Clarissa Johal: #Paranormal Wednesday-Black Hope Cemetery

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Black Hope Cemetery

Photo taken at City Cemetery in Raleigh, NC
The Black Hope Cemetery was a 19th century African-American burial ground located in Crosby, Texas. There were as many as 60 people buried there, including former slaves and those buried in pauper's graves. The last burial was recorded in 1939. The land was originally owned by the McKinney family. When slavery was abolished, the McKinney family allotted a portion of their land to their former slaves. An entire black community was built; including schools, churches, and a cemetery, until a fire demolished the area. Eventually, the land was sold to the Purcell Corporation for the purpose of building housing developments. One of the developments, the Newport subdivision, was built over the existing Black Hope Cemetery. 

In the early 1980s, Sam and Judith Haney were one of several couples who purchased homes in the Newport subdivision. When Sam decided to dig a swimming pool in his backyard, a local grave digger warned him that he was about to dig up human remains. Sam continued with the dig and unearthed two pine boxes. An official exhumation was conducted and revealed the remains of Betty and Charlie Thomas, who died during the 1930s. Most of the bones had turned to powder, save for some fragments. Two wedding rings were all that remained.

The remains were reburied but the dead would not rest. The Haney's sliding door would open and close as if someone was there, unplugged clock radios would turn on in the middle of the night, and shoes would vanish and turn up inexplicably beside Betty and Charlie's old grave site. The Haney's weren't the only ones experiencing unexplained phenomena. A dozen of their neighbors reported pockets of ice-cold air, strange lights, televisions and water faucets turning on and off, toilets flushing on their own, unearthly sounds, disembodied conversations, and shadows and supernatural apparitions. One of the neighbors, Ben and Jean Williams, reported that sinkholes would appear in the unmistakable shape of coffins near their flowerbeds. They would fill them in, only to have them reappear a few days later. Jean, a long-time gardener, couldn't get anything new to grow on the property.

The Haneys attempted to sue the developers for not disclosing their home was built over a cemetery. They were awarded $142,000 for mental anguish, but a reversal ruled that the developers were not liable. The developers claimed there was no proof that the cemetery existed. The verdict was thrown out and the Haneys were ordered to pay $50,000 in court costs. The Haneys moved, filing bankruptcy. Other residents attempted to sue and were awarded a large cash settlement by a jury, but the judge set aside the decision and none of the residents of the Newport subdivision received any money as compensation.

The cemetery and many of the bodies are still located beneath the Newport subdivision today.

Read more about Sam and Judith Haney's experience in:  The Black Hope Horror: A True Story of a Haunting


Heather Holden said...

*shudders* So eerie! Not surprised at all that they'd want to move away after experiencing that...

Clarissa Johal said...

No kidding! I'm kind of surprised that since it seems to be a historical site, that the graves haven't been relocated. Kind of a shame.