The Paranormal at Home: Hauntings in 50 States – Kentucky’s Pilot’s Knob Cemetery

Please click here if you would like to read the first article in the series.

Cemetery’s are the stereotypical setting for sightings of ghosts – at least in the movies. Many would argue that most spirits prefer to explore more exciting parts of the world. After all who wants to sit in a silent burial ground with nothing but cold stones and stiff company. While many cemeteries remain fairly quiet, some are believed to be very active.

Haunted Kentucky: Pilot’s Knob Cemetery

Pilots Knob Cemetery
Pilot’s Knob Cemetery on Google Maps
Click the image to go to the address on Google Maps

Pilot’s Knob Cemetery can be found off of Fords Ferry Road in Marion, Kentucky. This peaceful stretch of maintained green is home to scattered rows of aging headstones surrounded by a border of trees. The grave yard isn’t big, but it contains a number of intriguing burial markers, including one that is of particular interest to those in the paranormal world.

Local legend tells of the “child witch,” who currently lies in repose – or maybe not – in the Pilot’s Knob Cemetery. The story begins in the 1900s with a woman and her young daughter, Mary Evelyn Ford. The pair drew the ruthless attention of the local community, who believed they were both witches.

The child, who is said to only have been around five or six years of age at the time, was sentenced to the same unjust fate as her mother. No official hearing was held, but punishment was carried out and both were burned to death. Mary Evelyn was buried in the cemetery. The location of her mother’s remains is unknown. Or at least that’s how the legend usually goes.

The story continues to say that the local community was very concerned about little Mary Evelyn returning from the void to cast spells and get revenge on them. To keep her at rest, she was buried in a steel-lined grave that was also covered in rocks. A short white picket fence surrounds the plot with crosses that connect from end to end.

The legend also describes an evil presence named the “Watcher.” This entity lingers outside of the child’s grave and continues trying to get to the girl. The crosses along the fence form a barrier it cannot overcome, so it remains in the cemetery and continues its futile struggle. Some believe the Watcher is the soul of one of the child witch’s murder victims. Mary Evelyn is also believed to walk back and forth inside her white picket fence prison, allegedly draining visitors of energy to increase her power. Click here and scroll down the page to see a photo of Mary Evelyn’s grave.

Paranormal Activity at the Pilot’s Knob Cemetery

According to the book Haunted Kentucky: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Bluegrass State by Alan Brown, local college student Jake A. Wheat had a personal experience at Pilot Knob Cemetery. Wheat, with a group of his college buddies, noticed tiny foot prints directly on top of the grave inside the fence, about the size of a five or six-year-old child’s feet. They also believed they were chased by the infamous Watcher entity.

A member of the Louisville Ghost Hunters Society, along with their roommate decided to check out the old legend by visiting the cemetery in person. Their trip was strange from the start after bizarre interactions with residents who seemed tight-lipped about the cemetery.  During a return visit after dark, the pair heard an unexplained crackling sound in the forest and a disembodied voice. Click here to see the entire, detailed account.

The Forgotten Souls paranormal group investigated Pilot’s Knob Cemetery in 2012. Their session involved the use of flashlights, with at least one member commenting that something touched him. Some of the responses were curious. The video below includes footage from their session:

Forgotten Souls Paranormal’s flashlight session at Pilot’s Knob Cemetery

Pilot’s Knob Cemetery Today

Perhaps it’s not surprising to learn that Mary Evelyn’s death certificate does not list burning as the cause of death but rather a medical condition.  Members of the Tri-State Genealogical Society found that her mother also outlived her. This would indicate that the legend may be inaccurate at best and completely untrue at worst. Some of the elements of the witness accounts in the book and online are also very similar and may in fact be the same story.

Pilot’s Knob Cemetery continues to be a curiosity in Marion, Kentucky. While it’s difficult to say exactly how much is real and how much is outright fabrication or exaggeration, there  seems to be something unusual about the area – if some visitor’s claims are to be believed. The location also has strong ties with the Civil War, which could be the real reason behind any paranormal activity experienced there.

Have you been to Pilot’s Knob Cemetery (or would you like to go)? Share your personal experiences or investigative approach to this location in the comments.

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