Union Cemetery & The White Lady
By Donna Kent
Union Cemetery in Easton, CT contains graves and fieldstones dating as far back as the 1600’s and up to and including present day burials. The Easton Baptist Church, which stands to the right of the cemetery was built in the 1840’s, centuries after the first settlers were interred here (perhaps on an old church foundation?)
There are many stories attached to this plot of land, the most popular being that of “The White Lady”, a ghostly figure that to this day her identity is unknown. She has been reportedly seen in and around the graveyard for over 60 years now. She appears in a white nightgown or wedding dress, and travels many miles between Union Cemetery and Stepney Graveyard (next to Our Lady of the Rosary Church) which is less than ten miles down the road. A fireman was said to have struck her after viewing the road in front of him take on an eerie red glow, and seeing a farmer with straw hat seated beside him in his truck. He looked up to see the white lady with hand outstretched and could not stop in time. He heard a thud and the truck was visibly dented. No sign of the woman was to be found however.
No one, to this day, has ever figured out who she really is, or was in her physical lifetime. There was some talk about a gravestone within Union cemetery, with a baby’s grave marker next to it, that seemed to indicate a woman dying shortly after the baby, and possibly she is searching in vain, grieving the loss, however that’s all speculation. Another possible identity of the woman, is that of Ellen Smathers, wife of John Smathers, the man who’s body was found in a sink-hole behind the church, weighed down with iron chunks in his pockets…Richard Dean Jason confessed to the murder. Yet another researcher feels the White Lady is the soul of Mrs. Knott, murdered by her adulterous lover, Elwood Wade sometime around the turn of the century. Mrs. Knott’s body was also found in the dark, wooded area of the sink-hole.
There are also tales of a ghostly “hobo”, a caretaker’s spirit who, himself became obsessed with the spirit of a 200 year-dead trapper’s spirit he saw in the vicinity of the cemeteries hills, and now walks (or should I say glides?) the length of the wrought iron fence, Uniformed men who leave no tracks in the snow and actually talk with the witnesses, reports of men dressed very out of season, let alone century, who reply, when asked where they’re going, “straight through” – meaning straight through the man-made reservoir, animal noises, sounds of a baby crying, footsteps, stones and rocks being thrown by unseen hands, shadow ghosts and more! There are stories and reports of murder ( in 1935, one man, was set on fire by Earle Kellog and died directly across the street from the cemetery) and tragedy around Union Cemetery and the area of the church. Because of vandalism, occult activities and rituals, and general destructive behavior, the graveyard is strictly off-limits after dusk (The Easton police force DOES enforce this and hundreds of would be ghost hunters have received $77.00+ fines, and/or arrest).
The multitudes of photos I have taken, viewed and been sent by viewers of the website and Cosmic Society members proves (to me anyway..) beyond a shadow of a doubt of supernatural and preternatural activity occurring at this and surrounding locations. Part of the problem lies in the fact that the majority of the “spirits” hovering around this place are NOT earthbound souls. Through conjure and other practices, this once consecrated ground now seems anything but. Certainly there are lost and confused souls who have not crossed over properly, the white lady being one of them, but as I said above, there is alot more going on here than ‘ghosts’.
I recently interviewed a woman who’s son, a college student, along with some friends spent a night inside the cemetery armed with only a tape recorder and a flashlight. Nothing much happened until around 4:00 a.m., when suddenly two of the four youths, saw a bright light start floating towards them. Alarmed that the other two couldn’t see what they were witnessing, they shined their flashlight on the ball of light only to watch the flashlight sputter and fail to work (We’re not surprised, right?!). The light proceeded towards them but in doing so, began to take the shape of a woman. The two who could see this apparition were becoming hysterical, and all four boys, gathered up their things and headed for the car -fast! It was a week later, back at school that they remembered about the tape, still inside the tape recorder. The four gathered around to listen to what they thought would be a replay of their own conversations from that evening inside the graveyard, and the first twenty minutes were just that. However…just as they had settled down and concentrated on trying to pick up EVP, being mindful of refraining from talking, there came a strange, deep male voice, spewing obscenities, threats, cursing and really lewd phrases seemingly directly into the microphone. The clarity was astounding, and a name was also given. (I can’t remember it off-hand now). Upon researching the name, the boy’s mother found an obituary column dedicated to the so-named “person” on the tape. It seemed he had been killed by a drunk driver while walking along Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield, CT a number of years back. No one could make any sense of this spirit having a connection with Union cemetery, as the article named a different burial ground for the man. It was then that one of the boys remembered that he had been house sitting at a residence on Black Rock Turnpike, the night they had spent in the cemetery. We all speculated if this soul is aimlessly meandering around the area of his death, including the many homes on the street. Why had he communicated with the tape recorder at Union cemetery? Had the boy been followed there? Did the spirit have foreknowledge of the boys’ intentions? From what was said he is obviously a tormented, ragingly pissed-off spirit. Perhaps, he’s attracted by like-spirits said to haunt Union Cemetery…which has it’s share of negatively inclined entities, many not of human origin.
