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Eerie Erie: Urban Legends of Erie, Pa.

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Spirits and ghosts are one of the most common fears found in humans. Although science says no, the experience and witness of people say yes. When The Rambler took a survey of several students at Prep, 38 students said yes, they do believe in ghosts, 26 claimed they did not believe in ghosts, while the remaining 12 were unsure of their existence. This translates to about 51 percent of the students at Prep believing in ghosts, 35 percent do not, and 14 percent are not sure.

Erie, Pa., is a pretty old city, and old typically translates into hauntings. What’s one of the oldest buildings in Erie? Our very own Cathedral Prep. While surveying, I tried to capture some ghost stories from the students as well. Dominic Kramer claimed to have seen library books move by themselves. Davis Nies said he had experienced strange events in the music room, including voices and apparitions. While I cannot contribute to the credibility of those stories, the building is certainly spooky.

TheCrypt

The crypt

I decided to head down to the crypt, the name of which already gives it a creepy vibe, as does the actual presence of corpses. I sat there for a moment, and then I saw a flash of light move across one of the statues. I felt fear and excitement, as I thought I just witnessed something paranormal, but I was disappointed as I realized it was just the reflection off of my iPad. Regardless of me not actually finding anything, one does certainly feel a presence in the crypt. Whether it is the presence of God, or an old bishop passing by, the crypt is quite a mysterious place.

Vampire's Tomb

Vampire’s Tomb

So perhaps Cathedral Prep is not haunted, at least not during the day. My crew and I wanted to do a nighttime investigation, but we were denied access. But there are many other haunted locations in Erie, the most famous being the Erie Cemetery.  There are two areas in the cemetery that are surrounded by legend;,the Vampire’s Tomb and the Witches Circles. The real name of the Vampire’s Tomb is the Brown Vault (not that much better).

WItches' Circle with two black tombstones visible

WItches’ Circle with two black tombstones visible

 

The source of the legend starts with the fact that the crypt does not have any visible name or dates on it. The granite it is constructed of has blackened, while none of the other granite mausoleums have changed. It has no windows, simply a locked iron gate. Some of the horror stories surrounding it include pagan rituals and, obviously, vampires. Basically to sum them up, there were pagan rituals at this tomb, and the smoke caused by them is what led to the blackening of the granite. Also, there is a seemingly vampire-like carving above the entrance, which is the only mark on the tomb, so legend says it contains a vampire. Once again, these stories have absolutely no credibility, but there is no evidence against them either. But something that is both scary and true is that the cemetery has no record of who is buried there.

Another Witches' Circle grave, consumed by nature

Another Witches’ Circle grave, consumed by nature

The other location that is allegedly cursed in that same cemetery is the Witches Circles. Two of the tombstones have blackened, just like the Vampire’s Tomb. They say that the tombstones turned black when the devil visited earth to take the souls of the two witches buried there.

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