There are no real specific legends about Oakwood. Most of it is the same stories associated with every other cemetery on the planet: orbs, shadows, and apparitions. One time a friend and I were in there, and a car pulled up to us, and the couple inside asked if we knew where the Gateway to Hell was. I mean, seriously…what do you say? “Take a left at the Styx and follow the hellhound’s howls?” We told them they were mistaken and wanted Pinewoods cemetery, and thankfully, they left.
Still, you would expect more stories about Oakwood, considering:
1. Well-known people. Locally, very big names. Sage, as in the college, although it was his widow that brought that dream to life (he himself was a firm believer of women in their place, ie…the kitchen). Sam Wilson, aka Uncle Sam, is probably the most famous person here, but you don’t hear tales of him walking the grounds or packing ghostly meat. There are also a lot of Civil War notables (is Major General John E. Wool), but there are no stories of ghostly battle reenactments. Sorry, most haunts here are pretty fun-of-the-mill, and my own experiences, except for one notable day, were more vague feelings and sensations more than manifestations.
2. Beautiful, noteworthy monuments. Oakwood is infamous for the gargoyle on the Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel and Crematorium. There aren’t even stories about that building…surprise! I have pictures of it I couldn’t find, but it’s easy to find online. Inside there is marble from all over the world. Not to mention, the kind of monuments you don’t see much anymore. Trees, baby chairs, anchors, a lovely assortment of angels (many incorporated into benches), oh, and who can forget the Wizard Jesus?
Yes, he’s got the whole world in his hand. Or a crystal ball. Can’t tell, under the patina. It’s still a nifty sculpture, whatever the intent. He’s saving humanity…no, he’s casting fireball…
3. Funny things happen in cemeteries. One thing I found incredibly funny…people fishing in the ponds. Since then, a friend has told me that she has also fished from those ponds. That’s something I can’t wrap my head around. Maybe I don’t want to contemplate what’s in the lake to be caught. But the bobbers hanging out of the trees are a good laugh. The fact that we were held up by Canadian geese crossing the road was funny, also. Those critters have no fear of humans or their vehicles.
4. Grave robbing. Only touching on this briefly, but years ago, there were incidents of grave robbing here. Not bodies, but jewelry and fittings with bodies. Did activity peak during this? I expect so, but I don’t have anything conclusive.
5. And finally, the Day of Notoriety. I’ve been in here a lot, more than likely over every inch. It’s really a beautiful cemetery, with an incredible view of Troy, and spectacular statuary, and rich history (I believe they still hold tours periodically, and I highly recommend taking one). One day I came here with S, and another couple, and we went our separate ways to do some photography and explore. S was up behind the Sage mausoleum as I came up the road alongside it, I went to join him. The mausoleum is on a rise with a sharp dropoff behind it, and tightly entwined dried-out hedges on the left as you face it. S was looking at some very small headstones back here; they were a little odd in that the inscriptions faced the dropoff.
I reached him and he was pointing this out to me. All of a sudden, loud crashing could be heard to our left, as if something massive were coming through the hedges. If he hadn’t been there, I would have bolted (he later told me it was my presence that kept him from doing the same). We stood there, looking at each other, then the hedges. The crashing continued, getting closer and closer; the hedges weren’t moving at all. We also knew our 2 friends were nowhere near us; we’d seen them pass up the road earlier.
The sound stopped. Both of us walked right up to the hedges, and peered in. Mind you, both of us were carrying cameras, but neither of us thought to snap a picture. We could see nothing, and as I said, they were so tightly entwined that a rabbit would have had trouble getting through there, let alone something big enough to make the racket we heard. We finally just shrugged it off and decided to get off that rise and back to the road, and as we moved off, the noise started up again, a few feet ahead of us. We stopped again. I seriously expected a person or deer to come flying out in front of us, but again, it simply stopped.
From there, we went on with our day, but every so often, if we were somewhere alongside heavy brush, we would hear rustling.
Yeah, I suppose it could have been an animal, although they tend to avoid people, not follow them around. And I got the distinct feeling that whatever it was, it was playing with us. But there are a couple mausoleums (one of which is the first photo I posted) that give me an uneasy feeling, especially when you walk around the back of them. And yet, doesn’t that first one look like a gingerbread house?