10 Skull Rating out of 10
Village of Dixboro
Oak Grove Cemetery
Dixboro, MI

County: Washington
GPS: 42.1450394, -84.0553962
WebSite: None

One of the area`s most famous and most documented hauntings began back in 1835. A young widow named Martha Crawford and her young son, Joseph, came from Canada to Dixboro to visit her sister, Ann. Ann`s brother in-law, John, and Martha began a whirlwind romance and immediately became engaged.

However, Ann told Martha a secret, a secret unknown to anyone to this day, about John and Martha`s intention to escape back to Canada. Ann`s husband, James Mulholland, warned Martha if she broke off the wedding, she would never make it back to Canada alive. Ann passed away very quickly after the wedding and Martha`s husband, John, died in 1840. By 1841 Martha was displaying the same symptoms of the fatal illness that killed Ann. James and Martha fought over John Mulholland`s property. Due to Martha`s rapidly worsening condition James had her declared incompetent and became administrator to his brother`s property.

In 1845 Martha sought to be bled to death by Dr. Sam Denton and in return she would tell him her secret. Denton of course did not bleed her to death but Martha still kept crying out in her Irish accent "They would kill me." Martha soon died but the medical technology of the times simply wrote it off as poor health.

By the fall of that year Isaac VanWoert, a carpenter from New York State was moving his family to Michigan by covered wagon.

The owner of a house who needed a carpenter knew of a place for VanWoert to rent while he worked for him. It was Martha Mulholland`s house rented out by her son, 15-year-old Joseph. But this is where this ghost story takes a most unusual turn. Not just because Martha Mulholland`s ghost kept appearing but because the events were recorded by Ypsilanti Sentinel and the Ann Arbor True Democrat in 1846. Van Woert first saw the ghost on Saturday night, Sept. 27. She was carrying a burning candle and had a white cloth around her head. She was bent over, her eyes were huge and sunken and her teeth protruded through her lips.

Neighbors told him that Martha had died in the house recently. VanWoert saw her again in October at about 1 a.m. The room was aglow though there were no candles lit- this unnatural light is regularly corroborated in ghost stories- and this time the specter spoke to him and warned him not to touch her.

"They kilt me," she said. He asked, "Who killed you?"

In her thick Irish brogue she answered, "James has got it. James can`t hurt me anymore."

The sixth time he saw her she seemed to be in great pain, doubled over and clutching her bowels in one hand and holding a phial in the other. "The doctor said it was balm o` Gilead," she said before evaporating again. VanWoert saw her several more times and she spoke of someone unrepentant and evil named John and she worried about her son, Joseph.

She would repeatedly say "They kilt me," and whenthe carpenter asked "Who?" two male shapes appeared and melted away. Martha`s mouth was frothing and she was unable to say their names before vanishing. The last time VanWoert saw the ghost of Martha Mulholland was on Nov. 6.

"I wanted to tell a secret. I thought I had," were the last utterances her tortured spirit spoke to Issac VanWoert.

VanWoert was a member of the Dixboro Methodist Church and considered an upstanding citizen. Dixboro residents demanded the body of Martha Mulholland be disinterred to determine if she had, in fact, been poisoned. At a coroner`s inquest in 1846, the verdict was handed down that she had indeed died of poisoning by persons unknown. James Mulholland was never indicted for the crime of murdering Martha but disappeared into the shadows forever. His property was sold at a sheriff`s sale in 1852. The haunted Mulholland house burned down under mysterious circumstances in either 1860 or 1870.

Her son, Joseph, legally owned his mother`s property at the age of 21. The 1850 census shows him living on a farm in Superior Township.

Cindy Blake, the head of the Michigan Ghost Watchers is quite familiar with the hauntings in the area of Main and Mill Streets and Frain`s Lake in Dixboro.

"We conducted an investigation and photographed orbs- a phenomenon of spiritual activity usually seen on film-and mists in the area of the graveyard and the general store," she said.

"People in the area have reported finding pictures on the floors fallen from walls but the glass is never broken as if they had been set there."

Blake said ghosts often have unfinished business and keep coming back. There is also an ongoing haunting near Cherry Hill Road where a tin peddler allegedly was murdered. The ghost of Martha Mulholland asked VanWoert if he knew of Frain`s Lake and the well outside the tavern where the peddler may have been murdered. Whether or not this another secret murder committed by James Mulholland is also lost in the mists of time.

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Submitted by: JesseJWinters

Last updated by: Anonymous

Last updated on : 5/1/2007

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               Like      Dislike        Comment# 3429     5/1/2007 6:50:00 PM     Edit       Reply    

Last Seen: 9/14/2009 5:59:36 PM  
I checked for some of the grave markers and they were so old the names could not be read anymore, there are family markers in a couple of locations within the cemetery, and a historical sign with the last paragraph talking of the ghost of Martha. there are many writings of this ghost story in books and publications, when i have a little free time i plan on checking into the story at the local level.....

               Like      Dislike        Comment# 50437     4/8/2010 4:21:00 PM     Edit       Reply    


so if this place is haunted, is it the whole village that is, or just the cemetery?





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