Ghosts of Gilson Road Cemetery

Gilson Road Cemetery is in Nashua, New Hampshire. It’s one of America’s most haunted cemeteries. Once an isolated and rural location, it’s  features apparitions, cold spots, compass and EMF anomalies, EVP, and visual anomalies that show up in photos and videos.

Blue flowers at Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NHGilson Road Cemetery is on Gilson Road, on the west side of Nashua, NH (USA).

Directions: From the south (Massachusetts), take Rte 3 (Daniel Webster Highway) to Exit 1 in NH (Spit Brook Road).

Turn left at the end of the exit ramp. Follow that road — despite how it weaves and how often the name changes — until you reach the T-style intersection at the end of it.

Then, turn right and look for the four corners intersection (convenience store and other retail) at Gilson Road.

Turn left onto Gilson Road and look for the gate and stone wall on the right, shielding the cemetery from view.

Ghost orb at Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NHGilson Road Cemetery probably started as a family cemetery in colonial times. According to legend, the stone wall enclosed a farmhouse. Then, the house burned and some of the fire victims were buried in a small plot near the charred remains of the house.

Another house was built on the site, but it burned to the ground, as well. Like the previous fire, its victims were buried close to the home.

After that, people gave up on the location and turned it into a rural cemetery.

Early records suggest that the Gilson Road area was the site of at least two large Native American battles. Nations from the north (Penobscots, among others) and from the south (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and beyond) met near Gilson Road and engaged in bloody warfare. This was before many contemporary records existed, so the stories are largely from oral tradition. Details aren’t clear.

Click here for a brief selection of photos from haunted Gilson Road Cemetery.

Also, at this website, I’ve written extensively about this remarkable cemetery. See the Sitemap, or look for more articles in this category.

Gilson Road Cemetery Photos

These are a sample of the hundreds of photos I’ve taken during my 15+ years’ research at Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NH (USA).

Hover your cursor over any photo to see a brief description. Click on it to see the photo larger, with additional information.

Tip: Move your cursor away from the enlarged photo so the additional information — not the navigation — is clearly visible.

=============TEMPORARY ILLUSTRATION==============

Until the photo gallery is restored at this site, this illustration shows thumbnails of the kinds of pictures that will be here.

Gilson Rd Cemetery photos


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[NH] Wilton – Vale End is Dangerous

Recently, a large number of individual New Hampshire students have advised me that they’re planning to visit Vale End Cemetery (Wilton, NH) at night because they’re working on a ghost-related school project or term paper.

I’m sad and angry that so many students are that stupid.

(Yes, I changed that sentence. Someone objected to me saying it about NH students, so I made it generic.  The fact is, anyone who not only visits a dangerous site but also breaks the law by trespassing… that’s probably well past the scope of “stupid.”  And it applies to students and adults alike. But, to keep the peace with people who are looking for me to say something offensive… well, there it is.)

Anyway… anyone who reads my articles about Vale End and still intends to go there — using the excuse of a school paper or project — is stupid, immature, and dangerously naive.

How much more clearly can I say this?

Vale End is dangerous.

This is not a game.  This is serious. I’m not someone who jumps at shadows.  I’ve been working in this field for over 30 years, and I don’t scare easily.

  • I think Gilson Road Cemetery (Nashua, NH) is an excellent research site, though that haunted site terrifies many people.
  • I thought The Myrtles Plantation was one of the most fascinating places I’ve investigated, though many people are so frightened — even before midnight — they leave by 10 pm.
  • I even look forward to returning to a Plague-related site I previously investigated, the Falstaffs Experience (UK).  Terrifying?  Maybe.  Dangerous?  Probably not.

There is only one location I will never go back to again, and that’s Vale End.  I’ve written four in-depth articles about the site, explaining its history and why it’s dangerous.

In 1999, one of my researchers went to Vale End at night, and encountered something that alarmed her. Within a week she died suddenly and without a credible explanation.  To many of us, it seemed directly connected with her Vale End experience.

She was one of my best friends, and the mother of a high school girl.  That mom died the day her daughter was going to a prom.

How much more tragic does this story need to be, to impress people with how serious this is?

If you go to Vale End after reading my warnings and others’, you are stupider than I can deal with.

Going to Vale End is not real ghost research.

Visiting Vale End after dark is:

  • Illegal.  The cemetery closes at dusk.  Full stop. Police patrol it, and I hope they arrest you and call your parents.  If death doesn’t scare you, maybe a permanent criminal record will.
  • Putting lives at risk for what? For a school paper or project?  For a thrill, or bragging rights?

