building on it again.

The afternoon we visited the Gilson Road Cemetery, the sun was shining. It was an unusually warm afternoon for so late in the year, and we should have had a fun time wandering among the fallen leaves and ancient headstones. It was a lovely setting.

Jane seemed to have the most fun. She joked and laughed happily, reading the very Gothic notes on the headstones. However, her humor became sarcastic and a little too loud as we continued to explore the 18th- and 19th-century headstone. Was she nervous, or just caught up in the moment?

At first, Alan and I went along with Jane’s high spirits. Soon, I felt uncomfortable, and then edgy. Something was very, very wrong about that cemetery, and I could practically grasp the antagonism I began to feel, eminating from the air around me as Jane continued to joke.

I took a few photographs, and we left. I felt very uneasy about the experience, but made excuses to myself. After all, it was a very old cemetery. The odd hole in one headstone seemed kind of creepy; perhaps that had unnerved me more than it should have. Well, that’s what I told myself.

Later that night, six of us returned to the cemetery, to try some night photography. I had shaken off my earlier uneasiness, and when our group gathered to drive to the cemetery, we were in the mood for a fun evening hike.

It turned out very differently.

Next, Alan encounters something unusual, and Jane learns not to joke in cemeteries

[NH] Hollis – Blood Cemetery & Abel Blood

The mysterious tale of Abel Blood’s ghost

Abel Blood's headstone
Abel Blood’s headstone (middle).

Abel Blood was buried at Pine Hill Road Cemetery in Hollis, New Hampshire, in 1867. His wife Betsy is with him. I’ve researched his personal history and found no obvious reason for him to haunt the cemetery. In the history books, there are no references that suggest the occult connections mentioned in local legends.

Abel Blood’s genealogy and the town’s history suggest that he was a very Christian man and lived a good, law-abiding life.

It’s possible that he haunts the cemetery… but, in my experience and from my research, it’s unlikely.

However, according to local legends, Mr. Blood’s headstone changes after dark. The finger on the stone that points heavenward during the daylight hours, moves. When the ghosts walk at night, the finger on the stone points towards the ground.

In fact, one of our Hollow Hill investigators led us to this cemetery, to see it in the daylight. He had been there once before, late one Halloween night, and he’d seen the famous headstone.

His response in the daylight was amazement, because he’d believed that Abel’s finger always pointed downward.

bloodfinger1 bloodfinger2

The photos, above, are a simulation of what happens at Abel Blood’s headstone. (Illustration only. NOT a real photo.)

Note: The finger on the headstone was actually chipped off years ago. If you visit the cemetery, the outline of where the finger was–and part of the base–remains. However, this is old vandalism. You can tell by the lichen on the chipped-off area.

I visited the cemetery twice on 11 Oct 1999, taking a few photos for this website, not to capture anomalies.  I took 20 photos during the day and later at dusk, with a Kodak Advantix AF camera, using Fuji Advanced film, 200 ASA.

The photo below was taken at dusk. It has an orb towards the upper left corner of the photo.  The orb is faint, but it’s there.  (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

I wasn’t using a flash with the camera, so that’s not a reflection from dust or moisture.  (It was a dry evening, anyway.)

Blood cemetery graves, Hollis, NH

Here’s my report from 11 Oct 1999:

The photo was taken at 6:30 pm. It was dusk and the sun had just set, behind me, but it was still light enough not to need a flash camera.

The cemetery is surrounded by farmland, currently an almost fully-harvested field of pumpkins. There was nothing in the area to reflect the scant remaining light of the day, or to create a reflection or lens flare.

This photo shows the oldest gravestones in the cemetery, mostly from the late 18th century and early 19th. I saw no orbs in real life, and only took the photos as an afterthought when something “felt odd” among those gravestones.

[NH] Hollis – Blood cemetery’s other eerie events

Other eerie events at Blood Cemetery in Hollis, NH, reported by readers:

misty photo at Blood Cemetery

Trees moving when there is no breeze. Several have noticed this. It’s easy to compare the trees’ movement at Blood Cemetery with nearby wooded areas. In each story, the trees were still (not moving) elsewhere, but the trees were swaying and/or the leaves fluttering vigorously only within the immediate vicinity of Blood Cemetery.

Fog” that slowly seems to engulf this cemetery and nowhere nearby, yet the cemetery is near the top of a hill. We have several independent reports of this, including one from a former policeman.

A Nashua nurse was in her car with friends, and they were listening to the radio. As they approached the cemetery, static interrupted the music, followed by dirge-like organ music. Shortly after they passed the cemetery, the static returned and then their previous music was restored.

There are natural explanations for this, but it is such a common story in the vicinity of haunted cemeteries in the northeast, and the nurse is otherwise very level-headed, so this tale is worth noting.

Several readers have reported sensing something angry in the cemetery. A few others have seen a lone figure standing in the cemetery after dark.

However, the Hollis police are rumored to play pranks on people near Blood Cemetery at night, to discourage visitors and vandals.

According to one police officer, they cover themselves with ghostly sheets, and hide behind the headstones.  When someone enters the cemetery, the police leap up, shouting, and chase the trespassers out.  This seems to be effective at keeping pre-teens out of the cemetery when the site is closed to visitors.

Nevertheless, we doubt that anyone’s out there with a fog machine, a wind machine, or broadcasting dirges on the radio.

“Blood Cemetery,” aka Pine Hill Cemetery in Hollis, New Hampshire, is one of New England’s most interesting haunted cemeteries.

[NH] Hollis – Blood Cemetery’s Small Grey Ghost

Reported by Fiona Broome, Halloween 1999

After years of researching ghosts in the northeast, I enjoy visiting Blood Cemetery (aka Pine Hill Cemetery) in Hollis, NH.

