[NH] Nashua – Gilson Road Cemetery – 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.

[NH] Hollis – Blood cemetery’s Gothic inscriptions

Abel Blood's grave
Abel Blood’s grave

The following are just a few of the very Gothic inscriptions on headstones at the Blood Cemetery (aka Pine Hill Cemetery) on Nartoff Road in Hollis, NH.

From the headstone of Mrs. Rebecca Alexanders, died 24 Nov 1799:

Behold my friends as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now you soon must be
Prepare for death and follow me

From the headstone of Caleb Farley, Jun., died 17 Jul 1810:

Friends and Physicians could not save
My mortal body from the grave
Nor can the grave confine me here
When Christ shall call me to appear

From the headstone of Caleb Farley’s wife, Abigail, died 14 Dec 1819:

What though our in bred sins require
Our flesh to see the dust
Yet as the Lord our Savior rose
So all his followers must

These are just a few of the eerie inscriptions which appear on about one-third of the ancient headstones in this cemetery.

There were even more wonderful headstones with inscriptions, but those stones have been stolen.

Several, such as the Farley sisters’ headstones, have disappeared in recent years, and were replaced by plain markers without the flowery inscriptions.

That’s such a senseless loss.

(Also, the commercial market for stolen gravestones is one reason why the police are so watchful of cemeteries after dark.)

If you go ghost hunting in cemeteries, be sure to read the gravestone inscriptions. They provide helpful insights related to the era and the family of the person in that grave. Those ideas and sentiments may also give you a good idea why he or she haunts the cemetery.

As I reported in my article about the Haunted ‘Old Burying Yard’ of York, Maine, if someone’s headstone says, “I must lie here till Christ appears,” it’s likely that a spirit is near that grave, waiting.

[NH] Hollis – Ghosts Tampered with My Gas Gauge – Twice?

Gas gaugeThis is silly. It’s embarrassing even to tell this story, because there are probably very logical reasons for what happened. But, it’s an odd story, so I’m sharing it… if only for a laugh.

On Thursday, 14 Oct 1999, my kids and I brought a friend to visit haunted “Blood Cemetery” (aka Pine Hill Cemetery) in Hollis, NH.

The cemetery was about ten miles from my house, so I didn’t stop for gas even though my dashboard gauge showed over a quarter tank of gas left. That should have been enough to get there 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 at his truck, took my kids to karate class, ran a few errands, and finally went home. In other words, the gas hadn’t been low.

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

On 17 Oct 1999, I returned to Blood Cemetery late in the day for more photos. This time, I had well over a quarter-tank of fuel, so I knew I should have no problems with the fuel light.

Once 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 the 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.

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.)

Cemetery information:

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 — not far from Nashua, NH and less than an hour from downtown Boston, MA — seems to be haunted… I’m just 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.

[NH] Hollis – Blood cemetery – what the ghost wanted?

On November 1, 1999, I returned to Blood Cemetery in Hollis. I planned to take a few more photos, although I hadn’t captured any anomalies since my earliest visits to the cemetery.

While I was at the cemetery, I checked the name on the short headstone that the ghost had vanished into, on my earlier visit. (That had been the evening before Halloween.)

The stone belonged to Eldridge Jewett, b. April 28, 1856, d. April 2, 1924.

At the top of his headstone, there were the three links of a chain, which usually signify someone who was a member of the Masonic Lodge, or a similar men’s organization.

However, the stone next to this one caught my attention:

On an earlier to Blood Cemetery, I’d noticed that a small headstone had been knocked over. I’d picked it up, hoping to find a way to prop it up. However, when I saw the swarming maggots in the soil beneath it, my stomach lurched and I’d dropped the headstone.

I can recall commenting to my daughter, “Poor little thing,” as I felt sorry for the grave… but not sorry enough to look at those insects again.

When I was at Blood Cemetery on November 1st (1999), I saw that someone else had picked up the headstone, too. This time, the stone was flat on the ground, but with the inscription facing upwards so I could read it: It was the son of Eldridge Jewett, who lived a mere six months from May 1870 to November 1870. He’s described only as the “Son of Eldridge and Clara L. Jewett.”

However, someone had stuck an American flag in his grave.

Many graves in this cemetery have American flags, and they indicate where a veteran is buried.

However, the baby who’d been buried here certainly wasn’t a veteran, and the dates on his father’s headstone (which had no flag) suggested that Eldridge Jewett may have served in World War I.

I moved the flag from the child’s grave to his father’s plot, a few feet away.

When I returned home, I checked the photographs from the day I thought I saw a cat (or a ghost) vanish into the senior Jewett’s headstone.

Sure enough, the American flag had been at the child’s grave then, too.

If I did see a ghost, it seems likely that someone from “the other side” wanted to catch my attention. I hope they merely wanted me to move the flag back to its correct location.

Perhaps some ghosts visit our world because they have a very small task to complete. Observant people can help them by paying attention to “odd” things that happen; one of them may be a ghost trying to get your attention.

As I review this several years later, I still believe that Eldridge Jewett wanted the flag moved to its correct location.

Click here to read more about The Ghosts of Blood Cemetery

[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


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