[OH] Otterbein Cemetery Tour

This video – “Haunted Cemetery – Ghastly Sounds…” – isn’t actually a “ghost” video, but a tour and history of an Ohio cemetery that’s definitely worth investigating.  We need more videos like this, to help ghost hunters find worthwhile sites.

However, I didn’t see or hear anything especially scary in this video.  Most of the night video quality is poor — weak sound and blurry camerawork — but that’s not what I was watching for.  In general, this video provided some good history and ghost stories, and enough of a subjective impression that I feel confident this is an active (ghostly) cemetery.

No, I can’t articulate why.  There’s a certain mix of sounds and silences, images and shadows… it adds up to a “gut feeling” about some locations.  Almost invariably, they turn out to be haunted.  I’m pretty sure this is one of those sites.  If I were in Ohio, near this cemetery, I’d visit it regularly for research.

In the video, the woman mentions some spooky sounds.  Maybe I missed them; the sound track isn’t great.

What I did hear — between normal, rural night noises — sounded like footsteps.  If the woman filming the video was alone, or her companions weren’t moving around while she was standing still… yes, those sounds are kind of spooky.

The mausoleum is definitely creepy.  It has that sterile/tragic combination that often marks a site that seems to attract shadow people.  I have no idea why.  It’s as if they need to fill in the void with their forms… but maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse.

All in all, this video got me interested in this cemetery, enough to compile some useful links if you’re investigating that site.  And then, I discovered another haunted cemetery with the same name, also in Ohio.

Resources if you’re investigating Otterbein Cemetery in Franklin Co.

Another haunted Otterbein Cemetery, in Perry County, OH

There’s also an Otterbein Cemetery in Darke County and one in Marion County, Ohio.

Originality – The person who filmed this didn’t let her video skills hold her back. Though the quality isn’t great, the information and the impressions I got from this video made it intriguing.  It’s also thought-provoking, because I’m trying to understand why I feel so certain that site is haunted… and has shadow people.


Credibility (Doesn’t really apply. This is mostly a “this is the cemetery and what’s known about its ghosts” video.)


Brown Springs Cemetery, Oklahoma

Brown Springs Cemetery in Oklahoma caught my attention.  This location looks so good — if you take proper precautions — it’s worth sharing with you, right away.

First, check the description and links at this Oklahoma history webpage:  Brown Springs, Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Then, watch this “Panic Attack Videos” presentation, which includes language — audio and in captions — that is not safe for the office. (Ignore the cheesy graphic in the video screenshot. It’s actually a good video.)

  • The on-site portion of the video gives a hint of why this could be a powerful location for research.
  • Then, it shows why you shouldn’t bother going there unless you have a large research team… including big guys with stakes (or at least baseball bats).

(As of Jan 2016, the following link will take you to that video’s location at YouTube, but you’ll need the channel owner’s permission to see it.)


This could be a highly dangerous location, due to the living, not the dead.  And, I wouldn’t want to see threatening violence escalate.  That could be tragedy waiting to happen… again, because of the living, not the dead.

However, with enough bouncer-type team members — and some good maps of the area, so you know which dirt roads are dead ends —  a site that active at night should be worth investigating during somewhat safer daytime hours.  (Here’s a link to one map with a general overview: http://www.oklahomahistory.net/brownspr/bsprmap.jpg )

Mostly, I like this video because the guys seem very normal and they don’t leap to paranormal explanations for what could be ordinary things.

Yes, the video could have been staged.  (Their YouTube description says that they enjoy “pranks,” and some of their videos are clearly fake, staged silliness.)

That’s not the point. 

The presentation is excellent… though I’m not sure what that fake screenshot is in the freeze-frame image provided by YouTube, above.

(In case the screenshot varies: the one I’m seeing as I write this is the guy at the wheel of the car, with a ridiculous, zombie-ish face behind him.)

Fake or not, I liked the first video, because it shows one good reason never to ghost hunt by yourself. That kind of real-life scare can happen anywhere.

Okay, Brown Springs Cemetery is known for trouble, but that trouble started at some time in the past.  You should never put yourself at risk by ghost hunting alone or unprepared.  You do not want to be at a haunted site on the night when trouble begins at that location.

In the next video, “World’s scariest ghost hunt that never happened,” the guys explain that Brown Springs isn’t one of their “prank” locations.  (Like the others, this video contains not-safe-for-the-office language.)

