The month’s Genealogy Blog Party is all about the strange…the question being ‘What is the strangest thing you’ve found in your genealogy research?’
For me, it would have to be the story of the lantern in the cemetery.
My sister, Joyce, and I were fortunate that our maternal grandmother, Florrie Jane THOMAS MARTIN, lived with our family when we were growing up. Subsequently, everyone visited at our house. My mom’s seven siblings and their families, her great aunts and uncles, and cousins galore were in and out of our home all year round.
Joyce and I heard many stories again and again which we never tired of. One of the most memorable is the one about the lantern in the cemetery.
My grandfather, Joel Daniel MARTIN, was a tenant farmer, and there was a cemetery down the hill from one of the houses they lived in while tenant farming in Virginia. The cemetery could be seen from the front porch. I don’t know the size of the cemetery, but it was probably a small one since it was a family cemetery on private land.
My mom and her siblings said that sometimes their dogs would get to barking and carrying on, and then take off running to the cemetery. About the same time a lantern could be seen going through the cemetery, swinging back and forth as if someone was carrying it. But there was no person to be seen.
Once in the cemetery the dogs yelped and cried like someone was beating them with a stick. Then they would run back home like something was chasing them. The dogs looked pretty panicked when they came back, according to my mom and her siblings.
This happened more than once, too. I never heard of my mom or her siblings going to the cemetery to see what was going on down there. From what I know about my grandfather, I’m sure he forbade them to go. He would have believed it was best left alone.
This story is one of favorites, and it still gives me chills.
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