|Hans Graf Cemetery, near Marietta|
I had first read about the Hans Graf Cemetery in a book about haunted locations in Lancaster County. While I found it interesting, it really wasn't high on my list of places to visit. However, on a recent trip to Marietta, I took a slight detour and visited the old cemetery.
The story of the ghosts that haunt this cemetery is much different than most ghost stories. Is it a woman in white who romas the area? No. How about a dark, foreboding shadow figure? No. The ghosts of this cemetery are dogs. Yes, the Hans Graf Cemetery is supposed to be haunted by a ghostly dog or two. They are most often heard barking at those who visit the cemetery.
As I pulled up in front of the cemetery, I was immediately shocked by the condition of the cemetery; it was overgrown with weeds and trees. The cemetery was suffering from a serious case of neglect. Walking closer, my immediate shock was replaced with disgust as I wondered how it could remain in such condition; surely there were family descendants somewhere who could maintain the graves of their ancestors. As much as I desired to get into the cemetery and take better pictures, I wasn't about to fight mother nature to see the graves up close.
On the stonewall in front of the cemetery is a marker stating that this acre held the descendants of Hans Graf, who once owned these lands. I was surprised as I stepped up to the wall of the cemetery. Rather than it being a wall surrounding a cemetery, the walled plot was filled to the top of the wall with soil. Only a couple feet from where I peered over the wall was a stone at eye-level. I found this kind of interesting; I'd never seen a cemetery like this in any of my travels.
Being the middle of day during my visit, I didn't witness anything out of the ordinary. However, I will admit that the area seemed to be "ideal" for a haunting. The first thing that jumped out to me was the "abandoned" feeling of the area. The failure to maintain the cemetery made it seem even more remote and wild. This fact alone allows the human mind to race wild with ideas and thoughts that would not normally occur in cemeteries that are well maintained.
The second thing I noticed (and I can't come up with a logical solution for this) was a "lack of sound" in the area. Allow me to explain. As I stood there, I could see farm equipment and dump trucks working roughly a half-mile down the road past the cemetery, but I could not hear them. I was almost on top of them on the way out before I could hear them. I believe that between the lay of the land, the woods, and the cornfields, most of the sound in the area was being muted, which also causes human paranoia.
The third thing I noticed while visiting was one of the houses that I passed on the way in had two dogs in the yard. This may account for the sound of dogs barking, but may not account for all of the sounds heard by others at the cemetery. While I was there, I personally did not hear the dogs or anything out of the ordinary.
Is the cemetery haunted? There have been many stories about it and the ghosts there. However, I found nothing on this trip to the cemetery other than an abandoned, overgrown plot in need of care.
On a side note, driving away from the cemetery, I was surprised by a coon dog that came bounding out of the cornfield in front of me and ran across the road to an old stone house located just down the road from where Hans Graf and his family rests. Was it a ghost? Who knows...I sure don't.