As I mentioned yesterday in my post on Bonaventure Cemetery my love of cemeteries started at an early age. There was one in my hometown that I spent much of my childhood, teen years, and adult life in. I would go with my mom when I was a child to visit my grandfather and other family there. Later, during high school I began going to visit a friend I lost in an accident. As I got older, I found myself wandering the tree-lined paths exploring the historic monuments and graves.
Visitng graves was a big tradition to my family. We would take trips in the summers to place flowers on relatives who had died as far back as the early 1800’s. I remember always being fascinated with the older headstones and the Civil War memorials found in the hidden backroad graveyards of southern Ohio.
During our trip to Savannah earlier this year we made a stop at the Colonial Park Cemetery. I had read quite a bit of ghost lore about the location so of course we had to add it to our list. My traveling companions, 10 and 12, are just starting to get to an age where they really appreciate the history of a location as much as I do so it was an easy sell.
The tombs of the DAR cemetery are quite unique compared to others I’ve noticed in New Orleans, Biloxi, and other spots across the South. According to records they were used to place a body in temporarily. Once nature had done its work to the body the ashes that remained were removed and put into a family urn. Then the tomb was prepared for the next death. At times, of course, deaths occurred too close together and so multiple bodies would have to be put into the tomb. In one instance at Colonial Park Cemetery a body was placed into the wrong tomb and lost for years.
The back wall of the cemetery is lined with headstones that have been broken through time by weathering, camping Union soldiers, and vandals. This is said to be one of the most haunted locations within the cemetery. Sadly, several of the tombstones were altered by Union pranksters and the actual dates of birth and death of some individuals are lost forever. Although there are thousands believed to be buried in Colonial Park Cemtery many graves are left unmarked.
The cemetery is only open during daylight hours and it is locked at night making it trespassing to be on grounds after dark. There are various benches available just outside the fence, however, where an individual can watch the graves at night. There have been reports of EVPs captured from outside the fence. However, the location is in the busy town of Savannah and close to a fire department. This makes noise contamination a difficult factor for would be investigators.
Various tours are available that offer information on the rich history of Colonial Park Cemetery. However, even tour groups are not allowed into the grounds after dark.