If you have no idea why I’m so angry, here’s my full list of articles about Vale End Cemetery in Wilton, NH:

Vale End’s Blue Lady Ghost – The legend of the “Blue Lady” and the facts behind the stories.

Vale End – More Ghosts – Additional ghost stories in and near Vale End.

Vale End – Possible Demons – The beginning of my team members’ encounters with something dangerous (and non-human) at Vale End.

Vale End Cemetery Frights – The rest of my story about encountering something malicious and dangerous — something that had never been human — at Vale End.

I wrote and posted those articles, years ago.  People — including some ridiculous TV shows — seemed to rush to Vale End because… Umm… What, they didn’t believe me…?

So, I removed those articles from the Internet for several years.  The result…? Vale End — and my story — became even bigger, practically an urban legend.

Finally, I put the articles back online because people need access to the facts.

This site is about real ghost research.  My work is not fiction.  Though I often write with my readers’ interests and viewpoints in mind, I don’t need to make things up.

I created my original ghost-related website,, in the 1990s. I hoped to educate new paranormal investigators.  I want to see more competent people in this field, contributing data so we can figure out what ghosts and haunted places really are.

That’s the one and only reason my ghost-related websites have remained online and continued to expand.  Vale End is dangerous.  If you want to do dangerous things, stop pretending that you’re ghost hunting.  Those of us who are serious about paranormal research… we don’t want to be confused with idiots like you.

All that I plan to say about Vale End is already at this website.

I hope that made my point, and conveyed the irritation you’ll encounter if you ask me about this in the future.

[NH] Wilton – Vale End and Pukwudgies

On 17 June 2008, I was on the Ghost Chronicles International radio show as Ron Kolek‘s co-host. Our guest was Christopher Balzano, the founder and lead investigator of Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads. The topic was Pukwudgies.

During our conversation, I summarized our encounters with something similar at Vale End Cemetery in Wilton, New Hampshire. I’m still deeply affected by those experiences, and I rarely even try to discuss them. However, I have written about those events. My story begins at Vale End – possible demons.

Our investigator’s 1999 death may have been a coincidence. However, because the circumstances were so unique and never explained to our satisfaction — and with this additional information about Pukwidgies — it’s even more important to avoid Vale End Cemetery.

On a more positive note, Ron Kolek, UK psychic David Wells (from the popular show, “Most Haunted”), Welsh psychic entertainer Gavin Cromwell, and I will be among the psychics and investigators leading the Haunted Lighthouses Tour organized by Jeremy D’Entremont on August 7th, 2008.

It will be a full day of weird and true ghost stories, and some eerie and unforgettable experiences in several of New England’s most haunted lighthouses.

[NH] Nashua – Gilson Road Cemetery – 6/08

On June 12, 2008, we returned to Gilson Road Cemetery in Nashua, NH. Except for a notable number of new houses and subdivisions in the area, little has changed… with one exception. The denser wooded area in back of the cemetery seems to provide the illusion of cover for the spirits who visit during daytime hours.

While we were there, I noted several figures moving steathily in the woods. Most of them were about 20 or 25 feet behind the back cemetery wall. I also saw a momentary flash (residual energy?) of a Native gentleman who’d appeared to us at that back left corner (where there’s a break in the wall) during a 2003 visit to Gilson.

The Lawrence headstones remain among the most active in the cemetery. Many of our photos produced orbs, but the most vivid were around the Lawrence stones. Here are two photos taken within seconds of each other:

This is a good reminder of the importance of always taking two photos, as close together as you can. (If that orb looks familiar, it’s because we’ve photographed it before. From a slightly different angle, it’s in the photo in my article, Gilson Road Cemetery – ghost orbs return 6/02.)

Rufus Lawrence — like many people interred in this isolated cemetery — has been difficult to find in any records of the era. Despite numerous records for other members of the Lawrence (or Laurence) family, and generally good census records (at least for adult males), Rufus and others in Gilson remain elusive.

He was probably related to Samuel Laurence who married Betsy Thyng (or Tyng) and named a son Rufus in 1815. (The Rufus Lawrence in the Gilson grave would have been born much earlier. We suspect that he was from Epping, NH, and the son of — or closely related to — David & Anna Lawrence.)

