You have probably heard this Ghost Story before. It is a Ghost Story that can take place in Any Cemetery in Any Town but for this story it will take place in Gray’s Island Cemetery in Hillsborough, New Brunswick.
Gray’s Island Cemetery was established in 1825 and there are some really cool gravestones there. Local folklore tells of one haunted statue. It is white stone lady that marks a family plot. Legend says that she was murdered and her husband decided that he couldn’t live without her. Since he could not bring her back he did the next best thing and had a statue carved in her image and placed in his back yard. He spent hours alone with the statue every day, and his neighbors would see him obviously conversing with his dead wife’s statue. A few years later, the man’s grief took over and his body was found curled at the statue’s base. After his death the statue was relocated to the family plot in the cemetery.
The statue was once was a thing of beauty, with ruby eyes and a diamond ring and people came from miles around to see her. Sadly the rubies were plucked from her eyes and her ring went missing. In fact her whole hand went missing.
The story goes that if you circle the White Lady three times ( always three times around the gravestone in these stories…) and then close your eyes and stand in front of the stone lady then she will tap you on the shoulder with her extended hand (This was back in the day when she had a hand.) Pretty freaky, huh? Rumour has it that her hand was shot off to put a stop to the ghostly tapping. I don’t know who allegedly shot her hand off… it happened before I was born. I grew up with tales of this Statue with No Hand. School friends would whisper that if you circle her three times ( again, three times around the grave..) and gaze into her empty eye sockets that human eyes will stare back at you. Or, even better… she would cry big tears of blood. Or.. the ultimate haunting.. …circle her 3 times and disapperar forever.
These were stories that I heard countless times as a child and I always kept a respectful distance from the cemetery and the haunted statue. Somewhere along the way the head went missing too which just adds to the allure of the ghostly statue. Google doesn’t have much information to share but I did take this still photo from a youtube video.
Recently I visited the cemetery in the daytime because my run group was planning to run through it at night in recognition of my Run Streak Day # 666. It was my first time seeing this infamous White Lady. She appeared surprisingly harmless. Everything seems safer in the daylight.
The run was a blast and I have written a separate blog entry about it. In the ensuing days I have been thinking about that grave marker and the woman who is allegedly buried there. It took only a couple of hours to find her. ( Thanks, Google. ) Mary Ann Steeves died on Sept 25, 1871 at the age of 24. Mary Ann was buried beside her brother John who died when he was 5 years old. It is unclear whether there were other children in the family but her parents were buried in the same plot several years later, with the vandalized stone monument watching over them for eternity. .
This is a picture of the White Lady standing guard over the family plot. The four graves to the right of the monument belong to Mary Ann, Brother John, Mother Jane and Father Richard. There is no mention of a husband. Maybe he didn’t exist? Maybe that part of the ghost story was fiction?
Coincidentally my RSD # 666 was on Sept 25, 2016… exactly 145 years after Mary Ann’s death. What a creepy coincidence! Or was it fate?
RIP Mary Ann Steeves August 26 , 1847 – September 25, 1871