Any cemetery can be creepy, even in the light of day. But the Union Cemetery in Easton, located at the intersection of Routes 136 and 59, is reportedly the most haunted in the state. And as local legend goes, some of the spirits spill over to the Easton Baptist Church across the street as well.
Ghost hunter and founder of the Cosmic Society, Donna Kent, said a mysterious "White Lady" travels between the Union Cemetery in Easton and the Stepney Graveyard, less than 10 miles away.
Kent, who is also the tour guide for Haunted ConneCTicut tours, said that the "white lady" is a ghostly figure that appears in a white nightgown, but her identity is unknown. She believes that it had something to do with a love triangle. Rumor has it that it could be Ellen Smathers, wife of John Smathers, whose body was found in a sink-hole behind the Easton Baptist Church, weighed down with iron chunks in his pockets. And yet another body was found in the sink-hole around the turn of the century, that of Mrs. Knott, who was supposedly murdered by her lover, Elwood Wade.
But Kent also believes that the Union Cemetery is not necessarily haunted by those souls who were buried there, but by spirits that are simply attracted to the negative energy that seems to surround the area.
According to Kent, a local fireman was said to have struck the "white lady" as he was driving near the Union Cemetery, after the road in front of him morphed into an old cobblestone street. He claimed that he saw her in the road, reaching out to him. He heard a thump, and there was a dent in his truck, but no evidence was ever found of anybody being injured, killed, or anywhere around. And, as folklore has it, he saw a man sitting next to him in the truck, wearing a straw hat.
Wayne Crossman of the Easton Fire Department laughed when asked about the mystery surrounding the white lady, although he did say he heard about the firefighter who claimed to have seen her, and that he worked with a different firehouse.
As it turns out, the firefighter was reportedly with The Stepney Fire Department, but he is no longer with the company. "I've heard rumors, but I'm not into that superstitious stuff," Fire Marshall Carl Lewis said. Not at liberty to reveal the identity of the firefighter, Lewis simply stated, "He's no longer here."
So, if the firefighter in question had seen the white lady, and none of his fellow firefighters believed him, it would be no surprise that he's no longer with the company. Or perhaps after having such a fright, he was no longer able to serve and carry out his duties as a firefighter? Or, did he simply hit at white-tailed deer that ran off wounded into the woods and claim to have seen a ghost?
Kent is the author of "Ghosts and Legends of Eastern Connecticut," published by Haunted America/History Press, and she has written stories and taken photos of ghostly images all over the state, including the Union Cemetery and Easton Baptist Church. For more information about her book, or the Cosmic Society, visit the Web site, www.CosmicSociety.com.
If you're really brave, you might want to take a Haunted ConneCTicut Tour, where you can explore haunted places throughout the state to discover more about historical and contemporary lore and phenomena. Some of the spooky tours offered include journeys of Southwestern, Northwestern and Eastern Connecticut, with some featuring lunch, brunch or dinner at allegedly haunted locations. Some tours offer an overnight stay, or you could even venture on a lantern light walk through a graveyard. All tours are geared for adults and older children.
Highlights of the Southwestern tour are the Union Cemetery, the Booth Homestead in Stratford and the Carousel Gardens restaurant in Seymour, where you will hear menacing tales about the white lady, the legend of "Hanna Cranna," and the ghost of Ruth Wooster. For more information, visit www.connectionsgrouptours.com
But as far as the Easton Police Department is concerned, the white lady is simply a myth that keeps them busy chasing kids out of the Union Cemetery, nobody has actually seen anything.
The Union Cemetery closes at dusk, so if you should dare to stop for a look, if you chose to decide for yourself if the white lady really exists, it is recommended you visit on a sunny afternoon.
Story By Joy Ledwell