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Ghosts of Cemetery’s Past

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By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY LAKE – Deep in the thickets surrounding Houston County Lake rests a cemetery.  There are no gates or signs and there are no headstones. The sepulchers of the dead are marked by trees with the names and dates carved into the trunks.

The area surrounding the graves is overgrown with briars, brambles and bull nettles, yet there are certain plots of land where nothing grows. Area residents say dogs won’t go near the necropolis and late at night, you can hear what sounds like the trees groaning in rhythm with the wind

An elderly gentleman, who wished only to be identified as Ed, said he has seen what appear to be lanterns in the early morning hours.

“I’ve lived out here most of my life. Let me tell you, that place is just plain weird. I do a lot of coon hunting and sometimes I’ll see what looks like a lantern moving out there. My old hound dogs will tree a grizzly bear, but they won’t set foot in that place. No sir!” Ed remarked.

The man’s wife, who also identified herself only by her first name of Mary, said she had heard the area was an old slave burial ground. She recalled several nights when she heard what sounded like chains rattling and someone screaming.

“My great-aunt told me that. She said that some old geezer – her words not mine – had bought the land back in the 1850s. She told me he was as mean as a copperhead and that he worked his land by himself until he saved up enough money to buy him some help. Aunt Colleen told me he worked from sunup to sundown and often deep into the night,” Mary said.

She also said several of the slaves he bought died while they were clearing the land and added those who died were buried in the area.

“Now, I was told he buried them in a circle,” Mary continued. “Why? I don’t know. But when that old geezer – not my words – died, Aunt Colleen said them boys buried him right in the center of all them graves so he couldn’t get out.”

“I love living out here, but there are some nights I wish Ed would just decide to pack up and move us,” she said. “I’ll tell ya what. Come out here one night and see for yourself

“I used to think we had cougars up around here,” Ed interjected. “I would hear screams from what sounded like a woman. I know what one of them big cats sounds like and this weren’t no cat. It sounded like somebody being beat. I swear you could hear what sounded like a whip and then – nothing.”

”I think it’s all those slave boys gettin’ their revenge,” Mary said. “I’ve heard what Ed’s talking about and when those screams come, I swear I hear them trees just a chuckilin’.”

 

 Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.