Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Legend of the Wicked Woods Cemetery {Countdown to Halloween day 4}

The Legend of the Wicked Woods Cemetery

Back in the early 1900s our little town was just starting out to be a booming coal producer. In those days things were simpler. You were born, you worked hard, and then you died. When you did pass on, they would take you to the little cemetery situated in the center of the town. Back then it was called Whispering Woods Cemetery and it being in the middle of a coal boom….it was an active one at that. Lots of accidents and sickness took the lives of the healthy, wealthy, young, old, strong and infirm. All of them ended up in the same kind of pine box buried 6 foot down.

Back in its earliest days, this was a place of beauty and peace. Tall maple, willow, and locust trees provided shade for the little cemetery and all kinds of flowering shrubs dotted the landscape. It was a peaceful place where one could pay respects to their loved ones who had passed over to the other side.

Things stayed pretty much the same for well over forty years and then it all changed. The town was growing and expanding so fast, it was hard to keep up! Money was to be made and people were coming in from all over to settle in the area and make a life off the coal in the ground. The little cemetery, now full up, was in the middle of some prime property in town and soon enough…greed overcame good and the decision to move the cemetery was made. The town council decided to move the cemetery, and all its tenants, down the road some 13 miles away. They had tasked the monumental task of moving the cemetery to the local caretaker… his name was Malaki Meade.

Old Malaki had been the caretaker of the Whispering Woods Cemetery since the first grave had been dug. He was old, he was tired, and he was not looking forward to moving all them bodies that he had himself had buried over the years…especially for what little bit they were paying him to do it. Malaki sat and pondered his problem late one night when he hatched himself a devious plan. He told the town council he was going to work at night….so as not to disturb the town folk and run off any potential home buyers. He then started the task of moving the head stones at night and leaving the bodies buried right where he left them. Malaki surprised the whole town by completing this terrible task in record time and was commended by the town leadership for working so hard.

It was then that Malaki heard that the new plans to build a manor house in place of the old cemetery included a huge basement. He instantly panicked thinking about the town workers finding all those bodies he had left lying in the ground. To save himself, Old Malaki Meade went to the town and pleaded that he himself could dig the basement and the footers for the town at a fraction of the price they would have had to pay a full team of workers to do it. He even offered to only work at night so as not to disturb the beauty of the surrounding homes. Seeing how he had done such a fine job “moving” the cemetery to begin with, they agreed and Malaki found himself in the middle of another big job but safe from persecution of a very vile act.

As soon as the sun set, Malaki would grab his shovel and his wheelbarrow and start working till the sun came up. Malaki dug the footers and the large basement area per plan. During his excavation he would uncover all manner of bodies, some still fleshy, others barely powdery bone. When he would find a body, he would promptly bury it back under just a few feet of ground off to the side where digging would not be going on. No coffin, no ceremony and no care. Sometimes he would bury three or four at a time in the same shallow hole and if they did not fit, well, he would make them. He was not bothered one bit about the grisly crimes he was committing. He would just laugh that he was being paid by the town to do half the work they expected of him. That must have been some sight…watching Old Malaki Meade with a wheelbarrow full of bones laughing as he buried them in a shallow hole in the moonlight.

Pretty soon, he had completed his terrible task but when it came time to be paid….Malaki never showed up to collect his ill-gotten gains. It was as if he had just vanished! The authorities looked for him but not hide nor hair was ever found of him. Some of the town folks reported to hearing screaming one night coming from the general area of where Malaki was working, but the authorities never found anything and just chalked it up to the old man stumbling off drunk in the woods and meeting his end to a bear or worse.

Soon after, the town completed building the manor house and it moved in new owner in no time. None of them knowing that they were surrounded by the hidden remains of the dead. After a few years, nobody would have ever guessed that a cemetery had once been there where the little manor house now stood.

As the years wore on, the property has had several owners…many owners…..lots of owners. Nobody ever stayed in the manor house for very long. Nothing strange about that….except the time of year they moved. Almost every owner of the manor left during the month of October. During the spring and summer months, the property was beautiful with well-groomed grass, flowers, and the old ancient Maple tree in the front yard, but come fall of the year….things would turn a bit… sinister.

In October, the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead get mighty thin. The closer to All Hallows Eve the thinner it got and the more things wanted through…the easier they found it. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, people would report seeing strange blue and green lights on the grounds. They would report seeing wispy ghosts dancing in the moonlight under the old maple, and bleached white skeletons climbing the balcony of the manor house.

 The most disturbing thing town folks reported seeing was Old Malaki Meade still hard at work late at night. They would swear they could see him carrying his old shovel or pushing a squeaky wheelbarrow full of dirt and bones around the property. Some even said they could hear him laughing as he dug graves in the middle of the night……others would report seeing the bodies of the dead clawing and scratching at him as they drug him under the earth with him, all the while him screaming like a banshee.

Maybe that is why Meade Manor has had so many owners over the years… who knows. All I can say for sure is during the darkest nights of October, you can drive by the Old Meade Manor and if you are lucky, or unlucky, enough, you can see Old Malaki Meade digging his shallow graves while the restless dead crawl around the grounds cackling, and moaning for eternal peace that will never come. Some even report seeing the old cemetery sign hanging from the cemetery gates that once stood so long ago except that it no longer reads “Whispering Woods Cemetery”. Somebody or something has scratched at the sign till it now reads, “Wicked Woods Cemetery”.

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