Coshocton County Cemetery

A pretty horrible legend haunts this graveyard near West Lafayette.

Supposedly, a woman named Mary Stockum's second husband killed her retarded daughter. This was apparently okay with her, because when her husband was hanged, she vowed revenge. One by one, her remaining nine kids started wasting away and dying, apparently from a fever. After the fifth had died, the town fathers had the woman burned as a witch. When a sixth died, they dug her up, cut off her head, and buried it outside the cemetery. After that the kids stopped dying.

Today the graveyard is supposed to be haunted by Stockum, who is searching for her head and her children. Coon hunters in the area regularly see the ghost. One encounter, given in Haunted Ohio III, tells the story of a couple who parked in the graveyard to look for the ghost. When he thought he saw something the guy went to look. When he returned to the car he found his girlfriend pale and hysterical. The ghost had come to the car, the girl said, and asked her to follow her. "What do you want?" the girl asked, and whatever the witch had said was too horrible for the woman to repeat.

An e-mail I received tells of hanging out at this graveyard and having the sparkplug wires slip off an otherwise okay car for no apparent reason. The same person also sent me these pictures of the graves of the Stockum children. Apparently a well-substantiated legend--though the family name is sometimes incorrectly given as Stuckey.



Gerrick, David J. Ohio's Ghostly Greats. Dayton: Dayton Press, 1982. pp. 31-32.