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 may...it'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