Brooksville and Springhill Cemeteries (Hernando County)
Jan. 27, 2013
FIELD NOTES Springhill Cemetery:
Mary: Only area was where the KII meter light up to the first light; it was in the corner of the cemetery and not sure why; cell phone not present and the one set of wires in the area did not affect the readings.
Beth: When we first came I felt that there were three men in overalls and with light hair or no hair standing in the area of the three trees. They felt they were protectors and were large men. They saw each other as a band of brothers or they see themselves as brothers (are related but not actual blood brothers). I felt sick to my stomach when we first got here which is something that happens to me in cemeteries. This sensation came with me as we went across the road in the cemetery and then it came and went in the back northeast corner of the cemetery where Mary picked up the EMF.
Susan: I feel that we are being watched from the southwest corner and all around the cemetery. It's a bunch of people around the outside holding hands and watching us. I felt sick in the areas of two dark unmarked gravestones and where Beth said she felt ill. Around a tomb marked Burke I got a strong medicinal smell. I feel that there are a large number of undocumented graves here.
Brandy: Nothing on photos (first glance) or the first part of the EVPs. I had a headache when we arrived and felt dizzy, but that faded.
Les: Temp is between 68 and 71. Trifield read .2 and was steady. I checked where Mary said that her KII meter went of and it had no effect on my meter.
Spring Hill Cemetery (Research contributed by Donna B.)
Spring Hill African American Cemetery
8580 Fort Dade Avenue, Brooksville, Florida
Earliest "known" burial starting in the late 1800's may be prior unmarkeds
265 interments recorded (some are duplicates)
There are many locals who do not even know it exists, and the residents who do know of it avoid talking about it. It is the final resting place of soldiers and slaves, paupers and pioneers.
The cemetery is known as an old black cemetery
There is no way to accurately determine burial dates because many of the plots have no headstone, or have been desecrated and are no longer readable.
This out of the way graveyard and adjacent abandoned building have been used by Ku Klux Klan members as a site for some of their more sinister activities, and have been used by others for satanic rites and rituals.
It is also a notorious hangout for the criminal element in town.
Three acres of sandy grounds with moss-draped live oaks, aging crypts
Thick woods that bound it on all sides
Spring Hill Cemetery is actually three different plots on a shady bend off Fort Dade Avenue, about a quarter mile north of State Road 50
Across the street is the white burial ground, also known as the Ayers or Confederate cemetery. It holds the century-old remains of pioneer resident the Rev. Daniel Simmons.
A small family plot is also somewhere on the grounds.
The Lykes family were property holders in that area and are believed to be the donors of the African-American cemetery around the turn of the century.
The resting place for some of Hernando County's most prominent African-American families
Old family names like the Timmons, Ingrams and Mobleys are found here.
· At dusk you can see what seems to be a man hanging from a tree limb.
· groups of spirits can be seen standing together around the headstones of family plots
· One report states that an infants cry can be heard during certain times of the night.
· There's a shed in the woods with an ancient meat grinder where the Ku Klux Klan took their victims.
· It's unclear how much truth there is to stories about hangings in the African-American cemetery.
· fingers poking and pulling shirts
· apparitions peeking out from behind trees
· one out of the numerous trees on the property is the fabled "hanging tree."
Criminal Activity on Grounds
2011 July 14 Hudson man accused of burglarizing Spring Hill cemetery
2009 June 13 Arrested theft of skull from crypt: Joel Rivera W/M, DOB 05/23/90, 6217 Cartwrite Rd, Brooksville and Seth McCarty, W/M, DOB 08/15/90, 33368 Ridge Manor Blvd, Ridge Manor
1982 Two men were arrested under nearly identical circumstances. Both broke a hole in a crypt and poked the remains with a stick.
· July 23, 1881. The Sunland Tribune reports that Jesse Timmons, colored, of Brooksville, was shot and killed by Thomas C. Cook, a merchant. Numerous Timmons family members interred at Spring Hill; timeframes match
but no site for Jesse.
· Brown, Patrick Dewayne 45140372 b. Mar. 3, 1988 d. Aug. 9, 2009 Passed after long illness grandmother is Bertha Lee Wright, also interred there.
