Why Do Thrill Seekers Visit Spider Gates Cemetery?
With a name like Spider Gates Cemetery, you know there must be a few spooky legends surrounding it.
Sure enough, we found several stories that all led to Spider Gates becoming a popular unusual destination.
Let’s take a look!
What is Spider Gates Cemetery?
Spider Gates Cemetery is actually Friends Cemetery. A local Quaker Meeting (group) owns the cemetery located in Leicester, Massachusetts, about an hour and a half west of Boston.
In its early years, the Quakers had their meeting house on the grounds. They would worship and perform their rituals there. In time, they moved the meeting house to a different location, and all that remains of this one are cement blocks marking the original corners.
The cemetery has graves going back to the early 1700s and is open to the public during daylight hours. If you visit, note that they’ll consider you a trespasser if you are on the grounds after dark. In addition, the surrounding woods are private property, and trespassers may be fine or even arrested any time of day or night.
In fact, they seem to have enough trouble with thrill-seekers to post this on their website: “Photographs, video, film, sound or other types of recording require prior written permission if they will be used on the Internet or for publication of any kind.
Investigations of the paranormal are not permitted.”
The nickname, Spider Gates, came about because of the iron gates made in an art-deco sun design that looks similar to a spider or spider web.
Spider Gates Cemetery’s Mysterious Stories
Friends Cemetery is the focus of several creepy stories, including how it got its nickname.
The Spider Gates
The gates weren’t originally part of Friends Cemetery. The story goes that a young boy hung himself on a tree just inside the cemetery back in 1943. In the 1950s, the Quakers added the gates to honor the boy’s tragic death.
The tree is still there to this day. It makes you wonder if the gates were also a way to keep out people trying to see the boy’s ghost. Were there ghosthunters in the 1950s?
To this day, some people say they’ve seen a rope hanging from that old oak tree.
Pro Tip: For those thrill seekers who want to camp in a spooky forest after exploring a haunted cemetery, make sure not to do one of these free camping sins: The Don’ts of Free Camping.
The Gate to Hell
The sun design on the gates does invoke the look of a black spider or its web. And because of that, people started saying it’s a portal to hell. Some stories say there are seven other gates on the land or around the country, depending on who’s telling it.
According to believers, passing through those first seven, then the cemetery’s main “8th gate,” will take you to hell or steal your soul or both.
The Meeting House
The Quakers’ old meeting house once sat in the middle of the cemetery. Now, it’s a barren patch of land identified, as we mentioned above, with cement blocks. No grass seems to want to grow there.
Locals call this area “the altar” and tell stories of satanic worship happening there – rituals to call upon ghosts or evil spirits. Whether this was while the Quakers were still using it or after, again, depends on who’s telling the story.
Spider Gates Cemetery’s “Payphone”
Legend has it that Marmaduke Earle will talk to you if you perform a certain ritual at his gravesite. We don’t suggest doing this since it requires you to be in the cemetery after dark and constitutes trespassing. People say you need to circle his gravestone a certain number of times while saying, “Marmaduke speak to me.” Then, you place your head on his gravestone, and he’ll speak to you.
This explains why the area around his grave is bare dirt! You may also see coins there that have been left as symbols of the “payphone” as it’s locally known.
Mr. Earle was a beloved member of the Quakers, and the street to the cemetery is Earle Street. We suspect local kids picked his gravestone to touch as a dare over the years, and this myth grew out of it. Even so, some people say they hear moaning after doing the ritual.
Pro Tip: Ring ring. Mr. Earle won’t be calling if you don’t have a cell booster. Make sure to keep yourself safe first and avoid The Dangers of Camping Without a Cell Booster.
Aside from these larger legends, people have reported scary or creepy experiences in the cemetery, such as amanda.cecconi.71’s comments in Roadtrippers. “I went there a few nights ago with 4 other people,,, something chased us out of there and it was not an animal, there was some sound and when we run it run faster at us…. right when you across the water on the way out, the sound stop and everything was fine… something didnt want us there… this never happened before when I went there..”
Respect the People and the Rules
Whether these legends and experiences are true or not, they’ve created a mystery surrounding Spider Gates Cemetery that draws people to explore for themselves. If you’re in the area, stop by during the day and respect the Quakers whose family members lay at rest there.
And, remember to get written permission if you want to share any photos or videos.
Have you ever experienced something spooky at a cemetery? Tell us about it in the comments!
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