Saturday, October 31, 2009

Greenwood Cemetery


So I’ve heard a lot of ghost stories about Greenwood Cemetery in Muscatine, Iowa. I grew up an lived in Muscatine most of my life. Greenwood actually gets a fair amount of foot traffic. Daytime walkers do rounds around the cemetery; the staff mows twice a week or so. How do I know?

I spent more time there than most people. The only people that may have logged more hours in a year than me are the people who sell head stones and services in the office right up front of the cemetery. First of all what series you ask? Well you can set up perpetual care, your tombstone get motor patched, cleaned, ect. You can set up a trust, a bank account that they control, it builds interest constantly.

That interest is used to repair the stone. So in fifty years you get a new marble base or something from the interest. But they work there during the day; I’ve spent more time there at night.

A few years ago I lived and worked in Muscatine. I worked for a local business and spent my lunch hours there, I’d eat, and walk, mon-fri. On my free time I’d go there, because rarely did I see someone, except the occasionally walker.
So I’d spend four hours or so walking for exercise, eating if I grabbed food, treating it like a park more so than a cemetery.

I illegally spent many a late night there. I changed jobs, and works third shift briefly, during this two month period I ate lunch there. I turned my lights off and drove in. I’d eat and walk around for a bit. Occasionally I saw some teens, burning candles and playing “Wiccan”, I know, I know, they are serious about it, until the phase fades.

But usually I saw no one. I did see police that drove by and shines the spot light in, but I never personally ran into one. I figured they’d tell me to leave, after all eating a sandwich in my work clothes while sitting the car doesn’t really spell trouble. But I never saw them. I did get out and walk around.

The main legend comes from the blue angel; I’ll talk about that in a bit. But I walked around the entire thing, the new graves, the children sections, the old graves the back corners, along the tree line right before the hill, on the roads, and out in between the graves. I almost tripped a few times, never on stones, but on branches.

Now I walked around before the tornado went through a few years back. The cemetery was loaded with big trees, provided good cover from the street, but leaves, sticks, and small branches were everywhere. Ask anyone that mowed it. But the trees really gave it a secluded feeling. I’ve been there since the tornado went through, it looks very different.

But that being said, I still could walk the roads through the cemetery in the dead of night with comfort. Even to the blue angel. The blue angel is in a mausoleum, it sits in the back, not really the back corner as described, but more in the middle, it sits about 75 yards back from the road. So it is a little walk.

I walked it in the day time, in the night time. By myself often, and would go right up to the glass and look in without question or fear. There is another mausoleum right next to it, to the left I actually like better. The stained glass, and tomb’s inside are beautiful, but it doesn’t’ have a statue.

The blue angel is a white stone lady kneeling with an arm out. She had a hand the caretakers would put a flower in, usually a plastic rose. In my childhood it was broke off. Legend says it was broke off because if the lady dropped the rose while you were there you would die. Someone broke it off to stop her from hurting other people.

Now I know the true story. The real story of how the hand got broke, and I also know the real story how the antler got broke off the deer at River Park in Muscatine. But back to the Blue Angel. I was child, and acquaintances of my family had possession of the hand. They ended up throwing it away, or tossing it in the river, not sure of the disposal out of fear of being caught.

They did not break the hand off to save people. They broke it off to try and use it as paraphernalia. That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t remember who or exact dates. I’m sure if someone really searches and finds this blog that had something to with or knew the people that got the hand, better than I did (I was only about 6), they will shake their head in agreement.

So I saw the hand, we visited the blue angel when I was young all the time. I remember adults talking about the hand, and it was very hush-hush, and I remember seeing the hand. It had nothing to do with the legend. If I truly knew who it was or could remember I’d give the details. But being so young it is all blurry. I can describe their house and what Atari games they had, but can’t even picture the people’s faces.

So the hand is gone. But many years later I tired of eating my lunch in a parking lot, so I started going back to the cemetery. I walked around, day or night, and never saw anything odd, ghostly, paranormal, or scary. I did have one scary moment.

I was by a mausoleum, Dr. something, can’t recall the name, but could take you right to the mausoleum. The mausoleum has about 6” wide by 3’ tall windows cut into it. The front has a big locked metal door. But you can look inside. It is a veterans grave. There are usually little flags, and there was a broom always in it. And the white marble was always gorgeous, but the floor was filthy and the broom usually knocked over.

One day I heard a cry. I paused and looked around. Then I heard it again. I was about twenty foot from the mausoleum. It could have been a woman, or a child. I walked toward the sound, as I tracked the random cries, it lead me toward the mausoleum. At first I thought maybe some kid got in and got stuck. But then I heard the odd long cry again. It wasn’t’ a kid, or even a person.
It was coming from the mausoleum. I went toward it, a little freaked out. I crept toward the window. No noise, nothing but quite. I peeked in, and boom a cat jumped out.

Just about gave me a heart attack. Little calico cat, fat and pregnant. I checked the mausoleum a couple days later and no kittens, so she must of just of been looking for a place to have them.

That’s the scariest thing I ever saw, day or night. I never saw a “ghost hand” of the blue angel, the sky never turned black, no screams, and no footsteps. All those claims sounds like some scaring themselves, of a group of teens who have it in their head they will see something.

In my life I’ve only saw one thing I couldn’t explain fully, but it does have possible explanations, it had nothing to do with Greenwood Cemetery. So if you’re going to look for ghost you will be disappointed, however there is amazing stained glass, and unique architecture to enjoy. And if you go in at night, there are deer, lots of deer.

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