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Portage County Ohio Ghosts and Hauntings: Witch's Grave at West Branch State Park

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The Witch's Grave at West Branch State Park (Elliott Family Cemetery)

A ghost haunts an old graveyard. Is it that of a witch or perhaps a spirit angered by the vandalism to its old home and the cemetery she was buried within?

“Witch’s Grave” was one of my favorite legends I discovered while working on my newest book-Ohio Ghost Stories and Spooky Legends – The Classics. The story had many adaptations, but they all had one thing in common: There’s a witch’s grave in Portage County. . .
It was by chance they discovered the lonely graveyard deep in an isolated pocket of forest in Portage County in the 1920s. It was overshadowed by a nearly impenetrable canopy of trees and was secreted in ankle-deep brush and a thick layer of old autumn leaves. They bequeathed upon it a name—Lost Cemetery. It had less than a dozen notable stones. In all likelihood, if the Elliott Lake Club had not unearthed the ancient burial ground, it would have been forsaken to time altogether. But by luck or doom, it was found.
Over the years, the Army Corps appropriated the property, and then West Branch State Park opened the area with trails. People passed by the old burial ground on an old, overgrown road nearby. Some slipped off the lane, wandered past an old homestead, and stumbled upon the boneyard. They peered into the stone block wall with the pale graves of the Elliott family in its grasp. Then they walked on. Others were not so decent or good of heart. It is spoken that some wickedness would overcome certain people entering the graveyard, mingling with the darkness already hovering in their souls. These people wreaked out a fury on the cemetery by toppling the graves and tossing them about, and perhaps, enraging those buried deep beneath those stones with only dried, rotted flesh clinging to long-decayed bone to protect them.
And then one day, someone noticed a lone headstone lying in the dirt outside the stone wall. It belonged to 17-year-old Glamenza Elliott whose menacing epitaph echoed of misfortune and vengeance: “Remember youth as you pass by,” it cursed. “As you are now, so once was I.” Most would say it was the same time that the dark, bedraggled form began to show in the old forest embracing the graveyard. It was also at that same time, those who had defaced the cemetery began to fall to horrible, horrible bad luck that was eventually passed on to their children and then their children’s children.
No one also expected those who had cruelly disturbed the cemetery would unleash something so powerful and spellbinding that over the next half-century, it would summon, by the dark of night, hundreds upon hundreds of the curious to seek it out—calling them, beckoning them, tempting them. They would travel near and far to search for the witch rumored buried there whose tomb was discovered outside the boundary of a stone fence and who had most certainly cursed anyone who crossed the line and defiled her grave or the graves of her family. And they would come like some luckless old tomcat perking up an ear and catching in the breeze a bit of scratching inside a dark, obscure hole thinking he found a mouse, but only to find himself coming face to face with—well, you know the old proverb—curiosity killed the cat.
Some found the Witch’s Grave. Just a stone’s throw from the cemetery, there is a mound of rocks. And that is what most believe to be the grave where the witch was trapped. Many years after the discovery of the graveyard, a story came to pass-- that a young woman of the small village of homes had died a “natural death.” Perhaps. Or maybe neighbors already knew something was odd about the girl. Because not so naturally after burial, she had arisen from the grave, and those passing the cemetery would see a ghostly form trudging in the woods. Knowing she must be a witch, the townspeople dragged her corpse from her grave and placed the carcass outside the cemetery walls. Her family tried to stop them. They could not. But all noted that strangely, the young girl’s body had hardly decomposed at all. Such, they piled rock after rock atop to keep her imprisoned so she would not rise again. But God help us all, it appears she has.



Witch's Grave at West Branch State Park in Ohio.

Elliot Family Cemetery and homesite: Witch's Grave at West Branch State Park in Ohio.