Spirits Lurk In Nebraska Cemetery

The story goes that when you walk the Oxbow Cemetery west of Murdock, you will hear many children playing out in the road. When you go out to look, no one is there.

According to Dale Vanderford Jr. of Murdock, the story is one that has been told for years.

"Another gentleman and I watch the abandoned cemetery to be sure no damage is done to it, but all the times we go through it, we have never heard children playing," he said.

Vanderford said that the cemetery is known by many names: Oxbow Cemetery, North Callahan Cemetery, Carter Cemetery, and North Elmwood Cemetery.

"There is a sign there that says Oxbow Cemetery, but it was not on the Oxbow Trail and has nothing to do with it," he said. But, he added, the story of how the cemetery started would explain the tail of hearing children playing.

"There was a school house across the corner from it," he said.

Apparently a big wind came along and the teacher moved her students out of the school to safety.

"There was a student by the name of May Carter who ran back into the school thinking her brother was still in it," Vanderford said.

The schoolhouse blew down and pinned the young girl.

"Her father was farming across the road and saw it happen," Vanderford said. "He was able to cut her free and the story goes that she kept saying 'hurry, daddy, hurry daddy'. He was able to get her free but she died that night."

The story continues that the farmer gave the corner of the land he was farming for a cemetery with his young daughter being the first to be buried there.

"Its an abandoned cemetery and grown up around it, but we watch it as we don't want it to be a place for parties," he said. Tombstones have disappeared including the one with May's name on it.

"But that's an interesting story as well," he said.

Families who settled in that part of Cass County were English-speaking families from Maine. "In fact the area was called Maine land," he said.

Germans started to settle in the area and the Maine families decided to move back to Maine.

"They dug up their family members who were buried there and with their tombstones took them with them when they moved," he said.

"I grew up around Murdock and enjoyed getting into the history of it," he said.

He has been known to give tours of the cemetery.

"I had one man tell me that his brother-in-law walked around the cemetery and heard the children playing. He went out to check, saw nothing and now refuses to go back."

As for Vanderford, he has never heard the children playing.

"I go there many times just to check on it, but have never heard them."


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