Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Special: Dorchester's Spookiest Places

Beginning back in 2007, the Times started publicizing reports claiming that the Dorchester area is home to haunted places. 

We have always been skeptical, but since Halloween will soon be here we are publishing this update on the latest reports regarding the Dorchester area's spooky spots:

Gilbert's Graveyard:  
The most famous of Dorchester's "haunted places," Gilbert's Cemetery -- the final resting place of the family of John W. Gilbert -- continues to draw attention from inside and outside Saline County.  (There's even this video of some brave souls who went into the graveyard at night for electronic readings.)  Click here to see some of the stories left about Gilbert's Cemetery on a site called "Strange USA."  Another report on the pioneer cemetery came from a website called  "Hauntings" (no longer active), which featured a "pre-haunt interview with the locals" in Dorchester.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 this blog 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 website also featured firsthand accounts from those who have visited the cemetery.  One visitor named Chris wrote the following: 

"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 or around 1994. 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."

Specter of Highway 33:  The Times staff has for years heard reports of a "man" who supposedly walks on Highway 33 as you near Crete. People have reported seeing him on the road, or just off to the side, and swerve to miss him.  When they look back, he is gone. The Times has investigated the story further.  Some say the apparition is that of a Dorchester lad who died decades ago in a very bad accident a mile west of Crete.  Others say it is the ghost of an Oregon Trail pioneer who lost his way and died on the journey.  

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" on main street Dorchester.  The website claims to have a picture of the ghostly figure taken with a cell phone in 2009.

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 the old stories, 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."  So convincing were the reports, that the Lincoln Journal Star in 2006 wrote a story on the the old boiler room.  The story quotes former school secretary Joyce Karl and former custodians Ron Sehnert and Sharri Kasl, who said: "I never go down there in the mornings if I’m ever here by myself."  Another publication ranked the Dorchester boiler room the second-most haunted site in Nebraska.

Doane College Library: The old library seems to be haunted by a woman in a white dress. On a full moon, she will appear in front of one of the windows. She has been reported to roam about the basement, also. 

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