Riley statue at the courthouse
You have no doubt heard the saying “When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.” That quote is from James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier Poet. He is from Greenfield, Indiana, a small town east of Indianapolis.
Riley was noted for his down home use of dialect that epitomized rural Indiana. He is famous for his remarkable volume of poems. He wrote and published over 1000 verses. His most popular are “Little Orphant Annie”, “The Raggedy Man,” “Our Hired Girl,” “A Barefoot Boy,” “The Bumblebee,” “Granny,” and “When the Frost Is on the Punkin.”
Mural with verses from his “Wet Weather Talk” poem
East of Indianapolis in central Indiana is the small town of Wilkinson. In early days you could leave the town on Main Street and follow it to a cemetery that is basically out in the middle of nowhere. The Main Street Cemetery, also known as the Hays Cemetery, has over the years developed the reputation of being haunted. It is at the end of a rather rough gravel road and the road climbs a small rise and cuts across the center of the cemetery. Put Hays Cemetery in Google maps and you’ll get directions to the beginning of the gravel road.
The video shows that the Hays Cemetery is a neatly kept and open cemetery. There is plenty of room between the headstones. Several of the headstones list the names of Hays family members. Unfortunately lots of the stones have suffered from decades of weathering, making them very hard to read.
One of the Hays family who died in 1872
Sad marker for a sweet young girl
Now to the haunting stuff. Several sources on the internet refer to the “fact” that this is a very haunted cemetery. One of the paranormal things has been the discussion of a ‘devil child’. There is supposed to be a pitch-fork shaped tree growing from the child’s grave. There are reports that local kids used to go out at night and try to call ghosts. We also saw one reference to some man hanging his wife from a tree and shooting her as well, thus spawning another ghostly presence.
Based on location, this might be the “Devil Child”
Ghostly wise, we didn’t see anything. We didn’t hear anything. We didn’t sense anything. We thought that this was a beautiful, peaceful and quiet resting place for many centuries gone Indiana early pioneers.