December 15, 2017 

 


www.LouisvilleGHS.com

The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society Presents "Stories From Beyond"

The Eastern CemeteryThe Eastern Cemetery
March 4th.  While doing research on The Eastern Cemetery, that is the date that jumped out at me.  Not only is March 4th my birthday, but it was also the day in 1854 that the Eastern Cemetery was incorporated.  Located across from Phoenix Hill Tavern, and right next to the famous "Cave Hill Cemetery," - The Eastern Cemetery contains one of the most historic & chilling histories of any cemetery in Louisville.  The reason is not ghosts, per say - but greed.

"The Eastern Cemetery Corporation," was created for the Fourth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, and covered the entire fifteen acres.  This incorporation occurred in 1854, and according to plot records that were located, it seems that the grounds were already used for burial long before. As a matter of fact,  bodies were indeed buried there as early as 1843.

Even today news stories are being broadcast in regards to the condition of the cemetery, and public records are scattered across the floor of the non-secured chapel and crematorium.  While back in the late 90's, the cemeteries upkeep was so poor it was rumored that coffins stuck out of the ground, and bodies were again buried some five deep in the same plots.  The city sought legal action against those responsible, and still to this day the upkeep is maintained by volunteers who cannot provide the man hours necessary to keep the acreage maintained.

The cemetery now covers 30+ acres, and in it's infant day "incorporation" birthed Louisville, Kentucky's first actual crematorium.

"Eastern Cemetery Corporation opened the first crematorium in the City of Louisville (possibly the State of Kentucky) in the early 1930s. The crematorium occupied the structure (now apartments) that fronts on Baxter Avenue. This building once served as offices, chapel and crematorium. In September 1957, the present offices, chapel, crematorium and columbarium were completed at a cost of $79,737." (1)

Imagine if you will having a loved one on record being buried at The Eastern Cemetery, and then a "corporation" comes along to buy the grounds, and four years later your families full plot is now considered "available for purchase."  Well, the earliest records of reburial at  The Eastern Cemetery arrive in 1858, taking the plot records which read "OG," which meant "Old Grave," and having them marked out.  The new graves now were available for sale, and the Who's Who of Louisville bought them!

"Maps for Eastern Cemetery consist of four versions (1880, 1907, 1962 and circa 1984 or "modern"). Comparison of these various versions indicates entire sections were renamed and reburied. In some cases sections were renamed as many as three and four times (i.e., Old Slave Ground, became Cheap Willow, then became Public Section 2, the became Cave Hill Corner, and finally became Sections 11 & 14). Records indicate that the renaming of sections was not the only time a section was reburied. In fact, records clearly indicate that some sections (i.e., Public Section 2) were reburied two times while known by one name. Archaeological investigations of at-need graves by this author indicate that in every section sampled there was almost a 100% probability that the at-need grave was occupied, by at least one prior burial." (2)

One interesting feature found at  "The Eastern Cemetery" is the "crypt" that people speak of when you drive into the cemetery, that now holds a ton of trash and boxes of records.  The "crypt" was actually never a "crypt" at all, it was in fact the predecessor of a modern day funeral home.  The "vault," was actually a display house.  Deceased were commonly held at the home of the family, during a wake.  However, if the family did not wish to have the deceased held at the home they could be put on display in the "vault," for a short period of time before they were buried.  So, indeed when you visit - you can now understand more about what that building was used for - to display bodies of those about to be buried at the cemetery.  Now, in 2006 - it's used as storage for trash and boxes of records.  (See our Eastern Cemetery Gallery)

Multiple burials continued to exist at the Eastern Cemetery, and currently even the cremated remains that were stored at the chapel building were removed and turned over to University of Louisville Anthropologist/Archaeologist, Dr Phil DiBlasi.  He is now in charge of keeping an list of the cremated remains, and the remains themselves so they are no longer tampered with. 

The court order for Dr. Phil BiBlasi to begin his seizure of the remains was processed on February 14th, 2001. (3)

The hauntings of The Eastern Cemetery are almost expected. The theories are quite logical if you were laid to rest there, due to the multiple bodies buried in the same plots and the overall neglect of the cemetery itself.  While urban legends arise about ghostly footsteps, hearing "dogs that are not there," and strange noises - if any cemetery was haunted, "The Eastern Cemetery" is one of those places.

It is said that figures appear in the chapel, and on the grounds of the cemetery.  Also, it is said that a mysterious ghostly lady tends to the babies gravestones which can be found in the back of the cemetery.

While I do find this cemetery to be fascinating, I do offer a word of caution.  The chapel has been vandalized quite severely, and it is also now a subject of high concentration for the local government due to recent media coverage. 

It is patrolled by police, and in the basement of the chapel where the crematorium furnaces are located contain the cities homeless, as you can clearly find makeshift beds there. 

As a former employee of a certain hospital that caters to the homeless, I give you this warning - do not go inside.  Do not trespass.  It can be extremely dangerous to encounter a person who is homeless, possibly intoxicated, or mentally ill.  It is also illegal to trespass on private property.  You do not want to be fumbling around the basement of the chapel with a flashlight, only to find that a homeless person is sleeping there, could possible be mentally ill, and decides to defend his territory that he/she has claimed.  DO NOT GO INSIDE THE CHAPEL!  DO NOT TRESPASS!

Below are a few photos from The Eastern Cemetery for you to view, and a HUGE photo gallery you can launch to rummage through photos.  Also, below please find our collection of external links about The Eastern Cemetery.

Information on the February 2001 court order (3)

Information on The Eastern Cemetery, Phil DiBlasi (1) (2)

Eastern Cemetery Records (A cool website!)
 

The crematorium furnace in the basement of the chapel. There are two furnaces.

The crematorium furnace in the basement of the chapel. There are two furnaces.
One is blue, the other is the rust color on the right.


LAUNCH THE EASTERN CEMETERY GALLERY
 


The condition of the cemetery is enough to loose you head!  As you can see,
gravestones are broken and vandalized.


LAUNCH THE EASTERN CEMETERY GALLERY
 

Stories From Beyond Page 1

 

* The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society Investigations are not always public, we do confidential investigations of haunted residences which will not be reported on our website.

If you have a haunted house, or a unexplained phenomenon that you would like us to investigate - please do not hesitate to contact us, and rest assured that your investigation will remain strictly confidential (unless you wish to release our findings to the public).
 

 

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