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Gates of Hell: Haunted Pinewoods Cemetery (aka Forest Park)

Elijah is an author, blogger, and editor. He enjoys traveling and exploring hidden corners of the world.

Forest Park Cemetery, commonly called Pinewoods, is abandoned and haunted.

Forest Park Cemetery, commonly called Pinewoods, is abandoned and haunted.

Abandoned Pinewoods Cemetery

Outside the city of Troy, located in upstate New York along the banks of the Hudson River, lies a place full of mystery, a place that isn’t even on the maps. Officially named Forest Park Cemetery, hardly anyone actually calls it that. Instead, it's known as Pinewoods Cemetery, so called because of its location on Pinewood Avenue.

With headless angels, a mysterious suicide, grave robbers, and a front entrance known as the gates of hell, Pinewoods may be one of the haunted places in the United States.

Troubled History

In 1897 a group of businessmen from the city of Troy founded the Forest Park Cemetery Corporation, but records show that the land had been used for burials as far back as 1856. The cemetery, which was originally meant to cover 200 acres, was designed by Garnet Baltimore, the first African American graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Baltimore's goal was to create a beautiful, park-like cemetery that would outshine nearby Oakwood Cemetery.

Unfortunately, however, the corporation went bankrupt in 1914 with the cemetery still uncompleted. Pathways had been constructed, statues had been erected, and a large mausoleum had been built, but Baltimore’s original designs were only partially realized.

After the bankruptcy, the cemetery was sold to a corporation made up of New York City residents, but they too went bankrupt and the cemetery was sold to a local country club.

In 1918 a man by the name of William Christian volunteered to become the caretaker of the cemetery, and he continued to do so until 1961, the year in which he passed away.

The last known burial at Pinewoods occurred in 2005, and since then the cemetery has become the basis for many urban legends.

The entrance to the cemetery is called the gateway to hell

The entrance to the cemetery is called the gateway to hell

Life Magazine Article That Never Was

There is a persistent rumor that Life magazine once ran an article stating that Pinewoods is one of the top 10 most haunted places in the United States. I conducted my own research to try to confirm this, but I was unable to find any such article. The town historian has stated that she too has not been able to locate the alleged article. One person even went as far as contacting Life magazine—and they denied the rumors. They never wrote such an article.

The empty mausoleum

The empty mausoleum

An Empty Mausoleum

The mausoleum at Pinewoods is a beautiful building. Its ceiling is made of copper, and there are over one hundred marble catacombs. However, the mausoleum is completely empty. Its purpose was not to bury the dead but to store them during the winter months when the ground was too frozen to dig.

Gateway to hell

Gateway to hell

Suicide and a Ghost

In 1916, a Buffalo man by the name of Harold Hubbard Horne was visiting with his girlfriend. Not much is known about the details of what happened—all that is certain is that the man died in the cemetery by a gunshot to the head.

Some say that he and his girlfriend parked their car at the entrance and spent the night talking. At some point the girlfriend fell asleep, and when she awoke she found that he had shot himself in the head. Others say that she woke up to find him hanging from a tree.

Many people say that if you drive by at night you can see the troubled man roaming the cemetery. Others say if you call his name three times he will appear. His aura is explained to be a “warm feeling”—not cold, like most spirits. His spirit is described as giving off warm feelings of comfort, especially to those who are depressed, because he does not want them to share his fate.

Grave Diggers

In the late 1980s two teens found a partially dug-up grave. Picks and shovels were found at the scene of the crime. Yet another unsettling event to add to the long list of unusual and haunted happenings at the cemetery.

Headless angel

Headless angel

Headless Angel That Bleeds From the Neck

I have visited the cemetery a few times, and during one visit I followed a pathway that led into the woods. I had heard there were statues, but I seemed to be going deeper and deeper into the forest and I almost decided to turn around and head back. Instead, I continued, that is when I found them: headless angel statues in the middle of the woods.

Eerily, I found fresh flowers right beside the statues. There were no graves nearby, and the cemetery is considered to be abandoned, so fresh flowers next to statues that are deep in the woods seemed odd, to say the least.

Rumor has it that the angel statues bleed from the neck. Questions abound: Why were the heads removed? Who did it? Where are the heads now?

My Phone Suddenly Died

On one of my visits, I had the very unsettling experience of realizing that my phone, which had been fully charged just moments earlier, died as soon as I passed through the gates of the cemetery. I can find no logical explanation for why this would have occurred. Apparently, however, I am not alone. According to many others, the same thing has happened to them.

Mysterious Figure in My Photo

During one of my visits, I took a photo of my friend standing on the rubble near the mausoleum. Afterward, when I looked at the photo more closely, I could see a distinct figure in the background. I did not photoshop the image, and no one else was there when I took the photo. So who could the figure be?

All photos contained within this article are taken by me and cannot be used without permission.

All photos contained within this article are taken by me and cannot be used without permission.

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© 2018 Elijah DeVivo

Comments

star-key on March 06, 2018:

Sound's like a cool place.

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