More stunned at the lack of information on recent interments and interments that might have been notable due to youthful age of deceased (<45)
Online Posts of Others Experiences
· X's most solid evidence of paranormal activity is a snippet of audio he's isolated from a recording. One night he heard something rustling in the brush and called out: "Is anybody there that wants to say anything?" He heard no response. When he got home and replayed that question, he says he heard a whispered response: "I'm a dead kid."
· Y believes she has found the so-called "hanging tree." While she's yet to see an apparition hanging from the branches, she's snapped multiple photos of what she believes is a body lying at the base of the tree. There are also notches in the branches from the ropes, she said. She, too, has recorded voices, one that sounded like "help me John," followed by a sudden breath of disgust.
An previous investigator was kicked in the leg hard enough to leave a bruise
· My husband came home with an unexplained cut on his foot (mind you no penetration was detected through his shoe nor sock, just a perfect perpendicular 1/2 inch slit in his right foot just below and between his pinky toe.) It was not there prior to our visit. I also felt a major drop in my body temperature, I suddenly became ice cold for a matter of what seemed about 10 minutes and then it disappeared.
· Energy intensified tenfold from day to night.
· A member of group looked up and saw a floating ball of light. Everyone saw a dot of blue light move among the limbs of the tree parked under. Not a firefly or any other explainable phenomenon. After several seconds, it vanished. Did not show in photographs.
· In the back of the cemetery is a small grave of a child. Old dolls and toys laid where headstone should be, surrounded by white picket fence a foot tall. Rustling brush behind us, followed by the sound of footsteps through the fallen leaves and brush in the middle of the cemetery. We all turned to look, but there was nothing there.
· Walked the dirt road toward the location of the abandoned building some have said is an old slaughterhouse. Fork in the dirt road: To left path to the slaughterhouse, to right the way back to the car. As members bore left the writer felt nauseated and had irresistible urge to run back to car. Group left cemetery.
· The following morning, a visitor to the cemetery found his rescue pet hed rescued a week before dead in its cage. He was certain it was because of the trip to the cemetery.
· Driving to cemetery: Narrow dirt road, oncoming car; we reversed and pulled over for other car to pass; we moved forward and saw a snake in the road, blocking our path. It wouldnt move, like it dared us to pass. Seen as omen, left.
Tree clearing goes awry at Spring Hill Cemetery By Logan Neill, Times Staff Writer In Print: Saturday, February 6, 2010 http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/article1071172.ece
"No Trespassing" signs posted outside the property
Online cautions when visiting the cemetery, especially after dark as it is a secluded spot popular with drug users and vandals.
One investigator believed ghosts could not physically harm anyone until a colleague was kicked in the leg hard enough to leave a bruise.
NOTE: One ghost team had the idea to investigate the cemetery at night on a full moon without contacting authorities. The citizens of the area, alarmed at seeing a group carrying flashlights in the cemetery, first drove past the cemetery and then called police. This activity is not acceptable in the paranormal field. The cemetery is closed at night and a little research would show that it had issues with drug activity. DO NOT do this. Such behavior is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by those in the field. The dead have a right to respect and to rest in peace. The living should not have to worry about ghost hunters trespassing in the cemetery at night.
Much of what is reported can be explained naturally. The rustling near the baby's graves comes from palm trees in the area which move with very little wind needed. The whole notion of a snake not moving relates more likely to defending itself than being a bad omen. The idea of a rescue pet dying the day after the new owner visited the cemetery is likely simply bad timing.
However, there is a strong possibility of haunting in the area. There has been violent activity, many burials, and perhaps some anger resides in the area. The SPIRITS did get two odd images from this cemetery that may or may not relate to the history of the area. (Brandy's images below; same photo, one marked, one unmarked):
Research by Donna B.