I happened to be at Union cemetery one summer night in 1995, taking photos with friends and strangers who had also come for the same opportunity, when the patrol car pulled up. Whew! I thought, thank God we’re outside the fence. Well the police officer felt sure that there was someone hiding inside the gates and questioned us all to where “he” was. We all replied that we hadn’t seen anyone inside the perimeter, while we had been there. He proceeded in, down the center road, between two iron pillars, one bearing the remnants of a wreath from too many Christmas’s past. The next thing we heard was “Hey!” “ Hey! Stop!” The police officer shined his flashlight all over the bent tombstones and gnarly trees, creating a freaky sort of half-assed light show for the rest of us, standing by watching, many paces away. He emerged drained of color in his face and visibly upset. He too, didn’t find anyone inside of the graveyard, but all the while he was searching he said, stones and pebbles landed at his feet, as if tossed from some provoking juvenile hiding nearby..He promptly got in his car and left us all to resume our picture taking (ah, the good ol’ days!)…
Below is a letter I received from a guy who thinks he’s encountered the White Lady, again out of her “normal” confines of Union and Stepney graveyard, whether it be the same “lady” I don’t know, but the this sighting and others I’ve been told of, suggest she is venturing further, perhaps frustrated with her situation remaining unresolved for all these many years. What do you think?
Donna, I hope this isn’t too long winded or rambling, but I like to tell the story from the very beginning.
This happened in the late summer of 1988. Two friends and I were driving around town at about 2:00 in the morning. I was driving, and we had a very bright hand-held spotlight, the kind which plugs into the cigarette lighter. We were on a road which runs behind the Hi-Ho Motel off the Merritt over into Easton. I know the area well. We were near the Smith Richardson golf course heading up a hill when a deer ran through my headlights a few hundred yards up the road. I shut them off and drove up to where the deer had run. I had the car stopped, rolled down my window, and intended to shine the light on the deer. Since the light is so bright, I made sure I was holding it completely outside the car and pointed away from us before I turned it on. The night was overcast and very dark, and I couldn’t see anything. I held up the light, pointed it into the field and turned it on. Standing exactly where I had pointed it was a woman dressed all in white. She was probably not more than fifty feet from us, standing in a grass up to her knees. She looked to be older, maybe in her sixties. Her hair looked long and was down over her back. She was wearing a long nightgown, with sleeves and cuffs which came down over her hands. The reflection of the light off of her was so bright we could barely look at her.
She stood there completely motionless, staring directly at us and into a light ten times brighter than the headlights on a car. I held the light on her for three or four seconds, shut it off, turned the headlights back on and got out of there. At the first stop sign, I turned to my friends, and we all agreed on what we’d seen. We were all visibly shaking. I went back the next day to try and find an explanation as to why an old woman would be out there at that hour, but the area is just a field with no houses anywhere.
I went back to school that fall, and shortly thereafter stories started to appear in the town paper about people seeing a similar person a few miles north near the town center. The descriptions of what others had seen were very close to what we witnessed. I assume she’s the same person, even though we saw her quite a distance from where the majority of her activity was reported.
Hope you find our contact interesting. Nothing much happened, but if you had been in the car with her staring at you, you may think differently.
Click on the images below to open the photo gallery documenting a few investigations done at Union Cemetery. . Clicking in the “i” icon under each photo in the gallery will show a descriptive caption.