Haunted Places: Northeast Ohio

The Witch's Grave of Kirtland

October 8, 2018

There's nothing I love more during the fall than to scare my kids. Seriously! We love scary movies and scary stories. But one of our favorite things to do is explore local legends. Today, I share with you, the story of The Witch's Grave.

I love this one because it ties into my New England roots! Now keep in mind that the thing about Urban Legends is that they are shared through storytelling from one person to the next. The info I have was told to me by several people in Northeast Ohio, each with slightly different details. This is what I was able to piece together.

If you are driving around the back roads of South Mentor and Kirtland, you may come upon a grave, randomly, on the side of Hart Road. Behind it are fields, pastures, a farm.

The grave reads: In memory of Levi Smith, Sept. 25th, 1774 to Jan. 5th, 1820 and Ruth Holbrook Smith (his wife) , Jan. 2nd, 1779 to October 28th, 1818. Who moved from this farm from Derby, Connecticut in 1814

Now at the end of the Revolutionary War, those that served  were rewarded with land. The land  acorrs the Northern part of Ohio was claimed by Connecticut and is known as the Connecticut Reserve or the Western Reserve. Levi Smith was one of the men from Connecticut who moved to Ohio for colonization. This much we know.

Now here is the part that is mere speculation. Being from Connecticut, the curriculum throughout my public school education was centered around thing that happened in their state's history, including the Salem Witch trials, Massachusetts, and reading "The Witch of Blackbird Pond". That book was based on a true story of a girl named Kit. The story took place in Weathersfield, Connecitcut. Kit was accused of being a witch after jumping into the water to retrieve a doll for a little girl. Although she was raised mostly in Barbados where swimming was perfectly normal, the people of New England believed that those that could float in water were in cahoots with the devil and must clearly be a witch.

One theory is that Levi of Kirtland was married to a woman who was believed to be a witch and that is why they fled Connecticut to start a new life in Ohio. Once they came to Ohio, they were part of a group that started a church which is believed to have ended up being Mormon. Some say that Levi and his wife had beliefs that were different than those in the church and were eventually shunned. Some say that Levi's wife died after being cursed or possibly poisoned. None of this has been proven to be true.

Now that is all I have as far as background story goes. But you've got to love urban legends. Now the second part of this is what is supposed to happen when you visit the grave. Supposedly, if you go right at sun down, and stand in front of the grave, then turn your back to it, when you turn back, the grave appears closer!

I tried this a few years back with the kids. I'm not going to tell you what happened. I guess you've got to try it for yourself.