Ghosts, legends and lore: get spooked at this 200-year-old cemetery

It's NOT just a bunch of hocus pocus

You could say downtown Cape Girardeau is haunted, especially with the number of “true” ghost tales.

cemeteryOne of those tales comes from the Old Lorimier Cemetery where some claim there is a “tapping ghost” or two.

It’s one of the region’s oldest cemeteries.

It is thought that it is the final resting place for more than 6,500 people.

Though many of their graves are unmarked.

But that’s not the only reason it is so creepy. Heartland Weekend caught up haunted historian Christy Mershon to find out more.

“Part of what makes this cemetery so mysterious is that we have mass graves. We have mass graves from both the Civil War and from various steamboat accidents that happened up and down this section of the Mississippi River,” said Mershon.

Who is buried at Lorimier Cemetery?

Many consider it the final resting place of the “who’s who” of the founding families of Cape Girardeau.

With this in mind, all the known burial records were destroyed in a fire at the Common Pleas Courthouse.

Since the fire, there have been efforts to find and list all the names of those buried here. However, it is unlikely that the list will ever be complete.

According to research on the City of Cape Girardeau website:

“The cemetery was originally sectioned by religious affiliation and race. Protestants were interred in the east area while Catholics were interred in the west area. The concrete arch with a cross atop is the marker showing the divide. It is believed blacks were interred on the eastern slope of the cemetery, though it has been found through records available that persons of color were buried on the eastern and southern edges of the cemetery grounds. This was done by comparing burial records with monuments in place on the grounds.”

According to legend, those who were of the Catholic faith were buried on the south side of the cemetery while Protestants were laid to rest on the north side.

While there is certainly a lot of interest in the cemetery for its spooky legends and history, visitors should remember that it is the final resting place for thousands of people and visitors are asked to show respect.