Gilson Road Cemetery, NH – Odd Hole in Gravestone

This is an odd gravestone. It’s unique because I can’t find a reasonable explanation for it.

Walter Gilson's headstone.
Walter Gilson’s headstone.

Gilson Road Cemetery in Nashua, New Hampshire is eerie enough. However, this early 19th-century headstone has a hole in it. The marker is very old slate and the hole is like something drilled, not a bullet hole.

Does anyone know what this might be?

The headstone says:

Walter Gilson
son of Mr. Joseph & Mrs. Lucy Gilson
died August 28th, 1811
age 5 yrs 8 mos 25 days

The stone is old and dry. There are no cracks radiating from the opening to suggest that anything impacted it. The back of the stone is not fragmented in chunks as it would be from a bullet. No other headstones or signs in the area have been shot.

Here is a b&w photo showing the opening in the stone:

Walter Gilson's headstone

And here is a close-up of the opening:

Close-up of Walter Gilson's stone

That’s lichen on the inside edge of the opening, not highlights.

The surface is quite smooth, especially considering that the stone is rugged and ancient slate.

People who’ve examined this headstone on site, believe that the hole was probably drilled. But why…?

The lettering doesn’t go around the hole, so the damage occurred after the stone was carved.

And, the stone is in the middle of the cemetery, so — even if we could explain this as a careless shot by a vandal — the stone is too far from the road for that to make sense.

It’s very odd.

This cemetery more than earns its creepy reputation.

Ghosts Tampered with My Gas Gauge – Twice?

This is silly.

It’s embarrassing even to tell this story, because there are probably logical reasons for what happened.

But, it’s an odd story, so I’m sharing it… if only for a laugh.

It started at Blood Cemetery

Ghosts and a gas gaugeOn Thursday, 14 Oct 1999, my kids and I brought a friend to visit haunted “Blood Cemetery” (real name: Pine Hill Cemetery) in Hollis, NH.

The cemetery was about ten miles from my house, so I didn’t stop for gas because my dashboard gauge showed over a quarter tank of gas left.

That should have been enough to get to Blood Cemetery and back again. And, as it turns out, it was, but…

We took Route 130 into Hollis, turned up Nartoff Road. That’s where the dashboard light flashed that means “buy gas soon.”

The light blinked off, but came on again about a mile from Blood Cemetery. This second time, it was the steady light which means “buy gas now.”

With a car full of people, I was a little alarmed, but didn’t mention it until after we’d visited the cemetery.

I said that we needed to stop for gas on the way back, and mentioned the odd light phenomenon.

My friend remarked that we’d driven up a short, steep hill to reach the cemetery. That could make the fuel light go on.

I half-agreed, even though I remembered the light going on well before we started up the hill.

But maybe I was wrong. That’s what I decided, at the time.

About two blocks later, the fuel light went off.

And it stayed off while I dropped my friend near his home, took my kids to karate class, ran a few errands, and finally went home.

In other words, the gas hadn’t been running low.

I decided that it was just “one of those weird things” that’s not worth fretting over.

But then… it happened again

On 17 Oct 1999, I returned to Blood Cemetery for photos. It was late in the day and I was by myself.

This time, I had well over a quarter-tank of fuel, so I knew I should have no problems with the fuel light.

Gas gaugeOnce again, about a mile from the cemetery, the fuel light came on.

It was the bright, “buy fuel now” light. Since it was getting dark and the cemetery is on a rural road, I did not even slow down as I passed the cemetery, but drove straight to the gas station.

Once again, about two blocks past Blood Cemetery, the fuel light went off. And it stayed off.

Not wanting to take any chances, I drove to the nearest gas station and filled up. The car needed barely half a tank of gas.

The fuel light didn’t go on again at any other visit to Blood Cemetery, or at any other cemetery.

Nearly ten years later as I’m updating this webpage, I can report that the gas tank lights have never again misled me. (I’m still driving that same car.) But, there may be logical explanations for what happened.

Yes, the problem was (probably) Blood Cemetery

My advice: If you go to Blood Cemetery in Hollis, be certain your fuel tank is filled before you leave the main roads.

During the week when I first wrote this summary, a van was parked across the street from Blood Cemetery. A local woman commented that it was probably someone who ran out of gas or something, and left the van there until he could get back to it, later. She said that this happens often.

Maybe ghosts didn’t vaporize my gasoline or play pranks with the dashboard lights. But maybe Blood Cemetery had something to do with it, too.

If you read our other articles about Blood Cemetery, you’ll see that its ghosts have a reputation for electrical and mechanical interference.

(In fact, that’s commonplace at many haunted sites. It may have something to do with the odd EMF activity at those locations.)

Directions to Blood Cemetery:

Blood Cemetery, a local nickname for “Pine Hill Cemetery,” is one of the northeast’s most famous haunted cemeteries. Folklore centers around the headstone of Abel Blood, whose history offers nothing to support the tales of his hauntings.

However, this lovely cemetery – near Nashua, NH (of Gilson Road Cemetery fame) and less than an hour from Boston, MA – seems to be haunted.

I’m not sure how haunted.

To visit the cemetery, you can approach from Nartoff Road in Hollis, New Hampshire, off Route 130 (Exit 6 from NH’s Route 3). It’s an easy drive through some lovely rural landscapes. The cemetery is next to Nartoff Road near the crest of the hill. It will be on your right.

The cemetery closes at dusk and is well patrolled by the police, due to unfortunate vandalism in the cemetery.

Trespassers will be stopped; do not visit Pine Hill Cemetery after dark.

Gilson Road Cemetery, NH, 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, his skepticism 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

Hollis, NH – 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.

Hollis, NH – 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.