Ghosts of Union Cemetery

April 1996
by Perry DeAngelis

The people, places and things that inhabit Connecticut with aura’s of the paranormal are legion. I am battered nearly everyday with a new claim toward that end. I was therefore not totally surprised when I discovered that my own home town of Easton, was host of one of the “…best places to experience the supernatural.” This locale, the Union Cemetery, is said to be haunted by the spirits of the long dead.

The cemetery is located at the junction of Stepney Highway and Sport Hill Road. It was formed circa 1845, and has the visage of many such era cemeteries that dot the New England landscape. During the day, the place seems serene and quiet. The traffic speeds by, oblivious to the site, and the eternal struggle being waged therein. The low black iron spiked fence stands as an impotent guard against the supernatural forces swirling within. And more importantly to the ones raging without.

I walked the short dirt roads that intersect the place, and glanced at the names carved into the stone. Some were very old indeed, their words having become illegible by the battering forces of time and weather. Others, newer, their letters clear and sharp. Some large monoliths articulated the scene, forming an imposing presence. I wondered what great tasks some of these souls had left unfinished. As every schoolboy knows, that is the reason most often given for these tormented souls wandering the land. Some task that they are desperate to complete before they can go on to their eternal rest. What could it have been? Love unspoken? Vengeance unquelled? Shopping undone?

I trod the ground looking for evidence of the supernatural. I discovered no fresh turned dirt, no claw marks, no spooks, ghosts or haunts. However upon closer inspection, I found broken glass, whiskey and gin bottles, and others paraphernalia of ghost hunters and thrill seekers. Some of the tombstones too, had not simply been worn down by the elements, but were clearly damaged by these vandals. How do I know that these items were their filth and destruction? Because I spoke with the Sexton of the grounds, Joseph Silhavey. He stated that when people like Ed and Lorraine Warren spout their stories of Casper, it attracts the uninformed from many miles. He stated that there was recently five thousand dollars in repairs necessary to rectify damage caused by such people. This was paid for by the Easton Cemetery Association.

This portrays an excellent example of the danger of such wild tales as spun by these prevaricators. They put forth a claim that besmirches a fine old place, such as Union Cemetery, and then ignore the consequences of such irresponsible commentary. The cemetery is closed from dusk to dawn, and is clearly posted thus. However, carloads of the illiterate invade the grounds at night (the time best reputed to see the boogie men), seeking the goblins and spooks said to be there by the spreaders of false rumor. Would it be improper to send the bill for the vandalism to these tellers of tales?

I think not.

The sad part is that the cemetery is still in active use. All of the plots are sold, and people are still being buried there. Friends and family still visit the site to pay their respects to the dead, and they are forced to wade through the refuse and destruction caused by the aforementioned mobs. When Mr. Silhavey was recently placing flags upon the graves of some of the veterans, he had to pick up used and spilled alcohol bottles. He wished that we not write about the haunt stories at all because he simply did not want the publicity that they might generate. I assured him that we were opposed to such ill-spawned publicity, and that this piece would do what it could to end such vicious destruction of a great historical site.

So, the next time you’re thinking about trespassing where you don’t belong, harassing people that wish to be left alone, or marring some old craftsmanship just because it is reputed to be a vessel of the supernatural, think again. Investigate an assertion responsibly, within the law, and with forewarning to the owner. If the Warrens claimed there was gold at the bottom of the Hudson, I would not be in my Speedo atop the Brooklyn Bridge.