We’re not sure why the people in Gilson Cemetery were buried there rather than in the old burial ground in the middle of town. (Today, that’s by the shopping center at Daniel Webster Hwy near Spit Brook Road. The cemetery is nicknamed “Schoolhouse Cemetery.”)

Another note about Gilson: One of our group noticed that the back wall of the cemetery appears to include pieces of broken headstone. Look at the shapes of the stones, and — amid the usual round-ish rocks and boulders — you’ll see several slabs of stone.

If those really are pieces of headstone, we’re not surprised that the back wall of this cemetery is one of the most haunted areas in a profoundly eerie graveyard.

Also, outside the wall just south of the gate, we noticed several pieces of headstones, as well. We’re not sure why these suddenly became obvious, but they indicate another area for research.

As a guideline, any time you see graves, monuments, or pieces of headstones near (but outside) a cemetery, check it for anomalies. Those are often the graves of “sinners” who couldn’t be buried in hallowed ground. Whether or not they were unjustly accused of crimes and mortal sins, these spirits often return to haunt their remains. Perhaps to them, being shunned after death isn’t the final word, after all.

[NH] Nashua – Gilson Cemetery – 2008 Update

Late yesterday (12 June 2008), I returned to Gilson Road Cemetery in Nashua, NH. Our group’s ghost hunting results were surprising. I’ll publish photos and more details, later, but here’s a summary of what we found:

We tried several kinds of dowsing rods to see what they indicated. The “hot spots” were somewhat predictable.

The Fisk graves — the oldest headstones in the cemetery — produced strong pulls on the dowsing rods. They’re the tall stones immediately after the gate, and directly in front of you. I’ve seen EMF spikes there in the past, though I can’t say that they “feel” especially haunted, most of the time.

(Note that the small Fisk gravestone is the only one in the cemetery with a death’s head on it.)

Joseph Gilson’s headstone — a low, white stone near the front center of the cemetery — is where research groups and I have noted many anomalies including paranormal cold spots. It was active last night.

Slightly northwest of the Searles’ graves (near the pink orb note on the map linked above), we found some of the most intense and unexplained activity. That’s the same area where we first confirmed that hiking compasses can work as EMF detectors.

By contrast, we noted little energy at Walter Gilson’s stone and the back left corner of the cemetery, where so many have had spectral encounters.

With two researchers using dowsing rods independently, we were able to confirm activity in several other spots around the cemetery. Most of those locations were not marked graves.

If you’re ghost hunting at Gilson, check in front of the largest tree at the back of the cemetery. (That tree is inside the walls.) Also do readings at the boulder at the back right (SE) corner of the cemetery.

The woods behind the cemetery appear to be as active as ever. If you’re looking for a full, ghostly apparition, Gilson cemetery may be one of your best chances of seeing one. The figures generally look solid and real… until they vanish into thin air.

In fact, Gilson cemetery raises so many questions about hauntings, and it is such a reliable site, I recommend it for beginners who need research experience… if you have nerves of steel, that is.

Many psychics describe Gilson as one of the most haunted places they’ve ever visited. In addition to very obvious manifestations, the more chilling aspects of Gilson are what you sense and can’t easily explain.

But, even if you aren’t especially psychic, you may be in for a scare at Gilson.

In the past month, people have reported hearing voices so loud at Gilson cemetery, they sounded as if the person was right next to them… except that no one appeared to be there.

Several people have seen the ghostly, hooded figure that chases people out of the cemetery.

And, as usual, electrical circuitry can fail… but usually just inside the walls of the cemetery. This includes cameras that seem to jam, digital voice recorders that stop working or record unearthly sounds, and cell phones that lose signal.

Over the past few years, I’ve also received hundreds of reports about new and freshly charged batteries losing their power completely. (In groups I’ve accompanied to the site, I’ve seen that several times, ourselves.)

Even talking about Gilson can be… interesting. My software usually works smoothly, but it took six tries to publishing this article. The server simply stopped. And, even when the article finally appeared, it was missing an earlier note about the uploading difficulty. It took two more tries to add this note to our post.

Gilson Road Cemetery is still one of my favorite haunted locations.

In the summer, if you visit Gilson cemetery shortly before dusk, wear bug spray. In the warm weather, the mosquitoes are aggressive as night approaches.

[NH] Ghost in the Window

Our friend Annie brought us this picture, taken by a friend of hers. She wanted us to see the figure in the window.

Right away, I saw the small — perhaps winged — figure in the left lower corner of the window. She has wavy hair, and she’s looking across the landscape, perhaps slightly down.

