Western Massachusetts has its fair share of old cemeteries purported to be haunted, but that doesn’t mean that those without that reputation don’t have ghostly activity.
The old White Church, as it has become known, is an old place. For just over 200 years it has occupied a spot on the corner of Elm Street and Witch Path. It was originally built as a Meeting House for a burgeoning community just west and across the river from Springfield. As was the custom, meeting houses were used for church services and a Congregational religion sprung up and used the place for Sunday services…..which were mandatory for the population to attend. Over time the place became the Congregational Church on Meeting House Hill.
As West Springfield grew life went on, people lived their lives and died. A churchyard cemetery started to grow adjacent to the church. A Mrs. Ashley from one of the founding families was the first to be buried there. Her grave can be found to the left of the chain gate that can cross the road entrance right behind the church. There used to be a huge ancient tree just in front of it, but I think that’s gone now.
There are no remarkable stones in this graveyard, but there’s still a lot of history and interesting stories on the stones. They still speak. Townspeople use the small street circumscribing the place to jog, walk their dogs, and sometimes on moonlit nights sit on a bench and steal a kiss from a loved one.
This quiet spot doesn’t seem to come alive until most of the townspeople are at home and perhaps sleeping their own sleep. On occasions, small bright lights that some might call “orbs” can be seen dancing around the outlines of the stones. A dark figure of a man walks slowly from south to north across the middle heading toward what seems to be a potter’s field. Just forward of that there are two headstones that touch. One is of a young woman and the other an infant. Did she die in childbirth along with her child? Her shadow can sometimes be seen just above the grave…. is she looking for her baby? And on some nights when things aren’t seen you can still hear the rhythmic leaves and twigs crunching as invisible feet seem to walk over them.
And what about Witch Path on the South side of the church? That’s another story….