Nestled deep within Fitchburg, and far away from the consciousness of anyone outside Worcester County, you'll find Dean Hill Cemetery. It's a decently sized open field with far fewer headstones than you're used to seeing in a graveyard.
It was established in 1791 as a resting place for the soldiers of the Revolutionary War and their families. Colloquially known as "The Rev," it's also home to more than its fair share of ghost stories.
Join us, if you will, on our search for the...
Ghosts of "The Rev!"
There's really no way to overstate just how out of the way this place is. To give you an idea, here's the road leading up to it:
|If you squint, you can find the serial killer.|
It's on Ashburnham Road and was once close to the Dean Hill Tavern, which was built around 1777. The tavern is no more, but the cemetery still stands and gets all sorts of visitors, however unwelcome they may be.
The cemetery is closed to the public after dusk and the locals have no problem calling the police if they catch you. It turns out that loud, young people being obnoxious in the middle of the night isn't exactly the sort of thing that makes aging retirees happy.
There are a few houses in the area and sound definitely travels. You know that you're getting older when you start to agree more with the nosy Mr. Jenkins next door than the plucky teens out for a good time.
When you start reading stories by people like this genius, its not tough to see why visitors are frowned upon. If you can't read it, don't worry. It's not really worth it. The short version is that a group of self-proclaimed ghost hunters snuck in at night and scared themselves. It wouldn't be a big deal, but they made a point of carrying lit candles in the middle of the fall. If there's one thing I've learned from living here over the past few months, it's that Fitchburg has absolutely no lack of dead leaves in October.
If horror movies have taught us anything, it's that the light you're carrying is always the first thing you drop when you're getting chased by a scary ghost like this girl pretended to be. Dead leaves and open flames love to party and there are always teenagers willing to make it happen.
It's dangerous and NO ONE reading this should try to sneak into the cemetery in the middle of the night.
Anyway, I snuck into the cemetery in the middle of the night.
|Take THAT, Mr. Jenkins!|
I grabbed my trusty camera and started snapping away, just like the ghost hunters do. I was on a mission to prove that the afterlife existed and this was the best place to do it.
|Or at least prove that I can hit my shin on giant stones in the pitch black night.|
Now, by "camera," I mean phone. By "snapping away," I mean blindly pointing it and taking pictures. I can't tell you how damn dark it is in this place, at night. You saw the road it's on. There isn't a single street light. If you think they suck, you're welcome to do it yourself.
Anyway, there are a lot of horror stories about this place. One of them involves a guy being murdered and burned on the side of the road. Another involves a group of four teens entering and only two exiting. The other two were never seen again. Then there's the unrelated teen who was supposedly murdered and buried just outside of the cemetery in an unmarked grave.
The stories really go on and on and I'm not even going to get into the ritualistic sacrifices, the Satan worship, or the stone that kills you if you stand on it. Nevertheless, I trudged on, putting my own safety on hold for the sake of finding the human soul.
|Or maybe just a cool, old headstone.|
The ghosts are said to appear on a very strict schedule. You need to be there between 1am and 5am. It also needs to be in the autumn. I guess being dead leaves you extremely busy and you can't just hang out at home, waiting for company, all day long.
People who have claimed to have experiences have come across all sorts of things. There are screams coming from the cemetery when they drive by, there are specters walking between the headstones and there are Revolutionary soldiers just chilling out and leaning on the stone wall. I'm guessing they're just waiting for the Dean Hill Tavern to open back up. What's the point of staying on Earth long after you pass if you can't spend your time getting white girl drunk?
|"Water the horses and light a candle, dear wife! I'm off to the pub for a Bud Light Lime!"|
Credit: David H-C
The one common thread among all of the paranormal reports is a sense of uneasiness. It doesn't matter if people are walking through it, or just driving by, they always feel a heavy sense of unease.
I didn't feel any of that. In fact, it was pretty peaceful. The grounds are well-kept and there was no traffic driving by. It would be a great area to retire, actually.
|This guy knows what I'm talking about!|
Still, I wasn't going to let any obvious lack of ghosts deter me. I was there for a reason and I was going to stay until my job was complete. That was when I came across the thing that would change my life forever: The headstone of Phinehas Brown!
|Behold your fate!|
My hands were shaking and my breath hung in the air. I walked through the cemetery, one deliberate step at a time. The horror stories ran through my head. I felt alone and surrounded at the same time. Then I came upon this headstone and found... the most badass name ever! If I have one desire, it's to be reborn as a Phinehas.
Lydia kind of got the shit end of the stick, though. Can you imagine spending eternity only known as the "1st Wife?" What kind of bullshit is that? They couldn't throw her a hobby or something? How about "1st Wife and Knitting Enthusiast" for Christ's sake? And what's up with Abigail? What was her relation? Was she just a side piece? More importantly, why do these people keep dying every ten years or so? What the hell's going on in the Brown house? There are so many questions.
So, needless to say, there weren't any ghosts while I was there. I took one last picture and made my way back to the road.
|You just pretty much HAVE to take this exact picture when you're there.|
I know how this works, though. Ghosts don't just hang out waiting for their pictures to be taken. Sometimes they show up as energy orbs. As a now professional ghost hunter, I'm well aware of this phenomenon.
I got back home and pulled all of my evidence into the photo lab. The photo lab, by the way, is in no way just a pirated copy of Photoshop on a computer that's so old it still runs Vista. Just throwing that out there.
I couldn't help but feel the overwhelming sense of failure as I studied the photographic evidence. There wasn't a single Revolutionary soldier leaning against the wall.
|See? Totally ghostless. Hell of a nice place to sit quietly, though.|
There also wasn't a single orb. That was when I realized something. As we professional ghost hunters know, sometimes you have to look at the photo BEHIND the photo. Not all of the evidence is immediately clear to the naked eye. Most photographic evidence of ghosts has been altered in some way. I knew that if I expertly adjusted the light and contrast values of my photos, I might just find all the evidence I was seeking.
I sought out the proper filters in my pirat-... photo lab... and found THIS!
HOLY SHIT! THAT'S LIKE TEN MILLION GHOSTS! THERE ARE ORBS EVERYWHERE! I WAS SURROUNDED THE WHOLE TIME! I DID IT! I PROVED THAT GHOSTS EXIST! SOMEONE CALL THE POPE! ALL THAT GOD AND HUMAN SOUL BULLSHIT IS REAL! YOU HAVE A GHOST INSIDE YOU RIGHT NOW! THERE'S ACTUAL MEANING TO LIFE! #GHOSTSAREREAL!