Friday, June 1, 2012

Cemetery Phantoms!


Monday June 13, 1892

Page 6, Column 5



Uncanny Lights Seen Dancing about

An Abandoned Graveyard.


Two witnesses Report Somewhat Similar

Phenomena, but Neither Investigated

In a Scientific Manner – Do Ghosts

Walk on North Street?

Many Buffalonians well remember when the

lot at the corner of Delaware Avenue and

North Street was a private cemetery.  A few

years ago, the land becoming too valuable

for a resting place for the dead, the remains

were removed to another cemetery.

At the time of removal, doubts

were expressed as to the value of the

land for building purposes, owing to

the fact that the ground had once been a

graveyard.  This in a measure was the case,

as for a long time the land remained on the

market, and it was not until recently that

steps were taken to erect a house.

When contractors began excavations for

the cellar which is now lined with substantial

stone walls there were not wanting those who

prophesied that ill would come of it, and if the

word of night pedestrians is to be taken as

fact their predictions in a measure have been


The abandoned cemetery at present presents

a wild and uncared-for appearance, broken

here and there by the excavations of grave-

diggers while a few tall elms are scattered

over it.  In winter the boys have here by day –

light coasted and in summer flown their kites,

the rattling skeletons of many of which may

be seen dangling from the tree limbs or suspended

from neighboring telephone wires.

No nocturnal disturbances have been

reported from the old cemetery since the removal

of its former inmates till since the recent

excavation for the new building have profaned

the former city of the dead.  Even now the

story of supernatural visitations told take

the nature of half-founded rumors rather than

of fact, yet some of the allegations seem to be

not entirely with out foundation.  It is probable

that scientific investigations  would establish

their falsity and account for the appearance

by explaining the prevalence of St. Elmo’s

fire and marsh lights, in localities where

dampness and decaying animal and vegetable

matter is present.  Yet till such inquiry is

made and it is established beyond cavil that

these phenomena of nature are manifest there

will be some who will aver that the supernatural

may be seen. 

The surroundings of the lot are not such as

to suggest anything uncanny.  On the contrary

the neighborhood is a most aristocratic

residence locality and the suggestion of

anything undesirable would be met with strong

disfavor.  The streets which encompass the

old burying-ground are lined with houses, and

yet there in the midst of all, nightly visitations

of unaccountable character are reported.

Some days since, a night-overtaken house-

holder of the Circle neighborhood passing up

Delaware Avenue above Allen Street was

 roused from his reveries by seeing a lambent

flame rise from one corner of the excavation

which was then the partly walled cellar

of the Cook mansion.  The light

was dim and had the appearance of a blue

lantern shining through a thick mist.  It

clambered up the unfinished underpinning of

the house which rose a few feet above the level

of the ground, and followed the west wall to

its junction with the transverse masonry

forming the southern wall.  Here it halted

and slowly moved back to the place of beginning,

the northwest corner of the cellar.  The

man, who is not naturally superstitious, waited

no longer but hastily retraced his steps to

Allen Street and gained the Circle by way of

that thoroughfare and Wadsworth Street.

A few nights later, about 2 o’clock, another

 man residing in the vicinity of Hodge Avenue

saw a blue light dancing about the cellar,

now progressing slowly the rounds of

the walls and then suddenly darting

across the middle from one side to

another.  This man, taking courage

and resolving to overcome his desire for

flight, proceeded to investigate.  He courageously

approached the cellar, whereupon the

light, which at first had appeared about the

size of an adult skull, grew smaller and smaller

till it went out with a sharp snap, as of a huge

parlor match.

Purposely visiting the scene next day, while

the workman were engaged upon the building,

hHe found no trace of his early morning visit

save a cane he had dropped in the grass some

distance away.  It was through this gentleman

that the stories of the blue lights became noised

about.  None save the two men referred to

admit having seen the lights, but their stories

tally so exactly and their reputation for truth

is so unquestioned that some credit must of

necessity be placed in their experiences as


Recent visits to the spot at all hours of

night have not substantiated the rumors, but

two men of the West Side are anxiously

awaiting the reappearance of the illumination

that their word may be removed from suspicion,

and that the true character and origin

of the light may be scientifically determined.

Original story from microfilm records at,
Buffalo &Erie County Public Library
Central Library
1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14203

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