Dartford Cemetery Excursion
Dartford Cemetery in Green Lake, WI has become infamous for paranormal activity due to a feature in an episode of the Discovery Channel series A Haunting. In the episode, local “legend trippers” head into the cemetery at night to sit atop an unusual mausoleum, waiting for some supernatural force to push them off.
Throughout the night they encounter a series of bizarre phenomenon, including the apparitions of mischievous children and a ghostly Indian chief.
On the grey but humid afternoon of Saturday, August 25th, I embarked with my partner-in-crime on what would surely be a treacherous journey into the unknown reaches of backwoods Wisconsin to see the legendary Dartford Cemetery for ourselves.
Our expedition began at Mental Shed headquarters, and was a solid hour and a half of state highway, dismal countryside, decrepit farmhouses and roadkill.
The quaint little town of Green Lake is known for fishing and other recreational tourism. On the outskirts of town, the cemetery flanks either side of North Street, dividing it cleanly into new and old sections.
The old pioneer burial ground is the final resting place for early settlers of the Green Lake area, originally known as Dartford. The old mausoleum at the center of the legend trip dare lurks ominously amidst crooked, cracked and crumbling gravestones dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. The front of the aging crypt contains the name Jackson Walker. The entrance appears to have been recently resealed – perhaps due to vandalism. Several large cracks run across the concrete domed top of the structure, though not nearly as wide as portrayed in A Haunting. And I’m pretty sure there was no eerie blue light emanating from within.
Many of the graves throughout the cemetery seem to be those of young children, including a large Sherwood family, lending credence to the rumor that many were victims of polio.
The grave of Chief Highknocker, the last chief of the Chippewas in the area, is located in the back. His stone contains an unusual, colored engraving of his likeness. The stories claim the chief drowned while trying to swim across the Fox River on a drunken dare in 1911. There are no records to indicate alcohol was involved at all, but a drunken Indian chief is so much more entertaining.
While we narrowly eluded the unexplained, we did have run-ins with hordes of feral squirrels and a random sightseer from California, snapping photos of the mausoleum and other graves with his phone.
Of course, I did climb onto the mausoleum and sit down at the edge, but the only thing I experienced was boredom and a desire to find something more interesting to do. Like stalking the squirrels. Seriously, there were a lot of damn squirrels. Watching us from their perches high in the surrounding trees. Eating their nuts.
Photos of Dartford Cemetery and Surrounding Area
If you are planning your own Dartford Cemetery road trip, check out the Miller’s Daughter Bed & Breakfast. If there are spirits roaming the area, they are sure to inhabit the huge Victorian house built beside the cemetery in 1905.
Also, just a few minutes away in Ripon you’ll find the brand new Doomsday Donuts, opening Labor Day weekend. With a drive-thru. They’re going to have a really great couple months of business before the world ends.
Dartford Cemetery in Green Lake, WI (map)
Have you experienced anything strange at Dartford Cemetery? Share your story in the comments below: