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.



Is there anything we missed about Birch Hill Cemetery? Let us know in the comments section below!

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.

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror

Punishment for Grave Robbing Epitomized in Short Horror Film, Toe (2020)

The culture of robbing graves isn’t as big of a topic these days as it probably should be, but there is something about the entire topic that is just strangely unsettling. Robbing graves has been and is still a problem that plagues every culture–from the Pharaohs who attempted to take their earthly possessions with them into the next life, to ghost marriages in Chinese culture, there always seems to be a reason why certain people want to disturb the dead, but are there any common themes?

One common theme is the fact that these grave robbers are invading the space of the dead, either to acquire an object that belonged to the deceased or the body of the deceased. Indeed there are varying reasons why a grave robber might disturb those laying in their eternal rest. One strange reason can be credited to the extreme fringe practitioners of Santería, where the corpses of deceased babies and still-born fetuses are excavated and used in ritual magic. While it’s not a common practice, it has reportedly been a problem in regions where the practice of the religion is prevalent.

Curse of the Pharaohs

The tombs inside of the Pyramids have a history of causing people to be uneasy, whether it’s due to the legend of the Curse of the Pharaohs, or the simple fact that it’s a tomb and tombs are just pretty creepy in general. It seems there are many movies about mummies but in the case of ancient Egyptian horror, the true story is often more frightening than the movies have captured.

Cursed be those that disturb the rest of Pharaoh. They that shall break the seal of this tomb shall meet death by a disease which no doctor can diagnose.

Inscription reported to have been carved on an Egyptian royal tomb

There is a lot of history attached to the tombs of the Pharaohs and there is a lot of legend surrounding the so-called curses that befall those who disturb the tombs of these mummified kings of the past. While a curse may seem like a mystical and superstitious method to keep looters and thieves at bay, the Egyptians were famous for placing warnings of curses to ward off these would-be intruders. Those who did not heed the warnings would live a short while to regret their actions.

Ghost Brides Within Chinese Culture

While the practice of trading corpses to use for ritual spirit marriage has been outlawed since 2006 within China, it has led to the uptick of graves being robbed. These robberies aren’t an attempt to find some valuable possession left with the deceased, but to steal the corpse of the deceased itself. In 2015 it was reported that fourteen female corpses had been stolen from their graves to be sold as ghost brides for the ritual ghost marriage practice that is still practiced by some families to this day. For this reason, families of individuals who pass away while single will encase the coffin with cement to make it more difficult or impossible to steal their loved ones from their graves. These robberies continue to plague families of single women who have passed, whose corpses are worth at least $3,000 to the family of a single man who has passed.

ALTER Presents Toe (2020)

One thing that you should do, if you’re a horror lover, is take a look at the animated horror short films that are available on YouTube–they’re not as prevalent as the regular live-action ones, but they’re often spookier and elicit a deeper sense of fear. We highly suggest you take a look at this stop-motion animated short film entitled, Toe which came out a little earlier this month.

This horror short warns us that even starving children are not immune to the punishments that come to those who disturb the graves of the dead.

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore

Stull Cemetery: A Gateway to Hell

Since the mid 90s, Stull Cemetery has been connected to legends involving paranormal hauntings, satanic rituals, witchcraft, the devil himself, and of course, the infamous, “Gateway to Hell.“ Legend has it Lucifer once used the Stull church located within the cemetery (now destroyed) as his own personal doorway from Hell. It was in Stull where he would awaken the spirits buried inside the gates of the cemetery. He’s only able to pass through the gateway twice a year, at midnight on the Spring Equinox and Halloween.

Hundreds of eye-witnesses have claimed the roofless church that once stood in the graveyard would always remain bone dry no matter the weather conditions. The legend goes that rain refused to land inside of the church, as if an invisible force surrounded the church. These supernatural happenings were attributed to the town finally tearing down the church. The once standing church was said to be the center for most of the supernatural happenings in Stull Cemetery. It even had stairs below notably leading directly to the underworld. 

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Stull Cemetery Church pictured above before the demolish

Stull Cemetery has been the focus of many in the paranormal community. It’s even said the Pope himself refuses to fly over Stull, Kansas. One of the most famous stories reportedly happened in 1993 when Pope John Paul II was flying to Colorado. According to legend the Pope had said that the ground in Stull Cemetery was so unholy, that he ordered his plane to detour away from the graveyard and Stull because even the air above Stull was too evil to fly through.

A further allure of Stull Cemetery, aside from all of the lore and legends, are the townsfolk themselves. The people of Stull have seemingly done their best to keep paranormal enthusiasts away from the cemetery. Whether it’s abundant “no trespassing” signs, local law enforcement keeping people at bay, or denying the media access, it seems the people of Stull want to keep something a secret. These activities bring even more lore to the Stull Cemetery legend, some saying the town itself is a cult tied into the undocumented witchcraft and satanic rituals that are believed to have taken place in Stull.

From a gateway to the underworld, to townspeople being apart of a mysterious cult tied to it, Stull Cemetery has more legends and lore than most paranormal locations throughout the United States. With limited accessibility to the cemetery, the legend of Stull will continue to remain just that, lore. We may never know for sure what Stull Cemetery holds.