Westminster Church and Burying Ground
One of America's most haunted cities happens to be in the
bustling modern city. Westminster Presbyterian Church and
located at the corner of Fayette and Greene Streets in
In 1786 a committee from the First Presbyterian Church
purchased a peach orchard from John Eager Howard, a wealthy
It was more than a mile from the center of the city of
affluent were having elaborate tombs built for their departed
prominent veterans of America's wars started to die off it
fashionable place to be buried. Edgar Allan Poe, his wife, and
grandfather were buried there, as well as twenty-four generals
congressmen. Also interred there are hundreds of men who had
Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
During the first half of the nineteenth century the city of
further out until Westminster's bucolic surroundings were
cobblestones and row houses. In 1850 city officials declared
grounds that did not have a church attached to them had to be
outside the city. The Presbyterians wanted no part of this.
used existing pathways as an area for the walls. Arches were
the bereaved could have easy access to the graves underneath
It was about this time that local residents became
deterioration of the cemetery. Vagrants took shelter under the
led to the arches being cemented closed. During the Civil War
took over the grounds. They stored their weapons in the tombs
Another problem during the mid-nineteenth century was that
located close to Davidge Hall. This was where the local
learned their trade by dissecting corpses. Once, two medical
caught covertly removing bodies to take back to Davidge Hall.
caught, the commotion raised a crowd. The mob hanged one of
from a nearby street light.
As the twentieth century dawned things declined further.
often robbed by vandals looking for jewelry. After World War I
neighborhood began changing and Presbyterians worshipped
kids began using the cemetery as a playground. One minister
children running around with skulls on the ends of broomsticks.
The spirits may be wandering because so many of the bodies
There is doubt that Edgar Allen Poe is actually in his grave.
of Revolutionary War soldiers was discovered to have been
to a vault
under one of the walkways.
People visiting the grounds have heard mysterious footsteps
figures and mists. The most frequently seen spirit is Lucia
When she died in 1816 she was sixteen years old. She has been
in prayer by her own grave, all dressed in white. Three
quit their jobs after seeing her ghost.
Many psychics and ghost hunters have visited or spent the
church. They all confirm that calm, peaceful spirits inhabit
EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomenon, is often researched at
Burying Ground. During this process an investigator will bring
unwrapped tape to the site, then simply record as they walk
voices are usually not audible until they are played back, and
they must be listened to carefully. Researcher Sara Estep
Westminster. Among others, she has recorded a woman's voice
down beside you." and a man saying "I will be there. I will be
In 1981 the Westminster Preservation Trust took over the
restored it as much as possible. It is now open to the public