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W-File: gh_greenwood.html

Type: Ghost
Location: Monroe, Wisconsin

Source: The book Wisconsin Lore by Robert E. Gard and L. G. Sorden,
pages 55-56 (published 1962)


Dr. Harriet Anundsen, of Monroe, gave us this one about Bill and the Greenwood ghosts:

It was really dark when I headed for home with a fresh can of carbide on my running board and a couple of beers under my belt. I was breezing along at almost fifteen miles an hour. I like to ride fast. I was pitying the folks who must ride behind plodding horses and admiring the way my headlights bored through the darkness as I approached Greenwood cemetery. The road goes straight toward the cemetery, and just at the gate it turns sharply to the left. I was just a few rods from the gate when I saw a white, iridescent figure flitting about among the tombstones and monuments. I stopped my car and the figure stood still. I started again and it moved too. Then, as I made the left turn, it disappeared just like that!

I'll admit the Buick did something better than fifteen the rest of the way home, and when I got there I drove right up to the back door instead of to the machine shed. If the doorstep had been lower and the doorway wider I'd have driven right into the kitchen. I didn't tell Betina what I'd seen. I knew what her explanation would have been, and I also knew that I hadn't had that many beers.

I didn't mention it to anybody. I didn't want to be a laughing stock, but I kept my ears open and the next Saturday night I heard Emmet Wild ask the crowd at Joe's place whether they'd seen anything queer in the cemetery. They all looked blank. They were probably asleep by the time they got that far from town. Horses don't have to be driven home on a Saturday night. That is, they looked blank excepting Jack Thomas and, I suppose, myself. He sort of gravitated toward Emmet and retired from the bar to compare notes.

All three of us had seen the same thing on the same night. Come to think of it, we were the only ones in our neighborhood who drove cars.

Jack thought he had seen a woman, but Emmet said it was too tall for a woman, and besides, what would a woman be doing in the cemetery at that hour?

Anyway, we decided to go home together and see what we could figure out. It was clear when we left town with a moon as big as a washtub, so we didn't light our headlights. We didn't waste carbide in those days. Well, we drove up to the cemetery and back and forth along the road, and didn't see a thing. But the next night I took Betina in to a special meeting at the Methodist Church, and on the way home, just where I'd seen it before, the figure appeared. Betina screeched and grabbed my arm. Almost put us in the ditch. "Bill," she yelled, "there's a ghost in the cemetery!"

After that everybody knew about the Greenwood ghost, but only a few people saw it. When the young bucks took their girls buggy riding, they would head for the cemetery, and the girls would screech and grab the boys around the neck. They didn't, as it turned out, really see anything, but they had a good time.

It was the science teacher at the high school who solved the mystery. He had somebody drive out there in a car one dark night. Then when they saw the figure they stopped the car and he got out and walked straight for the ghost. Took nerve, I'd say. It was a new monument he had put on his lot - a marble pillar polished till you could see your face in it. The headlights picked it up as they approached the cemetery, but lost it when the car turned.

How did it move? It didn't. It was we who were doing the moving.

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