Monday, February 22, 2010

Acacia Cemetery, Modesto, CA

Acacia Cemetery is located on Scenic Drive in Modesto, CA. It is claimed that people passing through the cemetery, which has paved roads that allow it to serve as a shortcut for both drivers and pedestrians, will often hear what sounds like a hysterical mourner crying and screaming, even when nobody is there. Sometimes the crying and screaming sounds as if it is so close that people have commented on it sounding as if it was in the car with them. This feeling is sometimes accompanied by a sense of intense dread. Whether these phenomenon are attributed to one of the buried, or someone who once mourned one of the buried, is not known.

Commentary: Sitting at the intersection of Bodem Street and Scenic Drive in Modesto, CA, Acacia Cemetery is across the street from both a hospital and a senior citizen's home. Whether this is oddly appropriate or simply grotesque I leave to the reader to determine for them self. When I was in high school, it was not unusual to see a hand-painted wooden sign advertising "free dirt" at the gate of the cemetery, and as far as we could tell, the sign had been erected by the cemetery management.

But enough of the local color.

One of the things that I find fascinating about this story is that it seems, at least to some degree, to be an Internet phenomenon. I grew up in the area, and never heard about this cemetery - that's not to say that there weren't stories about it pre-Internet (there most likely were), but that they weren't in particularly wide circulation. Now that the Internet is a common information-gathering tool for ghost story enthusiasts, this story is easily found by simply typing "Modesto Ghost Stories" into Google.

What is interesting, however, is that all of the Internet versions of this story are nearly identical - in most cases they have clearly been a cut-and-paste job (check the links below for example). So, rather than the typical "telephone game" scenario that traditionally played out with ghost stories - where one event gets changed or added on to by the next person who tells the story, and so on until the story that emerges is radically different from the one originally told - we have a near-perfect copying of the story from person-to-person and source-to-source.

I am left wondering if, with sites like Shadowlands increasingly becoming the repositories of local ghost legends, if we will see a poverty of variations on ghost stories as time goes on. I hope not - the variability is part of what makes these stories great, and it's possible that people on-line may continue to change the stories just as they did in person for centuries - but I suspect that we's easier to cut-and-paste than to type out a new version, and that's a loss to our collective and developing folklore. Look through the links, and even at the story above, and you'll see little of the dread, and none of the flash, that makes ghost stories fun.

Sources: Internet, Internet, The Illustrious Internet, Internet


  1. Well, the cemetery is probebly somewhat haunted cus there are dead people there. But I personally don't know.

  2. I have friends and family buried there. The hospital across the street on scenic housed a mental institution named MECCA I think. That place was creepy. The cemetery doesn't feel right to me, haven't been there in at least 20 years and I have no desire to visit it anytime soon.

  3. I've done several ghost hunts there, but none quite topped the first time where I went with a friend during the day and got a couple of evps on my phone, one of a little girl humming or singing and one of a man saying "hey you" followed by another "hey". My friend caught the 2nd hey on her phone too but not as loud. I've seen shadows duck behind tombstones.....I went with a friend another time and her phone made a bird-like chirp sound and a few seconds later we both heard the same sound mocked yards away, it was faint on the recorder. There was another time I went alone just before dusk....big mistake, but haven't been able to get anyone to go with me at night.....well when it was nearly dark I started to hear someone following me, footsteps rustling in the leaves but didn't see anyone...I panicked and got in my car which was on one of the lanes in the cemetery and saw a shadow figure man in my rear view mirror walk across the lane behind me.....I turned my car around and went the same way and saw no one. It's definitely a haunted cemetery. I've heard evps from another paranormal group that were awesome of an old lady saying something like "fix my body" or "heal my body" was very clear. I haven't heard the screams people claim to hear there and during the day I don't get bad vibes from the place (I'm a psychic medium) but that one night was a different story...I would only go at night with a group.

  4. Oh and if you do venture out there at night, I think they close around 8 or 8:30pm (there's no actual gates but it's considered trespassing after those hours w/o approval) but there are holes in the ground in some of the older parts of the cemetery lawn (yes cave ins, yuck) so watch out. Also, some may not know this but the cemetery is like 3 or 4-in-1, there's the Long Fellows cemetery, Acacia (previously Masonic) cemetery and you'll see lots of old masonic tombstones, there's the St. Stanislaus on the far east side w/ newer flat graves and the 4th I forget. You'll see an occasional tombstone with pictures--some more recent, some old.....that gave me the creeps since I psychically read photos hehe. There's also an area mid-cemetery of unmarked baby graves....likely an outbreak of TB or what not many years ago. They form a line. There are also tombstones that have been vandalized....I witnessed that several months back and reported it to the people working there, they weren't aware, someone went along knocking tombstones and posts over after wrong....I hope they get karma after if you're doing an EVP in the older parts of the cemetery close to Scenic, you may want to ask if they're upset about that.

  5. Check out my ghost page, some photos/stories are local to Modesto/Central Valley. It includes some pictures taken in Acacia cemetery.

  6. OMG
    You people are so board with your life to convince yourselfs that something that isn't there is there.
    I grew up on coffee and scenic dr. Me and all my friends use to party in that cemetery the only things out there are dead people and homeless people and i still walk through the same cemetery at night never been scared or heard voices a lot of dogs from there own back yards that live along the cemetery they can get load and annoying.
    I have been on coffee and scenic for about 35 yrs now went to John muir elementary school laloma JR high school
    And graduated from Downey high school don't believe there deluted stories.
    The one thing that cemetery has always had FREE DIRT so go check it out might have fun.

    1. You really don't get that the point of ghost stories is entertainment, do you?

  7. So with this uprise in popularity with pokemon go, there are tons of pokemon stops there. I have never gone through that cemetery ever in my life until recently. We usually just drive through for supplies. But I really hope it isn't haunted and I also hope that if it is, the spirits aren't pissed at us for picking up pokeballs there. But it is interesting to me just how old it is. I enjoy reading the headstones.