By: Sandra Remis
There we were, late on the night of September 16, huddled together in the May Chapel of Rosehill Cemetery. It was dark outside, veeery dark. And it was chilly inside, veeery chilly, as the cemetery’s archivist, David Wendell, mesmerized us with his “Tales From the Rosehill Crypt.”
Like the one about Margaret, who died a pauper in the 1930s and was encased in one of the lead “iceboxes” in the chapel’s temporary holding area, awaiting burial. No one ever came forward to sign for her interment. So there she still lies, waiting.
Then there was the story of the ghost who still stalks the halls of the community Chapel Mausoleum. Richard Warren Sears (as in Sears Roebuck) was one of the first rich and famous “customers” of the mausoleum. He was soon joined by his chief business competitor, A. Montgomery Ward, who took up residence a mere 40 feet away. This did not please Mr. Sears one bit. Since that time, he has been seen, in top hat and tails, roaming the corridors every now and then. He evidently wants to ensure that everyone knows who was interred there first.
The National Enquirer did a piece on old Mr. Hopkinson, whose building of a miniature, two-story, Gothic cathedral to hold his remains, met with resistance from people who considered it an eye-sore that destroyed the view. He built it anyway. Now that he’s dead, sounds of rattling chains and moaning can occasionally be heard at the tomb - apparently his way of taking revenge against those who tried to thwart him.
Carrie Kalbas was another unhappy camper. Carrie had died in the 1930s but no headstone was ever placed at her grave. One night, many years later, someone at the cemetery reported seeing the pale, shadowy figure of a woman rambling around at the site. The very next day, Carrie’s niece shows up at Rosehill to order a headstone, saying that her aunt had appeared to her in a dream the night before, distraught over not having a grave marker. Eerie!
Mr. Wendell also divulged other interesting, non-paranormal, facts about Rosehill, that night in his talk to the volunteers who would be working in various capacities the following day on EHS’s Seventh Annual Home Tour. Since workers cannot Leave their posts the day of the tour, they get together the night before for a potluck dinner, instructions and a “preview tour” of all the homes, and cemetery in this case, to be shown. One hears “up close and personal” stories on the “preview tour” that simply can’t be repeated on the public tour because of time constraints and crowd logistics.
As you can see, volunteering to help with EHS activities has some “insider” benefits. If you’d like to help with our 1996 home tour on September 15, please call Kathy Gemperle or EHS voice mail.