1275 Olmes Road, Brooksville, Florida 34601
1832 (November) Hope family one of first white families to settle area
1842 (September 12) Charlotte Wynn Pyles Crum, killed by Seminole Indians - now a marked grave (2003)
1845 Earliest marked grave in Brooksville Cemetery: Jane Hope, age 30, wife of William Hope. No records show if [the Hope family] buried anybody prior to Jane Hope; a search of cemetery database indicates several Hopes interred here
1887 (April) City of Brooksville began official operation of the Brooksville Cemetery
Brooksville Cemetery originally named the Chocochattee Cemetery
(Brooksville was called Chocochattee Settlement before it became Brooksville in 1856
Chocochatee Cemetery was only 5 acres
When the city of Brooksville took over it in 1887 they expanded it through additional purchases and gifts of land to the City to the 51.5 acres it is today.
Brooksville Cemetery is the resting place for over 5000, which include
veterans from the Civil war, both Confederate and Union soldiers,
Spanish American War
World Wars I and II
and more recent conflicts.
· Love Lost Legend: An above-ground grave contains the body of a man whose coffin is buried lower and is open, and his wife who has a glass underside in her coffin so she can watch over and take care of her husband even in death.
· Missy Wilkersons gravesite: Leave a lit cigarette there for Missy and sit and watch; it will burn down as if being smoked. Missys picture is on her headstone; from time to time the expression of her face changes Crying can be heard there. Missys favorite flower was a red rose and if you visit the gravesite you are invited to leave one red rose.
· There are rumors of some older graves than Charlotte Wynn Pyles Crum grave 1842
· A bloody female image in the cemetery has been seen
· Cries and movement have been heard
Charlotte Wynn Pyles Crum
Sept. 12, 1842. Charlotte Crum, wife of Richard R. Crum, is attacked and killed by Seminoles near Chuckachattee. She was killed while riding between todays Brooksville and Dade City. An account by Rev. John Cole Ley in Fifty-Two Years in Florida (1899) reads:
The war continued until 1842, when a treaty was made and hostilities ceased; there was still danger, and an occasional massacre. The last one was that of Mrs. Crum. She, her daughter, Mrs. Harn, her granddaughter, Miss Mary Harn, and Mr. J. F. MacDonell were riding, the latter driving the carriage, and Mrs. Harn riding on horseback. A number of Indians fired upon them. Mr. MacDonnell was shot through the chest, but sprang into the bushes and escaped. Mrs. Crum was killed. Mrs. Harn caught her daughter by the arm, assisted her upon the horse, and they escaped. I have heard this related by each of the survivors. Mr. MacDonnell lived to an old age, raised a large family, was honored and loved in his county, and passed to his reward in January, 1894.
[Jenkins describes the killing as the first Indian outrage in the county. The Sept. 12 date is based on the account in the Oct. 1, 1842, St. Augustine News. Another account of the event is here. See also the entry for R. R. Crum on the early settlers page.]
On September 11, 1842, Charlotte Crum was returning from a visit with friends and family just south of Brooksville on the Chuckachatti Prairie ( Which extended from the corner of where Hwy. 50 east and the truck route os today southward for several miles ). She was riding on a buckboard of a wagon in the rear party along with another woman on horseback. The woman's child was riding on the wagon. A group of Indians began shooting. The woman on horseback rode up, grabbed her child and sped away. One of the male members from up front, rode back to help and was shot on the shoulder. He took cover and hid in some woods. The Indians grabbed Charlotte Crum and worked her over severely, possibly burning her. The white settlers had been very helpful to the Indians and vice versa and had established a trusted bond of friendship. A Seminole chief at the time, possibly Tigar Tail was appalled at this attack and most apologetic. Three Indians were later captured and executed.
The September 11th event has been told many times by Methodist Circuit rider(s) [one John L. Jerry] and retold many more times at Hope-Crum reunions each May in Brooksville. One of the best sources is the 1 October 1842 St. Augustine newspaper The News fills in the mystery of the people in her party. Charlotte was riding in a buckboard being driven by Mr. Francis McDonnel and her granddaughter [Mary Catherine Harn] on board. Charlotte's daughter [Rebecca Pyles Harn] was on horseback. When the Indians shot McDonnel, he jumped off and sought refuge in a hammock. Rebecca rode up, grabbed her daughter by the hair and rode off.
Charlotte Crums death: Beheading or shot? Burned? Attacked on the 11th, died a day later?
