10.16.2012

Spirit Voices in the Cemetery


Put me outside on a perfectly crisp Fall day,
surrounded by gorgeous, changing leaves and my two favorite guys,
and I am a happy girl.
Add a few ghost stories and I'm positively thrilled.

On Sunday we joined in on some fun
at Huntsville's annual Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll.
There were more than 65 notable Huntsvillians
that "came to life" beside their respective graves,
to tell stories filled with history, humor, and even a taste of horror.

There are over 80,000 people buried in the oldest and largest cemetery in Alabama,
and so many of them have fascinating tales....

The legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead was born in Huntsville,
and is said to pay ghostly visits to the grave of her mother, Adelaide, who is buried in Maple Hill.


Elizabeth Dale Gibbons Flanagan Jeffries High Brown Routt,
otherwise known as the Black Widow of Hazel Green,
visits the grave of her second husband.
She lived through the deaths of all SIX of her husbands,
her only daughter, and her father, who just happened to die while he paid her a visit.

David Todd, a confederate officer and the brother in law of Abraham Lincoln, is buried there, along with Jeremiah Clemens, Mark Twain's first cousin. There's also the US and Confederate Senator Clement Claiborne Clay, who was charged with complicity in the murder of President Lincoln.

Sally Carter, one of the city's most notorious ghosts, is said to have a hidden grave in the cemetery.
She died in Huntsville's Cedarhurst Mansion before the age of 16 in 1832,
and spooky sightings of Sally go all the way back to 1919. 

Perhaps the most curious story of all belongs to
Mary Chambers Bibb,
who died in 1835 and was laid to rest in Maple Hill's first mausoleum.
She was to marry the handsome son of Alabama's 2nd Governor.
In the days leading up to her wedding, Mary began drinking Epsom salts to lighten her skin.
You see, she wanted to be a beautiful bride.
Unfortunately, a new servant, who could not read, brought her poison to drink instead of Epsom salt.
Mary immediately knew that something was wrong, 
and the doctor was summoned.
 He gave her two months to live.
Her prospective groom lovingly insisted they be married, despite the terrible news,
and a ceremony was held.
He even presented her with a rocking chair that he had made for her as a wedding gift.
She spent her final days rocking in her beloved chair.
When the time came to bury her,
Mr. Bibb chose to place her in the mausoleum,
sitting up in her rocking chair,
wearing her wedding gown.
Rumor has it, if you visit Maple Hill at night, 
you can hear Mary Chambers Bibb's rocking chair creaking 
as she rocks inside her mausoleum.
Pretty creepy, huh?

21 comments:

Carlee, Almost Endearing said...

I have never even heard of a cemetery stroll! But it sounds like fun and looks like you and your family had a great time! Love the photos!
Carlee
Almost Endearing

Haley K said...

That cemetery stroll sounds wonderfully creepy. :) What a festive outing! There were definitely some incredible people who passed away and are burried there... And oooooh I got goosebumps reading about Mary Bibb. Eeek! Get's me excited for Halloween!

You, Will, and Hudson sure were cute with that red wagon. :)

Shauna said...

Yes, creepy. But the weather, oh the weather. I want it to be like that here in California. Tomorrow it's going to be 81, I think I might take the kids to the pool after they finish their homeschool.

So sad about the mis-communication with the servant. A good reason for your servant to be well read, huh? :) Love your posts, take care,

Shauna xoxoxo

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

The stories are creepy but at the same time fascinating. The history that can be found in a cemetery is amazing - though I don't think I'd like to actually encounter a ghost. Great picture, early Autumn is the perfect time for such a day I would think. xo

Cindy P said...

Whoa... What a creepy yet cool time! That's so neat that they have a cemetery stroll where they combine history and spookiness. That's very neat. I don't know that I could do it though. =/ I hate getting spooked. I don't like listening to ghost stories very much!

Your pictures are beautiful! I think you have more color on your trees down there than we do here! We went to a corn maze this past weekend and had a delightful time. I can't wait to post my pictures tomorrow!

Shannon @ Bungalow960 said...

I think that black widow lady killed all those guys. Just sayin'.

Ashley Slater said...

oohh that last story gave me chills! I love a good ghost story (those that aren't demon related....I kind of hate scary movies because they are all about the devil possessing people) anyways, that sounds so fun, I wish my town did something that cool!

Amber said...

you guys are always go to the coolest places. You inspire me to venture out more in my own town :)

Janette said...

I don't know if this is fantastic or really creepy... I like the idea of it, but it kind of scares me a lot.. LOL

♥Janette
http://janettethejongleur.blogspot.com

Jennifer said...

How cool!?!! How do you find these things?! I know it is weird but I love walking around and looking at the old headstones in cemeteries...wondering who they were, what they were like. That is a really great idea that they do that in Huntsville! Plus it is so sad to think of a final resting place as a sad, empty place. I think I'd want to "RIP" somewhere with a cemetery stroll each year...especially with visitors like yall!!! (btw...is that weird???)

Jennifer said...

How cool!?!! How do you find these things?! I know it is weird but I love walking around and looking at the old headstones in cemeteries...wondering who they were, what they were like. That is a really great idea that they do that in Huntsville! Plus it is so sad to think of a final resting place as a sad, empty place. I think I'd want to "RIP" somewhere with a cemetery stroll each year...especially with visitors like yall!!! (btw...is that weird???)

Ashley said...

Okay the rocking chair thing had me creeped out... almost gave me goosebumps! If I ever visit that cemetery and hear a rocking chair, I'm going to run faster than I've run before haha.

Love your pictures... and the corn on the cob detail in the fence, so neat.

Headstone said...

This was a fun day out. I am always up for takeing a stroll through a cemetery and looking around. Expesially if there is some history involved. I really would like to go back and hear some more stories. GREAT PICTURES SWOOP!

We should go back one night to the playground.

LOVE YOU!!!

livlovelaugh said...

wow, what gorgeous photos~

-liv
http://chocolivlovelaugh.blogspot.kr/

Ashley said...

This is a fantastic idea. I love the actors' involvement. I need to find something like this!!

Chrissy said...

Love this. I love the atmosphere on cemeteries! Looks like a of of fun and so many wonderful photos!
Happy weekend xxx

justicepirate.com said...

yeah. . .six husbands. . I can't imagine even falling in love all those times and then having to suffer through each of those deaths...goodness. mourning over one husband would be tough enough.
+Victoria+

Kate @ Daffodils said...

What a neat event. I love old cemeteries (my husband thinks thats strange ha) but when we lived in Savannah we did a similar event. Such a neat way to celebrate life and learn more about your town!

Gentri said...

ooooooo!! That's so fun and creepy!!

Cara-Mia said...

Ashley, you always go to the most fun events! I've never heard of a cemetery stroll, but this looks awesome!

misc.alaina said...

That looks so fun! I love history and stories about people from the past! It is spooky and beautiful at the same time!!