Image from Witch Hunter Robin
Hey, cemeteries are supposed to be spooky places. But Crum Cemetery, in Ogle Township by Windber, takes the spectral cake.
The most popular tale is that of witch Rebecca Crum. She and her family were thought to be local hexes, and she was dragged from her home by the locals and killed. She was buried outside the cemetery proper, and her village of Crum was burned to the ground by the mob. Now, only the remains of three homes from the once thriving lumber community are still there.
With a rude send-off like that, it's no wonder her spirit is restless. It's said that you can hear her wails from the nearby woods, and the spirit of a lady in white can be seen floating through the grounds, thought to be Rebecca.
The urban legend goes on to claim that if you turn your car off on the second bridge of the path that leads to the cemetery, you won't be able to start it again. (although a reader told us that "it's the two trees at the cemetery you don't want to park your car between...") There's also been reports of folk spotting a black carriage that rides through the grounds at midnight.
Other versions say that the phenomena are related to a plague that hit the village of Crum, claiming most of its inhabitants. Their remains were buried in the cemetery, and the local government had the village torched to keep the disease from spreading. (A reader wrote us and said "The town of Crum was abandoned when the lumber mill closed in the early 1900's." Guess it was an economic plague that wiped out the town, and there are still a few buildings left intact.)
And hey, we're not done with local lore quite yet. Nearby is a “dead zone”, an area rumored to be haunted by a man that hung himself after killing his wife and children. It's supposed to be about two miles away along a blocked off back road that leads to their long deserted shack.
A reader by the handle of Hazzyrap wrote in about that area and said "As for the Dead Zone, I got that story from my sister and brother. They used to hang out there all the time. She took me to where it supposedly was, and it had long since been bulldozed down to keep kids from getting hurt. Reports included strange, red-eyed creatures and flying objects." Another reader wrote and said the house still stands, not that we'd be particularly fired up to visit.
Witches, burned-down villages, carriages, the plague, a crazed killer - who needs reality TV when you've got Crum Cemetery? But before remember that first and foremost, the spot is a place of repose for those gone before us. Many locals have told us of the mess and plain disrespect shown by various visitors and party crews.
Here's a little message from owners, victimized and vandalized by graveyard party people acting the fool over the years:
"Crum Cemetery is a privately owned cemetery by my family and trespassing is not permitted. There is no record of a Rebecca Crum. Most of my family, (including) my great grandfather and my parents are buried there, so lets not visit there to get scared or have parties; it causes more work for my uncle and grandparents to clean up your garbage. Leave the dead at rest."And we say amen to that.