Established in 1835, Wolfinger Cemetery is one of the oldest in the county. And, by all accounts, it also seems to be one of the most haunted.
Do a Google search for Wolfinger and you won’t find much. Well, you will, but it’s pretty much all the same information, word for word in most cases.
The legend of Wolfinger generally goes something like this,
Inside Wolfinger Cemetery, the graves of two parents and their three children line the wooded edge. They all died within days of each other. Ghostly children have been seen playing around the graves, particularly one girl who is about ten or twelve years old.
And, that’s pretty much all there is to it. This location seems interesting enough to put it on my “Places To Visit This Summer,” but a little too vague to really discuss here in any great detail.
As far as I can tell, only two local paranormal teams have visited this cemetery over the years – Toledo Ohio Ghost Hunters Society (TOGHS) and Toledo Haunted Occurrences Research (THOR).
At least, those were the only two organizations that showed up in the search results.
And, from what I can tell, all available information concerning this cemetery and its ghostly goings-on pretty much stem from what has been collected by both of them.
Despite all that, there is still some question, at least in my mind, as to who or what is supposedly haunting this cemetery.
During the course of my Googling, I came across an entry for Wolfinger on the Grave Addictions website. They, too, touched on the vague story of the phantom children who are seen playing among the tombstones. But, they also posted an email from a site visitor, named Harold, who had a tale of his own to tell.
Harold says that the family in question can be found buried along the fence to the far right side of the cemetery, in the older section. He names them as the Ford family. The father was named Wallace Ford and the mother was Elizabeth. Three children are buried with them – Wallace, Eliza, and “Infant.” All family members passed away in the late 1800s.
At the gravesite, Harold said he began to feel a strong presence. Without really knowing why or how, he says he got the impression it belonged to the spirit of Eliza Ford. He said a prayer for the family and then got into his car to head home.
While driving, the headlights and dashboard lights began to blink off and on all by themselves, and Harold says he could continue to feel the presence of Eliza with him. He believes that Eliza was somehow trying to communicate with him.
Harold turned the car around and drove back to the cemetery, telling Eliza that she could not come with him; that she had to stay with her family.
It’s actually a fascinating story. Click the Grave Addiction link at the bottom of this entry to read it in full. Or, you can go to the TOGHS website and read it there, too, as I have discovered in my link-clicking that the Harold in the story is the same Harold who is the founder of that group.
Harold’s account seems to confirm, subjectively speaking, that the legend about this cemetery was true. Something odd is going on here. But, is it due to ghostly children? Perhaps not.
According to the Find A Grave website, Eliza J. Ford was 50 years-old when she died. Granted, Harold’s description of his encounter doesn’t really say anything age-related about the presence he felt at all, just that it was a strong presence. It could’ve been the mother, Elizabeth, I suppose, or it could have been the child, Eliza.
Maybe there was more to the legend? Maybe the entire family was active and not just the children?
Or, maybe, as is so often the case with paranormal research, Harold was simply in the wrong place?
Bryan Sayre and the folks over at the Toledo Haunted Occurrences Research website place the source of the legend in a different spot and with a different family.
THOR found three tombstones which mark the graves of three children who all passed away within days of each other.
Thomas died on December 17, 1865.
Rebeca died on December 22, 1865.
And, Earnest died on January 2, 1866.
Unfortunately, the surname on the children’s tombstones is worn away in the photos I’ve seen.
So, it appears that there is, at least, some evidence that the legend is based on some sort of fact. Three tombstones have been found which match the tales. But, Harold’s encounter with what he believes was a spirit named Eliza potentially throws a new wrinkle into the story. Or, are the two connected somehow?
Kinda confusing somewhat, isn’t it?
Anyway, I’ll be visiting Wolfinger Cemetery this Spring once the weather breaks and allows for decent photography and exploration. Check back for any updates!
Cover Photo: Grave Addiction
Wolfinger Cemetery is located inside Secor Metropark at 10001 West Central Avenue in Berkey, Ohio.
“Tracking Ghosts,” by Ryan E. Smith, The Toledo Blade, 31 October 2007, pgs. D-1 and D-2
Wolfinger Cemetery, Find A Grave
Wolfinger Cemetery, Grave Addiction
Wolfinger Cemetery (WTOL Story), Toledo Ohio Ghost Hunters Society