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For sale: One house on Cemetery Street, complete with graveyard

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The address — 1335 Cemetery Street ­— comes straight out of a cheesy horror movie.

It's a pretty home — three bedrooms, two baths, a nice view of the Uptown skyline — and it's currently for sale. Oh, but there's one little issue: It's right next to West Pinewood Cemetery.

The city-owned graveyard is well-manicured and quiet enough. But who wants to live so close to dead people?

More folks than you'd think. "Some people are OK with it," says Five Points Realty agent Michael Doney. "Some people say that it's really peaceful."

The house has been on the market for 113 days, but that isn't because of the graveyard. It's because real estate is doing so poorly.

"We've had a lot of interest in that house," Doney says. "Several people have it at the top of their lists of potential homes; they just haven't decided what property they're going to go with. If we were in a better housing market, it would have a better chance of selling."

Jamie Diehl loves his Cemetery Street address. He's been in his home for about a year, and this will be his first Halloween there.

"Honestly, the [people in the] cemetery are the best neighbors," Diehl jokes. "They don't have parties, they don't have friends over and they don't make a lot of noise — at least I haven't seen any of that."

Diehl says when it came to choosing this house, the two things that captured his attention most were the view of the city and the younger home owners in the area.

As for the proximity to the cemetery — that's nothing new for Diehl, who spent his childhood in a home next to one.

"I had some reservations about it," he admits. "I have two dogs and at first they were acting kind of strange and someone said, it's probably the spirits. But I think it was just getting used to the new surroundings of a new house."

Diehl's reservations were more about business than being haunted. He wondered if later he would be able to resell the home, which he's made major improvements on, because it's so close to a cemetery. "It would probably be a deterrent for many new home buyers," he says.

West Pinewood moved to its current location during the construction of I-77. Diehl's friends ribbed him about it when he moved into his home, saying the spirits would be angry because the bodies had been relocated.

But not all spirits are the same and not all graveyards are for mourners, says Tina McSwain, founder and director of The Charlotte Area Paranormal Society. Her group claims to use "scientific" methods and research to prove or disprove if a place is haunted.

"A hundred years ago, graveyards were attached to a church and they were treated like today's parks," McSwain says. "Families would go out and have their picnics beside the grave stones and the kids would play stick ball. So, now, we've kind of returned to that somehow."

McSwain says she's seen people walking their dogs, eating lunch and exercising at Elmwood Cemetery in Uptown. "Because it's Halloween season, they actually have a haunted Segway tour that goes through that cemetery," she says. "Settlers Cemetery is sort of like Central Park is in New York. I see a lot of people walking through there."

McSwain says cemeteries are like any other areas or buildings: some are haunted, some aren't.

"Just because it's a cemetery, it doesn't mean it's haunted," she says. "Certain cemeteries don't have anything going on. I don't think Settlers has anything going on. I haven't heard of any ghost stories at Elmwood or Pinewood."

But, she adds, "I do know someone who lives in a house next to a cemetery and he's reported seeing shadows in the cemetery at night."

Not that McSwain believes every ghost story she's ever heard. For instance, she's gone to the graveyard at Hopewell Presbyterian where an urban legend holds that each year on the date of his death, Feb. 1, General William Lee Davidson — who died during the Battle of Cowan's Ford in 1781 — rides through the cemetery. "I've been there to see if it happens," McSwain reports, "and it doesn't."

As for the homeowners on Cemetery Street? Diehl just hopes his stone-cold, quiet neighbors won't bring out the loud thrill-seekers on Halloween. "I'm hoping there will be more treats than tricks."

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