It’s an isolated spot with more than its share of ghost stories, but I like it there. Well, I used to like it there…

The evening before Halloween night in 1999, the sunset was magnificent. It was a warm evening, and it seemed a fine time for some photos at Blood Cemetery.

Since this ancient New England cemetery is on a hill, its headstones can look magnificent — or eerie — against a colorful sky.

Everything was fine until I was about halfway through my roll of film. The light was starting to fade, and my attention was drawn to an area just east of the Farley family graves.

Looking through my camera’s viewfinder, I was dismayed to see something greyish move between me and one of the headstones. It had very fuzzy edges, and it was the same color as the headstone.

“Oh. Great,” I sighed. “It’s a cat.”

I waited for it to move out of the way so that I could take more photographs.

Then, as I watched, it vanished into the headstone.

I nearly dropped my camera.

Really. It vanished. It took about half a second for the image to completely disappear.

It went into one of those half-tall headstones. (It was not a child’s marker, as I found out when I returned on November 1st. The link to that story is at the bottom of this page.)

The grave is near the center of the cemetery. There is no way an animal could leave the graveyard without being seen, even at dusk. The cemetery isn’t that large, and a wide grassy area surrounds the headstones.

Plus that, the stone that it vanished into is one of the smaller stones in the cemetery. There wasn’t any place for an animal to hide.

(I looked, just in case. I really wanted a reasonable, logical, normal explanation.)

I saw the remains of a faerie ring a few feet away, but that’s all.

Over 15 years later, I still ask myself: Why did I think it was a cat?

It would have been a very large cat. It was about 2 1/2 feet tall, and I’m not certain how wide. It was big. It was very fuzzy around the edges, which — from a logical (perhaps skeptical) viewpoint — suggested a massive Angora-type cat that had just been rolling in the dust so his fur was standing up.

It was too “fluffy” (fuzzy-edged) to be a dog. And, it was far too large for any other kind of grey-colored field or domestic animal.

Too late, I realized that I’d seen… a ghost?

I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know what else it could have been. But I took a few photos anyway, just in case. (They didn’t reveal anything startling.)

Since then, I’ve promised myself that I will never not take a photo, when something unexpected shows up at a cemetery or any haunted site.

But, about 24 hours later, my Halloween night experience was even stranger.  It’s in the next article:  Ghostly Mischief on Halloween Night

[NH] Hollis – Ghostly Mischief on Halloween Night

Abel Blood's headstone, Hollis, NH
Abel Blood’s haunted headstone at Pine Hill Cemetery, Hollis, NH

Reported by Fiona Broome, Halloween 1999

The weather turned unusually warm on Halloween night. In the northeast, Halloween can be sultry or freezing cold. This year, the weather in southern New Hampshire was perfect.

After dropping my son at a church youth social, I decided to return Blood Cemetery (aka Pine Hill Cemetery) in Hollis, NH, to take some quick photos from the roadside. (Like many New England cemeteries, Pine Hill is closed from dusk to dawn.)

I carried my “old reliable” 35mm point-and-shoot camera which I’d used for years without a problem.

I’d taken over 100 photos with it during the two weeks before this, and it had worked perfectly. In fact, about half of my photos are taken in low-light conditions using the flash.

On this evening, the batteries were fresh, the film was fine, and there was nothing to jam the camera.

Since it was Halloween evening, I felt a little nervous as I approached the pitch dark graveyard. Its reputation for hauntings didn’t bother me as much as being alone on a very deserted road.

Because the cemetery had closed at dusk, I stood at the side of the road, looking into the eerie darkness. And I started taking photos at random, pointing the camera into Blood Cemetery.

I pushed the button to take a photo.

Click.

Nothing happened. No flash, just the film advancing.

Click again. Still no flash, as I was using up film.

Click. Click. Click.

It took me eleven photos to realize that my flash was not going to work.

Yes, eleven flashless photos of total darkness.

Then the police — who patrol the cemetery regularly at this time of year — arrived and asked me to “move along.”

(My team and I always respect laws and the police when we’re investigating a haunted site. And, when the police ask us to leave, we do so, immediately.)

I left, muttering to myself about my camera. Fresh film, fresh batteries, a good camera… why had it suddenly failed?

For the next few minutes, I went through a mental inventory of reasons why the flash had abruptly stopped working, for eleven photos in a row.

About two miles from the cemetery, I stopped at a red light. Figuring that I had nothing to lose, I picked up my camera and took a quick photo of… well, the car seat. After all, it was right there.

FLASH!

Yes, the flash was suddenly working again.

I drove another ten minutes to another old cemetery–but this one does not have a “haunted” reputation. There, I took another dozen photos to finish the roll of film, and the flash worked fine every time. (That’s the night when I photographed my best picture of a ‘ghost orb’ at Schoolhouse Cemetery in Nashua, NH.)

Frankly, although it doesn’t feel that odd to me, I may have to accept that Blood Cemetery is, indeed, haunted.

I’ve inspected my camera and batteries, and can find no other reasonable explanation for the abrupt and location-specific failure of the flash.

I know that this sounds like a campfire tale from a Scouting trip. However, it’s what really happened.

I can’t think of a reasonable explanation. Not for eleven photos with a very reliable Olympus camera. The camera had worked fine for years before, and — as I update this story in 2016 — that camera has never failed since.

Blood Cemetery seemed like a comfortable old graveyard before these experiences. But, it took me months to feel comfortable returning there. Even today, I’m a little edgy about that cemetery.

Something’s just not right at Blood Cemetery.