Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery, or Western Burying Ground, is located in Baltimore, MD, and arguably its most famous resident is the man himself, Edgar Allan Poe (19 January 1809 – 7 October 1849) is reputed to be Baltimore's most haunted cemetery, and it can indeed be found on many lists of most haunted cemeteries.
Upon learning of my lifelong desire to visit Westminster and the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, my friend and paranormal investigator Nancy Stallings encouraged me to do so. She told me about the time she and her team made their own midnight visit and said I would very much enjoy the cemetery, also telling me I would be safe as long as I showed my usual respect.
Finally, after all the years of anticipation, I was going to go and I couldn't have been more excited. So. on Saturday 19 September 2015, my good friends Tammy and Lea Ann took me to realize my dream of visiting Edgar Allan Poe.
Coming to a stop at the corner, I exclaimed “There it is!” to my friends Tammy and Lea Ann. If we had known exactly where we were going and had stopped just a few second sooner, we would have been able to park right in front of the open gate, right there where Poe, his young bride, and his mother-in-law are interred. It's a breathtaking sight to see the monument right on the other side of the wrought iron fence from the street. At least, it is for me. They knew what they were doing when they exhumed him, reburied him up front, and erected the big marker.
The Screaming Skull of Cambridge, Maryland, rumored to be the skull of a murdered minister, is buried here—allegedly encased in cement with its mouth bound to stifle its horrendous screams—but we didn't as about that and there weren't any muffled, horrific screams shattering the atmosphere. Perhaps on the next visit.
For being in the midst of the city, the grounds were eerily quiet and very peaceful. All three of us remarked on that as soon as we walked through the gate. It felt as though the sounds of the city faded away.
Strangely enough, even though we were informed by the volunteer there were other people in the cemetery, not to be afraid if we see someone, there wasn't anyone else until we'd strolled through the property and taken all the pictures we'd wanted to take. Then we noticed other people had begun to enter the cemetery.
Finding the original resting place of Edgar Allan Poe, his burial spot from 9 October 1849 to 17 November 1875, is exceptionally easy. All one has to do is follow the brick path from the front entrance, where his new spot and the large monument is located, to where the bricks end, all the way to nearly the back corner.
Sources indicate Poe was technically reburied on 1 October 1875, the dedication ceremony was held on 17 November 1875.
For a man who was originally buried without a gravestone and didn't have one for many years, except for a simple sandstone block that read “No 80,” he ended up with two very nice ones.
Westminster Hall and Burial Ground—formerly the Westminster Presbyterian Church—was constructed over a part of the original cemetery, approximately a third. The church is immense considering the plot of land it was constructed upon, so I can see how it would cover at least a third. The graveyard still exists as a catacomb underneath the church. Lea Ann, Tammy, and I did not get to see the catacombs during our visit on Saturday 19 September 2015. Touring the catacombs is by appointment only and we decided we'd just have to make an appointment and come back for another visit.
The cemetery is very well-kept and not nearly as big as I'd anticipated. An atmosphere of serenity, peace, calm, however you wish to term it, permeated the grounds on the day of our visit. The weather was very nice—neither too warm nor too cool. Of course the sun brightly, but there were still corners filled with shade from the trees and the walls of the burying ground.
We followed the brick path until it ended at nearly the rear corner, and found Mr. Poe's original resting spot. Of course, the first thing I did after greeting him, just in case he was hanging around the spot, was lie down and take pictures of what his view would have been. Truth be told, I could have closed my eyes and taken a nap if I could have been sure no one would have called the police to come and cart me away, that's how serene it was.
Before my friends caught up with me, I read my poem/song lyrics Beneath the Shadow of the Raven to Mr. Poe since I'd had in mind dedicating it to him when I'd originally written it. I know he appreciated it and gladly gave me because I received what I interpreted as a sign while I was still prostrate upon his original grave site: a bird landed on my chest and stared straight into my eyes before taking off. Now, I know it wasn't a raven or even a crow, but I believe it was a sign from Mr. Poe himself, or one heck of a coincidence.
A very similar, if not the same, bird landed on the grave stone right before Tammy snapped a picture of me. It landed, looked at us, Tammy exclaimed, “Look at that,” and then it flew off again.
I leave it up to you to decide.
Without having seen any records of who is buried where, I will say there are a number of unmarked or extremely worn and unreadable gravestones, and Lea Ann, Tammy, and I agree: Leona Wellesley may very well be buried there in an unmarked grave somewhere.
Sadly, her spirit didn't make an appearance for us.
The only thing out of the ordinary that happened is I kept seeing something by the side gate, on the inside. Odd enough to catch my attention, but I felt nothing from it—neither good nor bad Not a shape exactly. It was more like an area of air rippled, waved. Almost like when you see heat emanating off an extremely hot surface where the air shimmers. I attempted to take a picture each time I past by that space, but nothing showed up. I just had seven pictures of the side gate.
After we left, we had a short walk back down the sidewalk on that side because that was where we'd parked. I stopped and said to my friends I wanted to take a picture of the gate from outside. What I wanted was to see if I could get a shot of the rippling air. Again, nothing out of the ordinary showed up on either of the two pictures I took from the street side of the gate.
Regardless, I had a fantastic time finally visiting Mr. Poe and I'm happy to have gone with two of my close friends.