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The
Stepp Cemetery

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The Legend of
Stepp Cemetery

-- By Lynn Taylor

Actually, the title should read. "The LEGENDS of Stepp Cemetery" because of all the variations in the story. The version I grew up with told a tale of a widowed mother who'sStepp Cemetery Entrance child had died in infancy. Grief stricken, she made a nightly pilgrimage to the cemetery where she was occasionally observed sitting on an old tree stump next to her baby's grave. As time passed, the woman came to be known by local folks as simply, "The Lady in Black," presumably, alluding to the dress of mourning she always wore. I am told that the "Lady in Black" died a few years after the loss of her child due to loneliness and a broken heart. It is said, however, that late at night you can still hear the sorrowful cries of a woman coming from in and around the cemetery. Some people claimed to have actually caught a glimpse of a dark veiled figure moving quickly through the woods, nearby.

I have also heard stories about red glowing eyes in the darkness and other variants of the tale, but have never witnessed any of the reported apparitions firsthand.

I might as well take this opportunity to relate my own experience with Stepp Cemetery, as a teenager:

In the summer of '66, I had just graduated from Bloomington High School. Weekends were usually taken up driving around town in circles until we ran out of gas. One Friday night, faced with circling the Big Boy and A&W for the umpteenth time, I along with a few friends decided to take a trip north to Stepp Cemetery in Morgan-Monroe State Forest to see what all this "haunted cemetery" business was about. I thought it was a little creepy visiting a cemetery way back in a forest in the middle of the night, but; what the hey? At the time, a lot of kids had been driving up there in hopes of spotting the elusive "Lady in Black."

Today there are two big stone columns at either side of the entrance to the cemetery lane, with a big iron pipe stretched across from one to the other, and padlocked shut. however, back then we could drive all the way up to the edge of the graveyard. When we got out of the car, we were greeted by a park ranger who had just recently been stationed there to guard against vandalism. There was already a dozen or so kids milling around in the darkness. It was a surreal scene, to say the least. After an hour or so, the ranger The Gate agreed to allow a few of us at a time to venture onto the cemetery grounds in order to get a closer look at the tree stump upon which, the mysterious "Lady in Black" was said to rest while she overlooked her baby's grave. My turn finally came. Having no clue of what I had gotten myself into, I started walking in the direction pointed to, by the ranger. Soon, my eyes began to focus on something ahead. It was the stump of a large tree that had been sawed at two levels, thus, creating a sort of seat with a back; an L-shape, if you will. Next to the stump was a rectangle patch of ground about three feet by two feet. Not even so much as a blade of grass grew on the spot. Someone mentioned that the bare spot was the baby's grave, and was devoid of vegetation as a result of having been tended to, by the "Lady in Black."

Well, that was all very interesting, but we were all getting hungry about then, so one guy volunteered to run into town and buy sandwiches for everyone. I knew him from school, but did not know him personally. I was reassured, however, that the boy could be trusted with our money and to come back with our food. Besides, he was leaving the two girls behind that rode out with him while he made his run. Surely everything would be okay; the girls were depending on him for a way home. Everyone doled out their cash and place their orders, then we watched his tail lights disappear in the dust as he headed down the lane. It took us two and one half hours to figure out that we had been were "had." And I was the one who wound up taking the two girls home!

That's my story (and I'm sticking to it); not a spooky or mysterious one; just a real slice of Americana, the way it was.

All legends aside, strange things do show up around Stepp Cemetery. Several people, including my research partner, John Tosti, and myself have photographed anomalous forms on the grounds, after the sun has set. I have even captured an orb-shaped object on infrared video as it zipped past a tombstone, by the camera, then out of sight. John and I have actually videotaped these same objects inside haunted houses.

On the Stepp Cemetery Home Page, you will find several examples of "phantom fog" and "orbs," said by physicist and professor Dr. Levengood of the University of Michigan (retired) to be manifestations of a type of plasma energy, also referred to as "subtle energy." Dr. Levengood believes these forms are naturally produced within the Earth. Wherever they come from, I have witnessed their flight behavior which, can only characterized as conscious interaction with their surrounding environment.

As is often the case, behind a  legend there exists a measure of truth. View our images, then visit Stepp Cemetery if you have the chance. But take my advice and don't go alone. While you're there, if you begin to get an uneasy feeling that you're being watched, it's probably because you are!

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The Stepp Cemetery Home Page
Copyright 1999  AAARC. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 01, 2008.
 

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