Posts Tagged ‘peninsula’

Cleveland takes St. Patrick’s Day seriously.  Very seriously. We host the largest parade in the state of Ohio, which also ranks among the largest in the United States. And all you have to do is visit some local cemeteries to discover why.

J. Monahan is buried in Erie Street Cemetery, and, like a fair number of Irish immigrants, had that heritage engraved into his headstone.
J. Monahan

Bridget Rogan came to Cleveland from Ireland by way of Ashtabula County, Pennsylvania. She is buried in Harvard Grove Cemetery.


Michael Raleigh came from County Limerick in Ireland. He rests in Mater Dolorosa Cemetery.


Here is a monograph on the history of Irish-Americans in Cleveland.

Of course, all the stones I’ve shown you are the ones that proudly proclaim a connection to the Irish homeland. There are also plenty of stones that make no mention of origin but the names engraved there suggest Irish ancestry.

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The more one researches ghost stories about graveyards, the more one realizes that very few of them are even remotely based on anything specific. Cemeteries are considered haunted because they contain dead people and therefore must have ghosts. Perfectly ordinary cemeteries acquire all sorts of strange associations with the occult and sorcery for no discernible reason.


Mater Dolorosa Cemetery (yes, the sign has a spelling error) sits in Cuyahoga Valley National Park outside of Peninsula, Ohio. If you want to locate the cemetery, it is in the woods just next to the Park’s Happy Days Visitors’ Center. John and Mary Ann Doud, local Irish immigrants, bequeathed their family plot to the Bishop of Cleveland, who turned it over to the Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church nearby. The cemetery has just over a dozen headstones, and is a pretty typical 19th century cemetery of mostly Irish Catholic immigrants and their children.



But somehow a legend has grown up that this cemetery belongs to a local satanic church in Peninsula (how the church became satanic is unclear) and that it is used in demonic rituals. Ghostly white figures walk the cemetery and scare away anyone who comes near. Google “Helltown” for any of the stories. They have little bearing to the reality, but that hardly seems to matter – these are urban legends.



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