In the next video (linked below), you’ll see why you’ll want a good 4WD vehicle, leg covering (in case of snakes), and good hiking shoes.  Early in the video, one of the guys talk about hearing gunfire nearby, confirming the risks of visiting Brown Springs Cemetery, even in broad daylight.  And then… they get lost.  So, have GPS and a good hiking map and compass.

This is another video with not-safe-for-the-office language.  You’ll be tempted to stop after the 10-minute mark, since that’s when they leave the cemetery area.  However, if you’re planning a trip to the site, watch to the 12-minute mark.  You’ll get some useful tips about road hazards in and out of the Brown Springs Cemetery location: Specifically, place logs in the deepest ruts in the road.  (At the end of the video, they go to the nearby casino.)

Here’s the link to that video, but (as of Jan 2016) — like the first one I linked to — you’ll need the channel owner’s permission to view it:


Additional Brown Springs references

Note: Browns Spring Cemetery — with an S — is a different location.  It’s in Georgia.

[MA] Haverhill’s Haunted Cemeteries (Follow-up, 2009)

haverhill-255My report from March 2009:

Last night, we had a wonderful time exploring three Haverhill (MA) cemeteries.  Thanks so much to the Essex County Ghost Project for organizing this event and inviting me to it!

Here are a few of my notes:

Walnut Cemetery, Kenoza Street, Haverhill, MA

A large cemetery with some very harsh energy, especially around the Victorian-era graves.   I was immediately drawn to the large, crypt-style embankment, where bodies were once stored during the winter, until the ground was soft enough  in the spring to dig their graves.

From there, psychic Gavin Cromwell was drawn to an area with a large tree… and an odd marker of cement and stone, left resting against the tree.   In that area, the psychic perceived the spirit of a woman in black, pointing towards the area where the flagpole is; she’s connected with something maritime, perhaps a sea captain.

Then, I was drawn to a hilly area with some of the oldest graves in the cemetery.  One investigator’s photo of a nearby tree was dramatic, and certainly one of the best of the evening.

A local historian and paranormal researcher accompanied us in this cemetery. He directed us to another set of graves, bearing the surname Ela.

We attempted to record EVP, but felt that male energy (either living or ghostly) was suppressing efforts by some spirits to communicate.  Two of us came up with the word “sin” in connection with this.

Several investigators — including me — saw the little angel figure move, and both Gavin Cromwell and I felt that at least one child (perhaps disabled, who died young) is not with his or her mother, Effie Ela.

In general, that cemetery is too large to visit after dark without a preliminary visit to see where the “hot spots” are.  Also, the energy is generally muted. You’ll need patience — and at least an hour — to get the most from your investigation.

Pentucket Burial Ground, off Groveland St., Haverhill

A memorial to victims of a Native raid, and the grave of a Salem “Witch Trials” judge are among the high points of this chilling cemetery.

When we stood in a circle, holding hands, and asked Judge Saltonstall to make his presence known, the blast of icy air was astonishing.

One psychic felt certain that the judge won’t “cross over” because he’s sure that his destination will be Hell.  However, the judge was asking us to save Mary or help Mary… perhaps his wife or daughter.  (We didn’t think that Mary was still there.)

Nearby, a few graves set apart from the others — often indicating that they died “in sin” — are worth further research.

Before leaving, we searched for the grave of Polly Winters.

Psychic investigator Gavin Cromwell had felt the presence of Polly Winters during a Haverhill investigation in 2008, and — even before we saw the grave — he was certain that she was in this cemetery.

When Gavin said it, his voice was different. He didn’t have his usual introspective manner; it was like he was reporting the name on cue, not sensing it.

It’s still something that troubles me. In general, I’ve never questioned Gavin’s psychic abilities. I’ve worked with him in settings where he had no reason to try to impress me or anyone else. His accuracy was very good.

But, in retrospect, the Polly Winters “psychic connection” didn’t seem authentic.

Hilldale Cemetery, Hilldale Ave., Haverhill

Hilldale cemetery, Haverhill, MA - with orbs
Hilldale grave with two orbs. (The white at right is an insect.)

This cemetery is a gem for research, with apparitions and very clear spectral energy.  (That may sound dramatic, but the site is definitely unusual.)

