[NH] Hollis – Blood Cemetery’s Small Grey Ghost

Reported by Fiona Broome, Halloween 1999

After years of researching ghosts in the northeast, I enjoy visiting Blood Cemetery (aka Pine Hill Cemetery) in Hollis, NH.

It’s an isolated spot with more than its share of ghost stories, but I like it there. Well, I used to like it there…

The evening before Halloween night in 1999, the sunset was magnificent. It was a warm evening, and it seemed a fine time for some photos at Blood Cemetery.

Since this ancient New England cemetery is on a hill, its headstones can look magnificent — or eerie — against a colorful sky.

Everything was fine until I was about halfway through my roll of film. The light was starting to fade, and my attention was drawn to an area just east of the Farley family graves.

Looking through my camera’s viewfinder, I was dismayed to see something greyish move between me and one of the headstones. It had very fuzzy edges, and it was the same color as the headstone.

“Oh. Great,” I sighed. “It’s a cat.”

I waited for it to move out of the way so that I could take more photographs.

Then, as I watched, it vanished into the headstone.

I nearly dropped my camera.

Really. It vanished. It took about half a second for the image to completely disappear.

It went into one of those half-tall headstones. (It was not a child’s marker, as I found out when I returned on November 1st. The link to that story is at the bottom of this page.)

The grave is near the center of the cemetery. There is no way an animal could leave the graveyard without being seen, even at dusk. The cemetery isn’t that large, and a wide grassy area surrounds the headstones.

Plus that, the stone that it vanished into is one of the smaller stones in the cemetery. There wasn’t any place for an animal to hide.

(I looked, just in case. I really wanted a reasonable, logical, normal explanation.)

I saw the remains of a faerie ring a few feet away, but that’s all.

Over 15 years later, I still ask myself: Why did I think it was a cat?

It would have been a very large cat. It was about 2 1/2 feet tall, and I’m not certain how wide. It was big. It was very fuzzy around the edges, which — from a logical (perhaps skeptical) viewpoint — suggested a massive Angora-type cat that had just been rolling in the dust so his fur was standing up.

It was too “fluffy” (fuzzy-edged) to be a dog. And, it was far too large for any other kind of grey-colored field or domestic animal.

Too late, I realized that I’d seen… a ghost?

I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know what else it could have been. But I took a few photos anyway, just in case. (They didn’t reveal anything startling.)

Since then, I’ve promised myself that I will never not take a photo, when something unexpected shows up at a cemetery or any haunted site.

But, about 24 hours later, my Halloween night experience was even stranger.  It’s in the next article:  Ghostly Mischief on Halloween Night

[NH] Hollis – Ghostly Mischief on Halloween Night

Abel Blood's headstone, Hollis, NH
Abel Blood’s haunted headstone at Pine Hill Cemetery, Hollis, NH

Reported by Fiona Broome, Halloween 1999

The weather turned unusually warm on Halloween night. In the northeast, Halloween can be sultry or freezing cold. This year, the weather in southern New Hampshire was perfect.

After dropping my son at a church youth social, I decided to return Blood Cemetery (aka Pine Hill Cemetery) in Hollis, NH, to take some quick photos from the roadside. (Like many New England cemeteries, Pine Hill is closed from dusk to dawn.)

I carried my “old reliable” 35mm point-and-shoot camera which I’d used for years without a problem.

I’d taken over 100 photos with it during the two weeks before this, and it had worked perfectly. In fact, about half of my photos are taken in low-light conditions using the flash.

On this evening, the batteries were fresh, the film was fine, and there was nothing to jam the camera.

Since it was Halloween evening, I felt a little nervous as I approached the pitch dark graveyard. Its reputation for hauntings didn’t bother me as much as being alone on a very deserted road.

Because the cemetery had closed at dusk, I stood at the side of the road, looking into the eerie darkness. And I started taking photos at random, pointing the camera into Blood Cemetery.

I pushed the button to take a photo.

Click.

Nothing happened. No flash, just the film advancing.

Click again. Still no flash, as I was using up film.

Click. Click. Click.

It took me eleven photos to realize that my flash was not going to work.

Yes, eleven flashless photos of total darkness.

Then the police — who patrol the cemetery regularly at this time of year — arrived and asked me to “move along.”

(My team and I always respect laws and the police when we’re investigating a haunted site. And, when the police ask us to leave, we do so, immediately.)

I left, muttering to myself about my camera. Fresh film, fresh batteries, a good camera… why had it suddenly failed?

For the next few minutes, I went through a mental inventory of reasons why the flash had abruptly stopped working, for eleven photos in a row.

About two miles from the cemetery, I stopped at a red light. Figuring that I had nothing to lose, I picked up my camera and took a quick photo of… well, the car seat. After all, it was right there.

FLASH!

Yes, the flash was suddenly working again.

I drove another ten minutes to another old cemetery–but this one does not have a “haunted” reputation. There, I took another dozen photos to finish the roll of film, and the flash worked fine every time. (That’s the night when I photographed my best picture of a ‘ghost orb’ at Schoolhouse Cemetery in Nashua, NH.)

Frankly, although it doesn’t feel that odd to me, I may have to accept that Blood Cemetery is, indeed, haunted.

