There is a place in my town called “Stepp Cemetery” and local legends talks of a sad, lonely ghost of a Woman in Black who wanders the graveyard. There are many different versions of why this ghost is there, but in all versions she remains behind, mourning over a lost family member. Some say she sits on an old tree stump, protecting the graves of loved ones and if you listen you can hear her cry. Growing up we always heard about the stories, so of course, it was common for people to go ghost hunting and exploring. A lot of dark stuff is rumored to take place there as well.
It was after Halloween, around 2am of the next morning. I was a teenager. My family and some of my neighbors randomly decided to load up and go to the graveyard. We had the idea that we would go and find the Woman in Black, but what we found proves that the living are far more scarier than the dead.
Stepp Cemetery felt eerie, but that was to be expected. The wind was howling and you could imagine the sounds of a crying female and dark, fleeting shadows were always just around the corner. It is safe to say that we thoroughly spooked ourselves. I don't know if anything ghostly we saw or heard was real or imagined, but at the time it all felt real.
Some of us took the experience seriously, but most of us were just being silly and goofing off, though I don't think in an overly disrespectful manner. Just kids and kids at heart being kids, I guess.
After exploring for a while, we came across a grave of what looked like a young child. It had an Angel headstone. There was a melted candle on top of it. Our first thoughts went to devil worshiping; it just felt wrong. The sound of the wind suddenly seemed louder, the cries that may or may not have been the ghost, sounded more desperate. We were more unsure and nobody was joking around anymore.
That frightened us enough that the adults decided we should probably head back to the cars. As we were heading back, we noticed two people far in the distance. They also felt so-so wrong. Nobody spoke. We all felt this. One by one we got behind a huge tree, hiding from view. Luckily, the men hadn’t noticed us. As the men came near us, we moved around the tree to stay out of view. It would have been comical, like something from an old cartoon had it not been so scary.
The men got to the gravestone with the melted candle. One bent down and started digging. “Where is it?” He sounded gruff and furious. There was a glint at his side. He was armed.
A fight or flight moment happened and without speaking again, we all bolted and ran back for our cars. The men saw and started to chase us. The wind seemed to be chanting go, go, go!
“Give it back!” Whatever the men were looking for, they thought we took it. Was the burning candle a marker for something? What could these men possibly want to find in this old forgotten cemetery? What was so important that they would come armed? Was it drug related or something darker?
Somehow we made it to the cars. It was now around 3am, I noticed as we pulled out.
As if the men weren't bad enough, as we left a van full of men in white masks and black robes pulled into the graveyard. They stared at us and it felt like they were burning our image into their memory. I will never forget the fear I felt and I am sure everyone else felt the same terror. A couple more minutes and we would have been caught by whoever these men in masks were.
Were they devil worshipers? Were they just college kids doing a fraternity initiation? We will never know, but they felt bad.
As for the Woman in Black? I think she is real and a protecting spirit. We have family buried at Stepp Cemetery, so was she protecting us as well and whenever we did things unspoken as a whole, I wonder if it was because of her influence.
The moral of this story is be careful when you go to a place where you only expect the dead. The living are far worse
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