Ghosts come alive at Old Burying Ground

WESTFIELD – Ghosts from Westfield’s past will once again come to life to tell their stories at the second annual Westfield Historic Ghost Tours at the Mechanic Street Old Burying Ground.
On Friday and Saturday, and Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3 & 4, The Westfield Historic Commission, with help from members of Westfield on Weekends, Westfield State University, Westfield Police Dept., and many other community members, will present 12 colorful residents of colonial Westfield. These “ghosts” will tell their story using lantern light and special effects provided by lighting specialist, Jay Pagluica. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-12 and are on sale now at the Westfield Athenaeum. It is not recommended for children under the age of 6. The tours have been extended to two weekends this year due to the sold-out tours last year. Additional information may be found on-line at www.westfieldonweekends.com.
The Old Burying Ground is one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States still remaining in its original location and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It contains the graves of many of the founding families of Westfield and the oldest remaining stone dates back to 1683. The people buried there had to survive Indian attacks, harsh winters, deadly epidemics, and the isolation of being the westernmost settlement in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The proceeds from the Ghost Tours will go directly to the preservation and restoration of the stones and original wrought-iron fencing in the cemetery.
“The hope of the Historic Commission is to not only preserve and restore these beautiful gravestones which are such a part of Westfield’s history,” said Historic Commissioner Cindy Gaylord. “but to also once again re-open the Old Burying Ground as a public park and destination for school field trips.”

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