Cemeteries are fascinating places full of history, and they score high on the creepy scale. You can wander through lush and beautiful grounds or make rubbings of different grave markers to your heart's content. You can even attend ghost hunts and paranormal tours. Whether they're famous for the place they're located, how eerie they are or the people laid to rest there, each of these cemeteries, located all over the United States, has something you just can't miss.
Perhaps one of the most well-known cemeteries in the US is Arlington National Cemetery. This is the final resting place for over 400,000 soldiers. Established during the Civil War, today it contains remains of soldiers from every US conflict. Several notable graves can be found here, including those of former presidents and astronauts. Memorials abound at Arlington as well: the eternal flame that marks JFK's burial site, one honoring the Shuttles Challenger and Columbia, and perhaps most famously, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This single gravesite has an entire amphitheater surrounding it. The soldiers interred inside were unidentifiable, and have been watched over 24/7 since July 2, 1937. The guard changes hourly and the ceremony is open to the public, as long as they are silent and respectful.
One of three similarly named cemeteries, Saint Louis No. 1 is quite a sight. As with most cemeteries in the city, it's filled with vault tombs and mausoleums, having few in-ground graves. This site is closed to the public, but accessible via tours, primarily because of concerns about vandalism. One of the most famous residents is famed 19th-century Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. It is said that if you leave three x's on her grave, her spirit will grant you a wish.
This unique memorial is still being built, but definitely deserves a trip to see. Cremated remains are mixed with cement and molded into different features, such as shells. Then, these items and joined to the manmade reef and a copper plaque is placed on the reef. This man-made reef is building an ecosystem for plants and animals in Key Biscayne, just off the coast of Miami. Visitors are welcome via boat or scuba diving.
This site is the third cemetery established in Boston for the growing population, established in 1660. The beautiful grounds house the remains of many notable figures from the American Revolution, including Declaration of Independence signers John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Robert Treat Paine. Several other early American patriots, including Paul Revere and the casualties of the Boston Massacre, are here, too. While Benjamin Franklin is buried in Philadelphia, a large obelisk marks the resting place of his parents.
As one of the largest cemeteries in New York City, Woodlawn is the final resting place for many influential people throughout time. There are authors, like Herman Melville and business tycoons like J.C. Penney and F.W. Woolworth. However, it is a must-visit destination for Titanic aficionados and Jazz music fans. Woodlawn is the only cemetery in New York with a Titanic memorial and has many survivors (and recovered bodies of those who didn't survive) in its ranks. Many musicians, including Irving Berlin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Celia Cruz, have found an eternal home here. You can wander on your own, or take any one of several available tours to learn more about the great entombed here.
The name of this site may sound familiar to you, via Washington Irving's classic short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." In fact, Irving lived in nearby Sunnyside and based his story on this cemetery and the adjacent Old Dutch Church. It was known as Tarrytown Cemetery before a request by Washington Irving to rename it, which was granted posthumously. In addition to visiting Irving's grave, you can find several other notable politicians, philanthropists, and well-to-do businessmen, such as William Rockafeller and Andrew Carnegie, buried here. The cemetery offers various walking tours, highlighting Irving and his storytelling, notable residents, and even some shocking stories only appropriate for the over 18 crowd.
This cemetery is interesting in that its most famous resident was buried here when it was not a cemetery at all, but an open field. During the Salem Witch Trials, Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft and refused to enter a plea. As a result, he was "pressed" in the field beyond the jail, and was crushed to death under a pile of heavy rocks. His last words were said to be a curse against the town, and his ghost is often reported walking in the fields which now house the Howard Street Cemetery. Other notable graves here include Revolutionary War soldiers and local ship captains.
One of the few sites on our list that is not on the East coast, Boothill is the final resting place of many Old West characters. While the location you visit today has been refurbished and new stones (or planks of wood as the case may be) mark the graves, this is indeed a real cemetery and not just a tourist trap. Some grave locations are approximate and many markers bear only the title "unknown." However, we also can see the graves of many famous residents from the heyday of the wild West, such as China Mary and Dutch Annie, and Billy Clanton with the McLaury brothers, killed in the gunfight at the OK Corral. Perhaps the best epitaph there reads "Here lies Lester Moore. Four slugs from a 44. No Les, No More."
Sitting on 160 acres, the Bonaventure Cemetery is located on a bluff near the Wilmington River. Lush with trees and plant life, it also plays a background for the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, detailing the life and misdeeds of Savannah's socialites. The beautiful Bird Girl statue which is featured on the book's cover has since been moved to the Jepson Center for the Arts, but the cemetery still features many beautiful memorials, such as that of 6-year-old Gracie Watson, and the nation's second-largest memorial and gravesite dedicated to those who were killed in the Spanish-American War.
Last but certainly not least is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It's the only cemetery in Hollywood and has a history full of scandal, misappropriated funds, and fame. The main claim to fame here is the host of entertainment stars buried within, such as Marion Davies, Mel Blanc, Cecil B. DeMille, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, and so many more. After being purchased out of bankruptcy, the cemetery has been completely renovated. It has been the setting for many music videos, TV shows, and movies. Besides visiting the gravesites of many stars, you can also catch a movie projected onto the wall of the Cathedral Mausoleum during Cinespia events, or attend a music festival among the dearly departed.