However, until the cemetery is cleaned up and some holes filled in, it’s not wise to go there… especially after dark when it is closed and patrolled.  (You will be arrested if you go there at night. We were there with permission.)

In a circle there, I felt the presence of a spirit saying, “Sheridan, James.”  I wasn’t sure if it was actually James Sheridan, saying his name as if reporting for duty.  Later, an Essex County Ghost Project historian told me that someone named James Sheridan is buried in that cemetery.

(Note: I rarely perceive names, and certainly not given and surnames in combination.  So, this had to be very intense energy for me to discern the full name with such certainty.)

Also, researcher Chris G. and I both saw an odd, squat figure — too large to be an animal — that vanished, as well as an apparition of a man, crawling along the far edge of the hill.

It was a great evening out, with plenty to double-check and debunk before we return for a more focused investigation.

I’m sure some — perhaps most — of what we encountered will remain a paranormal mystery. These sites are definitely eerie, and likely to be haunted.

Related news stories

Big-name ghost hunters descend on Merrimack Valley (Eagle Tribune, 26 Mar 2009)

Well-known paranormal investigator Fiona Broome will join the tour of Haverhill graveyards that date back centuries, as well as the walk of the Tenney property in Methuen…”

 Haunted in Haverhill (Haverhill Life, October 2017) – Includes details of a Hilldale Cemetery investigation, and a list of other, nearby haunts.

[NH] Portsmouth – Ghosts of South Street Cemetery

Many ghost hunters know a few haunted locations that consistently provide ghostly phenomena.

One of the largest and most haunted cemeteries in Portsmouth, NH fits that description.

South Street cemetery isn’t the official name of the location, but it’s what most people call it.  This lovely, slightly eerie cemetery is at the intersection of South Street and Sagamore Avenue, not far from downtown Portsmouth, NH.

Until recently, I hadn’t researched the cemetery very much.  I simply knew the “hot spots” where we usually photograph ghostly anomalies, and where ghost hunters’ dowsing rods detect the strongest paranormal energy.


We always visit the graves just outside the cemetery walls.  Several headstones have been stolen from those sites since my previous visit.  That’s so sad.  However, the raised mounds remain, and they tend to be very good for ghostly phenomena including elevated EMF levels, apparitions and the murmuring sounds of nearby ghosts.

Note: If you visit graves at the wooded perimeter of South Street cemetery, especially at dusk, be sure to go with a group.  Though the police have done a good job of patrolling the area, the woods were sometimes a temporary shelter for homeless people in past years.

Women should be especially cautious near the woods and at the graves just outside the cemetery walls.  There seems to be an unpleasant male entity (ghost) there.

We also pause at one of the crypts, at a couple of locations that students usually describe as “eerie” or “creepy”, and at the smaller entrance on the far side of the cemetery.

The actual history of the cemetery has provided some good reasons why its apparent ghostly “hot spots” are so hot.

For example, our ghost hunting classes generally meet at the main entrance to the cemetery.  It’s near one of the highest points on the north side of the cemetery.  We almost always sense something odd — but also sacred — when we start our ghost investigations there.

Research reveals that the elevated spot is where a gallows stood in the 1700s… a site with some lurid history.

The earliest gallows was a “hanging tree” where two early executions included Penelope Henry and Sarah Simpson, “turned off the back of a cart” in 1739.  (That expression meant that — after standing on a cart positioned beneath the gallows — the cart pulled away, leaving them hanging.)

From my experience, most sites of “hanging trees” tend to be haunted.  People report paranormal activity at or near (within a half block) of the site.


One of the most gruesome stories is the hanging of Ruth Blay, a 25-year-old schoolteacher.  She was convicted of concealing the death of a newborn, later found to be stillborn.

According to the charges, Ms. Blay had buried the infant beneath loose floorboards in her schoolroom.  The corpse — wrapped in a cloak — was discovered by 5-year-old Betsey Pettengill and some of her friends.

Ruth Blay was immediately “apprehended” by a man named Isaac Brown, who was paid ten pounds (approximately $2000 in 2008 dollars) for his services.

The young schoolteacher’s trial was rushed, and the sentence was harsh, but the people of Portsmouth defended the popular schoolteacher.  Numerous briefs were filed with the British court, requesting a reprieve for Ms. Blay.

