There’s no fooling anyone. If you go to a cemetery at night, you’re doing one of two things: partying or ghost hunting. Well, I mean, you’re not going to have a picnic with your long-buried great-great-grandma at midnight, are you? No. Most likely, you’re ghost hunting. If you weren’t, an entire category of YouTube would be out of a job.
Visiting cemeteries at night, ghosts aside, is a bit unsettling. The ground is soft because it’s been turned so many times, there are literally dead people under your feet, and typically, the lighting isn’t the best. But the cemetery threat isn’t the ghosts. In fact, an undisturbed cemetery is quite peaceful. The threat comes more from other weirdos hanging out in the cemetery while you wander aimlessly through it at night.
Still, peaceful cemeteries seldom make history—or top ten lists. We want paranormal activity in our cemeteries, dammit! So with that, here are ten cemeteries you wouldn’t want to spend the night in.
10Union Cemetery, Easton, Connecticut
One of America’s most haunted and oldest cemeteries is a little cemetery in Connecticut, dating back at least 400 years: Union Cemetery. It has received enough notoriety for its hauntings that even Ed and Lorraine Warren made a case study of it.
Union is quiet during the day, but walking through it, the energy is heavy. At night, that heavy energy springs to life. Paranormal investigators report hearing and seeing the spirits of soldiers and children, but what really grabs people’s attention are The White Lady and Red Eyes.
No one knows the origins of The White Lady, but two popular stories make her either a woman who died during childbirth or a wife murdered by her husband and dumped in a sinkhole behind the adjacent church.
Red Eyes is a bit more terrifying. Believed to be the angry spirit of Earle Kellog, who was burned to death across the street in the 1930s, Red Eyes manifests as just that: glowing red eyes. The spirit will sometimes chase people through the cemetery and breathe down their necks.
If the ghosts aren’t reason enough not to spend the night there, the police are. They will ticket you for trespassing faster than you can say “run!”
9Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland
Next to one of the world’s first documented concentration camps, Greyfriars Kirkyard Cemetery in Scotland has a brutal past—and a brutal ghost. Back in the 1670s, those who identified as Covenentors (Presbyterians, essentially) were put on trial for religious and political reasons. The religious end was that Presbyterian Scots wanted the freedom to practice their beliefs in the country without persecution. The parliament at the time (which was Catholic) didn’t like that idea and decided to squash it almost immediately.
Enter George Mackenzie, the ruthless judge in charge of the trials. He imprisoned and punished more than 1,200 Covenentors in a field next to the cemetery, without shelter, forcing them to live in the worst conditions with only four ounces of bread a day. Hundreds died of malnourishment.
Skipping ahead, “Bloody Mackenzie” eventually was buried in Greyfriars in a giant mausoleum. A homeless man broke into the mausoleum in 1999; people believe it unleashed an evil Mackenzie spirit—a poltergeist. The physical attacks from the poltergeist got so bad that grounds management forbid tours for a time. Tours now come with a physical and mental health warning.
8La Noria Cemetery, La Noria, Chile
Deep in Chile’s Atacama Desert lies La Noria, an old mining ghost town with a creepy cemetery to match. Not only would you not want to visit this cemetery at night because it’s in the middle of a scorching hot desert where there are no practical resources, but also because it’s haunted (duh!).
Living conditions for residents when the town was up and running were not ideal. Several people died an untimely death, and the cemetery has been looted repeatedly. As a result, coffins remain opened and scattered through the grounds; human and animal bones lay exposed in the sand; eyewitnesses even claim to see the souls of the disturbed walk from the cemetery into town as the sun sets.
La Noria is not the happenin’ place to be at night, especially when you have angry spirits walking around.
7Buckout Road Cemetery, White Plains, New York
A few years ago, a Canadian indie film called “The Curse of Buckout Road” was released. It was terrible, don’t watch it. But the backstory to the film, the real one, is pretty awesome.
Buckout Road is considered one of New York’s most haunted roads, known as a challenge for high schoolers and curious adults in the White Plains/West Harrison area. It used to be much scarier before they paved the road, but it’s still scary enough.
