My friend Theresa and I set out one blustery and cold morning in December for a day of explorations in the local cemeteries. Little did I know this would turn into an experience of the paranormal kind.
We pulled up to the gate at Stone Cemetery in Noel, MO. We sat in the van for a few minutes trying to decide weather or not we wanted to brave the cold for this small of a cemetery or come back when it was warmer. We decide what the heck we were here might as well.
Armed with a warm hoodie, a pair of fingerless gloves and my camera I climbed out of the van. As I approached the gate I got an odd feeling, like I was being watched. I turned around to see if Theresa was watching me. Nope, she was busying herself by getting her belongings from the back seat. I swung open the gate and head towards the back of the cemetery. Glancing about half way through the cemetery, trying to determine my route, I noticed these stones.
(Located at Stone Cemetery in Noel, MO.)
I though it a good place to start. Then I would work my way back towards the fence.
As I approached these three graves I felt two sharp taps on my shoulder. Like someone standing behind me tapping my shoulder to get my attention. I stopped turned around, no one was there. Hmm... what was that? I turned back in the direction I was headed and took a few more steps. Tap Tap, there it was again, harder this time. Turning, again no one was there. I thought maybe Theresa was playing tricks on me. But then I noticed she was over on the other side of the cemetery. How odd I thought, shrugged and moved on. At that moment I heard what sounded like a woman scream. I swung around fast fearing my friend had fallen or worse. She too was turning around fast because she hear it as well. Neither one of us could figure out where the sound had came from. But we felt the need to hurry through the cemetery because it started having a real heavy feel to the air in the area. (Some places just have that heavy or thick feel to them.)
We headed back to the van. Theresa went over to photograph the old school building next to the cemetery.
"Thank you so very, very much for the pictures. I have been over to the cemetery a few years ago, but I didn’t have a digital camera at the time. Lately, the weather has been so bad I can’t get back there.
I know it as Stone Cemetery because it is near Stone School. My great-great-grandfather, Henry Hanna, helped build the school. He was the local blacksmith and had a large business near the river. My great-great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Weaver, worked for Mr. Martin, who was a master stone mason. The graves are of Mary Elizabeth’s mother and two brothers, so if you could just label them, “Mother Hamblin and Two Sons, Killed by Union Cherokees - 1864” I would appreciate it. The mother saw one son pulled out of a chimney and hacked to death on the kitchen floor right in front of her, and we don’t know where the other son was killed, probably outside the house. It was a terrible tragedy and the mother died shortly thereafter from a “broken” heart. The father had died earlier in Arkansas somewhere. The whole Hamblin family had walked to southwest Missouri from Tennessee.
I am a volunteer genealogist at Grove Public Library. My great-uncle, Claude Hanna, has written all the family stories down and the above is what we know about his (and my) grandmother’s family. Eventually I want to get one really nice granite headstone made with the exact words I gave you above. I finally found Mary Elizabeth’s resting place. It is in Rose, Oklahoma at Rose Cemetery and her headstone reads, “Mary Elizabeth Hanna” although she was never married to Henry.
Again thanks a million!
I love it when people provide information about the residents of the cemeteries I photograph. It is like getting breif snap shots of other peoples lives during times we will never see. Some of the stories I hear are tragic and some are not. But it is a great way to glimps into peoples lives and their history.