January 27, 2013 – Hernando County
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):
Member investigated during the day. There were reports of dizziness, stomach ache, headache.
EMF did go off in certain parts of the cemetery but it was mild.
Several members reported feeling as if they were being watched.