Ghosts of Ohio
Lore & Legends

Memory Hill Cemetery

In the early 1800’s, Milledgeville set aside the 20-odd acres of land that would become Memory Hill Cemetery. Over the years, the cemetery would become the final resting place of such notable people as author Flannery O’Connor and alleged witch Dixie Haygood... as well as hundreds of screeching iron devils.

Dixie Haygood
Dixie Haygood was born in Milledgeville in 1861 and wasted no time in building her reputation as someone who possessed special powers. She would often go into violent trances that caused her to thrash about (however, it should be noted that Dixie was prone to epileptic seizures). But it was during these trances that Dixie would show feats of incredible strength, including lifting tables with several men sitting on it. It is said that Dixie could also command large pieces of furniture, even a piano, to move about the room at will. There is also an incident reported in which Dixie, while traveling abroad, was able to pinpoint the location of a missing pearl that belonged to Queen Victoria.

However, it is in death that Dixie Haygood appears to have gained the most notoriety. According to legend, Dixie set forth a curse before she died. It is said that anyone who stands between Dixie’s grave and the sun will bear the full weight of the curse. But perhaps the strangest aspect of Dixie’s story involves Dixie’s neighbors at Memory Hill Cemetery, the Yates Family.

For reasons never fully explained, a hole in the ground opens up near the Yates plot every year around Christmas. This hole has appeared for as long as people can remember, often growing so large that the tombstones of the Yates family sink into the ground. And despite workers filling in the hole, often with cement, it still returns the following year.

Some say the hole is a sign that Dixie Haygood is still working her magic, while others believe the Yates family is simply trying to escape their neighbor.

William Fish
In 1872, the typhoid epidemic that was sweeping across Milledgeville and the surround area claimed the lives of William Fish’s wife and only child. Grief-stricken, Fish sought solace in constructing a memorial for his wife and daughter—a beautiful brick mausoleum inside Memory Hill Cemetery.

But after construction was completed and Fish laid his family to rest, the grief still did not begin to subside. In a final desperate act, William Fish entered the mausoleum, closed the door, and promptly shot himself to death. The Fish family was finally together again.

It is said that at certain times, if one goes up and gently knocks on the door to the Fish Mausoleum, they will hear a distant yet distinct "reply" knock from on the other side of the door.

The Screaming Imps
Off in a corner of Memory Hill Cemetery stands a beautiful spire-like tombstone surrounded by a wrought iron fence. But it is not the stone that draws people’s attention to the gravesite, it is the fence... and the hundreds of devilish faces that adorn it.

No one can say with any certainty why the fence is adorned with these grinning devils, although the popular belief is that they offer protection from evil spirits. What people are certain of is that on All Hallows Eve, the faces come alive and start screeching and screaming. Often the noise becomes so loud that screech owls are said to fill the trees around the cemetery, curious as to what the ruckus is all about.

The Ghosts of Ohio encourages its readers to pay a visit to this mysterious and beautiful cemetery, which is open most days until dusk. We ask everyone to keep in mind that they are visiting memorials to our forefathers and to respect the area as such.

© The Ghosts of Ohio