These two women, aunts of my father's mother, Mary HODICK, are laughing in this picture. The story is told that the shack they are leaning against was built on a buried cemetery. That's right. A buried cemetery.
Now doesn't that sound like a no-brainer? A buried cemetery, according to gramma, was kind of like the underground. Oh stop laughing, this is how gramma explained it. You know how they refer to secret maneuverings of secret organizations as The Underground? Gramma said this was the same concept, only it was an underground, or secret, cemetery holding the remains of black sheep ancestors of the residents of Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA. No one wanted to admit to a sense of family or loyalty to someone the town abhorred, yet they firmly believed it was an abomination to not have a Christian burial.
So they secretly held funerals and services for those loved ones who'd gone far astray, and the black sheep were buried twelve feet below the ground with a flat cement-like plaque that was also buried beneath six feet of earth. To you and me it'd look like an empty lot with a shack. To my grandmother's family, however, it was a place of mourning for the truly lost souls.
So why are these women laughing, you might ask? Because they had been dared to go into that shack up there as a way to prove there were no ghosts in there. Grandma said they'd gone in, but only got in far enough to close the door behind them. It was pitch black in there except for one thing: a virtually sheer, glowing image of a woman that looked just like Helen, the woman on the right in the picture. They bolted out only to find their brothers at the door laughing at their prank of reflecting a worn-out night-gown in front of a mirror, so it made the image -- now with a head from the women inside -- look like Helen.
Helen and her sister Tina yelled and screamed at their brothers until they ran away. Once they were gone, they couldn't stand up straight, their knees were shaking so badly. Once they collected themselves, they burst into laughter themselves.
Until a "hoooo hooooo" sound echoed from within the shack, sending Helen and Tina chasing after their brothers!
This post was submitted as an entry to the Halloween 2008 Carnival of Genealogy.