Just one chance remained for her pardon on December 30st, 1768, the day that her execution was scheduled, but the sheriff decided not to wait.  In fact, he changed the time of her hanging to an hour earlier than planned, so he wouldn’t be late for dinner that evening.

It was not a popular move.  An angry mob gathered near the gallows.

Likewise, Ruth Blay did not go quietly to her death.  (Note: When I see this in a history, it’s another good reason to look for a ghost.)

According to the legends recorded by journalist C. W. Brewster in the mid-1800s…

“…as Ruth was carried through the streets, her shrieks filled the air. She was dressed in silk, and was driven under the gallows in a cart.”

The crowd shouted angrily as High Sheriff Thomas Packer hastily positioned the cart beneath the gallows.  He looped the noose around Ruth’s neck and then — with a brusque command to the horses — drove the cart away, leaving the young woman’s body swinging from the rope.  Sheriff Packer did not stop to look back.  Instead, he drove the cart to arrive home in time for his meal.  He was apparently unaware that — as he drove away — a rider had arrived at the gallows with an urgent letter.

A stay of execution had been issued by the Royal Governor of New Hampshire, but it arrived minutes after Ms. Blay’s death.  If Packer hadn’t changed the execution hour, Ruth Blay would have lived.

Outraged, a mob marched to the sheriff’s house.  There, they hung an effigy of Packer, and placed beneath it a sign that said,

“Am I to lose my dinner
This woman for to hang?
Come draw away the cart, my boys-
Don’t stop to say amen.”

Then, the crowd carried the effigy through the streets to be sure that every citizen knew of Packer’s cruelty, and finally — according to some versions of the story — burned the effigy in front of his home.

Ruth Blay was buried in an unmarked grave about 300 feet north of the small pond near the middle of South Street cemetery.  That’s the location where we usually record the greatest number of ghostly anomalies in our photos.  It’s also where people first notice that their cameras aren’t working correctly.

(Those cameras are usually fine after people leave the cemetery.  This kind of problem is normal in profoundly haunted settings.)

According to legend, two gravestones glow with spectral light, near Ms. Blay’s burial spot.  We’ve noticed quite a few glowing stones in that vicinity, and they drew comments during our class on Saturday, 13 Sep 2008.

Ruth Blay’s ghost may haunt the site of her death and burial.  Her spirit — and perhaps the baby’s — has also been reported at the site of the schoolhouse, around 94 Main Avenue in south Hampton, NH.

Note: According to state records, Sheriff Packer was responsible for executing the only three women ever hung in New Hampshire.

Similar to Ruth Blay, the other two women — hung on December 27, 1739 (almost exactly 29 years before Ms. Blay’s death) — were convicted of “feloniously concealing the death of infant bastard child.”

The house where the sheriff lived (and ate his dinners on time) was at the northeast corner of State and Court Streets in Portsmouth.  His house became Col. Brewster’s Tavern, which George Washington stayed at for four nights.

In 1813, the house burned to the ground and was replaced by the Treadwell Jenness House, built in 1818.  According to some, that location is haunted.

Sheriff Packer was still in office on June 22nd, 1771, when he died.   Some claim that he was buried in — and haunts — Portsmouth’s North Cemetery.  It’s possible that he does.  However, the North Cemetery gravestone of Thomas Packer (d. 1793) is for one the sheriff’s two sons.

Ruth Blay isn’t the only spirit with a good reason to haunt South Street cemetery.  Two famous murder victims are also interred at the cemetery.


Orb at South Street Cemetery

On the night of March 6th, 1873, Norwegian immigrants Karen and Anethe Christensen were murdered on Smuttynose Island in the Isles of Shoals.  Both women were strangled, and one had been assaulted with an ax.  A third woman had been attacked with them, and she identified the murderer as a German immigrant, Louis Wagner.

According to trial evidence, Wagner had rowed out to the island, committed his evil deeds, and then rowed back to the mainland.  He was captured in Boston, but until his hanging in 1875, Wagner maintained that he was innocent.

Since then, many people have speculated about what really happened on the night of the murder.  One of the most famous stories supporting Wagner’s innocence is the best-selling novel, The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve.

Though Wagner was buried in Maine, the graves of the murder victims are in the Harmony Grove section of South Street cemetery.

We haven’t investigated their graves yet, but recommend them to other ghost hunters in the Portsmouth area.  When questions linger after a murder, we often find reports of paranormal activity around the graves.


