I have always heard the haunted stories surrounding St. James Episcopal Cemetery. The cemetery is adjacent to what used to be Marietta High School. (The school is now Marietta Middle School.) At the present time, people are drawn to this cemetery because of JonBenet Ramsey, her mother Patsy, and older sister Elizabeth; all three are buried here. But before they made St. James Episcopal Cemetery their final resting place, the main attraction was the gravesite of Mary Meinert, the statue of a woman marking the spot. According to urban legend (perpetuated by the students of Marietta High School) a visit to the cemetery around midnight would yield some pretty creepy results. As the story goes, the female statue does one of three things: 1) cries blood 2) switches the infants in her arms or 3) some amalgamation of the three and/or an equally creepy act.
On a whim, I decided to take a little jaunt to this particular cemetery during the day (yeah, I know I’m chicken.) Certainly, it would’ve been much scarier at nighttime. But I’m also a firm believer that ghosts manifest themselves at any time–whether it is day or night. One simply must be open to receiving various signs.
I must admit that those of you who are waiting for The Big Ghost Reveal in this article will probably be disappointed. Let the record show that at no point during my brief foray did I actually see anything that I would categorize as paranormal activity. But those who believe in ghosts will certainly agree that you don’t necessarily have to see something in order to know that a supernatural entity is present.
As soon as I entered the gates of St. James Episcopal Cemetery from Polk Street, I immediately had the sensation that I had “interrupted” something. The feeling was akin to walking into a crowded room, with everyone pausing their activity to take a quick glimpse of the intruder. It was a sensation that was so strong that I actually stopped walking and glanced around the entire cemetery to make sure that I hadn’t really interrupted a grieving family or some other visitor. Alas, the cemetery was empty.
I don’t believe that I have actually ever encountered a full-bodied apparition. But in the event that one decided to make its presence known at St. James, I decided to snap pictures behind me as I walked (without turning around.) I did this just in case a spirit decided to appear outside of my line of vision.
I meandered around the headstones, snapping pictures of anything that I found interesting. This was as much an adventure in photography, as it was a minor ghost hunting expedition. Finally I made my way to the Mary Meinert gravesite, which features the statue of a woman holding two babies. As I walked quietly up to the statue, I did notice that the woman’s eyes were very intense, if not a bit unnerving. One might think that the eyes would have rotted away after being exposed to the elements for so long. In fact, the opposite was true. I almost felt that I was intruding upon the woman’s space. I silently asked for permission to take photographs (sounds silly, I know.) I snapped the pictures quickly and continued to wander around the graveyard.
Most people would call this visit to St. James Episcopal Cemetery an uneventful one. There were no huge scares, no full-bodied apparitions, and no ghostly sounds. And outside of my initial “willies”, I felt quite comfortable in the environment. This is not necessarily a place that I would continue to visit regularly. But I would like to venture there at least one more time, and perhaps being a bit more observant. It’s quite easy to see how people debunk paranormal activity in popular locations. The movements of ghosts and spirits are quite unpredictable. Suffice it to say, most people encounter spirits when they are not looking for them. As such, when amateur “ghost hunters” (such as myself) start poking around, it isn’t too unusual to find lots of empty space, silent moments, and few results. I could easily attribute my initial uneasy feelings to an overactive imagination. The mere knowledge that one is about to enter an allegedly haunted locale is enough to provoke a prickly sensation. Is St. James Episcopal Cemetery really haunted? The Ghost Tour guides of Marietta might agree. Others who have had documented experiences there would most definitely say yes. As with most amateur investigations such as this, the best way to find out is to see for yourself…