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Graveyard ghost stories

Thursday, October 25, 2007 - Forum West

Ghost running from Mount Olivet to Lutheran Cemetery across what would later become Eliot Ave, 1931

By Christina Wilkinson

Maspeth in the 1880s was mostly farmland and had a "wild west" feel to it. There were saloons, blacksmiths, mercantiles and the like lining Grand Avenue. Residents at the time also believed there was an unhappy ghost haunting them.

On July 27, 1884, The New York Times printed an article titled, "Posses of Men Hunting in Vain a Ghost on Long Island". The posses were comprised of locals living in Maspeth, and the ghost was believed to be haunting Mount Olivet Cemetery.

According to accounts of the day, the apparition was a "ghost white" male who carried a large knife and yelled "Oho!" It managed to scare the living daylights out of berry pickers, a gravedigger, a stonecutter and the local constable, who rounded up a group of 50 townsmen to hunt down the spirit. They got lit up at a local bar before heading into the darkness brandishing shotguns. Although they reported having seen the ghost, they could not seem to catch up to it no matter how fast they ran. They managed to chase him into Lutheran Cemetery before they gave up and returned home.

A woman interviewed by the Brooklyn Eagle claimed that the spirit was that of her dead husband, Mike Kelly, who had committed suicide a week after they had married just after their arrival in the United States from Templemore, Ireland. Mrs. Kelly had since remarried Tim McCormick, and said they had moved several times in attempts to escape the haunting, but ol' Mike followed them wherever they settled.

Dave Gigler, the current CEO of Mount Olivet Cemetery, could not be reached for comment, but Dan Austin, Jr., the Vice President of Lutheran-All Faiths Cemetery, said that there were no present day reports of this particular spirit. However, members of his security force have reported seeing the ghosts of American Indians running around at night. "There is also a statue of a woman holding a baby at a gravesite and they swear that she comes alive at night and walks around," Austin said.