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The Yankee Express

Union Cemetery known for haunts and tragedy

By Thomas D’Agostino
The Union Cemetery in Monroe, Connecticut, dates back to the 1600s. The ancient burial ground has for centuries become a focal point for haunts and tragedy. The ghost of a woman, known as the “White Lady,” is often witnessed floating about the tombstones in a certain section of the cemetery. She is dressed in a white gown, some say it is a wedding gown, with her dark hair flowing from what looks like a veil. She sometimes appears in the road along Route 59, also known as Sport Hill Road. Many unsuspecting motorists have “hit” the White Lady as she suddenly materialized out of nowhere. When they stop to check out the scene, they not only find no evidence of a woman dressed in white but there is no damage to their automobile.
Countless witnesses claim to have seen the White Lady. Some have even taken photos of the ghost that has roamed the area of the Union Cemetery for almost a century. Famous ghost investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are among the lucky who have photographed the Lady in White in Union Cemetery.
An itinerant wandering through Monroe in search of a place to stay saw the hill above Union Cemetery as a safe haven for the night. It was a balmy summer evening so sleeping under the stars was a pleasant experience for the vagabond. That is until he mysteriously woke up from a sound sleep and looked down into the burial ground. There he spied a strange glow moving about the tombstones. Curious, yet cautious as to the origin of the glow, he ambled down the hill for a better look. He could now easily see that it was the figure of a woman in a white gown wearing a veil. Then in an instant she was gone, and the graveyard was once again dark, quiet, and tranquil.
There are a lot of possibilities as to who the white ghost that wanders the area may be. Some say she is the spirit of Ellen Smathers whose husband was murdered by Richard Dean Jason. Jason was so infatuated with Mrs. Smathers that he concocted a plan to get rid of the husband then make his move in wooing the woman. He did away with John Smathers, filled his pockets with iron weights and threw him into a sinkhole behind the church near the graveyard. Jason was caught, convicted and spent the rest of his life in prison.
Another prime candidate might be the soul of Ethel Hutchinson Knott, wife of George Knott whom Elwood Wade murdered in 1920 after an argument at the Knott residence. The two concocted to murder the husband but were caught and brought to justice.  Mrs. Knott spent the rest of her life in prison and Wade was hanged for the murder. There are no records of Mrs. Knott per se after that, but it is conceivable that she may be haunting the area looking for restitution or a chance to tell her side of the story. She could be bound to the locale by eternal remorse. Again, no one knows for sure.
There are other sightings of odd ghosts in the area of the cemetery. One caretaker saw the countenance of a man dressed in furs with a raccoon skin cap. It was obvious that he was from centuries gone by. He encountered the ghost twice, once with a friend as a witness. There is a lot of urban legend surrounding the area as well. It seems to be a place where energy, both positive and negative can dwell and nurture for a very long time. 
Did the settlers realize they were burying their loved ones in a ground so alive with energy? 
Maybe they knew and actually buried them in hopes that they might come back. Or, it could be that they got more than what they bargained for when the misty figures began moving about the stones during the witching hour.
Thomas D’Agostino and his wife Arlene Nicholson are seasoned paranormal investigators, authors, and co-organizers of Paranormal United Research Society. You can find out more about them by visiting www.tomdagos