A burial ground in London going back to Roman times grew to become the sprawling, Gothic, Highgate Cemetery. In the late 1960s, Satanic rituals and sightings of ghosts were reported. It was suggested that a vampire was buried there, and the Satanic rituals had revived it.
In the 1970s this myth was reinforced with reports of dead foxes found within the cemetery that had no obvious sign of death. A ghostly figure and sightings of a man with waxen features occurred near the Egyptian Avenue entrance at dusk.
A major clue to debunking the legend was provided by Spanish neurologist, Juan Gomez-Alonso, when he stated that the symptoms of vampirism bore a striking resemblance to rabies. Many of the famous vampire panics of the 17th-century coincided with rabies outbreaks. Sufferers are hypersensitive to light, water and strong odours such as garlic. The disease attacks the central nervous system often leading to the victim becoming demented, nocturnal, and even hypersexual – all qualities which are associated with vampires.
The myth of the vampire began in 15th century Eastern Europe with Vlad Tepes, prince of a province in Romania. He was an unforgiving bloodthirsty ruler who routinely tortured people in the name of Christianity. His favourite method of punishment was impaling his enemies on giant wooden spears initiating the rumour that he drank their blood.
It is believed that after capture during a battle that he was ransomed to his daughter who lived in Italy. A tomb within a Naples church is engraved with symbols of a dragon, flanked by sphinxes which represent the city of Tepes. It is alleged to be Dracula’s tomb. (Vlad was the son of Dracul, meaning dragon or devil, and the name Dracula means the son of Dracul.)
In 1880, six-year-old Inez Clarke was struck and killed by a bolt of lightning. Her parents commissioned an artist to create a sculpture in her likeness and placed it over her grave in a transparent box to protect it from the elements. It is rumoured that during thunderstorms the extremely life-like statue disappears from inside the box. Daughter of
J.N. and M.C. Clarke
Born Sep. 20, 1873
Died Aug. 1, 1880
Stull Cemetery, Stull, Kansas
The graveyard is believed to be inhabited by evil forces, especially near the church, and is known by many names including Cemetery of the Damned. Also known as The Gates of Hell it is one of the many entrances to the Netherworld which opens on Halloween night. An urban myth states that Satan’s half-human child who is buried there transforms into a werewolf when he encounters humans
Highgate Cemetery, North London, England
This cemetery set in 37 acres of woodland is supposedly haunted by the Highgate Vampire, who according to urban legend, is 7-foot-tall and has been attacking people since 1860.
Western Burial Ground, Baltimore, Maryland
The screaming of a murdered minister who is buried here was so troublesome that his skull was placed in cement to stop the screams that emanated from the tomb. According to visitors, the solution was ineffective and his screams which are still audible can cause insanity in those who hear him. The catacombs below Westminster Hall house the bodies of people who were buried alive. Look out for Leona Wellesley, an insane asylum patient, who was buried here in a strait-jacket and follows people through the cemetery. The spirit of an old groundskeeper has also been seen chasing people off the grounds while waving a shovel at them.
La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
La Recoleta is haunted by a young girl named Rufina Cambaceres who was mistakenly pronounced dead. Her body was later found in an obvious attempt to escape her tomb. The tomb which was then resdesigned shows the failed attempt. She is rumoured to dig up other graves to make sure no one else has been buried alive. You may also encounter the night watchman who took his own life at the cemetery and the “The Lady In White” who roams at night.
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery — Bremen, Illinois
This derelict cemetery is isolated and looks abandoned. On foggy weather days, a bungalow appears in the distance but vanishes before you can approach it. There are also reports of photographs that have been taken of a ghost sitting on a tombstone. She is named the Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove.
St. Louis Cemetery No.1, New Orleans
St. Louis Cemetery has the title of the most haunted graveyard in the world. The ghosts of shouting children have been reported. It also contains the grave of Marie Laveau, the voodoo princess. Her gravestone is etched with three X’s. She has been sighted chanting curses. Many visitors leave her offerings to appease her spirit. A young man named Alphonse approaches visitors and it has been said that they have felt his icy cold touch. The spirit of tour guide Henry Vignes has been unable to rest as he searches for his family’s tomb.
Historically, dog statues were built at the feet of medieval women, signifying the loyalty and inferior place of each in the chivalric order. They symbolized loyalty and served as guides on the journey to the afterlife.
In Highgate Cemetery, the grave of Tom Sayers is guarded by his dog. He was a small stature, bare-knuckle boxer and the first to be declared World Heavyweight Champion. In a career lasting 11 years he was only once defeated. His retirement at age 35 was funded by the public (proof of his popularity). However, his retirement was short lived when he died 5 years later. The love of the people for this man was shown once more when they had a statue made of his loyal dog, Lion, to lay next to him for eternity.
ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS, USA
In 1878 special permission was given for a dog to be buried in Chippiannock Cemetery as a memorial to its dedication and loyalty. When Eddie, 5 years old, and Josie, 9 years old, died of diphtheria on the same day, October 22nd, 1878, the dog sat by the grave from dawn to dusk every day. After his death a statue of the dog was erected next to the Dimmick children’s graves. Although there is no name of the dog on the marker, it is known by cemetery employees as “Rex.”
BOSTON, MA, USA
The Forrest Hills Cemetery contains the resting place of Henry Barnard 1810-1853 and his wife Lucinda Barnard 1813-1913. It is surmounted by a sandstone sculpture of a Newfoundland dog, created by Henry Dexter in 1854.
The St. Bernard Hospice in Bern, Switzerland used a dog similar to the St. Bernard breed as a search and rescue dog. A dog named Barry became famous for saving more than 40 people during his lifetime.. A memorial to this dog is located in Le Cimetière des Chiens, (the Cemetery of Dogs) in the Asnières-sur-Seine suburb of Paris. A plaque on the monument states, Il sauva la vie à 40 personnes. Il fut tué par le 41ème He saved the lives of 40 people. He was killed by the 41st. There are several legends regarding the dog which have been disputed including his death. Barry was retired after a 12 year career and brought to Bern where he died at age 14. Read more on the history of this dog at this link, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_(dog)
GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, USA
Sallie was the mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the American Civil War. She accompanied soldiers into battle and was found protecting the dead and wounded on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. She was killed by a bullet 2 years later and buried where she fell. A statue of the brindle-coated pit bull lies at the base of the 11th PA infantry monument in Gettysburg.
The inscription on the stone reads, Sacred / To The Memory Of / William French/ Aged 50, Who Lost His Life On July 13th. 1896 / While Saving A Dog From Drowning / In Highgate Ponds / This Monument / Erected In Commemoration Of / His Brave Deed / Was Raised By Public Subscription / And Was Contributed To By / All Classes Of / Lovers Of Dumb Animals
DAYTON, OHIO, USA
In 1860 when Johnny Morehouse was only 5 years old, he fell into the Miami/Erie canal. His faithful dog tried unsuccessfully to save him. After burial in Woodland Cemetery the dog would not leave the graveside and died of starvation. A stone was erected in 1861. Visitors to the cemetery have reported the ghosts of Johnny and his dog playing in the cemetery.