Legend of Witch’s Hill

Excerpted from deadohio.com (read full article)

… The story, as widely circulated among various ghost websites by anonymous sources, goes something like this: A woman accused of witchcraft was executed and buried at this cemetery. The townsfolk did not erect a marker, but instead built an iron fence around her grave, which was next to an old tree. An indentation next to the tree inside the fence marks her grave. “Bad things” will happen to those who get close to her grave.

Another variation of the story has several witches executed and buried here, and their ghosts continue to haunt this area. That this location is sometimes referred to as a “hill” and not as a cemetery can be due to the fact that the cemetery itself sits on top of ledge overlooking the Rocky River and connecting park below.

The Upper Midwest Ghost Society provides a more detailed, colorful version: the accused witch was hung from a tree and buried near the base of its trunk, in the very spot where her body was dropped from the noose. Nasty.

After visiting the place, it is not surprising that Old Chestnut Grove Cemetery is said to be haunted. It is surrounded by woods, the various old trees cast many shadows, and the layout itself is a bit unusual. We even found a skeleton of a large animal (raccoon? skunk?) on top of a grave that the groundskeeper somehow missed for some time. In the back portion of the cemetery, graves could be found deep in the woods and in a hidden hollow down a steep hill, which then connects to a park hiking trail! It is also said “strange lights” can be seen at night in this part of the cemetery.

The “witch’s grave” was very difficult to find. There is no longer a “fence that surrounds a tree,” where the grave is allegedly located. Quite by accident, we did find a tree at the edge of the cemetery surrounded by square stone blocks. Upon closer examination, those blocks contained metal spikes in the center, strongly suggesting that a fence once existed here.

It goes without saying that nothing “bad” happened while stomping around this “grave.” In fact, a kind local resident who was walking her dog claimed she never heard of the legend. But, she did give us excellent advice on a nearby ice cream parlor and quickly volunteered directions out of town. In retrospect, perhaps she had something to hide and was trying get us out of there quickly. Hmmm . . .

It is unclear when the alleged execution occurred. 1700’s? 1800’s? 1900’s?

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