South Street cemetery is actually at least five cemeteries: Cotton Burial Ground (1671), Elmwood Cemetery, Proprietors’ Burial Ground (1831), and Harmony Grove (1847), and Sagamore Cemetery (1871).

The first record for Cotton Burial Ground appeared in June 1671:

“It was agreed with Goodman William Cotton to fence the town’s land that lyeth by Goodman Skates, for a trayning place, to cutt down all the trees and bushes and to clear the same from said ground by the first of April next, and for his soe doeing he and his heirs shall have the above feeding and use thereof as a pasture only, for twenty years–and the said land shall still remayne for a trayning field and to bury dead in.”

(The military training field may explain why Sean, one September 2008 student, saw ghostly soldiers marching at the eastern end of the cemetery.)

In the 1850s, after a fire at South Street church, several graves were moved to Proprietors’ Burial Ground, including the 1761 graves of Samuel and Margaret Haven, children of Rev. Samuel Haven.

(When any grave is moved, we quite often note odd, sometimes ghostly energy around the body’s new location.)

In addition, the Cutts-Penhallow family cemetery was moved in 1875 from Green Street to a grove of trees near the center of the South Street property.   Many visitors to the South Street cemetery comment on this peculiar, dark section of the cemetery.  We’re not sure if it’s haunted, but it’s certainly creepy at dusk.


Portsmouth’s South Street cemetery is an ideal location for ghost hunting.  It offers a wide range of paranormal phenomena in a convenient seacoast location about 10 minutes from US 95.

According to the sign at the main entrance, the cemetery closes at 6:30 p.m.

The police patrol the area regularly.  During one of our September 2008 classes, we were stopped by the police.  We explained that we were there to take photos.  One student’s backpack was inspected, before we could continue the class.  (It was only 5 p.m., so I’m not sure why we drew attention.)

However, the cemetery is a popular park for bicyclists, joggers, people walking their dogs, and ghost enthusiasts.  We recommend it for research; the stories in this article barely scratch the surface of the tales that could suggest ghosts.

Wear shoes suited to walking; the cemetery is huge.  Also bring bug spray and a spare camera.  Most of us had camera problems at some point during the evening, and a backup camera was useful.

If you’re hoping to take some good “ghost photos” or encounter other ghostly phenomena, visit Portsmouth’s South Street cemetery.

In addition, if you park in the small lot at Little Harbor Road, be sure to notice the energy as you enter the cemetery. (It’s a slightly wooded entry, sometimes overgrown with vines and branches. Many ghost hunters comment on unique phenomena there.)


Among Old New England Inns, by Mary Caroline Crawford, p. 303

Brewster’s Rambles #59, SeacoastNH.com

Haunted Portsmouth, by Roxie J. Zwicker

An Old Town by the Sea, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Portsmouth Cemeteries, by Glenn A. Knobloc, p. 73

Provincial and State Papers of New Hampshire, p. 206

Re: More info on Ruth Blay, by samanthabalsavage1

Smuttynose 101 – A Quick Murder Study, SeacoastNH.com

The Tragic Story of Ruth Blay, SeacoastNH.com

Washington’s walk about city put a stir in the crowd, by Amie Plummer, Fosters.com

[NH] Wilton – Vale End and Pukwudgies

On 17 June 2008, I was on the Ghost Chronicles International radio show as Ron Kolek‘s co-host. Our guest was Christopher Balzano, the founder and lead investigator of Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads. The topic was Pukwudgies.

During our conversation, I summarized our encounters with something similar at Vale End Cemetery in Wilton, New Hampshire. I’m still deeply affected by those experiences, and I rarely even try to discuss them. However, I have written about those events. My story begins at Vale End – possible demons.

Our investigator’s 1999 death may have been a coincidence. However, because the circumstances were so unique and never explained to our satisfaction — and with this additional information about Pukwidgies — it’s even more important to avoid Vale End Cemetery.

On a more positive note, Ron Kolek, UK psychic David Wells (from the popular show, “Most Haunted”), Welsh psychic entertainer Gavin Cromwell, and I will be among the psychics and investigators leading the Haunted Lighthouses Tour organized by Jeremy D’Entremont on August 7th, 2008.

It will be a full day of weird and true ghost stories, and some eerie and unforgettable experiences in several of New England’s most haunted lighthouses.