Deathdream is a 1972 Canadian horror film, directed by Bob Clark and written by Alan Ormsby. It was inspired by the W.W. Jacobs short story The Monkey's Paw. Filmed in Brooksville, Florida.
Apparently there may still be bodies buried on the property...real "nice" family... o.O
As an aside, we did have one unusual event today...well, two if you count the zen driving. Though scheduled for the cemetery, we had vague directions to go on -- and we found at least one purely by chance (going on sensitive intuition -- Driver: So, which way? Passenger: Right. Driver, not finding it, ready to make a u-turn to go back to discover that the street we turned onto was the street that led to access to the cemetery which was not visible to the road, etc.).
One grave that we were checking out was also an odd lucky find in a cemetery of 5000 and obscure. (YEA SPIRITS members!). The other odd thing is that while we were there to check out an urban legend, one of the sensitives picked up an energy of someone else. We tracked the sensations based on the description of an accident, being thrown out of a car/hit by a car, young man, to two graves in the immediate vicinity. I have a video of our discussion and analysis of the grave. Our awesome awesome awesome researcher was able to find info on the two individuals that validated the sensitive's description and our analysis. It is freaky when that happens.
I'm shocked and rather proud of this. Though not the most scientific of manners, I honestly have a hard time trying to explain the completely random nature and the odd correctness of what was picked up and discussed. Between not knowing where we were going, trying to find a single grave that was not well marked (ie, not on a map and with no description of location within a rather large area), unable to do research with poor phone signals and no internet (we did try in the car but the signals were so weak nothing would pull up), finding the grave that was "haunted" quiet, but a random energy and description leading to graves about 10 feet away, and discovering the core value of information was correct .... well, it makes me want to believe again. I'll ponder it but I really cannot explain it other than that rather esoteric otherness that might exist....
The only issue is that because these are real people and a true tragedy, I do not feel comfortable releasing the names (which means no video or research). I do not want to take the off chance of offending or causing pain to the family and survivors.
The issue of Missy may well be an urban legend. We did not have a lighter to light the cigarette, but did leave roses on her grave. It is our hope that she is at peace. Sensitives got nothing from her, but were pulled to another grave (see info above).
This image is unusual but in debate. Is it a light issue (note the sun in the trees) or is there something more to it? (Photographer suspects it's a light refraction orb which, when combined with the backdrop of trees creates an image).
This is the only questionable sound from over 2 hours of recording. The recorder is noted with background noises when others are talking (not in this case). The recorder was also subject to wind, movement, being picked up and placed on the ground (not in this case). None of these noises matches the odd sound captured here. I have used this recorder for about 2 years. The recording is in the area where Beth sensed the three men. When the question is again asked in another part of the cemetery there is no response.
Image from Susan S. Note the purple haze to the right of the image (by the shrubs slightly to the front left of the car). We are still studying the photo but would love thoughts on what it might be -- natural or supernatural.
From Susan Santos: What is the purple mist to the right/center of the photograph (over the bushes)? The SPIRITS are still studying the image for ideas but input is always welcome!
Spring Hill Cemetery
This was a very interesting site. I shot pictures with my digital
camera and one photograph has a purple auralike mist or light. I
haven't determined whether it is just a light anomaly or something
else. In the southwest section of the cemetery close to two
unidentified gravesites I became very sick in my stomach. Once I
walked away I felt better immediately. In the same area, but outside
of the cemetery fence I felt like our group was being watched by a
group of people.
I felt like there were several unmarked graves in the area. Some with
sinister origins and others just due to foks being unable to provide a
proper burial for their loved ones. In the northeast section I
smelled a strong anticeptic scent. It smelled like a hospital or
This site was a lesson to remind myself to go with my gut and speak
up. :-) We were looking for a specific gravesite, and as soon as we
drove into the cemetery I had a feeling that we should go left. We
couldn't find the site at first, but I also had a feeling that it
would be a heart-shaped grave marker. I was right on both accounts,
but didn't speak up so, in my book, it doesn't count as a hit. It was
still an interesting area to visit. One thing to note, in the one
section there were gravesites of infants. The whole area felt so very
sad. I think it was from the emotions left by the grieving families.
I said a prayer for all of them and left them in peace.