An October 2014 The Mansfield News Journal article gave more information about the haunting.
Mary Jane’s Grave
According to legend, anyone who jumps over Mary Jane’s grave and spits on the stone will be dead or badly injured within three days.
The article also described her as a witch and a Shawnee herbalist and stated she died March 3, 1898, at the age of 25.
Other stories about her have been reported in the Mansfield News Journal over the years and the paper noted that the cemetery is featured in the book, Haunted Ohio.
In his article “The Curse of Mary Jane’s Grave” on the Richland Source website, Timothy Brian McKee wrote:
The rowdy high schoolers were often drunk and stoned when they left the graveyard at midnight, and the shadowy rumors about the place grew darker and scarier when a car full of teens wrecked tragically on Possum Run Road.
Once the funeral was over, it was rumored that the victim had pissed on Mary Jane’s Grave just minutes before his death.
The website Ghosts of Lucas Cemetery/Mary Jane’s Cemetery gives this information:
People have reported seeing a woman in white as well as the apparition of a bearded man at the cemetery.
Some locals claim that their car doors will lock by themselves or that their car will die for no reason. Batteries also get drained quickly at the cemetery.
Mansfield locals have reported having things thrown at them through the trees at Lucas Cemetery [aka Mount Olive Cemetery] as well as disembodied screams.
This graveyard is said to be haunted by the ghost of Mary Jane, also known as Bloody Mary…this Bloody Mary character was a witch who was purportedly burnt at the stake.
This story behind the Lucas Cemetery haunting takes place in the 1800s. After Bloody Mary was buried, a tree near her grave with her name etched into it would “bleed”.
There is no tombstone marking her gravesite, just the tree.
End of the Road: It Was All Just Stories
However, further research that evening revealed the stories about her were just that: stories.
If the legends about her ghost and hauntings were not true, who was the real Mary Jane Hendrickson?
The Find A Grave website gives these details:
Mary Jane Hendrickson was born on 22 Sep 1825 in Holmes County, Ohio, and died at age 72 on 3 Mar 1898 [sic]. She is buried in Mount Olive Cemetery.
Mary Jane lived in Hastings and died of a cancerous tumor and dropsy [an archaic term for edema], according to her obituary printed in the 03-10-1898 edition of the Bellville Messenger.
She was not hanged, as stories tell. The obituary states that she lived with her sister and brother-in-law, Sophia & Samuel Secrist for more than 16 years.
She is buried next to them. She was the daughter of William A. & Mary Ann (Drake) Hendrickson, who are both buried in the Bellville Cemetery located in Belleville, OH.
Mary Jane was an 11-year member of the Evangelical Association.
This obituary is a far cry from the story of a witch being hung by her neighbors at age 26.
Timothy McKee’s article also delves into Mary Jane’s side of the story and explains how her legend began:
Because she was most certainly not burned as a witch, nor did she take to her grave a life story any more malevolent than that which the trials of life bring to any other hapless soul in the graveyard. [sic] There isn’t a great deal known about her because there was hardly anything in her life to distinguish her from any other of the farm women of the Monroe Township countryside around Hastings. She was somebody’s sweet old aunt who died of cancer in 1898…..
The only reason the tremendously dark aura coalesced about her name is because in the summer of 1960 a camp counselor at Hidden Hollow Camp nearby looked around the graveyard for a stone upon which to hang a story and chose the humble headstone under a big old spruce marked Mary Jane as a suitable landmark for a witch story, to give young campers the creeps.
The fictional campfire tale recounted at Hidden Hollow told of Mary Jane abusing her evil powers until the neighbors finally rose up against her and hung her in the cemetery from a mighty pine.
The tale concluded with a cautionary curse intended to protect the tree and her grave from mischievous trespassers.
It all began so simply, as harmless fun for a Halloween-in-July theme day activity when kids took a spooky hike through the nighttime forest to a haunted graveyard.
It was so popular the spook hike became a yearly, and then a weekly event at camp for thousands of youngsters through the ensuing decades.
Who could have imagined in 1960 what the seed of that party-game would sprout into by the 70s, and what a bizarre, thorny poisonous vine would emerge through the 2000s to choke the life out of a once-lovely peaceful country boneyard?
As Tim McKee’s article points out, as a result of the stories told about Mary Jane, her grave and most of the fifty or more graves in that cemetery from the late 19th century, were defaced by vandals.
So much so that her exact location cannot be determined. Even the tree is no longer there.