South Street Cemetery Has Its Share of Ghosts

South Street Cemetery, or formerly known as Point of Graves Burial Ground in Portsmouth New Hampshire is one of my favorite locations. It is a nostalgic location, but also as an accessible area to investigate. I first visited South Street in 2008, and it was almost my first time working with Fiona Broome. It was a sunny day at the end of August, and we started along the paved path at the South Street entrance.

Spring Blossoms during May at South Street Cemetery

Ruth Blay’s Tragic History

North of the pond lays the former location of Gallows Hill. In 1768, Ruth Blay was hanged there for hiding her stillborn child underneath the floorboards of the Clough barn on June 10th. Four days later the remains were discovered by five-year-old Betsey Pettingill. If a mother gave birth to a stillborn child without any witnesses, she was required to report it. A group of men would determine if there was foul play. Because she hid the remains, she was charged with concealment. The trial lasted throughout the year until being convicted of a capital crime punishable by hanging. After two reprieves, she was hanged on December 30th and buried in an unmarked grave. When walking near this spot, there is a thick presence in the air. It is neither positive nor negative, but there is an energy in the air none the less.

A Child’s Presence

On my first visit to South Street Cemetery, I repeatedly had an image in my mind of a little boy. He was sitting on one of the branches in a grove of trees on the southern side of the pond. The particular branch he was sitting on was only a few feet above the ground but grew straight out forming a seat. I asked Fiona if she could see anything there, and she nodded. We started to trade details, first Fiona and then myself, adding one feature at a time to see if our descriptions matched.

The tree where the former seat had grown

The matching description was a young boy, about 7 or 8 years old. He wore light tan colored knee-length trousers, suspenders, a dark rolled up long sleeve shirt and a paperboy style hat. His knees and face had dirt marks from playing outside, and the grove of trees may have been a spot he and his friends played. There is a section of the cemetery where children lay at rest, and I think he may be one of the children buried there.

If you visit the cemetery, the branch that forms a seat is no longer there, most likely due to a harsh winter or summer storm. You will know if you are at the correct grove though as it is the only group of trees that form a circle, and there are gravestones in the ground, one with a heart shape.

A Lost Lover

About 500 feet into the cemetery if you enter by Little Harbor Road, Fiona and I sensed a second spirit of a woman about 20 years old. My best guess for an era would place her in the early 1900s based on her hair and dress. Her hair is light blonde with a few waves in it. Her dress is a simple, no layers of fabric, and thin straps on her shoulders. The color is a light purple with floral patterns and cut just above her knees. Even for the 20s, it’s a length on the shorter side.

“Despite her more positive energy, we do sense a darker point in her life.”

She seems free-spirited, and not one to conform to society. Not out of rebellion, but wanting to enjoy life to the fullest. Despite her more positive energy, we do sense a darker point in her life. We feel her husband died while at war, and the depression that followed, both mentally and historically, led her to commit suicide. Fiona and I both felt a tightening sensation around on necks as if a rope were there. The cemetery land was a spot they either enjoyed visiting or had planned to meet there once he returned to war. Now her soul remains there in memory of him.

A Military Connection

At the entrance of Little Harbor road, I had an odd sense when standing there. It happened when standing on the edge of the property, and it was a sense of quick judgment and questions asked. “Are you entering or leaving?” “Who are you, and why are you here?” “What side are you on” kept repeating in my head. I told Fiona what was happening, a feeling of trapped in the middle of a war.

At first, I thought it might have been the man who died that knew the purple dress spirit. The issue was it didn’t feel like one person. It felt like the energy of a group that kept repeating throughout history, unaware and playing on a loop. Later, Fiona discovered that the site had formerly served as a military training ground during the 1700s. That’s when it made sense why I felt what I did. If you visit South Street Cemetery, park in front of the entrance on Little Harbor Road and pause when entering. Listen to the surroundings, and see if you can sense anything from the past.

Be Aware That It Is Patrolled

If you do choose to investigate at South Street Cemetery, be sure to visit between the hours of dusk and dawn. It is a location patrolled well by the police, and would be noticed if you stay too long. There is a lot of ground to cover, so wear comfortable shoes.

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