Real Life Ghost Stories: Moon Point Cemetery

Real Life Ghost Stories: Moon Point Cemetery

By J. L. Thurston

After a drive through the middle of nowhere, with little else to observe other than flat farmlands and the smattering of trees, I came to a little green sign that read Moon Point Cemetery.

Turning onto the rough gravel road, the car is forced to drive slowly. It brings a feeling of anticipation, like deliberately peeling back wrapping paper to savor the feeling of the unknown.

Though the road does not curve, it is impossible to see what lies ahead due to raised train tracks. The steep incline over the tracks reveals a land avoided by most. Old oaks gather together in a huddle. A narrow, mostly overgrown road trails inside the trees. It seems to say, “Come in. See what’s inside.”

It may not be inviting to some. But most of us have curiosities of the macabre, the strange, the dead. I’d been to this place before, years ago. During a girl’s night, my partially inebriated gal-pals were talking ghosts and one of them suggested we check out a creepy cemetery located about 20 minutes from our town.

Five of us piled into my car, filling it with laughing young women with nothing better to do on a full moon than ghost hunt.

I almost missed the little green sign that night. It’s quite inconspicuous. Back then I drove a Pontiac Grand Am and it weighed about 10 tons, so it handled well on the gravel. We were flying confidently down that road. I got a little airborne from the tracks, laughing at that dropping sensation of leaving my stomach behind.

But once we saw those old oaks, the feeling came over me. It’s one that I only feel when ghost hunting. It’s a jittery, glittery, soda-pop feeling of wanting to believe contact could be made with the afterlife without all that ridiculous Hollywood “If you’re there knock three times” bullshit.

I took out my Blackberry (this is before iPhones were invented, friends) and began recording. The drive through the trees was something I’ll always remember. The cornfields gave way to wild Illinois nature. Dead branches lay on the ground like severed arms, their twisted fingers pointing to the way we came as though to warn us to turn back.

A low, wire fence separated the world from the land of the dead. I stopped just at the entrance. Fear had begun to fill me. Maybe it was the full moon, maybe it was the drive, or the No Trespassing sign that did it. But none of us girls were brave enough to get out of the car. We teased, we pushed, we laughed, but ultimately, I had to drive into the cemetery in order to turn my beast around and get us back home.

We went back to my place to Google the cemetery. While the girls logged on, I replayed my video. At first, I was terribly disappointed. There was nothing on there besides the blackness of the night and the red glow of my dashboard. The footage was fraught with high giggles and youthful babbling.

But then a low, gruff, much darker voice grunted into the phone, “Leave. Leave.”

I listened to that video a million times. It’s distinct. Inarguable. Freaking awesome.

Years passed, and my adventurous days grew further apart as my workload increased. Girls nights became a thing of the past and my life has evolved to working, writing, and raising my family.

I love to write these Real Life Ghost Stories. I love asking others about their spooky experiences. The intensity that people have when they share with me the freakiest things that have happened to them is like seeing a side of them they rarely reveal. Today, I was going through my writing notes and I saw two words scribbled in the corner of my papers, Moon Point. But my little experience there alone wasn’t enough to make a story. So, what’s the go-to? Google.

And I was granted a holy shit moment.

According to ye good ol’ internet, Moon Point Cemetery has a legend of the Hatchet Lady. Long story short, the cemetery was founded in 1878 by Jacob Moon who fought in the War of 1812. It is full of ancient veteran graves, but also the graves of children and a guy who was murdered by an ax. But the Hatchet Lady is said to have gone crazy from the death of her child and guarded the grave with a hatchet to protect it. Even in death, she remains an eternal vigil of her child’s grave and, according to hauntedplaces.org, “has been heard yelling or whispering earnestly at visitors to ‘Get out!’”

I read this today and about pissed myself. It seems to me, years ago, the Hatchet Lady spoke to us.

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This brought my mother and I on our little road trip back to the cemetery. She drove so I could take pictures. I wondered if it would be changed. I wondered if it would be too scary to get out. I wasn’t really planning on getting out, but my three-year-old in the backseat gave me no choice. She’s an odd little girl, just like her mommy, and wanted to walk around the gravestones.

I lovingly obliged. I snapped photos and breathed the fresh air. It’d been raining and more rain was approaching. The ground was soft, the only sounds to be heard were the laughter of my daughter and the breeze blowing high up in the trees.

As I walked, my foot caved in a little sinkhole over a grave. We decided to leave right then.

My photos turned up nothing out of the ordinary, and I’ll admit I did not record any video. If the Hatchet Lady wanted to have a conversation with me, I suppose I would have heard it without the noise of my friends’ giggles. Or maybe she saw my daughter and knew I wasn’t there for any harmful purposes.

Or maybe she only comes out at night. On a full moon.

I wonder when the next full moon is? Let me check my lunar calendar…

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