My friend John DeWalt and I were really off the beaten path. The pavement ended several miles ago and still, there was no cemetery. John was pretty sure it was the right road.
On both sides, the woods were thick with tall trees that came right to the edge of the road. The underbrush looked impenetrable.
It seemed as if we hadn’t seen a house or even another car for miles. The dirt road was narrow and straight.
The small hills made it impossible to see very far ahead, giving it a sense of surreal timelessness.
This trip was a spur-of-the-moment thing. Both of us were getting over a bad cold. Mine had turned into pneumonia. The antibiotic had kicked in and we were tired of being cooped up.
The upside of being sick was John and I had a more relaxing time for ourselves. There were visits we wanted to make while I was visiting him in Mansfield, Ohio, for a couple of weeks.
Getting together with friends was put on hold because we didn’t want to infect them. So, here we were driving through this remote and picturesque area.
Sometimes Fate just steps in and if you’re willing to go with the flow, it can take you to unexpected places and adventures.
Mary Jane Henrickson
Searching for a ghost certainly qualifies as adventurous. John and I had started out just enjoying the countryside.
It was pretty aimless–at least until he remembered stories about a local cemetery at the end of the road that is supposedly haunted by the spirit of Mary Jane Hendrickson.
It sounded intriguing so off we went in search of a graveyard with a ghost.
The drive was beautiful. May flowers were in full bloom, especially the lilacs, which are my favorites. We passed up several bushes with huge flowers, bigger than I can grow in California.
Although my allergies prevented me from taking any of them with us, I couldn’t resist the pink, lavender, and even white blooms.
Finally, I talked John into pulling over in front of a house with a thicket of lilac bushes loaded with the light purple blossoms. The owners, working in the front yard, were friendly.
They were happy to let me stand in the middle of their lilac bush and just soak up the scent.
We talked about California and Ohio for a few minutes and as John and I started to leave, they told us of a shortcut to the cemetery road.
A little while later, we were back on the trail of Mary Jane Hendrickson. All I knew at this time was the local lore about her.
According to the stories, she had been burned as a witch and legends tell of really bad things happening to anyone spitting on her grave.
Her ghost had haunted Mount Olive Cemetery for decades.
Just as we could finally see the end of the road ahead, a space in the woods opened up on our left. There was a dilapidated wire fence but the gravestones could be seen from the car.
We found a small entrance and walked around reading the headstones. Most of them dated back over 125 years.
Standing in the middle of the old cemetery, with its remoteness, its narrow dirt road, and the quiet hush that comes with being alone, the centuries began to blur.
On the other side of the car were beer cans and liquor bottles but here in the graveyard, there were no signs of modern civilization.
It wasn’t a very big cemetery and it didn’t take us long to check the stones but the only one engraved with her name was the big stone at the entrance that listed everyone buried there.
No, we didn’t see or hear any ghosts. In fact, there was a sense of peace, and serenity rarely found today.
When John and I left later that afternoon, I brought out my computer and did some online research about Mary Jane and the cemetery at the end of the road.
There are several websites dedicated to ghosts and supernatural phenomenon that feature Mary Jane’s story. Some of them quite lurid.
The NWA Ghost Connection gives details of their personal experience.
During the day, the cemetery is calm, quiet, and peaceful. At night, however, it’s a completely different story. Imagine the darkest dark you have ever experienced.
The moon does not even penetrate through the treeline, creating the effect of “true black.”
As soon as we entered the cemetery, the darkness overwhelmed us. Our flashlights barely penetrated the darkness ten feet in front of us.
We immediately made our way to the famous tree where many of the rumored hauntings seem to originate from.
We sat under the tree, surveying our surroundings for a few minutes, and taking readings…
At the end of the investigation, the team was chased from the graveyard by who we think was Mary Jane.
All in all, no one was sad to be leaving.
Without a doubt, we classify this cemetery as red on our Haunting Scale. We do not recommend anyone go there, as the spirits there do not have good intentions.
We are hesitant to even say that we would do a revisit, given the opportunity.