Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Tales of Nessly Chapel Cemetery Near New Cumberland, WVA

 Nessly Chapel was built in 1826.  There are many stories associated with this area, though the church seems to be the strong mainstay of the area.  It is made of cut stone and looks like castle.  the sign above the door says Built 1826-Rebuilt 1905.  For any one who loves historic buildings, this one is a feast for the eyes.
 There is a little cemetery that lies above the Church, on the hill.  It would seem that it is surrounded by stories of mystery, the Under Ground Railroad, family loyalty, Indian Burial Grounds, and witch craft.
A real Ghost Hunters Treasure Trove!
 For instance, some insist this mound of dirt and stone is a witches altar.  Others have told me it is a pile of old cemetery stones.   I think it looks more like the latter. 
Then there is this stone that simply states "The Unknown Dead".  Another stone near it tells that in this area is the mass grave of 20 to 25 people whose identity is unknown.  That is a lot of people to not know who they are. 
 I could understand it if this was a huge city with many indigents.  But this is a rural area, all farm country.  Down the road about a half mile is a sign that says this area was a haven for early mills like grist mills.  Why would there be so many unknown people in a place like this?
 Yet another stone on the other side of the small cemetery proclaims the area around it to have about 60 unmarked graves.  With all the snow around right now, it is hard to tell.  I usually look for divots in the ground to show where there is someone resting.  One story I heard was that African Americans were not permitted to be buried in the original cemetery, so they were buried outside of it.  That could explain the unmarked occupants.  There is also the tale of an under ground tunnel used in the Underground Railroad that was full of slaves escaping from the south when it collapsed, killing them all.  Supposedly they were left buried there.
 An old wrought iron fence remains below the cemetery. What is left of the gate that once graced the entrance hangs precariously, sideways, surrounded by tall fir trees.  It is slowly rusting away.  There is what looks like a family crest at the top of the gate.   Battle axes, and the heads of swans that have the bodies of snakes are in the design.  If it is a family crest of some sort, which family? 
Yet another mystery we walked away wondering about were these large piles of black stones.  I have three theories so far to explain them.  All together there are about 6 piles, and they look something like old burial mounds of some sort.  Are there people buried inside?   Do they mark the Indian Burial Grounds?  Or are they simply the remains of the rebuilding of the church in 1905? 
I was enchanted by this cemetery and church and the legends surrounding them.  We are working with the Tri-State Genealogical & Historical Society to uncover some of these mysteries.  You have to know the history to find the ghosts.  Discovering the real events behind the legends makes it all worth while.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Been here many times and have never had and spirit activity

Anonymous said...

as for you unmarked graves this is where all the teens go to party and they tore up the stones over the years and they were replaced what could be as for the rest that is why the markers are there yes back then colored were buried outside but for up there i do not know

Kimberly said...

I am referring specifically to the stone markers that have things on them like "the unknown dead" or "60 unmarked graves" on a specific stone. They were put there for a reason, including telling how much square feet the area entails.
I am sure with a little digging we will find the answers we need. Thank you so much for your helpful ideas, however.

TheresaHPIR said...

A friend referred me to this particular post! I'm definitely looking forward to looking into this location a little closer; thank you for sharing it!

Manda Mays said...

I've been here many times. I have had a couple of relatively strange experiences, but one experience was far and beyond the others. 5 of decided to go walk around the cemetery one day about 11 years ago. After walking for about half an hour, I sat down in the hill. One by one, each of my companions joined me in sitting. Then, I laid down. Again, one by one, they followed. When I felt myself falling asleep, I jumped up and urged everyone else to do the same. Each one of us was falling asleep. I don't know about you, but I don't make it a habit to nap on the ground in a cemetery. It was such a strange feeling. We left immediately afterwards.

A member of Nessly chapel said...

The unknown graves is for the people who died in a boating accident and no one knew who they were, they just respected them as Godly people and buried them in the name of God. I am not sure the year the boat sank but it was a passenger boat like a paddle wheel.
I believe you may have gone to sleep laying there is because it is such a peaceful place. My dad, my brother, and aunts and uncles are buried there. I have been a memeber of that Nessly Chapel for about 50 years, been there plenty of times by myself and never had a ghost come out.
I'm not sure who wrote this account but if you would look around, or talk to some of the locals they can tell you all about Nessly Chapel and how it came about. It has a very rich past and no ghost involved.
Stop by Chuch on Sunday morning at 9:30 and see what a great church we have,......

Kimberly Frazier Mitchell said...

I believe a lot of the hype about this little cemetery comes from the Frank Daminger stories from the late 1960's where he was supposed to have had coven meetings there. He was also supposed to have taken women up to that area, bewitched them, and then seduced them. It caused enough fuss for him to have a "witch trial".

A member of Nessly chapel said...

The piles of rock around the church is from a boy scout in the early 1900 who wanted to become an Eagle scout and his community project was picking up all the rocks in the yard and cemetery so it would be easier to mow. So simple are the explinations to all your "ghost stories" Believe me the only ghost on this property is the Holy Ghost.

Kimberly Frazier Mitchell said...

These are not my stories but tales told by other people. It is what is talked about concerning this cemetery. I am after the true stories just as well. It is why I posted the story to begin with. What I heard, read, or was told, and then hope that the real stories come in. And I do find it funny that you mention nothing about Frank Daminger, who may be the whole reason people believe the cemetery to be haunted in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Was there on halloween 1974..just driving through..the only thing i saw was darkness...lol no ghosts..The church is a beautiful little church..reminds of the church in the wildwood hymn.

Jenna Brantley said...

My cousin is burried in this cemetery. We have visited numerous times and have never had any strange encounters. It was always a peaceful place. Also being a member of the community you hear many stories but none seem to be true so far.

Anonymous said...

Been to this cemetery multiple times, every time I have felt a sense of severe uncomfortableness. Last visit was after picking up a voice on an EVP saying "get the fuck out."

SonicSculptor said...

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.491455050920384.1073741827.100001676800191&type=1&l=2226271a18

Look here for photos and some decoding of the cemetery gate symbolism. Be sure to read photo descriptions and comments for my thoughts. Ive always thought the strange 'Unknown' grave markers and ominous appearing gate crest led to some of the myths & legend. I wasn't aware of the F. Daminger twist.

Kimberly Frazier Mitchell said...

There are several symbols on the gate crest that lead me to believe the maker was a Mason. The compass is a Masonic symbol for certain, as well as the snakes. I have learned a little bit since I wrote this story.

Bobbie S. said...

Was this chapel designed by Nessly Porter? There is a similar church in my hometown that he designed, such beautiful stonework. I was curious due to the name and similarities in craftsmanship. Sorry this is off topic, I was just curious.

Anonymous said...

Got a class A Evp that said Hell come f...ing!

Anonymous said...

Nothing here, just bullshit

Anonymous said...

Some of my ancesters are buried there. I am a descendent of Christian and Jacob Nessly Brenneman. I came up there and saw the church and cemetery and had breakfast with some of your church members. My grandparents lived in E Liverpool. My dad was from ELO. It is a very peaceful place and I love it so much! Ann Brenneman Ballentine