As you drive down the road, you’ll encounter a small cemetery, headstones mostly overturned. The only one remaining belongs to John Buckhout (the “h” is correct). People have reported apparitions, batteries draining, and everything else associated with a decent haunting. But the real reason why you don’t want to visit this cemetery at night is because of the road itself.
Supposedly, if you drive to the red house on Buckout Road and honk the horn three times, albino cannibals will come out and attack you. Then, of course, three witches were burned on the hill across from the cemetery, and Isaac Buckhout murdered his wife and neighbor in their nearby house.
The Buckhout’s have a lot of baggage.
6El Panteon de Belen, Guadalajara, Mexico
El Panteon de Belen is a historic cemetery and once the resting spot for several famous people from Jalisco (they were relocated in the 1950s). It is now also a popular spot for nightly ghost tours.
This cemetery is certainly no Greyfriars, but there are enough ghost stories and sightings to make the thought of going there at night unnerving. First, this is technically a disturbed cemetery. The section, also called a patio, where the poor people were buried, was demolished because the headstones were unrecognizable. Second, the people who are buried here most likely died from epidemics and poor living conditions.
Because of this, the living regularly see the dead walking around the cemetery. In particular, a pair of lovers, a monk, and a vampire.
5Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Midlothian, Illinois
No creepy cemetery list would be complete without Bachelor’s Grove. You may have seen the picture of the ghost taken here: a woman sits on a gravestone, ankles crossed, dressed in dated garb. She is called the Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove and is the cemetery’s very own White Lady. People report seeing her on full moon nights, carrying an infant.
But this is child’s play compared to what else people have seen. People report a full-house (yes, an actual house) apparition, a 1940s gangster-style ghost car, and a farmer and his horse who died when they were tragically pulled into a pond.
4Highgate Cemetery, London, England
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a vampire hunter, nor would I want to test my luck at finding one. If this also sounds like you, possibly don’t go to Highgate Cemetery at night. Highgate Cemetery is one of the most haunted graveyards in England, and we can see why.
People see vampires draining the blood of animals there, as well as an “imp-like creature” roaming the grounds. Because of this, “vampire hunters” would dig up caskets, open them, and stab the dead with wooden stakes. This behavior ended in 1970. People also see a ghostly bicycle rider (not Nicholas Cage) and a man in a top hat.
If only the cemetery’s famous residents would make an appearance instead: Karl Marx and Douglass Adams, to name two of them.
3Chase Vault, Barbados
Those who are dead should stay dead, right? Well, the ghosts who inhabit Chase Vault may think otherwise. Since the 19th century, the coffins inside the semi-sunken tomb have rearranged themselves regularly. Every time the vault was opened up to add another body, people would find the coffins violently tossed around. Imagine what that spirit would do to you if you decided to sleepover
2Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
For the record, I have visited Cemetery Hill twice and have yet to experience anything that would keep me from going back at night. Other people would feel otherwise.
Cemetery Hill is technically not a graveyard but was certainly the last place many soldiers would ever step foot. The Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War was the bloodiest, and because there were so many dead bodies on the hill after the battle, the stench of death was overwhelmingly powerful. They couldn’t bury the bodies fast enough. It was so bad that passers-by would cover their noses from the smell even after the bodies were interred.
Even now, people report smelling peppermint, one of the scents used to cover up the stench.
1Green Lady Cemetery, Burlington, Connecticut
As you drive down the pot-hole-ridden, dirt road of Upson Road, you wonder why you even ventured to drive down it. Seriously, it’s a terrible road. But the reward is well worth it. The Green Lady Cemetery in Burlington, Connecticut, is ruined, absolutely ruined. No grave markers remain. The last headstone, a replica that belonged to the Green Lady herself, was stolen in 2010. People notoriously vandalize the trees and remaining stone walls around it.
At night, many have seen the Green Lady appear as a full-body apparition shrouded in a green mist with a lighted smile. But others just say that it was a story a camp counselor at the fresh air camp across the street made up one day. Note, the camp is fully abandoned.
Regardless, other stories of satanic rituals and untimely deaths circulate, and it is no place for someone who doesn’t want to be arrested at night.