Nice, but… Who knows what these things really are? The figure isn’t distinctive enough to be significant, but it’s a charming photo anyway.

Then I enlarged just that portion of the window.

This is still reading into what may be simple reflections, but look at the right side of the photo. It looks like an enormous face of a cat. There’s a huge cat’s eye in the middle of the lower curtain area.

I’m not saying that this is the image of a girl trapped in an abandoned New Hampshire house, held captive by something with a wicked gleam in its eye.  However, it’s one possible explanation.  It’s just not the happiest one, and I don’t think that’s the real story.  I’m sensing loneliness but not terror or even significant fear, but I could be wrong.

No matter what else this is, it’s an intriguing image.

[NH] Nashua – Schoolhouse Cemetery Orb

Schoolhouse cemetery photo, Nashua, NH

Schoolhouse Cemetery, Nashua, NH
31 October 1999, about 8 p.m.

Fiona’s comments: After my camera refused to work on Halloween night at Blood Cemetery in Hollis, I visited Schoolhouse Cemetery in Nashua, NH, to prove to myself that there was nothing wrong with my camera or the film.

Schoolhouse Cemetery never felt very haunted. I’ve heard no local tales about it. Frankly, it’s on busy Daniel Webster highway, across the street from Bickford’s, with a large apartment complex in back of it.

Generally, I stay out of it to because I’m concerned about the living, not the dead who might be there. The cemetery has no light in it at all. The deeper you go into it, the creepier it gets. But I can’t say that it’s a really “haunted” feeling–just creepy.

On Halloween night, the highway was nearly deserted. I knew I could take photos at the entrance to the cemetery, without risking intrusion, flares, or reflections from apartment or shopping center lights. As you can see, it was very dark that night.

The orb surprised me when I picked up my prints. When I show my “ghost photos” and negatives, this is the one that impresses most professional photographers.

Schoolhouse Cemetery - no orbAt right is the second photo I’d taken. (It’s my habit to take two photos in a row, as quickly as possible, without moving or even breathing between the pictures.)

As usual, these two photos were taken within seconds of each other from the same location.

The schoolhouse is boarded up. There are many headstones in the cemetery, but only one shows in the photo.

Camera: Olympus AF-1, point-and-shoot
Film type: Kodak Gold ASA 800 color film, 35mm
Negative shows: Same image. No splash of chemicals, no marks on the negative.
Developed and printed by: Shaw’s Supermarket overnight photo service

[NH] Nashua – Gilson Road Cemetery – Streak of Energy?

Our first investigation at Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NH was in 1999.  I promptly started telling people about this great research location for ghost hunters… not that there were a lot of ghost hunters back in 1999.

In fact, I think there were about five of us with large-ish ghost hunting websites in the mid-1990s. My site was (Others included: The Shadowlands site, which listed lots of haunted locations. I think TAPS was online, plus one or two other ghost hunting sites.)

The following photo was among the most dramatic I’d seen in those early years.

In the dozen years or so that followed, Gilson Road Cemetery became enormously popular as a haunted site for paranormal research.  Today, ghost hunters visit the cemetery — day and night — almost every day of the year, when the weather isn’t too rainy or cold.

Gilson Road photo - streak of lightAbove: Original, unretouched photo.

Gilson Road ghostly streak of lightAbove: Same photo, with contrast increased.

This photo is one of seven taken after dark at Gilson Road Cemetery on Oct 13th, 2001, at about 7:30 p.m. It is one of four with this color streak across them.

Examining the film makes this a credible anomaly. The sweep of color does not extend beyond the frame on the negative. There is no evidence of tampering with the film, and nothing splashed across it.

Olympus AF-Twin camera, taken with flash
Shaw’s 35 mm film, ISO 200
Developed at Target’s one-hour service

[NH] Nashua – Gilson Road Cemetery – Wildflowers

Dusk is a perfect time to visit Gilson Road Cemetery in Nashua, New Hampshire when the wildflowers are in bloom. These photos were taken 21 May 2002:

Blue flowers at Walter Gilson's headsoneWildflowers in front of Walter Gilson’s headstone

We recommend arriving shortly after sunset, and using a fairly slow film (200 ISO) without a flash. Linger awhile and you may photograph some orbs as well!

To capture the best orbs in photographs, point your camera towards the back left corner of the cemetery (if you’re standing at the gate, looking in), or in the vicinity of Helen & Rufus Lawrence’s headstones.