“A Physician’s Experience in a Cemetery When He Was Young and Poetically Inclined.
Hillsboro, Hill Co, Tex, Jan 28.- Dr N. B. Kennedy, in conversation with The News reporter to-day said:
“The account of that graveyard haunt of Col. Williams that you published in The News reminded me very pointedly of a graveyard experience I had when I was about grown. It was on the occasion of my first visit to Richmond, Va. I had heard much of the cemetery there and decided to see it, so after supper I sallied forth from my hotel to visit it alone and conjure up poetic fancies. The night was an ideal moonlight night, just the night in fact to please the poetical, and the soft perfumed air as it floated by wooed the heart and mind to finest feelings. It is but natural then that I wandered alone through the city of the dead, and pondered over the tombs of departed heroes and statesman, and treasured the meaning and weight of their career, that my thoughts should be the noblest. As I was moving slowly along in this mood, suddenly out of the depth of the night there was borne to me on a sighing breeze a tremendous groan. My beautiful thoughts and poetic fancies scurried away like a covey of quail. A groan in a graveyard at midnight when one is there alone is a grewsome (sic) thing to meet and I stood listening, dreading, doubting what to do when a white form stood out among the tombs near me. Silent, breathless, and you might say, pulseless. I watched it approach. As it approached the air grew fearfully chilly and my teeth began to chatter. On came the noiseless visitor. When it was within three or four feet of me by a strong effort I got enough of my voice to say
” ‘Good evening, Madam.’ No response.
“‘Good evening, madam. Its a beautiful night.’ Still no response. and it was within two feet of me and still slowly approaching.
“‘G-g-good even-n-ing, m-madam. Its a be-be-be-beautiful evening, m-madam.’ Still no response, and it was now within a foot of me.
“I couldn’t face it any longer, but with a shout that was like a war whoop I bounded away toward where I though the gate was. I must have knocked down a hundred tombstones in my wild break for liberty, before I found the gate. When I found it, it was locked. I was almost frantic. In my efforts to get out I almost tore the gate down and woke up the sexton, who came out and wanted to know what was the matter.
“‘I saw a ghost out yonder, and I want to get out of here,’ I answered.
“‘Why, my son,’ he said slowly, and deliberately, ‘there’s no such thing as a ghost. You’ve let your imagination get excited.’
“‘I know I did see it, right out yonder.’
“‘Well, young man, I’ve lived here and dug graves and buried folks forty years and I ain’t never seen no ghosts yet. Just come along and show me where it is for I am curious to see a ghost.’ and seizing me by the arm he led me back. I saw it still there and pointed it out to him.
“‘And its a ghost, hey?’ he inquired. ‘Let’s go up and talk to it.’
“When we reached the white robed visitor he said
“‘Good evening, Mrs Jones. Isn’t it rather late to be out alone?’
“‘Oh, its rather late,’ she said, ‘but the night was so pretty I couldn’t resist coming out to visit my husband’s grave.’
“‘Then he explained as he conducted me back to the gate that her husband had died about three or four weeks previously and she was in the habit of visting his grave quite frequently. But somehow I couldn’t get over the feeling that I had seen a ghost and as I went back to my hotel I attracted the attention of every policeman I passed. I walked so rapidly they all suspected me of having commited a crime and had me shadowed to my hotel. So you see I had a mightly narrow escape, and I felt if it hadn’t been for the sexton I would have believed to my dying day that I had seen a ghost.”
Dallas Morning News, 30 Jan 1897, pg 3.