By Thomas D'Agostino
The Village Cemetery in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, is host to a most unfriendly ghost, or at least those who have witnessed him seem to think so. Reported sightings of the apparition go back but a few decades but the haunt seems to be of Victorian origin. Those who have witnessed him say he is dressed in period clothing, but he certainly is not Victorian affable, or courteous. Even more, a few of the sightings, as you will later read, take on a more sinister tone.
A couple visiting a relative's grave first noticed the old man kneeling near a grave, praying while alternately crying and laughing. At first they thought he may have been visiting a recently deceased but as they watched, the figure vanished right before their eyes. The couple made haste for the entrance where their automobile was parked. This incident left the couple reluctant to return to the cemetery despite the fact that their relatives are buried there.
Two sisters witnessed the ghost while visiting the grave of their mother. The afternoon was clear and pleasant, and they were sure there was no other living beings in the cemetery at the time, or so they thought. Suddenly there came the sound of a whistling from the southwest portion of the cemetery. The whistling was accompanied by vulgar remarks and noises. They turned and saw an elderly man making obscene gestures at them with his hands. The man was standing at the rear of the graveyard and appeared to be translucent. His eyes were black and hollow without life or compassion. He seemed to float rather than walk as he began to move toward them before vanishing into thin air.
Another witness gave the same description of the ghost, but this time, as she walked through the cemetery for exercise, the entity chased her. At first, she saw him kneeling before a grave, sobbing and laughing at the same time. As she came close to him, the figure suddenly jumped up and broke out in strange laughter. He then began screaming at her, calling her Catherine and shouting out obscenities.
The woman began to run toward her car while the man gave chase still screaming “Catherine, you -------!. When she reached the car, she turned and noticed he was back kneeling at the original grave she first saw him in front of. He had somehow transported himself several hundred feet within a few seconds. This time she saw him pounding his fists on the form of a woman lying on the ground. In an instant, both figures were gone.
Several accounts have been penned over the decades, yet no one knows who the old man is and who he is so angry at. Arlene and I visited the cemetery several years ago with author Christopher Balzano in hopes of witnessing the angry ghost, but nothing transpired during our visit. The southwest corner of the cemetery abuts some trees but nothing out of the ordinary. We did hear the distant roar of race cars from Seekonk Speedway. As the sun set and darkness crept through the graveyard, we realized there was no reason to remain in search of the old man who seems to appear only during the late afternoon.
Haunts such as this where he is seen beating a woman before both vanishing are usually classified as residual, where the earth, being magnetic, can tape a moment in time and replay it when the conditions prevail. The man seems to acknowledge the presence of the living, putting it into a more intelligent haunt. Perhaps it is a mixture of both, one perpetuating the other.
If you decide to visit the cemetery, take a walk to the southwest portion of the grounds and if you are lucky, you just may get to witness the nasty ghost of the unknown angry man.