Birch Hill Cemetery, Fairbanks, AK

Date of Discovery/Date of Establishment & Haunting

Sightings of apparitions within the Birch Hill Cemetery have been happening since the 1930s.

Name & Location

Birch Hill Cemetery houses at least one apparition, the most notable of which is the White Lady.

Physical Description

Gwich'in Elder Grave at Birch Hill Cemetery
Gwich’in Elder Grave at Birch Hill Cemetery

The Birch Hill Cemetery is a prominent geographical feature in Fairbanks, it rises on the north slope of the city and faces the Steese Highway. It is a peaceful cemetery that is surrounded on three sides by dense woods and the overlooking hill to the city displays seven planters that are in the shape of the Big Dipper–the symbol on the Alaskan flag. It is a very unsuspecting location for a haunting, it’s a beautiful location.

The White Lady appears in an early 1900s era dress and a fancy hat–something that would have been worn during the early pioneering days of Fairbanks. Aside from the White Lady, the apparition who appears most often, there have been reports of a little girl and a little boy who haunt the cemetery on their own.

Origin

The Birch Hill Cemetery officially became the main cemetery in Fairbanks after the Clay Street Cemetery began to quickly fill up–it covers approximately thirty-two acres of the southwest side of Birch Hill and there are still plots available today.

Mythology and Lore

The White Lady has been sighted since 1938 when the cemetery was officially established, along with two apparitions of children.

In 2001, Fairbanks paranormal investigator by the name of Jessie Desmond obtained an electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), but states that they are not necessarily “the result of intentional voice recordings.” He also stated that Paranormal Explorers of Alaska (PEAK) uses this particular cemetery for training and to see if they can capture more information about Birch Hill Cemetery’s resident ghosts. They occasionally capture orbs in their pictures and would hear movements that have no known origin.

In May of 2012, Jessie Desmond collaborated with Neelie Lythgoe and Tony Hernandez members of Investigators of the Paranormal in Alaska (IOPIA) from the Anchorage region; it was during this investigation that they were able to capture a few EVPs as well as a picture of what they believe was an apparition.



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El Campo Cemetery, San Diego, CA

El Campo Haunted Cemetery

This Catholic cemetery was founded in 1849 and remains today as a state landmark in California. The site is said to have around 477 tombs however in 1851 the site was desecrated when a streetcar path was constructed through the graveyard. There are around 18 graves that were paved over in order to create the pathway. This upset many who had loved ones buried at the site and also the spirits themselves. After the site was disrupted stories of ghosts and strange occurrences began. There are stories of car alarms going off for no reason, an unexplained icy chill coming over guests, a ghost of a Native American or possibly Hispanic man has been seen as well as the spirit of a woman wearing 18th-century periodic clothing.

The site has also experienced issues with grave robbers and a fire that destroyed the chapel.

After local petitions occurred there were markers added where the gravesites had been paved over. At first, just crosses were painted in the street but eventually, the city created proper grave markers for the graves that had been displaced. Walter P. Temple filed a lawsuit against the city preventing any further desecration of the cemetery. In 1917 he purchased the land the graveyard was on to begin restoring it.