The Petrified Lady

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One day in 1933, Mabel Douglass went for a canoe trip on Lake Placid in New York's Adirondack Mountains. She never came back from that excursion. She simply disappeared. Thirty years later, however, some divers found her in 90 feet of water. Perfectly preserved. She was finally buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. He grave is one of the stops on the Halloween tour of the historic cemetery.

Mabel Douglass was the first dean of the New Jersey College for Women, which was renamed in her honor back in 1955. But in 1933, she was a retiree who went out in a canoe one day — and simply disappeared.

Thirty years later, on a shelf about 90 feet down in the lake, her perfectly preserved body was discovered by divers. Her petrified remains were finally interred in Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery, where Mabel Douglass rests to this day.

Her grave, along with her story, are featured in the annual "Halloween at the Cemetery" tour, where Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman takes visitors on an eerie if entertaining trek through the graveyard where nearly 600,000 souls reside — nearly double the population of Pittsburgh.

"This tour is driven by stories — by murders, by spirits, by tragedies, all of that," said Richman, who started the end-of-October tours a dozen years ago. "Unfortunately for Miss Douglass, her story kind of lends itself to Halloween.

"There's just not that many petrified body stories out there."

Halloween cemetery tours are actually popular in a number of cities across the nation. In fact tours are a year round occurrence at several. Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York has an organization, the Friends Of Mount Hope Cemetery, that holds regular themed tours of the place where many famous people are buried. Frederick Douglass is buried there among many others. Here's the Green-Wood Cemetery website.

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