I’ve inspected my camera and batteries, and can find no other reasonable explanation for the abrupt and location-specific failure of the flash.

I know that this sounds like a campfire tale from a Scouting trip. However, it’s what really happened.

I can’t think of a reasonable explanation. Not for eleven photos with a very reliable Olympus camera. The camera had worked fine for years before, and — as I update this story in 2016 — that camera has never failed since.

Blood Cemetery seemed like a comfortable old graveyard before these experiences. But, it took me months to feel comfortable returning there. Even today, I’m a little edgy about that cemetery.

Something’s just not right at Blood Cemetery.

[NH] Hollis – Blood cemetery – Just a bug?

This was my second visit to Blood Cemetery (aka Pine Hill Cemetery). I was there just before dusk on Sunday, 17 Oct 1999.

According to ghost hunting tradition, the more time you spend in a “haunted” location, the more likely it is that you’ll go home with ghost photos. These generally include “ghost orbs,” but sometimes other haunted images show up in ghost hunters’ photos.

This was my second visit to Blood Cemetery during one day. These photos were taken with a 35mm film camera. I was taking “ghost pictures” near Abel Blood’s famous headstone , and around the Farley family graves.

bl-2no

About 30 seconds after taking the photo shown above, I thought a possible ghost orb appeared in the next photo. It’s at the far left of the photo, near the top.

bl-2nd

That white orb-shape is too small to be a fingerprint of someone at the photo lab, and the negative had no marks on it.

I was fairly certain there were no insects flying on that chilly night. There was nothing to reflect light at my lens. Among 24 photos taken that evening, this was the only photo with an orb.

However, after reviewing this photo several years (and several thousand photos) later, I think that an out-of-season, disoriented bug flew past me. Most “ghost orbs” are perfectly round. When one isn’t, there’s usually a good, normal explanation for it.

Though the moment had that “anomaly” feeling to it, I’m at least 99% sure the orb-like shape is a flying insect.

(And, for all I know, the real anomaly was going on in a nearby part of the cemetery. It’s another reason to investigate with a team, so the area is well covered, and nothing interesting is missed.)

[ME] York – Mary Nasson’s grave

At left: The haunted “Witch’s Grave” of York, Maine / Mary Nasson (1745 – 1774)

On 17 Oct 1999, I visited the Old Burying Yard on Rte. 1a in York Harbor, Maine. It’s a small cemetery on the side of the road nearest the water, slightly west of the downtown area. You can park in town and walk back to it.

On this day, I was searching for the grave of witch “Mary Miller Jason.” That was the name reported in at least one book about the ghosts of Maine, and at several websites.

Instead, I found a grave that matched the book’s description, but the woman was Mary Nasson, wife of Samuel Nasson.

(I’m fairly certain that the “Jason” spelling was originally a typo that spread as one resource copied another.  There’s a lesson in this: Double-check all resources, and don’t trust websites or books — even mine — until you’ve verified their research, yourself.)

I took several photos to document this grave, since — at that time — I was the only one who’d spotted the misspelled name. (Since then, others have used my website as a resource and corrected the spelling when writing about Mrs. Nasson.)

Footstone at Mary Nasson's grave
Footstone inscription at Mary Nasson’s grave.

According to reports, Mrs. Nasson had been a successful and respected herbalist in the community, and she was also skilled at performing exorcisms.

Her portrait supposedly adorns the top of the headstone, shown below. (I’m not sure if that’s a tiny orb at the upper left corner of the photo.)Mary Nasson's face

Mrs. Nasson’s grave is unique. Her husband erected a headstone and a footstone. As if those weren’t enough, he placed a heavy stone slab between them, covering the ground over her body.

Historians insist that Mr. Nasson placed the slab there to keep cattle from damaging the grave. However, earlier and later graves in this cemetery do not have that kind of “protection.”

The legend is that the stone was placed there to be sure she stayed in her grave.

I have difficulty believing that — if the cattle story is true — Mr. Nasson was the only person in York to care enough to protect a family member’s grave.

Mrs. Nasson’s grave is known as “Witch’s Grave,” and it is reported to be haunted.

Skeptical after the name was different from some published accounts, I put my hands on the stone slab covering the grave. Supposedly, the grave emits heat.

I’d expected some radiant heat from the sun. Instead, the stone covering her grave was dramatically warmer, only where it meets the headstone (the larger of the two grave markers).

That’s very odd.

The crows which frequent the cemetery in the summer are reported to be Mrs. Nasson’s “familiars,” still paying tribute to her. There were none when I visited in October, but I often saw the crows in the graveyard when I lived in York.

The inscription on the headstone:

Here liest quite free from Lifes
Distrefsing Care,
A loving Wife
A tender Parent dear
Cut down in midst of days
As you may see
But – stop – my Grief
I soon shall equal be
when death shall stop my breath
And end my Time
God grant my Dust
May mingle, then, with thine.

Sacred to the memory of Mrs. MARY NASSON, wife of Mr. SAMUEL NASSON, who departed this life Aug. 18th 1774, AEtat 29.

However, Mrs. Nasson’s grave isn’t the only eerie plot in the cemetery, nor the only reason why the cemetery may be haunted. For more information about the Old Burying Yard, see my other insights about York, Maine.