The history of Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern, NC goes back to the year of 1800. During the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged the town, the cemetery for The Christ Church could no longer hold the bodies of the dead, so a new cemetery was built on Queen Street. Then, in 1854 an arch was erected along with a wall encircling the graveyard. That’s when the creepy stuff began.
What makes the arch unique is that it’s made from a locally quarried stone called ‘shell stone’ which is made up of sea shells and the fossilized remains of sea creatures. What makes it creepy is that it weeps on people(Or bleeds on them depending on who you talk to). The liquid seen ranges from a clear water tinted with a rust color to a deep red sticky substance again.
The legend goes that during a funeral procession into the cemetery, if one of the pallbearers is hit with a drop of liquid from the arch, they will be the next of the group to die and be carried in. Adding to the creep-factor is the old timers who can give examples of this occurring including names and dates.
The arch doesn’t just weep on people during funerals either. Almost anytime, whether it has rained recently or not, the drips can be seen hitting the ground, or felt when the hit the body. What ever the color, it it said that the liquid never stains clothes and washes right out.
One of the origins of the weeping comes from the history of New Bern, where a governor named Spaight was killed in a duel with a man named Stanly. While killed according to the rules of the duel, it is said that the arch drips to the rhythm of “Avenge Spaight’s blood” dripping three drops and then a pause before dripping three more drops.
The photos below were taken during a trip to New Bern in October of 2009 for the annual Halloween ghost walk. While walking under the arch, I have to admit I was excited to feel a drop hit my hand. Only to discover that it was a ‘fake’ drop set up by the organizers of the walk by attaching an IV bag to the arch.