Every once and a while when watching one of Cincinnati’s local television stations, a commercial would come up about Spring Grove Cemetery, reminding me that even though I’ve lived in the Queen City for a little over five years- that I still haven’t visited this historic cemetery.

Today I changed that!

Spring Grove's famous places: C.C. Breuer's Headstone, Dexter Family Crypt, headstones in section 16.

Spring Grove’s famous places: C.C. Breuer’s Headstone, Dexter Family Crypt, headstones in section 16.

At noon I pulled into the gates of America’s second largest cemetery, Spring Grove. Formally charted on January 21, 1845 by the Cincinnati Horticultural Society as a garden cemetery inspired by Mount auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it became the place where many historic people from around the United States and Cincinnati used as their final resting place. Adolph Strauch, a man renowned for his work as a landscape architect in the mid-1800s, was hired in 1855 to beautify Spring Grove even further, resulting in the lakes and trees we see today when visiting the grounds. Strauch also worked on other parks around Cincinnati, such as Eden Park (which is another fine park to stroll through and also said to be haunted) and Burnet Woods. On March 29, 2007 Spring Grove was officially designated as a National Historic Landmark.

What I will first note as disappointing is that pets are not allowed on the grounds. Usually paranormal pup Wheatley will accompany me on such photography missions and he would have especially loved to have wondered around the 700+ acres of cemetery grounds with me. On another blog, somewhere on the internets, someone mentioned that you can walk through the grounds without ever running into another (physical) being. I found this to be quite false. If you go there expecting to do a little ghost hunting you may be disappointed to find out that there are four walking trails laid out in the cemetery that are very well populated by the living and that they, plus general city noise from homes around the cemetery and sounds from nature may pollute any audio recorded.

Like any good cemetery, there are stories of ghostly phenomena at Spring Grove although caretakers will be quick to dismiss these claims. The first well known legend is that C.C. Breuer’s family headstone is haunted (Section 100, lot 9). Noted at “Glass Eyes” on the Spring Grove Cemetery map, Charles C. Breuer in life was an optometrist. According to legend, before his death Breuer requested that his real eyes be placed in a bust at his grave site. However, that never came to pass; his bust uses glass eyes that I will wager match the color of his real ones in life. The bust is said to watch you wherever you move around the cemetery. However I only found this true if you happen to in the busts’ line of sight- since he is quite clearly looking east. If you happen to standing to the West, well I guess you are free from the eternal staring contest?


I'm looking at you, kid!
I’m looking at you, kid!

However, I will mention I did have a spooky moment right after finishing taking photos of the Breuer family headstone. At the time I was the only person in the area (that I could see) when I heard an adult male moan from about 10 feet away! Knowing that it was a possibility it could have been a person walking or jogging the trails, I followed the sound, which lead me into the middle of section 100- to find no one present. Will I write this down as an experience with the paranormal? No, because it is quite possible someone’s voice had traveled from another section of the cemetery. I trotted on taking pictures of the head stones.


Collection of headstones from around the cemetery.

Collection of headstones from around the cemetery.

Section 53 and 16 are quite notable for having ghostly activity reported, and they are in the older parts of the cemetery. The common ghost lore to come out of section 53 is the sensation that your ankles are being grabbed by unseen hands. According to online urban legend, a caretaker was doing maintenance in the area when he saw a ghostly set of hands reach out of the ground at him! Visitors have reported seeing “wispy” apparitions out of the corner of their eye or hearing phantom voices; this is particularly true for Section 16. Statues are also said to move around to watch cemetery visitors, especially at night (hey, the cemetery is closed at night you trespassers!)

I will admit, the entire time I was walking around Section 22 around the Burnet crypt, I felt as if I was being watched. The Burnet family crypt also seemed to give off this weird vibe from it, I don’t know if it was something “there” or perhaps the overcast clouds above threatening rain at me.

The Burnet family crypt and other headstones.

The Burnet family crypt and other headstones.

Sometime in the future I plan on visiting Spring Grove again, maybe for a historical walking tour.

Cheers, Kat