As autumn leaves crackle beneath my steps, I venture down the path. Crows call out from above as my eyes fall upon the footbridge where I walk closer to the burial ground.
Old cemeteries have been a fascination of mine for as long as I can remember. I have this strong affinity for the lives that have gone before me. Those who walked this land, the lives they led, and the mysteries they sometimes left behind.
Today I am visiting the Seward Giles Cemetery. If it weren’t for a wandering eye when driving by, I would never have noticed the path and marker set among the dense trees. It is so well hidden it wasn’t known to exist till the early 2000s.
The Seward family settled in the area in 1812, and Joel Seward was the first one buried at this small graveyard in 1826 at 92. He was born in 1733 and served in the Revolutionary War. Composition and age have caused the stones to disintegrate or break. The original bases for the tombstones are all that remain.
Cemeteries are a part of life and death and continue to pique our interest with stories of the lives of those who have gone before. Some of the deceased are simple people who forged their lives just as we still do today. Others were war heroes, and some were criminals. Occasionally we come across those who have an air of mystery and drama that draw us into their stories.
According to The Ohio Exploration Society, St. Jacob’s Cemetery, located in Licking County, is known for the legend “Kinder Der Nacht” or “Children of the Night.” In the 1800s, the sound of children laughing and singing was often heard coming from the cemetery at night. Paranormal equipment has detected some unexplained occurrences at the site.
Old graveyards were often the final resting places for families, and many remain on private land. However, when given a chance to explore, there is a lot of beauty, intrigue, and history on these hallowed grounds.
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