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Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Old Burying Yard

The Old Burying Yard in York Maine is beautiful, historic and above all, haunted. Residing on a small corner lot along a main road, the cemetery dates all the way back to the 17th century. This site contains 75 marked grave sites of some of our first settlers and is also said to be the final resting place for hundreds that brutally lost their lives during the Raid on York in 1692, also known as the Candlemas day Massacre. On that day, a large group of natives where led into the small town of York. Murdering the men and taking women and children as their hostages, the site was left blazing from the fires set to destroy what remained of the town. Forcing their 80 hostages to walk in the snow to Canada, it is said that all of the captives perished during that harsh, cold journey. Though you will not find any grave markers for the victims of the raid, the historical society has erected a monument in their honor as they have been laid to rest in areas that are unknown.

While the savagery of that attack will forever be imprinted in history, it has also left many believing that this area is haunted by those that died suddenly and horribly during that time. And even though that event marked a very tragic time for York, it is not the main draw for visitors to the cemetery. The Old Burying Yard has gained interest from the paranormal community primarily for one grave site. Entering the cemetery on a snowy day it may be a little difficult to find, though it is there. A six foot granite slab lay along the ground where the deceased Mary Nasson was interred in 1774. While it is true that these types of large stones where intentionally placed throughout New England to keep roaming cattle and pigs from damaging graves, it was also rumored to have been placed on top of Mary's grave with the intention of keeping the witch buried.

Mary Nasson was a beloved wife and mother. Her husband, morning her passing, had her likeness carved into her gravestone. He also had a very loving message to his wife engraved under the image however I won't go into what it said. I believe this day and age it seems more creepy then loving, but who am I to judge? Mary has also been mentioned as being an effective herbalist, and some have speculated that she had the ability to rid your house of unwanted spirits. The rumors that formed of Mary being more than just your average Puritan wife and mother also appealed to the historical society. They have included the mention of the "witch's grave" on a burial plaque that sits outside of the cemetery. Whatever the intent was behind the creation of these stories, Mary has since been deemed the White Witch of York Maine. However, if the stone slab that rests atop of her burial site was actually an attempt to keep Mary from returning as many claim, it didn't really do that good of a job.

Many have claimed to see Mary roaming the lot, and other countless sightings from children reporting to have been pushed on the swings from a friendly woman that disappeared when they were done. The swing sets and park have been removed in recent years, I assume due to the peeked interest of those hoping to encounter Mary. Also there accounts of a woman that vanishes just after she places a bunch of wild flowers in your hands. If Mary was such a threatening character, it would seem that she has completely changed her ways in the afterlife. Since Mary is the one many claim to encounter, I tend to believe that there must be some credence behind the rumors. Just not the part about her engaging in any dark arts rituals. I've been unable to uncover any information about how she passed on, but typically during that time period, had she been a witch I doubt she would have been given a proper burial inside a church yard. The tales linked to Mary Nassons' deposition are mysterious, and we are left with one incredibly unique grave marker and a story. One that has aided in keeping Mary Nasson quite relevant over 200 years later.