For years -- beginning back in 2007 -- the Times has showcased reports from other websites that claim Dorchester is home to haunted places. We have always been skeptical, but since Halloween is here, here is an update on the latest reports about Dorchester's spooky spots.
Dorchester School Boiler Room: Without a doubt, we can confirm that the boiler room of the 1927 Dorchester School building is no longer haunted, if it ever was. The old school building was razed in mid-2008 to make room for the current DPS campus. But when it existed, there were reports that in the late 1920s, a child "locked himself in the boiler room and died." According to several websites, school janitors in the modern era sometimes heard yells coming from the boiler room during the night -- and "when they went down into the boiler room, they didn't find anyone."
Gilbert's Graveyard: The most famous of the Dorchester areas "haunted places," Gilbert's Graveyard continues to draw attention from inside and outside Saline County. One of the latest reports on the old cemetery comes from a website called "Hauntings," which features a "pre-haunt interview with the locals" in Dorchester. The site recounts some of the history behind Gilbert's Graveyard and its namesake, using historical accounts published by the Dorchester Times and the 1981 Dorchester Centennial book. As Hauntings reports, "a number of strange events have been reported here. Among them, strange noises and the movement of tombstones. ... Sadly, this location has been host to vandalism and disrespect for the dead. If you plan to visit this location, think on how you would want your remains and the stone markers of your final resting place treated."
The Hauntings website also features firsthand accounts from those who have visited the cemetery. One visitor, named Chris, wrote: "The first trip we had made (to Gilbert's Graveyard) I ended up in tears; just the feeling of being there was enough to make you sick. We started to drive through the graveyard, and someone pointed at a tree that was knocked down over a grave, and when I looked over there I saw a black fog coming up from the grave, we decided to leave. As we left the graveyard, we looked over to the graveyard and about 9-plus flashing lights came up from the graveyard and seemed to follow us. I was the driver and I looked in my rear view mirror to be horrified to see a older lady staring at me in the mirror, then scream and then i began to cry uncontrollably. I stepped on that gas and swore I would never return. But consequently we did, and the second time it was more calmer then the first, not much happened except for hearing footsteps in the distant, and the feeling of you being followed closely."
Former "Squeaky Bridge": According to GhostsOfAmerica.com, the site of the former ''squeaky bridge'' over Turkey Creek, south of Dorchester, is "extremely haunted" (County Rd. 1500 between county roads G and H). "According to legend several men were hanged on the bridge, which was closed and removed in the mid-1990s. However the ghosts still appear on a routine basis. They are transparent figures hanging by a noose right where the bridge once stood. Some have said the hanged men will occasionally look up and stare at observers."
Second Floor Above the Village Office: According to GhostsOfAmerica.com, "there have been many reports of figures or shapes moving around in the second floor of the village office building." The website claims to have a picture of the ghostly figure taken with a cell phone in 2009.