11 Mysterious Graves
Some graves are mysterious because the identity of those within is unknown. Others, because of the legends surrounding them. And some, because the location is not quite known.
The Female Stranger – One night in 1816 a couple walked into Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Viriginia. It was obvious to everyone inside that the woman was very sick. She was put up in a room and the doctor was called. But she soon died. The man requested that their identities be kept a secret, erected a grave marker and disappeared–his bills unpaid. Everyone kept the secret…we still don’t know who is buried in this grave. Some think it is Theodosia Burr.
Lived Once, Buried Twice – While being buried alive was certainly possible, and greatly feared, it didn’t happen all that often. But Margorie McCall was one such person, who lived to see another day. Thank goodness for the grave robbers who dug up her comatose body!
Ancient Graveyard in Surburbia – Just outside the small, unassuming community of Jordbro in Sweden is an ancient burial ground. The stones are unmarked, but erected like grave markers. One might stumble upon the area and not recognize it as a graveyard without a careful eye. Experts believe the graves date back to 500 BC.
Grave in a Parking Lot – When you pull into Loew’s Cineplex for your next matinee, you may be surprised to see a fenced-in mound of earth next to your parking spot. Mary Ellis was buried here in 1828, when the area was still forest and the ground level, seven feet higher. The legend of Ellis regards a seaman who promised to marry her, went to sea and never returned. Ellis stood here year after year, looking out over the Raritan River, waiting for her love to return.
In Memory of an Icon – American author Edgar Allen Poe died in 1849 and was buried at Westminster Burying Hall. His funeral was a simple affair, lasting only 3 minutes, with less than 10 attendees, but the public’s love for him continues to multiply over time. A mysterious man began visiting the grave in the 1930s. He raised a glass of cognac in memory of the writer every January 19. In 2009 a “proper” funeral was held for Poe. 700 admirers showed up to walk behind his casket, which held a life-size wax figure.
Whispers from a Tomb – Standing quietly in a Portland cemetery, this enormous mausoleum has been locked for half a century, with nothing known about the occupants other than the name “RAE.” Locals knew that one of the sarcophagi contained the remains of a lumber man, but had no idea who was in the other. A scandalous love story was discovered. Today, the tomb is open to the public for 90 minutes a year.
Below Washington Square Park – Washington Square, one of New York City’s best-known and most loved public parks is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. But before it was a place for afternoon strolls and quiet chess games, the land was a burying ground. Historians believe that up to 20,000 bodies rest beneath this picturesque playground. Even a tombstone has been found.
The Alien Pilot – One quiet morning in 1897 an airship with mechanical problems swooped down over the little town of Aurora and crashed into a windmill. The townspeople couldn’t believe what they were seeing–a very advanced mode of transportation and a mysterious dead body. An article in The Dallas Morning News read: “The pilot of the ship is supposed to have been the only one on board, and while his remains are badly disfigured, enough of the original has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world…The pilot’s funeral will take place at noon to-morrow.” The body was buried in the Aurora Cemetery in an unmarked grave.
A King Under a Parking Lot – There he is, the king who lost the Battle of the Roses, and still has one of the biggest followings a king can have–a battle-scarred body buried hastily under what is now a parking lot. King Richard III is the last British king to have died in battle, and a horrible death it was. An excavation of this parking lot, which was formerly the Grey Friars Church, revealed a skeleton. Modern DNA testing identified it as the remains of King Richard III.
The Voodoo Queen – It is not official whether or not this is the final resting place of New Orleans most famous voodoo practitioner, Marie Laveau, but the hordes of visitors seems to confirm it. Despite her fame, little is known about Laveau’s life and practices, except that she was born free and made her living as a hairdresser. The “X’s” that are left on the outside of the tomb, which by the way is a criminal act, is a way of calling upon the powers of the priestess in favor of your wish.
The Funhouse Mummy – While most of us will enjoy a final resting place one day, this fellow did not get his until 50 years after he died. A film crew shooting at The Pike, an amusement park in Long Beach that no longer exists, were moving some of the props in the funhouse when the arm of the hanging mummy fell of, exposing human bone. Realizing it was an actual human body, the police were called and an investigation began.