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2008 was a turning point for haunted Gilson Road Cemetery.
Except for a notable number of new houses and subdivisions in the area, little has changed… with one big exception.
The denser wooded area in back of the cemetery seems to provide the illusion of cover for the spirits who visit during daytime hours.
While we were there, we noted several figures moving stealthily in the woods. Most of them were about 20 or 25 feet behind the back cemetery wall.
I also saw a momentary flash (residual energy?) of a Native gentleman. He’d appeared to us in the same place – the back left corner (where there’s a break in the wall) – during a 2003 visit to Gilson.
The Lawrence headstones have remained among the most active in the cemetery. Many of our photos showed orbs. Here are two photos taken within seconds of each other:
This is a good reminder of the importance of always taking two photos, as close together as you can. (If that orb looks familiar, it’s because we’ve photographed it before. From a slightly different angle, it’s in the photo in my article, Gilson Road Cemetery – ghost orbs return 6/02.)
Who Were These People…?
Rufus Lawrence – like many people interred in this isolated cemetery – has been difficult to find in any records of the era. Despite numerous records for other members of the Lawrence (or Laurence) family, and generally good census records (at least for adult males), Rufus and several others in Gilson remain elusive.
At first glance, it seems like Gilson’s Rufus Lawrence was probably related to Samuel Laurence who married Betsy Thyng (or Tyng) and named a son Rufus in 1815. In the Nashua/Tyngsborough area, that seems likely.
The problem is, here’s another Rufus Lawrence, courtesy of Ancestry.com’s records:
That Rufus Lawrence may have been the second Rufus born to Henry Lawrence and Sally (or Salley) Simonds Lawrence. (The first was born in August 1813.)
But… that’s not a perfect match for the grave, and I suspect Gilson’s Rufus Lawrence was from Epping, NH, and the son of – or closely related to – David & Anna Lawrence.
Here are other Rufus Lawrences that might help us identify the correct one, also courtesy of Ancestry.com:
For now, I’m adding this research to my “to-do” list. Rufus is intriguing, but – at the moment – other research projects are a higher priority for me.
But this is important: We’re not sure why the people in Gilson Cemetery were buried there rather than in the old burial ground in the middle of town. (Today, that’s by the shopping center at Daniel Webster Highway near Spit Brook Road. That cemetery is nicknamed “Schoolhouse Cemetery.”)
Haunted Cemetery Walls?
Another note about Gilson: One of our group noticed that the back wall of the cemetery appears to include pieces of broken headstones. When you visit, take a close look at the shapes of the stones, and – amid the usual round-ish rocks and boulders – you’ll see several slabs of stone.
If those really are pieces of headstone, I’m not surprised that the back wall of this cemetery is one of the most haunted areas in a profoundly eerie graveyard.
Also, outside the wall just south of the gate, we noticed several pieces of headstones, as well. I’m not sure why these suddenly became obvious, but they indicate another area for research.
As a guideline, any time you see graves, monuments, or pieces of headstones near (but outside) a cemetery, check it for anomalies.
Those are often the graves of “sinners” who couldn’t be buried in hallowed ground.
Whether or not they were unjustly accused of crimes and mortal sins, these spirits often return to haunt their remains.
Perhaps to them, being shunned after death isn’t the final word, after all.