Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NH – 6/08

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 others in Gilson remain elusive.

He was probably related to Samuel Laurence who married Betsy Thyng (or Tyng) and named a son Rufus in 1815. (The Rufus Lawrence in the Gilson grave would have been born much earlier. We suspect that he was from Epping, NH, and the son of – or closely related to – David & Anna Lawrence.)

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 headstone. 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, we’re not surprised that the back wall of this cemetery is one of the most haunted areas in a profoundly eerie graveyard.

Book - Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries

Also, outside the wall just south of the gate, we noticed several pieces of headstones, as well. We’re 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.

9 thoughts on “Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NH – 6/08”

  1. I went to the Gilson Cemetary last night with a couple of friends. There were two other people there, taking pictures, we asked why they were taking pictures but did not answer, there was something wrong about the people so we decided to leave. My friends ran to the car, and I was walking, and I swear i saw someone in all white near the wall (inside the cemetary), but when i turned around no one was there.

    But have you found Lucy Gilson’s gravestone, and are the rumors true, that if you swear near her grave you will break a limb? And that you can hear kids singing in the woods?

  2. Cemeteries attract all kinds of people. If you’re ever nervous, it’s wise to leave right away. You did the right thing.

    People often see ghostly (and sometimes real-looking) figures around the cemetery, even during the day. It can take a few minutes to realize that they’ve vanished into thin air.

    I’ve never heard that story about Lucy Gilson. I wouldn’t take it seriously. Ghosts can be pranksters, but they’re rarely malicious or hurtful.

    There are many sounds in the woods. Some of them are natural, some are odd, and some are paranormal. That’s one of many reasons why we like Gilson so much: There are so many opportunities to encounter ghostly phenomena!

  3. Well, if you got a good laugh out of this, that’s fine.

    And, having studied photography with Minor White, I think that I have some understanding of the subject.

    We don’t claim that orbs are spirits. The fact is, no one has solid evidence to explain all orbs.

    That said, ghosts or spirits seem to be the most agreed-upon explanation among ghost hunters, so we use the term to distinguish unexplained orbs from those of clear, natural origin.

    I recommend visiting our Ghost Photography 101 section, in which we’ve experimented with dust, moisture, pollen, and other natural causes of orbs. Unless you study orbs (and possible normal causes) in detail, it’s a bit facile to label all orbs as ghosts… or as dust, pollen, and so on. Both generalities are equally flawed.

    What we focus on (no pun intended) are the orbs that we can’t explain. So far, we don’t know why we find so many orbs in photos at ‘haunted’ sites, in contrast with other, similar, not-haunted sites.

    Given two nearly identical sites, each with a potential for dust, sand, pollen and moisture, we’ll see as many as 4x as many orbs in photos at the haunted one. That’s as close as we can get to a controlled study.

    We’re interested in the anomalies, and — no matter what they are — the abundance of orbs at ‘haunted’ sites are anomalies.

    We do remove orb photos — or annotate them — when we find an explanation for them.

    However, it would be a huge disservice to our readers to trivialize orbs as ‘laughable’ when their numbers are so much greater at haunted sites.

  4. Great information, Alison! I’ll be very interested in your photos, if they show something unusual.

    Gilson Road cemetery is a fun place for research, and kind of a ‘cozy’ haunted place… most of the time.

    We’ve had some genuinely startling encounters there, and — in nearly ten years of investigations there — we still enjoy our time there.

    I love reading what others experience there. Thanks for commenting!

  5. So Ia m from Manchester Nh and everybody seems to have a problem locating anything on the Gilson rd Cemetary. A few friends of mine had created their own website and I am doing the background information. Nashua NH used to be Dunstable MA is where you can find birth and marriage records on most of the people in the cematary except for Rufus Lawrence Yet I have not been with them to this cemetary something appears to be drawing me there and i am not sure what or why. Carol Begin

  6. Thanks for the information, Carol. I knew that the area used to be Dunstable, and I’ve used their genealogical records to find some of the people in the cemetery.

    However, many of the names were popular in that area, and it’s important not to confuse two people with the same name. Without matching death records — which I generally could not find for those people — it’s difficult to be sure that the person is the same.

    When I was using historical records, I was also unable to find the original cemetery records. So, the vast majority of bodies in the graves — that is, the unmarked graves — have remained a mystery to me and others, and contributed to the oddities at Gilson Road.

    I’m relieved to hear that you were able to find them. It seemed so very odd that they were missing. Can you tell me where you found the cemetery records, as well as the death records? Are they all in Dunstable, or did you have to go to NEGHS for them?

    If Gilson Road Cemetery is drawing you back, I’m sure there will be more for you to share with us. Keep us up to date on your discoveries!


  7. I had actually went to the genealogy place with my mother and made contact with a man from Michegan who is a blood decendant of Walter Gilson and working on the family tree I mainly got information from him and Dunstables town records which are free online but they are working on updating the site so told me to check back in a few months…
    I still haven’t gone to Gilson Rd I wanted to finish the classes through your site before I attempted to go as no one else in the group has taken classes. But like I said before something appears to be drawing me to that cemetary and I’m not sure if I am ready to go .. I’d like to go with a proffessional group first. Carol

  8. Hi Their
    Well maybe this time the post will come up?I had posted one last june when i was doing some research online and came across this gilson road topic.Well i had never heard of gilson road before which seems odd because my father is from laconia NH and his dad and so on my grandmother lived in Belknap County nh.I had read in a post that one of the hauntings was of a man that had always wanted to head west to go gold prospecting well the weird part here is i had moved to california after i left the service and all my live that was one of my goal/hobbies to do well i did do it but didn’t find any however i i had met my wife and had my son and now we live here in kansas which is a hell of a lot better than California.from what i had gathered on the internet i,m not sure if its the same gilsons or not but in the early 1600 the link to the line is below if you have any information on this please let me know my email is [email protected] and as you can probly tell my last name is gilson

  9. Hi all,
    I did some research and found some facts on Rufus Lawrence. Rufus was born on Jan. 1, 1818 and died on Dec. 16, 1846. He was 29 when he died. His parents were Henry and Salley Lawrence. He married Mary A. Nutting of Dunstable on June 18, 1844. They had one child named Henry R who died April 18, 1846 at the age of 4 months. I hope this helps someone get closer to a lineage for him. His headstone says he was 29, but he would have turned 29 on Jan 1, 1947. Good luck!

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