Mater Dolorosa Cemetery

Established in 1869 as the burial ground for the Mother of Sorrows ("Mater Dolorosa") Catholic Church, This very old cemetery attained a certain local status as belonging to an infamous "Satanic Church" in Peninsula. Before the church it was a tiny family plot belonging to Irish farmers, John and Mary Ann Doud, who left it to the First Bishop of Cleveland, who in turn gave it to the Mother of Sorrows Church. It's hard to know when this essentially unremarkable Catholic church got its reputation as "satanic," but the churchyard it left behind is constantly plagued by mysterious white figures of unknown origin.

The gravestone of Michael Raleigh, who died in 1874, has a face peering out of the marble just to the right of his name. Another especially active grave is that of Thomas Coady, one of the 1,500 or so men killed when the steamship Sultana exploded on the Mississippi on April 27, 1865. It was carrying nearly two thousand returning soliders, including POWs from southern camps when the boiler overhead and it exploded, killing almost everyone on board.

Haunting Tales of Mater Dolorosa
Death on the Dark River: The Sultana Disaster of 1865



"Death on the Dark River: The Story of the Sultana Disaster in 1865." American Heritage. October 1955.