June 26, 2021
It was a pleasant summer night as we gathered to take a “Spooktacular Paranormal” walk in the Hilldale Cemetery, Haverhill, MA. Our guide was Thomas Spitalere of the Essex County Ghost Project. He was joined by other members of the team. This event benefited our organization – 100% of the proceeds was donated to AWorks!
There were 50+ attendees. Some believe in the paranormal, others don’t. But everyone was there to support our cause and to have a good time. Along the way, we learned about the history of some who are burried in the cemetery as well as about the cemetery’s recent history. The Hilldale Cemetery Association, led by Tom, has been taking care of the cemetery along with volunteers. It had been neglected for a long time until the Association was formed in the early 2000s for the purpose of restoring it. It has been a painstaking job, which the Association and the volunteers take much pride in. The restoration work is far from complete as there was a setback during the pandemic, when there were few volunteers.
Although Hilldale is an old cemetery dating back to the mid-sixteen hundreds, it is still being used today. Hilldale Cemetery was formally established in 1859, is 20 acres in size, and houses over 4,000 burial plots. It is reputed to be haunted by the spirits of the men and women who were the first settlers of Haverhill. There is an area called Soldiers Hill where Civil War soldiers are buried. It is here that many paranormal sightings have been recorded.